Connecting with others to establish solid friendships is one of the most important objectives of an ALC experience. Generations of ALCers continue to share stories about the lifelong friends made on the shores of Alford Lake, and how they continue to affect one another’s lives years and years later. This winter, we took a look at the program for our 14 and 15 year olds (Senior Guides), knowing that it was important to be sure that this particular group had ample opportunities to connect with each other. In this day and age when teenagers are so often glued to phones, we talked often about one of the greatest benefits of a summer at ALC: being unplugged. Laughing with friends, talking face to face, and getting to really know each other are all part of why ALC is a safe place for girls to be themselves. And perhaps now more than ever, our teenage girls need to be able to do this.
On Friday, eighteen Senior Guides and their counselors set out for a special cookout dinner at nearby Beech Hill Preserve. The goal for the evening was to bring this group of new and returning campers together for some time to get to know each other better, to be outside in a beautiful location, to cook over a camp stove and share a meal together.
The campers sat and talked in a large circle and in small groups. They made bracelets. They braided each other's hair.
They wandered in the field and looked at the mountains and the ocean. They played frisbee. They worked together to prepare the meal.
All in all, a typical out-of-camp trip for ALCers. But this was different in one key way: Beech Hill was hosting an event with live music and many local families. Our ALC group stayed off to one side, not wanting to get in the way. But with 23 of us, we were noticed. At the end of the evening, a man who happens to be a trustee of a nearby camp, came over to compliment our group. What he noticed most was how unusual it is these days to see a group of girls this age without phones and how beautiful it was to see them laugh and play and enjoy a beautiful sunset together. They chatted, played games, ran around, and loved being together - they were focused on one another and living in the moment, and not a single person seemed to be missing her screen. The growing bonds of friendship were evident, and we are so excited to see them continue to develop in the weeks - and years - ahead.