When I was 8 years old, I started going to camp. At that time, I went to one owned by a family friend down the street from Ramaquois…little did I know at that time that my destiny was so close by
I stayed there for 2 years, then went to another competitor (that shall not be named) for 2 more. Not until I was 12 did I discover where I was meant to be all along.
I will never forget Preview Day 1993. It’s one memory that sticks out the most. I didn’t realize at the time, but at that time, I was one of the only people to join a group so “late in life.” I was going into 7th grade and only one other camper was starting with me (a friend to this day). We took a tour of camp with mostly 3 and 4 year olds, as that was THE age to start going to camp. ”Where have you been going for the past 8 years?” we’d get asked. ”Why are you just coming to Ramaquois now?”
Well, we really didn’t have an answer. Just that our lives went down a slightly different path. I was extremely overwhelmed by the fact that everyone was going to know each other and I was going to be the “new” girl. How would I meet new friends? Would everyone leave me out?
All I know is that I don’t think this thought ever crossed my mind again. First of all, it probably didn’t hurt to have Melissa Pestrich, Rama Royalty, as a counselor. She took me under her wing, let me wear her Binghamton sweatshirt, and I never looked back. Secondly, I made instant friends, who are dear friends to this day. I loved everything from my bus route to the lake to Jerry’s foghorn to Bonzo Ball to Song and Cheer, and anything in between. It felt like I was born to be in Varsity 2 that year. I felt like I had come home.
That was the beginning of history. I spent my formative years as a Ramaquois camper, and my entire adolescence and early adulthood as a counselor. My experiences there made me who I am today.
So this morning, as I put my 4.5 year old niece, Sienna, on the bus to Spring Lake (because Ramaquois doesn’t bus to Hoboken, ahem), all of the memories came rushing back. She is about to experience the best years of her life (and is lucky enough to start her journey just a few years earlier).
To sum up: there is NOTHING in the world like Ramaquois. The smell, the air, the energy, the passion, the memories. Timeless, ageless, and with me in some way, EVERY day. So thank you. And here’s to many more Rama memories to come!
Editor’s Note: Jamie was a longtime camper and counselor at Ramaquois. Her love for camp was evident every single day. Just as Melissa Pestrich made Jamie feel special, Jamie made countless campers feel that way during her time as a counselor. Jamie is now married with a son of her own, and we can’t wait to welcome him into the Ramaquois family one day!!
If you have a Ramaquois memory that you would like to share, please email email@example.com!