PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Summer Camp: Making Friends

What's the number one way to have an awesome time at camp? Making friends! A lot of the time this happens naturally, but sometimes you have to work at it a little. Here are some ideas:

Get to know your bunkmate

  • You and your bunkmate (the camper who sleeps in the bed above, below, or next to yours) will be spending a lot of time together, so make an effort to get to know him or her.

  • Be open, be nice, and be thoughtful.

  • Tell your bunkmate a little about yourself, and ask questions.

  • Try to find things that you have in common.

  • Remember: this works for all campers, not just your bunkmate!

Say "Hi"

  • This can be hard to do when you're shy, but simply saying "hello" and introducing yourself can be enough to start a friendship rolling.

  • Try your best to do this right from the first day, because if too many days go by, it can be harder to introduce yourself.

  • Remember: the other campers will be looking for friends too!

Rely on your counselor

  • Most camp counselors know that it can be hard for some kids, especially shy ones, to make friends right off the bat.

  • Counselors might organize special "let's get to know each other" games in the first few days so kids can break the ice.

  • Make sure you play these games, and let your counselor know if you have trouble getting to know other kids.

  • Talk to your counselors if you feel that other campers are shutting you out or acting mean to you.

Catch camp spirit

  • When you're at camp, try to get into the history and traditions of the place.

  • Be loyal to the camp, and enjoy all the special things -- like dances, races, camp songs, camp jokes -- that make your camp what it is.

  • This will help you bond to the other kids your age. After all, when people unite in a common spirit, they usually get along and become friends.

Sign up for lots of stuff

  • Get involved in all the cool games and activities that your camp has to offer.

  • The more you play and interact with other campers, the more chance you'll have of finding someone you really like, and who likes you.

Share!

  • If your family sends you a care package of food or other goodies, don't keep it all for yourself-spread it around a bit.

  • Don't let other kids take advantage of you, but don't be greedy with your things, either.

  • You should always be an individual, but part of what makes camp great is that it gives you a chance to be part of a group, too. Be good to the kids in your group, and they'll be good to you.

Be trustworthy and helpful

  • Don't just look out for yourself! Be the type of person other campers can trust and rely on to do the right thing.

Let others help you

  • Just as you want other campers to rely on you, you should rely on others once in awhile.

  • If you let someone help you out, the two of you might become friends because of it.
Let your personality shine
  • Are you funny? Outgoing? Smart? Good at art or sports? Your personality is what will help you make friends, so don't hide it.

  • Try to be confident and positive, but not bragging. Get enthusiastic! Get excited!
If you're going to camp with a friend...
  • Consider yourself lucky to be able to share the experience with someone you already know!

  • Don't let your friend keep you from becoming close to new people, too.

  • Be prepared if your relationship is a little different at camp than it is at home. Sometimes, being in a new environment can put pressure on a friendship. If you have problems, try to work them out like you would any other fight.

Of course, when you meet new people, you also meet new CRUSHES! You may be heading to camp with high hopes for a summer romance. If it happens, then great! But as hard as it can be, try not to let crush-related drama take over your life at camp. For more advice, check out our IML section on Crushes.

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