Five years ago I went to camp having one brother. I came home from camp that summer having one brother, and six sisters. Seven weeks drastically changed my life. I believe that sleep away camp creates friendship bonds that last a lifetime.
Getting off the bus, a combination of nerves and excitement took over my body. A tall redhead approached me, told me her name, and that she was going to be my counselor for the next seven weeks. Already I felt a feeling of comfort, warmth and kindness. All of the girls in my bunk had been returning campers, and since I was not, I feared that I wouldn’t know what to do, but I was extremely mistaken. They educated me with all of the essential tips and details about camp, and immediately made me feel as if I were one of them. I knew that from then on, we would be friends forever.
They say it takes a long time to make a best friend, but at camp this is not so. Each year, the bonds grow stronger. What we do best is create memories. There was a time, about three summers ago when my bunkmates and I were participating in a high ropes course challenge. We thought it would be amusing to partake in the challenge that required a person to get through a tire that was ten feet in the air. Being the risk taker, I was the one who was going to be air- lifted through the tire, and hopefully with the help of my friends, be placed onto the ground on the opposite side. I trusted them, and the two counselors who were spotting me, so I wasn’t worried. As I was lifted off the ground, I reached the spot where half my body was on one side of the tire, and half was coming out on the other, with no hands on me. I started to get nervous. My friends were shouting at me from the ground, telling me not to worry, that I should jump, and that they would catch me. I decided to take their advice, so I jumped through the hole of the tire. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground, blood dripping from my arm, hysterically laughing. Everything turned out ok. Thankfully, I had just gotten a little scratch, but I knew my friends tried to catch me which prevented me from getting any more injuries than I did. This incident, along with many others is what makes our relationship so strong. Whenever we talk about this story, we laugh out loud, and know that these memories will be with us forever.
Now, five years later, these six girls are still my best friends. We have crossed the country, from California to Florida, and from New York to Connecticut, to try and make as many visits as possible. Those seven weeks during the summer just aren’t enough for us. Talking over the phone, texting, emailing, video chatting, and IMing, we do it all. Sleep away camp makes strangers into sisters, and I believe that it creates bonds of friendships that will last a lifetime.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.