"Camp kids explain how their non-camp friends and their non-camp loved ones have no idea why camp is the most important thing in their lives."
"David Himmel is a college sophomore and a former camper who's now a counselor. He says all the best experiences of his life have been at camp or with camp people."
~ Descriptions of the first two sections of "Notes on Camp" by This American Life.
I am one of those non-camp friends. I love to camp, and get out to the woods as often as I can, but I have never been to "Camp!"
Most of my California friends met at camp - I have joined the group through one level of separation (Matt and I worked at a restaurant together). They love to tell stories about it, and it is clear that friendships were not only started there, but cemented there. Several of them continue to go back as counselors, and it sounds like they have as much, or even more fun as the campers.
I will probably never quite understand it, but a This American Life podcast I listened to today gave me one more glimpse behind the curtain. It is a good episode, and the first ten minutes in particular help us non-camp people understand the appeal of summer camp.