Making New Friends and Having Fun

“Hi, I’m Cooper. What’s your name?”

Introducing ourselves and introducing others was the friendship skill we’ve been focusing on this week at GAC. At camper orientation on Sunday, we took a few minutes to practice the seven simple steps of introductions. Campers each met someone new from their “Buddy” cabin and then introduced their new friend to one of their cabin mates.

During their stays at Shaver Island, each age group of campers is doing different friendship activities to foster new friendships with kids in other cabin groups. Some campers have a new “handshake buddy” in another group with whom they discussed what qualities they look for in a friend. Our youngest campers met a “high five buddy” that they get to continue connecting with throughout the rest of the session.

Session 3 has gotten off to an amazing start – from the very first day, the energy and happiness has been at an all-time high. Perhaps because so many of the campers here are experienced GACers, they were able to start relaxing and having fun from their very first moment. At dinner on the first night, campers and staff were belting out songs together at the top of their lungs.

During a game of “OREO” at Morning Assembly this week, everyone cheered wildly for the contestants, who concentrated deeply while trying to move an Oreo cookie from their foreheads to their mouths using only their facial muscles. When a few campers successfully got the Oreos into their mouths, the crowd went crazy. While it’s a silly game, the moment reminded me of one of the things that’s so great about camp – celebrating simple, fun moments together.

“Living in the moment” is one of the lessons our older campers say that they learn over their summers at camp. While we’re singing and dancing together, and engaged in silly games like Oreo, we can’t help but be fully in the moment with our friends. Anxieties and worries from “real life” seem to fade into the background while we enjoy having fun, making friends, and growing for a few weeks at camp.

We’re looking forward to another week full of fun, friendship, and growth with our awesome Session 3 campers!