Life At Alleghany, a Series: Why you don’t Need to Send your Child to Camp with Friends

Oh my goodness, my daughter would love a camp experience. It would be so good for her! New friends, new experiences, all the best, because my daughter means the most to me!

If those things are true, then why would you send her to camp with a friend? A camp that is ACA accredited has already met the stringent requirements of a place that would be safe and secure for your daughter. Beyond that, it really rests on what you honestly want for your daughter.

An overnight camp experience has immeasurable benefits for a young girl. Much research affirms and documents the incredible outcomes of independence, confidence, and then an increased sense of self. So why would you potentially compromise that experience by sending her along with a friend?

From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that selfishly I didn’t even want to share my magical camp space with my friends. “They wouldn’t understand.” That’s what I thought. I even brought a friend, reluctantly, when I was a college sophomore. She was a counselor and while she loved Camp Alleghany for sure, I know that summer my experience was compromised because I was always a little bit held back wondering if she was having a good time, was she making friends, did she have a problem with me having my own friends?

Sending your daughter without family or friends provides the opportunity to test her own social skills and develop stronger ones. To establish who she wants and needs to be within a crowd of folks who share only some of her established priorities. Learning to live and love with others from diverse backgrounds, within the context of a place with shared values, and time-honored traditions is the safest place to spread your wings independently.

If you have a friend alongside you, or a relative, you can enjoy these things as well, but your experience will be colored by the context you bring with you. All of your camp experiences will be influenced and sometimes compromised by the emotion and history you bring with a friend. I, for one, began my camp experience at age 6, knowing no one. And through those years I have developed the most intense and longest-lasting relationships with women I had met for the first time at Alleghany. I have a strong relationship with them because I had to navigate the road between what I believed in, what they believed, and how we could compromise to accomplish a similar goal of living in harmony in the community at Alleghany.

Yes, can folks who know one another enjoy their time at Alleghany? Certainly. But is it in my daughter’s best interest to come alone, and be immersed in a novice experience with women of diverse backgrounds, who are embracing a common thread of tradition and heritage that is aligned with the Camp Alleghany experience? Absolutely! And this is why we sing:

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.