When I was 11, my mom sent me to sleep-away camp in Ottsville, Pa., and it was the worst time of my life. Being homesick and being shy (believe it or not) was a miserable experience — all I would do was cry and hope I’d get picked up to go home.
Growing up with a family where vacation wasn’t an option, and never doing outdoor activities, I just wasn’t prepared for the camp atmosphere, and my peers could vouch for it. The fondest memory that my then bunkmate and my now lifelong friend, Emily, will tell you is that when we went camping, I brought my sleeping bag in the plastic casing it came in — cardboard, tags and everything! How embarrassing, but I didn’t know better. When camp was over I vowed to never leave home again.
Then a few years later, when I was 16, an opportunity came up to go to Israel for six weeks with 90 other peers. My family pushed me to go because of the experience, so I hesitantly complied. Being away from home again taught me a lot, and that’s when I started to come out of my shell.
I learned that I had to rely on my new friends to help me through the day, because being so far from home with no way out was a pill I had to swallow. I had to rationalize to myself to make the best of it. Because I took the fear out of it, and allowed myself to see things as the glass half full, I wound up having a blast and couldn’t wait for the next summer when I would be a counselor-in-training (CIT) at the same sleep-away camp from childhood. It was that next summer when I re-connected with Emily, as we were both CITs at the same time.
Of course our lives are very different, and we live in two different parts of the state, so we rarely see or even speak to one another. But when we do it’s like we are the best of friends. We just have that bond. A few weeks ago we finally got the chance to chat on the phone and caught up with each other. It just made me think about how in life we have our friends that we just feel so comfortable with from when we were young, and we have ournew friends with bonds that we formed as adults.
But who are we closest too?
I asked some of my friends their opinions on this question and got the responses below.
“I have been very fortunate in my life to be blessed with both friends from childhood and adulthood. I have a core group of seven gals whom I have been friends with since we were five years old, and we are still as close as sisters even though we don’t see each other sometimes but once a year. And I have a group of friends that I have made in my adult life that truly are my sisters. I love them all in different ways but can count on them just the same.” — Sallye Lange-Hershman
“Friends are friends. Every friend has a reason and meaning for being in your life. Friends from childhood help build your character. Friends at work help build your professionalism. Acquaintances build your socialization skills. Family friends build your love. Special friends build your loyalty and integrity. When you combine all your friends, they are equal and remain close because in the end you have built from them the person in yourself to be proud of.” — Lisa Tilton
The bottom line is, it’s not only important to know who your friends are and to have caring and honest good friends, but it’s also important to be that person and friend for someone else, no matter where in life you meet. I’ll leave you with a quote from Douglas Pagels: “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”
Dishing out advice on various topics to our readers on issues related to networking, dating, employment, news, events, shopping and much more. She is the current president of the Greater Atlantic City Jaycees and owner of www.GoToWhitney.com.
As a freelance writer, Whitney's columns were published in multiple press outlets including: GoJaneNews.com The Atlantic City Weekly New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine & The Boardwalk Journal just to name a few.
She is the former host of the Entertainment Minute which aired on the NBC40 News and was featured twice on FOX's Chasing New Jersey.