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Written by Lady Kate in 2011 for a high school creative writing assignment.

I don’t have a sister. I have dozens. My mom, dad, and brother would probably be shocked to find this out and would wonder why they hadn’t been informed of the numerous additions to our family tree. I would kindly explain to them that they needn’t worry about funding skyrocketing grocery bills or hunting for a bigger home, because I only see my sisters for two months each year – and we’ve got other sources of shelter and supervision. My sisters aren’t exactly Webster’s idea of siblings. My sisters are camp sisters.

A camp sister is the most generous kind of sister. See, between camp sisters, stealing clothes is not frowned upon…it is expected. I’ve got toppling piles of proof in my closet; worn t-shirts advertising Hoosick Fall Youth Soccer, Medfield Community Teens, Wellesley Student Council, and the Burlington Tennis Club form an overwhelming majority over my measly supply of Madison, Connecticut garb. Not to mention the navy shorts with a fading “Cushman” handwritten across the elastic waistband, or the Notre Dame Soccer sweatshirt with the name “Risko” penned on the tag. My sisters pawn their hometown clothing in exchange for anything from someone else’s worn apparel to (in desperate times) a stick of gum or a hair-tie. Not your average example of generosity, but at camp, the little things are a big deal.

A camp sister is the most understanding kind of sister. Her support reaches far beyond your odd television preferences and over-the-top hygiene routines. She is a sanctuary of comfort and encouragement through divorces, college rejections, and deaths. When the world seems to be caving in around you, a camp sister extends her hand and pulls you out, whether she is by your side or a phone call away. She does not ask questions or offers opinions, unless of course, you request them, in which case her questions clear your head and hr opinions steer you straight. She holds your hands, wipes your tears, and lifts your spirits.

A camp sister is the most special kind of sister. If you want to tell her how she has changed your life, you’d better speak quickly because your list will grow faster than your mouth can move. When you hug her goodbye at the end of the summer, she will remind you though heaving sobs that you are her best friends in the world, that she will miss you more than you can imagine. And when you are struggling through your Calculus homeworld at 11 pm on a cold December night, she will call for no other reason than to tell you that she loves you. And suddenly, Calculus won’t seem to matter.

My sisters and I don’t share the blood ties of real siblings – we share something better. Sisterhood is not forced upon us. We choose kinship, and our family tree grows taller and stronger each day.

A camp sister is the best kind of sister.

Blog written by: Kate Gladstone

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