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Unexpected Friend
Photo: Iva Villi
I don’t know why I thought working at summer camp was going to be easy. I knew I had to do something to help pay my school tuition, and working at camp seemed like the simplest thing.

Anyway, my dad had made the arrangements and there I was. The worst of it was that I didn’t know anyone. Not a soul! Our family had recently moved across the country, so I’d been in a new school that year. But none of the new friends I had managed to make were working at camp.

To top off my dismal outlook was the fact that I was barely 17. Many of the teen campers were almost that old, and way taller than me. I felt like a little kid—lonely and unsure of myself.

I wanted to be pleasant and friendly with the other staff members, but they were mostly college students–older and more experienced at camp life. They seemed so confident, so relaxed…like they were really enjoying themselves.

Especially Stephany. She was a lifeguard…very tan and very blonde. She had a flashy, flirty smile and always seemed to be in the middle of everything fun (especially if it included boys!) She was boisterous, high-spirited, always laughing.

Faking It?

From the first day I didn’t like Stephany. All right, I definitely disliked her. Who was she trying to fool? No one could really be that exuberant and carefree. She had to be faking it.

As the summer progressed and changes were made in staffing responsibilities, I found myself assigned to the same cabin as Stephany. In fact, our bunks were right next to each other. “Oh great!” I thought. But Stephany seemed genuinely pleased with the new living arrangements To my surprise, went out of her way to be friendly and include me in all the activities.

I’m still not sure how it happened, but before the summer was over Stephany and I were best friends. She truly was a fun-loving, generous, sunny person. I had badly misjudged her, perhaps because of my own feelings of insecurity.

I’ve often thought of that summer and how a person I initially disliked ended up becoming a close friend in just a few weeks time. It reminds me to be open-minded about people and not to think I know why they act the way they do when I don’t really know them at all! Often just taking the time to be around someone and listen to him/her can give you a whole new perspective…and maybe even a new friend.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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