When a girl goes to school, chances are she interacts mostly with kids her own age. Both in class and out, her opportunities to make friends don’t reach very far from the other kids in her grade level. When coming to camp, however, a girl spends time with other girls both younger and older than she; pre-teens make friends with young girls, older teens become natural leaders for the younger girls, and so forth. Likewise, all of the campers really get to know the camp counselors, who are generally young women in college or recently graduated from college. And when you consider the senior camp staff, there is a huge age range of people at camp all living together as a community.
The social benefits of this multiage experience are significant. Not only is it more like the real world, but research has shown multiage settings help girls feel less pressure to be competitive with other girls, and this makes it much easier to make friends.
When you think about camp, this makes perfect sense because it really is a special place where teens don’t have to be the “best” to be liked. No matter what, you’ll make really good friends, even if they are a little older or younger.