The ups and downs of sleepaway camp

Mallory H., Staff Writer

For many students, sleepaway camp is the height of their summer, yet as high schoolers grow up, it means leaving behind or missing out on other activities. 

“This summer, all of my favorite bands and singers are going on tour and I’m missing all of it for camp,” said freshman Samantha. 

Many students who grew up going to sleepaway camp are leaving soon as high school ends, and for some it’s bittersweet. Some teenagers grow up and want to experience the summers of being young, not just in camp. However, for some campers, freshman or sophomore year may not be the end. 

“You look up to these older people when you’re younger at camp, and you want to be like that eventually, it’s something [being an elder in camp] you’ve looked forward to your whole time in camp. I want to experience [being older in camp] that next year,” said Samantha. 

In some camps, once you reach a certain age they offer more opportunities, including becoming a junior counselor or a bunk leader. 

“I love my summers at camp, but over time I do think it has changed. I think I enjoyed it more when I was younger. There are more opportunities at home too, I’m happy but sad because I know that I have my last summer there, but I’m going to make the best of it,” said freshman Isabel. 

For many students, camp has been a good influence in forming social skills as well as friendships. Many students who attend sleepaway camp make friendships that have lasted many years. 

“Camp has made me more independent because you have to go without your parents and you have to take care of yourself. It also brings you close with people because you have to make relationships right away,” said Isabel. 

The experience of living with strangers can also make you more emotionally understanding towards other people. 

“I was out in a bunk with random people. You also have to let things go and try to not argue with people,” said Isabel. 

Many kids who go to camp make formative memories, including nights with their bunkmates, camp activities, and competitions. 

“I love water skiing. It’s something where every time I go I can advance at it,” said Isabel. 

Many of the children go to camp because other family members have gone, like siblings or parents.  

“My brother went in fifth grade, and my mom wanted my brother to go away each summer. My mom never got the chance to go and she always regretted it, and she wanted my brother to have that experience,” said freshman Abby. 

Oftentimes siblings may go together at the same camp. 

“I found camp because of my sister. We went to three different camps and my sister liked our camp the best, so I went after her,” said Samantha. 

For many students, it is the highlight of their year, and it’s what they look forward to. Leaving camp may be bittersweet, but it offers many experiences. 

“It’s my favorite place on the planet. It’s seven weeks of being disconnected from the world, especially now, you just want to get away. It’s nice not to hear the depressing stuff,” said Abby. 🔳