by Owen Harkins
Going to camp for the first time can be frightening — most first-year campers have never been away from home for so long or been around so many new people. Luckily, there are also those who arrive for the second or third time and are excited to show what they love so much about camp to the new kids. Seeing experienced campers setting a good example and making friends with younger ones always makes my day better.
The returning campers in my group have done a great job involving everyone in games and activities. It seems like each day they always take the time to ask everybody if they’d like to play a game or sit with them at meal time. For the past three days, whenever the group has had a chance, after class or in the morning, everyone is hanging out in the common area together, with the older campers involving the new ones in whatever’s going on. In particular, the reoccurring question of “What’s Magic cards?” is always answered with the invitation to join in on a game.
Having classes together and doing planned activities is all part of the fun of camp, but feeling included and making friends is what most campers remember most fondly about camp. It’s great that those returning campers are helping so much to make everyone feel like they belong.