Holiday greetings from New York City! My name is Conway, I’m a six-year camper at The Heart, and I can truly say that the happiest of my time is July, when I get to spend every moment with my best friends and favorite people in the world. However, as we all know, we can’t spend all of our time at camp, so we find ways to cope with our distance from the place and people we love. Here are some of the ways my friends and I deal with camp deprivation during the coldest months of the year:
- Reading yearbooks! What better way is there to deal with campsickness than re-living past summers? I love remembering haircuts of the past, the years my friends had braces, and impressive field day victories from all my favorite terms. It’s easy to forget current stresses and sad feelings when you can look back at memories of when you were having the time of your life.
- Writing letters! Just like at camp, we can stay in touch with our loved ones using the good old ever-reliable United States Postal Service. Nothing brightens my day more than getting a letter in the mail from one of my best friends, and it’s hard to put into words the excitement of sealing an envelope that will be read in about a week by one of the people you care most about. Something my cabin has done for the past two years is organize a Secret Santa gift exchange, so we even got packages in the mail, which was really awesome. Keeping in touch through the mail is great for everyone, especially younger campers who might not be able to call or text. My eight-year-old sister just got a Christmas card in the mail from one of her cabinmates the other day, and she was beyond happy.
- Meetups! If you end up in the vicinity of your camp friends, don’t miss the opportunity to hang out! It’s hard to spend long periods of time away from your favorite people, so getting the chance to have a camp reunion is a special (and rare!) occasion. Whenever my pals come up to NYC, I make sure I get to take them around to all my favorite places and catch up.
- FaceTime or video chatting! However much we’d like to hang out with our camp friends all the time, it’s not very realistic for most of us. When you live in another city, state, or even country, you need different ways to have conversations with camp friends. Luckily for us, we live in the age of technology, and our best friends in the world are only a Skype call away. I love FaceTiming my camp friends because it’s an awesome way to catch up, joke around, and make plans for next summer when we’ll finally get to see each other in real life.
- Group messaging! We have another awesome way to stay in touch with camp friends right at our fingertips (quite literally)! Texting is great, and with resources like iMessage and WhatsApp, it’s easy to set up group chats with full cabins or friend groups. My age group/cabin at camp is a wonderfully tight-knit group of girls, and part of the reason we’re so close is because we have a cabin group chat. We’re always up to date on one another’s lives and always there to give advice, encouragement and support, or consolation when it is needed.
Camp friends are what make the camp experience so special, and keeping in touch is the best way to survive the long winter months spent far away from the special place that is The Heart. Friends you make in the summer are year-round friends, and reaching out to them is always a good idea.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a joyful new year!
Lots of love,