The Importance of Camp Friendships
Campers leave camp with all sorts of memories – food, games, encounters with the Lord, and friendships they’ve formed, just to name a few. The relationships they begin at camp have the aptitude to last a lifetime, impacting the camper’s life forever. Having camp friends is fun and wonderful for campers, but also important to their well-being. According to psychologist Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness, “a person’s happiness is best predicted by the breadth and the depth of their social connections — their ties to other people. Camp gives kids a wonderfully rich opportunity to extend both the breadth and depth of their relationships.”
According to ACA research, 96 percent of campers say, “camp helped me make new friends,” and 94 percent say, “camp helped me get to know other campers who were different from me.” Shepherd’s Fold Ranch purposely structures camp so that campers grow in their friendship-making skills by making sure that the staff members provide a positive environment, manage the dynamics within groups, as well as pursue intentional relationships with each camper.
The camp environment allows campers the freedom to be who they truly are without the weight of stereotypes from the regular social capacities of school and home life. This encourages authenticity of the friendships made at camp. When campers have a shared experience with other campers in their community, it begins with a simple friendship that leads into a lifelong home in their hearts.