Making friends has always been one of our most important camp goals. This summer, we’re taking this goal to a whole new level, with a focus on all aspects of the art and practice of finding, making, and keeping friends.
We’re focusing on celebrating friendship and connection with our 2018 theme – Find a Friend!
Find a Friend
Maybe you’re familiar with the popular smartphone app – Find My Friends – which helps you track the physical locations of your family and friends. While the app is extremely helpful to see where people are, it doesn’t help at all with the face-to-face friendship skills we’ll be practicing at GAC this summer:
- How to FIND like-minded friends who build us up and make us feel great
- How to meet new people and MAKE new friends
- How to BE a good friend to others
- How to stay connected and KEEP close to your good friends
We’ll be exploring and celebrating friendship all summer long, and we’re excited to go on this Find a Friend journey with our 2018 campers!
Finding supportive, caring friends–a “tribe” where you feel a sense of belonging–is a lifelong quest. Sadly, some people never find their “tribe” and the meaning and connection that come from feeling true belonging and acceptance. This summer, we’ll be helping campers figure out where they feel most accepted and happy and help them with strategies for finding great friends who build them up and make them feel good.
Camp is a great place to make new friends, and counselors focus on helping kids meet and get to know each other through organized discussions and games the moment they arrive at the bus stop. But, in life, we don’t always have a supportive camp counselor to guide us, and there are also some specific skills we’ll learn and practice that will help kids learn how to make friends in other settings that aren’t as friendly as camp:
- How to introduce yourself to others and introduce friends to each other
- How to get to know other people through asking questions, listening well, and asking follow-up questions
- How to lead a discussion or game
- How to approach a brand new group of people (like at free time!)
- How to meet, get to know, and include people who seem different from you
BEING a Good Friend
Making friends is a great start to friendship, but for friendships to grow, we need to practice being a good friend.
Some of the friendship skills we’ll focus on at camp this summer include
- Celebrating each other’s victories
- Noticing your friends’ moods and responding appropriately: offer comfort when they’re sad or scared or join in their excitement when they’re happy
- Complimenting your friends (WOWs!): build each other up through verbal and written compliments
- Addressing issues and resolving conflicts directly with your friend (rather than gossiping, complaining to others)
- Being aware of the back and forth equality in solid friendships (not always one person being the helper, advisor)
- Being trustworthy, maintaining your friend’s “vault”
- Speaking up for yourself AND compromising – sometimes doing the activity your friend wants to do, sometimes you pick.
Staying friends for a long time takes effort. For friendships to grow, you need to stay connected and continue being a good friend, even when it’s not convenient or you live far away from each other. Learn about the different ways (outside of social media!) to stay connected with your friends!
We’ll talk about ways to:
- Reach out regularly with a phone call, text, or – even better — a hand-written note or letter!
- Get together in person when you can and do things you both like – alternate who picks the activity!
We are thrilled to spend the summer making friends and learning to be a great friend. Can’t wait for you to join us to Find a Friend (actually, many friends!) at GAC 2018!