Roommate bonds are part of the VAMPY experience

By Erika Solberg

A core part of the VAMPY experience is forming friendships. Campers meet like-minded young people both in class and outside of it, and the roommate relationship often enables them to cement bonds that will last long after camp is over. Here are four sets of friends who might never have gotten to know each other if not for VAMPY: roommates who live in different states, hundreds of miles apart.

Sarah Ball of Louisville and Maddy Holl of The Plains, Ohio, live about 250 miles away from each other. Tenth graders, they are in their second year at VAMPY and are both taking Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

How did you meet?

Sarah: We met at SCATS in 2015. We were assigned to be roommates. We were roommates at VAMPY last year too.

Maddy: And we took Pop Culture together last year.

 

Do you ever get sick of each other?

Sarah and Maddy: No!

 

Why do you think you’re such good friends?

Sarah: We’re really similar. We have the same sense of humor, and we like a lot of the same music. We both listen to The Lumineers and a lot of folk music.

Maddy: We both have music festivals where we live.

Maddy: And we get along because we both don’t really mind being by ourselves. We like watching people at camp.

Sarah: Everyone here is so different from at home and so awesome, so it’s fun to watch people be themselves here.

 

What do you do when you’re hanging out in your room?

Sarah: We listen to CDs or talk about our day.

Maddy: We made a lot of friendship bracelets last year.

 

How is your class so far?

Sarah: Really interesting. We heard from a Holocaust survivor and got to ask him some questions, and it was great to listen to him.

 

Have you done any especially fun optionals?

Sarah: The best one was a tour of the rocks on campus.

Maddy: It was called Rocket Science — they made up stories about the rocks. And on the other nights we did Game Room and met some new people and played cards.

 

What are you looking forward to at VAMPY this year?

Maddy: D.C. — it’s a major trip. This year we’re taking a bus — last year we flew which was exhausting, but I think this will be more exhausting.

Sarah: But it will be fun. And just being a fourth year is cool. There’s a lot of fun traditions to look forward to.

Sarah Ball (left) of Louisville and Maddie Holl of The Plains, Ohio, tie dye shirts during VAMPYstock Sunday, July 2. Campers had a day full of optionals like yoga, game time, movies, chalk drawing, and crafts. (Photo by Brook Joyner)
Sarah Ball (left) of Louisville and Maddie Holl of The Plains, Ohio, tie dye shirts during VAMPYstock Sunday, July 2. Campers had a day full of optionals like yoga, game time, movies, chalk drawing, and crafts. (Photo by Brook Joyner)

 

Hollis Maxon of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Kaelan Davis of Louisville live about 460 miles away from each other. Eighth graders, they are in their second year at VAMPY and are both taking Humanities.

How did you meet?

Hollis: We met at VAMPY last year. We’re the same age, and he was in my brother’s hall.

Kaelan: We both like meeting new people, and we’re both into soccer.

 

Why did you room together this year?

Kaelan: Hollis is a really cool guy.

 

Why do you get along?

Hollis: We’re similar — we have similar personalities.

 

What do you do when you’re hanging out in your room?

Kaelan: We talk. And we have a bunch of people come over, usually.

Hollis: Our room is the party room. We talk about last year and friends who aren’t here this year.

 

What are you looking forward to at VAMPY this year?

Hollis: The Olympics.

Kaelan: And making more memories. I remember last year was really fun, all the people and —

Hollis: — the community.

Kaelan: Yeah, it’s a great environment.

 

How is your class so far?

Kaelan: Our discussions are really deep.

Hollis: They mean a lot more. In most schools they’re like, “Don’t talk about politics. Don’t talk about religion.” It’s nice to get to do that.

Kaelan: Everyone’s always involved, and it’s great to actually converse with people and the teacher.

 

I see Hollis is on crutches — what happened?

Kaelan: We were playing Ultimate. He was trying to catch the Frisbee and ran into a lamppost and sprained his ankle But the important thing is, he made the catch!

Hollis: I’m probably going to remember that optional for a little bit.

Does Kaelan help you out, Holis, or is he mostly just mocking you?

Kaelan: It’s a little bit of both.

Hollis: Mostly the second one, but in a way that means he cares.

