Wednesdays @ WeHaKee: The Business of Friendships
At the Heart of WeHaKee is Relationship. Yes, that is our tagline, but it is oh so much more! It really captures what a summer at WeHaKee is all about. The activities are fun, the food is pretty darn good, it’s a beautiful place to be for a few weeks, but it’s really about the friendships that are made each summer that makes WeHaKee the exceptional experience that it is!
Turns out that the intentional environment cultivated at WeHaKee where girls learn to develop strong, positive, lifelong friendships is remarkably beneficial for life as an adult! David Brooks, Op-Ed columnist with The New York Times would love to develop adult camps to do what WeHaKee has been doing for girls for over 90 years. He penned a recent article entitled There Are Social and Political Benefits to Having Friends where he explores the importance of friendship in our adult world.
Mr. Brooks points out that friendships are struggling in this country:
“In 1985, people tended to have about three really close friends, according to the General Social Survey. By 2004, according to research done at Duke University and the University of Arizona, they were reporting they had only two close confidants. The number of people who say they have no close confidants at all has tripled over that time.”
He fantasizes about bringing people together across class lines in a nuetral setting where they can engage in challenging activities in hopes of inspiring friendships by overcoming difficulties through selflessness and cooperation. Sounds a lot like a camp experience – well he thought so, too!
“I envision a string of adult camps or retreat centers (my oldest friendships were formed at summer camp, so I think in those terms). Groups of 20 or 30 would be brought together from all social and demographic groups, and secluded for two weeks. They’d prepare and clean up all their meals together, and eating the meals would go on for a while. In the morning, they would read about and discuss big topics. In the afternoons, they’d play sports, take hikes and build something complicated together.”
He underestimates the power of camp, though in stating “You couldn’t build a close friendship in that time, but you could plant the seeds for one.” Yes, we truly believe we are planting developmental seeds that we may not see bloom or germinate at camp, but at WeHaKee, we see innumerable close freindships built in that time consistently!
He does make me wonder, though if the camp experience could be replicated for adults. George Bernard Shaw stated the “Youth is wasted on the young.” But perhaps a summer camp experience where adults could try new things, have frequent opportunities to immerse themselves in free play, and meet new people from throughout the country and around the world they could benefit being young enhanced with the wisdom of experience. It does sound intriguing!
Well, we may not have adult camp yet at WeHaKee, but we do have WeHaKee Family Camp (where we let adults and even the guys in!). Just sayin’!
Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!