VAMPY Siblings Unite! (or not — it’s fine either way)

 

Pairs, left to right: Lola and Femi Obieloday, Nina and Joaquin Pauig, Cathleen and Merissa Smalley, Emma and Lily Simpson, Elizabeth and Caroline Moots, Taylor and Bella Galavotti, Chloe and Maggie Cox, Mary and Jonathan Reilly, Myles and Hollis Maxon, Sydney and Carolina Wheeler, Tristan and Jonah Flueck. (See below for Sahil and Ansh Chhabra.)

by Erika Solberg

Siblings: the people who make you laugh the hardest — and yell the loudest. The people who think they know everything about you — and sometimes do.

Siblings attending VAMPY together is as much of a tradition as Paper Theatre and friendship bracelets. They may have completely different sets of interests, or they may take the same class in the same year. They may share a room or a hall, or they may rarely see each other over the course of three weeks. This year, we have eleven pairs of siblings as campers and/or counselors. We interviewed the siblings to see what they thought about sharing the VAMPY experience with someone they are close to in their regular lives and found relationships as interesting, varied, and delightful as a list of evening Optionals.

Note: Campers were interviewed separately from their sibling except where indicated.

Explanation of camp year designations: The initial number refers to the number of years the camper has attended, and the last number refers to the camper’s year of eligibility. For example, a camper at VAMPY for the first time after finishing eight grade would be a “first second,” while a camper at VAMPY for the fourth time after finishing 10th grade would be a “fourth fourth.”

Tristan (third third) and Jonah Flueck (first first)
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Tristan: It’s been fun to see him enjoy camp as much as I have. The downside is he’s my brother, so he does brotherly things all the time.
Jonah: The best part is half the third years know me. The downside is some people say I’m inferior to him. (Laughs.)

What do you argue about?
Tristan: It’s usually about random stuff that’s pointless.

What do you agree on?
Tristan: The best place to eat, which is Fazoli’s.

What advice did you give/get from your sibling about coming to VAMPY?
Tristan: I told him not to give away his Schmoos.
Jonah: He told me to speak up, to not be silent.

How would you describe your sibling?
Tristan: He’s nice. He’s a very, very open person. He’s more of a political person, and I’m more of a computer person.
Jonah: That’s a good question … He’s kind of the same as me — away from home we’re good, but at home, we’re not.

Taylor (third fourth) and Bella (first second) Galavotti
What do you have in common?
Taylor: We both have very strong opinions, and we both speak really loudly when we get excited about something.

What advice did you give/get from your sibling about coming to VAMPY?
Bella: She told me, “Listen to your counselors. Don’t do stupid stuff. Don’t be dumb.”

What did your sibling say to make you want to come to VAMPY?
Bella: She said it was very “together-ey,” like family. She also said it’s really fun and you learn stuff, which is cool.

How would you describe your sibling?
Taylor: Very hard-headed and prone to debate.
Bella: She’s definitely creative. She goes a little crazy sometimes. I definitely do not understand her fashion choices, but she’s pretty solid — I have a feeling she’ll go places in life if she decides that she wants to.

Myles (counselor) and Hollis (fourth fourth) Maxon
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Myles: At first I thought it was going to be odd, but then he signed up for my Optional on the first day, and it was fun to be able to do that with him. And then he didn’t sign up the next day, and that bummed me out more than I thought it would. So, it’s been a surprise how much I’ve enjoyed it. Also, I get to go to his room and take his food, which is very beneficial.
Hollis: My first year, he was a fourth year, so it’s been cool to see the switch where now he’s a counselor instead of a camper. It’s good to have him here — as much as he likes to give me heck, he’s still a sweetie at heart. The only downside is I have to hear other people saying how great he is — it’s really unfortunate.

What do you argue about?
Myles: It doesn’t have to be about anything.
Hollis: I don’t really know if we have a topic — there doesn’t need to be a specific reason. A lot of the time it’s jokes, sarcasm — but we love each other and push each other to be better people.

What do you have in common, and how are you different?
Myles: We root for all the same sports teams.
Hollis: I’m the better dresser — but don’t ask him about that.