Hollis Maxson (left) of Winston Salem, N.C. and Kaelan Davis of Louisville rehearse for their paper theater skit Saturday, July 3. Kaelan played the role of Rapunzel while Hollis played the part of the tower. (Photo by Brook Joyner)
Hollis Maxson (left) of Winston Salem, N.C. and Kaelan Davis of Louisville rehearse for their paper theater skit Saturday, July 3. Kaelan played the role of Rapunzel while Hollis played the part of the tower. (Photo by Brook Joyner)

 

Martha Popescu of Madisonville and Sophie Evans of Troy, Illinois live about 200 miles away from each other. Both tenth graders, Martha is at her second year of VAMPY and is taking Arabic, while Sophie is at her third year of camp and is taking Pop Culture.

How did you meet?

Sophie: We met last year.

Martha: She was in my class with one of my close friends, so on the first day we all sat together.

 

Why did you decide to room together?

Martha: We got really close last year.

Sophie: We’re really good friends — we visited each other in between camp.

Martha: She came over to Kentucky for about five days during the winter break, and then I went up to Illinois to see her for a weekend.

 

Why do you think you’re such good friends?

Sophie: We have a lot in common.

Martha: We have the same mentality about a lot of things. We do different stuff — like she does band and I do academic team — but we gel really well in how our personalities match up.

 

What do you do when you’re hanging out in your room?

Sophie: We’re dorky and weird. We like to listen to NPR.

Martha: We talk about NPR, talk about what’s going on back home, talk —

Sophie: — about our classes.

 

What are you looking forward to at VAMPY this year?

Sophie: Everything!

Martha: I love VAMPY so much. It’s been really great. I love everything.

 

Why did you choose the classes you’re taking?

Sophie: I’m more liberal arts, so that kind of thing attracts me more. I went to DC last year, but I’d really like to see more of it and learn about pop culture because I’m not well informed.

Martha: I picked Arabic because I really like learning languages. I’d like to go into a field that deals with a lot of languages, or deals with people from different parts of the world, like translation or the United Nations.

 

Do you ever argue?

Sophie: I’m gross. I’m really messy so she’s legit arguing with me: “Pick your stuff off the floor!”

Martha: Not legit arguing — it’s me nagging with her to get the clothes off the floor, pick up the sink. But I don’t think we’ve had a legit argument.

Sophie: She kept her suitcase in the bathroom for two days. I was like, “Get your suitcase out of the bathroom, Martha!”

Martha: We play fight!

 

Ben Bozza of Greenbrier, Tennessee, and Dawson Wilcox of Greenville, Alabama, live about 350 miles apart. Ninth graders, they are at their first year of VAMPY. Dawson is taking Presidential Politics, and Ben is taking Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

How did you meet?

Dawson: We met at SCATS last year when we were roommates. We were randomly paired, and we ended up really liking it.

 

What makes you good roommates?

Dawson: We share a lot of interests, Magic the Gathering being a big one. We find a lot of the same things funny, too, like making observations about people.

Ben: And sometime puns — puns are great.

Dawson: Personality-wise, we’re pretty opposite. I’m pretty outgoing, and Ben’s kind of shy — he’s timid when you first meet him — but when we’re in our room talking, we meet in the middle.

 

What do you do when you’re hanging out in your room?

Dawson: We’re talking about stuff while playing Magic.

Ben: Always playing Magic.

Dawson: So much Magic.

Ben: 24-7

 

Why did you choose the classes you’re taking?

Dawson: Presidential Politics is something I find very intriguing. It was my first pick. I really like politics in general. I follow everything — all the current events — I followed the election closely — it’s very interesting.

Ben: I love World War II history. I’ve always found the way the Nazis were able to influence the masses of Germany to be incredible — they were master propagandists. I like also how the class ties in modern-day issues like racism.

 

Do you ever argue?

Dawson: We fight about political stuff, but we keep the politics in one place and our friendship in another.

Ben: The politics never get in the way.

Dawson: We never actually fight — it’s within a debate.

Ben: It’s all friendly debate.

 

What are you looking forward to at VAMPY this year?

Ben: The trip to D.C. Both of our classes go to D.C., so we get to go together.

 

Are you even looking forward to riding on the bus overnight?

Dawson: It’s totally worth it.

 

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