7 Reasons Why Camp Friends Are The Best Friends

7 Reasons Why Camp Friends Are The Best Friends

Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold.
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The highlight of my summer, every single year since I was eight years old, has been going to 4-H camp. Now, at 21 and as a counselor and a staff member, I still feel the same way. One of the best parts of camp though? Without a doubt, the people. My camp friends are one of the driving reasons why I wanna keep coming back each and every year. Whether you're a camper or a counselor, here are just a handful of reasons why camp friends are the best kind of friends.

1. They don't judge you on anything

There's no room for judgment when you haven't had enough time or hot water for a real shower in three days or you're wearing an entire thrift store aisle in one outfit. Nope, no judgment.

2. You have enough inside jokes to last a lifetime

If a tree branch even so much as cracks out in the distance you'll hear every counselor (and some campers even) yell "WATCH OUT BLAKE!" and you really just shouldn't even ask. And there was the time Gwen Stefani came to Camp Ohio of course!

3. They understand your morning struggles

7:45 flags seem to roll around real fast every. single. time. But your camp friends will still love you despite the fact that you're falling back asleep or look like you're contemplating murder.

4. And they're willing to stay up late for you

This is probably why mornings are so rough but oh well. Whether it be as campers whispering back and forth in your bunks or as counselors on the cabin porch debriefing about a rough day, who cares what time it is? Gotta check in with your friends sometime and it can be hard during the day.

5. They're always happy to see you

Some of my closest friends I only see twice a year; at our staff training weekend and then at camp itself. When we finally get together you can bet on at least couple hugs (more like ten or twenty) and enough smiles to make my cheeks hurt in the best way possible.

6. They're your biggest cheerleader

Even outside of camp I can always count on my summer family to have my back and cheer me on. I always treasure every positive Facebook comment, reassuring text message or smiling picture sent my way.

7. No matter where life takes you, they'll always care

No matter how much we wished it didn't every year camp has to end at some point. And eventually, life leads us on a path that might not have camp on its radar anymore. But just because our time at camp ends, doesn't mean that the friendships ever will. Camp friends are best friends, and they're forever friends.

To each and everyone of my camp friends, thank you for impacting my life is more ways than I can ever count. I love and cherish you all dearly and I'll forever hold our memories at our favorite place on earth close to my heart. Wishing you all nothing but the best.

Cover Image Credit: Blake Fox - OLC 2015

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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To My First Best Friend Who I Lost Because I Was Foolish

We all make mistakes, but losing you was the one I wish I never made.

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When we met, we were young. Two twelve-year-old girls with little to no life experience, naive and waiting for the world to come at us with all that it had.

We bonded quickly over anything and everything (whatever that could have been at this age) and became inseparable soon enough. Hours spent talking on the phone about which PBS cartoon was the best or what kind of boys were our "type" strengthened our blooming friendship and, for once, I felt like I finally had someone I could call my best friend.

I told you everything. I told you about my family and why I don't talk to certain members, and you told me about your family and why you don't know certain members. We trusted each other with our deepest and darkest secrets, we found solace in each other when it got hard to speak and we comforted each other when memories triggered emotions that were beyond our capabilities to handle.

As the months passed by, you became a bigger part of my life little by little. I remember a time where I couldn't have pictured going a day without talking to each other, and it seems like a lifetime ago when we would wake up early in the morning and immediately get on the phone after going to sleep late the night before.

I never wanted to believe that friendships don't last forever, despite what I had always heard. I wanted us to be different; I wanted us to be the exception that everyone could look at and say, "those are real best friends."

But I never took into consideration that sometimes, friendships don't last because one of the parties f**** it up.

We could talk in circles about what happened between us (we probably have) and we'd still end up at the same conclusion: It was me. And, at the end of the day, I think I always knew that I was the detrimental factor in our ultimate demise.

I did what every girl swears they will never do, what every girl says is the absolute worst thing to do: I chose my boyfriend over our friendship, and it's my biggest regret.

It's not that I meant to. I never thought I would even be capable of choosing anyone over you. We were unstoppable and I always believed I could never find anyone to be more important in my life than you, my best friend.

But, when you're "young and in love" (or blinded by what you think is love) you make stupid decisions without thinking of the consequences that will surely come.

I can't remember exactly what the situation was, or maybe I can and I just don't see a point in hashing it out for the millionth time because it only reminds me of what I wish I could change. Regardless, I don't think the details matter when the end result is what changed our lives forever.

The truth is, I don't really know how your life was after the fact. I know that I had a relationship that I dreaded, friends that I probably took for granted, and family that I didn't thank enough. But I never asked what got you through my absence, if my absence hurt as much to you as it did to me, or when you realized that you didn't need me anymore as much as you thought you did.

Maybe I didn't need to know, and maybe I still don't, it's just interesting to see how self-centered I was.

I've grown up a lot since then. I've dealt with some of the hardest things I would never wish upon anyone, I've come to see who I am and who I'm meant to be, and I've acknowledged and accepted my faults and mistakes a thousand times over.

I know I apologized to you more times than you can count, but I know that I'll never be able to say sorry enough. You were my better half, my lifeline, my best friend, and I kick myself every day for throwing it away like it meant nothing when it was everything.

We've moved past it together as much as we can, and we're now able to look back and chalk it up to "silly teenage girl things," but it doesn't mean that it can be erased. Our friendship exists now, but I can't help but wonder what it could have been if nothing would have happened.

2007 is a long time ago, twelve years since we met to be exact. We're both going to be twenty-four this year (you already are, I still have a month to go) and it would have been a friendship for the record books if we had made it this far.

Maybe our weddings would have been planned together. Maybe we would have been each other's maids of honor, and maybe we would have each planned kickass bachelorette parties that would never have been forgotten.

I know I don't want to have kids, but maybe in another world we could have been pregnant at the same time. Our kids could have been born with a best friend already chosen, one that would love and support them the same way that we would have done for each other. And though a lot of kids hate being thrown into friendships with their parents' kids, maybe ours would have been the exception.

I don't know what would have been, and I could go on forever with the "maybes" and the "what ifs" but it doesn't change the fact that they're all simply wishes and dreams, those that were lost the moment I turned my back on a friendship that was always there when I needed it.

You and me, we've found our homes in new people. We've formed bonds, made connections and surrounded ourselves with those who love us, and I think that's great and it's how it should be.

Still, I wish we could be for each other what we once were, what we should have been.

I made mistakes and I walked away from a friendship that was everything I needed it to be, and there's not a day that goes by in which I don't regret it.

And even though life goes on and we had to find a way to go along with it, I wouldn't mind going back and choosing differently. Because I know now that friendships as important and as pure as the one we had should always come first.

Always.

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