Hi! My name is Alex Konstantin. I’ve been a counselor at Congressional for the last ten years, and I was a Congo Camper for four years. There is something about the Congressional camp culture that keeps me coming back—friendship. Camp friends are different than normal friends. They aren’t with each other all year, which makes the time they share golden. Camp friends pick up right where they left off. As if they had been away for a long weekend, instead of an entire year. A school year older and wiser, camp friends spend a summer as carefree kids.
As a counselor, I love the first day of camp. On that exciting day, I get to see hundreds of old friends reunite after a school year apart. I also get to meet new faces, some of which are shy or nervous. I know how these kids feel because I’ve been in their shoes.
I still remember my first day as a camper. I was sitting by myself with no one to talk to, I didn’t know anybody. As I sat alone, my counselor approached and encouraged me to socialize with the other campers. His encouragement helped create a space where I felt comfortable to branch out and make new friends. While my counselors encouraged me socially, they also worked to provide a structured environment where I felt comfortable taking risks.
The space that my counselors created is what makes camp an ideal place for making new friends. At school, academics take priority over socialization. Camp, on the other hand, is focused on providing kids with the opportunity to socialize. Time at camp develops self-esteem, confidence, and laughter. As a counselor, nothing makes me feel happier than watching shy, bashful faces turn into faces that beam with confidence and smiles. That’s what camp is about — providing kids with an opportunity to socialize and creating an environment where they feel comfortable doing so.
Congo Camp is designed to maximize these opportunities. The consistency in groups creates a tight-knit community where campers become like family. A wide variety of activities (ropes, archery, horseback riding) enable campers to engage with each other in an exciting and relaxed atmosphere. Traditional camp events (camper/staff basketball game, Congo Conquest, Camp Olympics, lipsync) create memories that friends will share for a lifetime. Camp also gives kids the chance to make friends who go to different schools. Developing a social network outside of school creates further opportunity for growth and can provide kids with a clean slate. Congo Camp is the perfect place to make new friends and celebrate old ones.
I remember the last day of my first summer, too. My camp shirt was covered in goodbye messages, and I kept my dad waiting while my new friends and I exchanged phone numbers and farewells. That summer my confidence blossomed and I could not wait to come back. That was fourteen years ago and I haven’t missed a summer since. The friends I made that summer are no longer camp friends. They are friends who I’ll have for the rest of my life.
Are you ready for your child to meet their friends for life? Discover more about Congo Camp!