Making Friends At Camp
One of your friends has been talking about the overnight summer camp that he goes to. It sounds like so much fun that you decide to go to camp this summer, too. Your friend loves to play tennis, so he goes to a tennis camp. You talk to him and some of your other friends who go to camp, and you read many camp brochures, see some camp videos, and even visit some camps with your parents. Finally, you and your family decide on a camp that has all the activities you like and want.As summer approaches, you get excited about going. . .and then, all of a sudden, you realize you don't know anybody going to your camp! You have friends at home and at school, but you are a little worried about making new friends at camp. Don't be. Here are some suggestions on how to make new friends.
1. If you are going by bus with other campers, look for someone about your age and ask if you can sit next to them. Always smile, make eye contact, and say "Hi," when you introduce yourself. Even if this person doesn't become a friend, you now know someone at camp!
2. When meeting someone, repeating their name will make it easier to remember. You can say something like, "Katie, where do you go to school?" If you find that you're a little nervous, take a deep breath, try to speak slowly, make your voice clear, and take your time.
3. Find out what this new person has in common with you. Subjects to talk about might be sports, cars, favorite foods, school, musical instruments, skate boarding, movies, and TV shows. You can say something like, "Did you watch (your favorite TV show) last week?"
4. Most kids want to have friends. Remember that kids are different; some like lots of friends, and some are happy with one best friend. Think about what kind of friendships you like.
5. Another way to make friends might be to approach someone and say something like, "Hi, I'm new at this camp. Can you help me find the swimming pool?" This statement doesn't put any pressure on you, and most people are willing to help a new camper. While walking to the swimming pool, you can talk about camp.
6. If you go to the sports field to play soccer and a group has already gathered, walk over to the group. Wait to be included--don't disturb the ongoing activity. Look for someone else who is just hanging around and approach them with a smile or nod.
7. When you go to camp, be prepared with a few jokes. If kids start telling jokes, you will have a few of your own to share. Why was the ghost crying? He fell down and got a boo-boo! Why did the skeleton go to the movies by himself? He had no BODY to go with! And remember the most important thing about friendship: to make a friend, you must be a friend.
Myra Pravda, RN, MSN is a registered nurse who has been a camp nurse for many years. She is the author of Off to Camp, a book about preparing to go to camp for the first time.