Not long ago, I was at a very small gathering of a handful of guidance counselors and three college reps, including the Dean of Admissions, and we got to talking about high school students and extracurricular activities. I broached the subject of summer camp, as I know that a lot of counselors advise students against writing about camp. But what I said to the reps that day – that there are great skills that come out of the camp experience, as they did for me, an only child – has now been supported by an article that appeared in the official blog of NACAC, the National Association of College Admission Counseling, of which I am a member.
One quote from Meredith Harper Bonham, Vice President for Student Affairs at Kenyon College, particularly resonated: “While we don’t track students who have participated in an overnight camp experience, I can comfortably speculate that those who have are more apt to apply the tools they learned there in resolving roommate conflicts, problem-solving in small groups, and learning to live with people from different backgrounds.”
I could not agree more. Sleeping in a bunk with 13 to 15 other girls certainly makes living with one or two “a piece of cake”! And sleeping in the bottom of a bunk bed – I am over 5’9″ tall – certainly prepared me for sleeping in a regular twin bed. I learned to share a bathroom riddled with moths with not only those girls but the girls in the bunk next door.
As the “hick” from Pennsylvania, I learned a lot about girls who grew up in New York City and its suburbs, whose lifestyles were different from mine. That experience went a long way to preparing me for college life.