paintstainedjeans asked: i'm a long time camp lover. i have spent the last 11 summers as a camper, LIT, and staff member at my camp. it has been my home, my family, where i fell in love and made some of the best friendships i could ever dream of. to say it's my happy place is an understatement. i'm in my 3rd year of university, and i know that next summer will be the last i have with my friends here before we all scatter. i don't think i'll be going back to camp. and it's breaking my heart. any advice on how to deal?
I know exactly what you’re going through. This past summer was the first time that I didn’t attend, work, volunteer or even visit my camp. However, that doesn’t mean that those things are any less special. One of the fantastic things about growing older is your ability to control your own schedule and your own movements. If you really need to, you can visit the physical place of your camp on a weekend although it might take some planning or $ depending how close you are to it. Lots of camps have year round events that might need staffing, try to keep yourself in the loop.
The internet is also your friend. I’ve been able to skype with my friends who are farther away. Most of them have seen more of my apartment, my cat, my office, etc than my biological family because we made the effort to stay in touch. I have at least 5 running facebook chats with camp friends at any given point in time. I know these things pale in comparison to being with those people all at the same time but it’s something to fill in the gaps between the final step.
PLAN REUNIONS. It’s difficult, frustrating, and sometimes time consuming when you’re trying to find a time and place for all your camp friends to meet up but I promise it’s worth it. I just got back from the second annual fall camping trip with my camp friends and it was amazing. We try to find a place to camp that is somewhere in the middle of all our universities/jobs and meet there for a weekend. Some people come late, some people leave early but we’re doing things we all love together and it’s a fantastic break from the real world. Our fall trips are never as well attended as our winter break reunions though. I’m not sure if it would be possible with your camp but ours is also a retreat type center and has rentable (nice) cabins so we get one or two after Christmas and meet up for about 2 or 3 days over break. It’s a great time to do so because generally people are done traveling for holidays but they aren’t back in school yet. (and they’re sick of being at home). If you can’t go back to your camp, you might be able to find somewhere close to your camp to stay or you could all go to one person’s home, depending on how many of you there are.
I will say this- you won’t be able to stay close with all of your friends from camp, no matter how hard you try, if they aren’t interested in putting in the effort. But if you try to organize things like this, I’m willing to bet that a few people will be interested and excited about it. Mostly it takes someone willing to do all the detail work. You might be surprised and a little hurt by who chooses to pull away from the group but focus on the positives.