Reflecting on the Sixteens of ’75

How deep and how lasting are camp friendships? Let me tell you my story.

By the early 1970s our particular camp group had already developed the strong bonds unique to the sense of community developed among young girls at summer camps. In 1975 we had one of the largest groups of 16s in (then) recent years. We hailed from cities across Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland. We returned to Alleghany as Junior Counselors (JCs), and as Alleghany’s subsequent “color groups” like “Tinges” (campers who came as JCs and then as Counselors), and “Maroons” (campers who didn’t do a JC summer and came back as Counselors) for many years thereafter.

We remained the largest group returning on staff (some for eight consecutive counseling years!).

The last time we were all together was in 1975 and we thus dubbed ourselves “The 16s of ’75.” Our theme song, popular at the time and befitting our diverse and lively crew, is “Some Kind of Wonderful!”

The 16s of ’75 have gotten together in small groups over the decades. We’ve been in/at each others’ weddings and funerals, and have met annually at camp as a group for reunions at Ghany’s LOL Alumni Weekend. We’ve also seen each other at Sandbridge, Virginia, in Greenbrier County, and will be in Kentucky together this fall.

Nothing will stop us from staying connected, not even a pandemic! Across the Covid year  we met for Happy Hour via Zoom like clockwork on the 16th of each month and laughed like we’d never been apart. On one Zoom we even included a member of the Green Team, Ryvers Wright, who was also an unofficial member of our group.

Such bonds are the cornerstone of relationships forged at Camp Alleghany for Girls. Campers always have the opportunity to meet girls from diverse walks of life who come together for 3-6 weeks of deep community and who grow into women who become lifelong friends. This summer we had eight members of our crew come back to camp to serve as Mini Camp Counselors! It was as though we’d never left Alleghany and our time together was as precious as those many years we served together on the “Pink Team” as counselors!

Never underestimate the incredible bond which camp develops and which will sustain you (or your campers) throughout life — deeply nourished by summers spent navigating adolescence while living in community at “the camp we all love best!”

Cheers to the 16s of ‘75 and our many years ahead! Cheers to all campers, all our ‘Ghany Girls!

— Beth-Anne (BA) Clark Thomas, Alumna and Mini Camp DirectorCamp Alleghany for Girls