Lola (third fourth) and Femi (first second) Obieloday (interviewed together)
What’s the best part of having your sibling at camp?
Lola: My favorite thing is having someone to talk to if I have nowhere else to go.
Femi: When I clearly don’t know what’s going on, she helps me pretend I do.

What’s the worst part of having your sibling at camp?
Femi: She takes all my stuff, like my mouthwash, and she throws stuff, and then when I throw it back she gets mad at me.
Lola: He broke my favorite cup.

What’s your sibling’s best quality?
Femi: When I don’t understand something in school, she can help me with it, so she’s smart. She can be nice like 60% of the time.
Lola: He knows how to make me laugh, and he cheers me up when I’m down.

 

Emma (third fourth) and Lily (second second) Simpson
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Emma: I like hanging out with her — it’s a good time. She’s nice and very cool, so it’s fun. We’re not sharing a room and we’re in different classes, so we get to be like, ‘Oh, hey,’ when we see each other. It’s just chill.
Lily: The best part is hanging out, but we do that most of the year anyway, so it’s not too different.

What do you argue about?
Emma At home we only have one guitar, and we both play guitar, so that’s been a struggle.

What do you have in common?
Lily: We both like doing art.

How would you describe your sibling?
Emma Very sweet, very quiet, doesn’t talk a whole lot, but once you get to know her, she’s super funny and super fun to hang out with.
Lily: A generally pretty nice person.

 

Elizabeth (first third) and Caroline (first first) Moots
What’s the best part of having your sibling at camp?
Caroline: It’s great because I can steal her clothes — and because I love her.
Elizabeth: I can borrow her clothes.

What’s the worst part of having your sibling at camp?
Elizabeth: She can borrow my clothes.
Caroline: Sometimes she embarrasses me.

What do you argue about?
Elizabeth: Her stealing my clothes.
Caroline: Why I stole her shoes.

What do you have in common?
Elizabeth: We both love Broadway. If we sang a duet together it would be “For Good.”
Caroline: We both have the same interests in afterschool activities, like musicals and dance.

How would you describe your sibling?
Elizabeth: She’s very fun and a very nice person.
Caroline: She’s great. I love her. She’s amazing, sweet, kind, and very nice.

Mary (counselor) and Jonathan (first second) Reilly
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Mary: The worst part is he doesn’t want to be associated with me, so I try to check in on him and make sure he’s doing okay and he’s like, (she blocks her face with her hand) anytime I come around. The best part is I can keep an eye out for him. I know he’s having a really good time, but my mom was kind of worried, so I can ease her fears.
Jonathan:  It’s nice seeing someone I know because I didn’t know anybody here at first. Also, she’s a good counselor, and if I forgot to bring something, I can ask her to text our parents to bring it on the weekend. The worst part is she likes using her power to get back at me. I lost my name tag, and my counselor said, “I’ll replace it. If any of the counselors say you have to do the Gorilla Dance for losing it, you don’t have to do it.” But then Mary found me and said, “Your counselor isn’t here, so do the Gorilla Dance.”

What do you argue about?
Mary: The rules of any game we play because I always have to win, and he’s not like that.
Jonathan:  Everything.

What do you always agree on?
Mary: That our dog is by far the best dog.

How would you describe your sibling?
Mary: He is funny and sarcastic and has a good sense of humor. He really enjoys games.
Jonathan: She likes doing nerdy stuff like computer science and engineering — I like that too. She’s a lot better at being social than I am.

Cathleen (third third) and Merissa (second second) Smalley
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Merissa: My mom sent me a package, and it had a note to take the Band-Aids to Cathleen, so I threw them at her.
Cathleen: Sometimes during meals, she’ll stand by my table and talk to my friends, and it’s kind of weird.

What do you argue about?
Cathleen: At home it would be about who gets to watch the TV downstairs because it’s the only one that has Netflix.

What do you always agree on?
Cathleen: We should never let our older brother have the remote. And we both like horseback riding.
Merissa We work harder than our brother.

