There are a few main reasons children come to camp — to have fun, to learn new things in their activities and, perhaps most importantly, to make friends! There is no other friendship quite the same as those made at summer camp. Where else do children spend 24 hours a day living, playing, learning and laughing right alongside one another? At Camp Sloane it is our goal to make sure that when our campers leave at the end of their stay, they have formed new bonds and shared a summer's worth of fantastic memories with new friends for life (and of course have an armful of friendship bracelets to prove it!). In camper Liv's opinion, it seems to be working, as "Camp Sloane reunites old friends and brings new ones together. This camp is AWESOME!!"
It is the quality of the friendships made that makes a camp bond so strong — knowing all the little details about a person that comes only after spending so much time together. Whether it be in their tent or section, or in a shared activity, camp allows children to just be themselves and get to know one another in a different environment, without screens or technology, just back to basics human contact and conversations. Camp provides shared experiences for children where they can learn together and bond through their activities, growing in confidence as they make new friends every single day, both with other campers of similar age and background, as well as with children from different age groups and varying walks of life. As Liv says, "you get to meet a lot of friends at Camp Sloane, a very diverse group. There are people from the area [...] but there are people from far and wide too"
Summer camp is place where children can experience unconditional acceptance from everyone around them — their counselors, their activity instructors and of course, their fellow campers. It is a safe place for campers to be their essential selves, giving them a chance to step out of their comfort zones without fear of judegment or ridicule, allowing them to meet other children with common interests while trying new things for the first time. Lily says that during a ceramics class last summer she "met an amazing group of people from all different sections. We bonded over anime. We all loved that class and being together, we hung out every single oval and talked and talked" — a friendship at camp can happen just like that!
Because of the way camp is run, with counselors facilitating camper bonding through camp traditions such as vespers (bedtime chats in their tents) and various other games, camp friendships happen faster than they do outside of camp. Campers are encouraged to open up and talk about anything they want to, to talk about themselves and to ask questions about their bunkmates, enabling them to quickly learn more about each other in a few short weeks than they might in an entire school year. For Lily, last summer at Camp Sloane was "the first time I learned that you don't need to know someone for a year to be their friend for life"
A camp friend is a friend for life indeed.