Sleepaway camps are a great way to learn independence and meet new people.
For a lot of people the thought of going to a strange place where they don’t know anyone can be a bit nervewracking.
Luckily it’s easier than you would think to make new friends.
Use these ten easy tips to master the art of making friends at camp.
1. Don’t be Afraid to Say Hello
First impressions go a long way. If everyone remembers you as a friendly person they’ll be a lot more likely to want to befriend you.
Smile, laugh, and don’t wait for people to approach you first. Going up to someone you don’t know can be scary. Remember it’s probably just as scary for them.
Try not to wait for people to approach you without making an effort yourself.
Be the person who isn’t afraid to walk up to someone and start a conversation. You’ll make friends a lot more easily that way.
2. Be Genuine
The worst thing you can do is pretend to be something you’re not just to fit in. Keeping up a false face is exhausting. Always be yourself and find friends who like the same things you do.
Don’t be afraid to tell people what you like. Talk about books you like, movies you’ve seen, and the games you enjoy. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find someone else who enjoys the same kind of stuff.
Most people can pick up when someone is trying to be someone they aren’t really. Instead of seeming cool, you can upset people by convincing them you’re lying to them.
3. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Nothing makes someone feel special and liked, more than honest and interesting questions. Try not to ask them things that need a yes or no answer.
Introduce yourself first then ask them things like where they’re from, how old they are, and where they’re staying in camp. Usually, they’ll respond with the same questions for you.
This lets you start up a conversation easily and makes them feel like you’re actually interested in them. It’s a great way to find people who like the same kinds of things you do.
4. Be Open to New Things
Sleepaway camps are a great place to have new experiences. You can go for a hike, learn about programming or figure out how to fish. They’re also great to try out something new about your personality.
If you’re introverted at home you can start fresh and be as outgoing as you want. The same applies if you just want to curl up in the camp library with a good book.
If someone asks you to go to an activity with them, give it a try. You never know, you might find a new hobby or sport that you love.
5. Prepare Some Fun Activities
Playing games with new kids is a great way to break the ice. Card games, word games, there are all kinds of fun games you can bring along with you to sleepaway camps.
Playing a game with your bunkmates lets you learn more about everyone else while still having a lot of fun. You can teach them the rules and show them why it’s so much fun.
If you’ve got a cool skill like knitting or another craft, you can teach it to your new friends. People love to learn new things.
6. Don’t Go Alone
One of the best ways to have a friend at camp is to bring one with you. If you’ve got a good friend who’s interested in the same things you are, see if they can come along.
Just make sure having a friend with you doesn’t stop you from trying to make new friends. Include new people in your conversations and ask them to join you for activities or meals.
If you’re really shy or worried about meeting new people, act out introductions and conversations. Go through saying hello, asking them about themselves and setting up a meeting later.
This is a great way to get over your fear of conversation and rejection. You can practice how to approach people and how you want to respond to them.
This is especially useful for slipping in wildcards and weird comments. The roleplaying itself can be a fun game.
8. Ask People to do Things
If you’ve gotten to know someone a bit ask them to do something with you. You can go to the camp store, check out the lake or just hang out in your cabin.
Just the act of asking someone to hang out with you makes them feel like you see them as a friend. Before you know it, you’ll have lots of friends to do things with.
9. Check Out Several Sleepaway Camps
Try and pick out a camp you’re excited to go to. It’s a lot easier to make friends when you already have common ground to start from.
There are lots of different kinds of camps available these days. Some of the most popular are sports camps, STEM camps, drama camps or outdoors camps.
Finding a camp that’s the right length is also really important. If you’ve never been away from home before you probably shouldn’t start at a camp that lasts all summer long.
10. Don’t Stress Out
Talking to people you don’t know can be really stressful for a lot of kids. Make sure that you always remember to stay relaxed.
Stressing out about everything you do and say makes it harder to meet new people. Remember to be yourself and act like you normally do.
Even if someone doesn’t like you, there are plenty of other people you can meet and befriend. Make sure you always keep this in mind.
Remember, sleepaway camps are all about having fun and making memories. As long as you’re nice, genuine, and willing to try new things you’re sure to make lots of new friends.
Learn more about different summer camps, activities and the benefits of camp here.