The first day of camp is essential. Get talking to as many people as possible and pay attention when you do. There are going to be so many names to learn as well as nationalities, and of course all the information about camp, so prime your brain to work like a sponge.
Concentrate on your bunkmates first
If you’re living in a bunk with counselors and the children too you’re going to need an excellent relationship with your co-counselors. Bunks are where the closest friendships are made, and also the closest enemies. My one tip for camp is, whatever happens, to try your hardest to get on with your bunk co-counselors.
If your bunk buddy isn’t much fun to start off, work out where the social area of camp is. Often there will be a staff room, or a smoking area or just an area away from camp where you can go and take five minutes to chill out. Hang out here and you’re sure to meet someone.
Don’t be shy
Everyone at camp is in the same situation and probably equally bewildered by the weirdness of arriving at a camp in America and not knowing anybody. Confidently introduce yourself and don’t hide away – sitting in bed with a book and your earphones on isn’t going to win you any friends. You’ll give off the wrong impression and look unapproachable, and more importantly miss out on the essential early friend-making opportunities.
The good thing about making friends at camp is that you always have so much in common to start a conversation.
Possible opening lines…
The usual chestnut, ‘Where are you from then?’ always works.
‘Which department are you in?’
‘Have you been to camp before?’
Keep the conversation going
Look out for signals: if they’ve got a particular football shirt on ask them about that. Or if they’ve got a nice camera, just ask if they’re big on photography. The conversation will quickly move on so it doesn’t matter what you say – just say something!
As other counselors see you chatting to someone it’s obvious you didn’t come with they’ll join in too. Before you know it you’ll have a whole crew to hang out with.
Remember, almost everyone is there by themselves so don’t feel intimidated. Even if you do get talking to someone who’s gone with a friend or has been before speaking to them you’ll get two, three, four for the price of one. Jackpot!
Learn when to leave it
Of course, one of the most important things about friendship is knowing when to move on. Know to take the drift and when it’s time to move on. You’ll be working very closely at camp and in such an intense situation tempers run high, so know when to give someone a break.
Whether you’re one of those people that walks into a room and within two minutes you’ve made friends, or you’re shy and need someone to approach you, you will definitely make friends at camp.