By: Annabelle Baskin, former camper and counselor
Throughout my life, I’ve spent many minutes that have turned to hours thinking about friendship - what it means, whether I’m good at it, how much do I have of it, and in such a strange and isolated time, how much I miss the ones I rarely get to see. Lucky for me, I have always had many “pods” of friends, small groups of roughly 2-4 friends from different occasions in life ranging from high school, to college, to adulthood. Each of my pods serves different needs or holds different keys to my personality. Some my heart. Some my laughter. Some, who may not be “the closest” to me, have the most important key for me in a moment in life. The idea of having one singular best friend just doesn’t seem to be language that fits my reality anymore - the million-room-mansion of identity cannot overlap perfectly with just one best friend.
But I will say, my camp friends have a key ring on their hip with lots of keys.
If you did not attend summer camp, or more specifically, Camp Balcones Springs, you might not get it: what’s happening there to make friendships so enduring and special? After all, in the grand scheme of childhood, camp is a relatively small fraction of the experience. And yet, during those brief couple of weeks, I’ve found that those friendships continue to be my most enduring. At age 29, I somehow feel most seen, wanted, and appreciated by the female relationships I made over 14 summers at Camp Balcones Springs.
Camp, as it turns out, is uniquely suited to provide all the very best ingredients to form life-long friendships: an escape from routine, shared experiences, all under the supervision of the coolest 20-year old counselor you want to be exactly like. You are essentially living in a female lifeboat for 3 weeks of the year, sharing clothes, pranking the boys’ cabin, planning your award-winning music video. The list goes on and on.