How would you describe your sibling?
Cathleen: She’s really, really smart. She’s not that sociable, but if you’re friends with her, she’s going to be a really good, loyal friend.
Merissa: Extroverted, smart. She is more hardworking than I am.

Sahil and Ansh Chhabra, who were at swim practice during the group photo.

Sahil (third third) and Ansh (first first) Chhabra (interviewed together)
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Sahil: It’s nice to have someone to play with if all your friends are occupied. And I can mentor him.
Ansh: We’re in the classroom all day together in Computer Science, but we don’t spend a lot of time together.

What do you argue about?
Sahil: Something simple.
Ansh: Sometimes about who’s better at a certain thing.

What do you have in common?
Sahil: We both like the same foods.
Ansh: We’re both on a swim team.

What did your sibling say to make you want to come to VAMPY?
Ansh: He’s been saying that it’s fun, so I came this year for the first time.

How would you describe your sibling?
Sahil: He’s helpful.
Ansh: Pretty nice and outgoing.

Chloe (fourth fourth) and Maggie (first first) Cox (interviewed together)
What do you argue about?
Chloe: Anything.
Maggie: The question is what won’t we argue about?

What do you agree on?
Chloe: How crazy our younger sister is, and most of the time we can agree on the types of food that we want to eat.
Maggie: Yeah, cheeseburgers.

Did your sibling say or do anything to make you want to come to VAMPY?
Maggie: I’d been on every family visit since she’s been coming here, and seeing everything made me want to come too.

What advice did you give/get from your sibling about coming to VAMPY?
Chloe: Once I made peace with the fact that she was coming, I tried to help her with what to pack and what to expect from her class — Presidential Politics — because it was the class that I took my first year.

Sydney (counselor) and Carolina (second second) Wheeler
What is it like having your sibling at camp?
Sydney: The best part is being able to joke around with her. It’s brought us closer — since I haven’t been living at home for the past two years, we haven’t seen each other that much, and here I have the opportunity to be around her every day. Even though I’m in charge, technically, I try not to be too much of an authority figure around her. The hardest part is I want to make sure that I don’t get too involved so that she has the same camp experience that she would have if I weren’t here. There are certain things that are a unique experience to you individually, so I try to give her plenty of space to be herself and to do what she wants to do with her friends.
Carolina: The best part is having someone to talk to. And if I need something or I forgot something, I can get it from her.

What advice did you give/get from your sibling about coming to VAMPY?
Carolina: For my first year, she told me to meet all the people that I can and to be accepting of everyone because there are so many amazing people here.

How would you describe your sibling?
Sydney: She is very energetic. We complement each other — I’m much more uptight and she’s very free spirited. She’s very funny and very kind.
Carolina: She’s a really smart person, and she’s really cool. She can be serious when she needs to, but she also has a fun side.

Nina (second third) and Joaquin (second second) Pauig (interviewed together)
You’re both taking Physics. Do you ever choose to do the same Optional?
Nina and Joaquin: No! No! No!
Nina: We did Foursquare together, but that was a coincidence. He’s the most aggressive person in Foursquare, so I did not want to go against him because I wanted to stay in the game, thank you very much.

What do you argue about?
Nina: I’m better.
Joaquin: No, I’m better.
Nina: No, I’m better. I will fight you right now — let’s go.

What do you always agree on?
Joaquin: We disagree on most things, and that’s what gets us into fights.

How would you describe your sibling?
Nina: My brother is a unique person. He is really smart — he’s a science dude, and I’m more of an artistic person.
Joaquin: She keeps me in check, and she’s a nice contrast to me. I’ll be more outgoing, and she’s more introverted. While we might hate each other some days, we love each other most of the time.

Pairs, left to right: Lola and Femi Obieloday, Nina and Joaquin Pauig, Cathleen and Merissa Smalley, Emma and Lily Simpson, Elizabeth and Caroline Moots, Taylor and Bella Galavotti, Chloe and Maggie Cox, Mary and Jonathan Reilly, Myles and Hollis Maxon, Sydney and Carolina Wheeler, Tristan and Jonah Flueck. 

 

 

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