From Cabin Gad to UCLA

Hello camp!

Our names are Mollie and Scarlett, and we have just finished our first few months as roommates at UCLA. 

I’m sure you’re wondering: How did two people from opposite ends of the country (Scarlett from Michigan and Mollie from Lake Tahoe) come to share a three-person, closet-sized room in sunny California? And, most importantly, how did this historic friendship begin? To answer these questions, we take you back to a particularly dewy night at Camp Interlaken JCC in 2015. As our counselors closed the creaky door to Cabin Gad, Mollie decided she wanted to go out and dance in the rain. Scarlett, a lifelong dancer, went with her. We skipped around fireside, stopping under every skinny tree to shake the trunk and let the dew pour down from the leaves. The water drenched our clothes and we laughed until our stomachs hurt.

Ever since, we’ve been inseparable. Over the course of ten summers at camp, everyone came to know us as a duo – we walked around the mach covered in shaving cream, took maps from the office to act like tourists, and talked until late in the night. When Covid cancelled our 2020 summer plans, we moved our friendship from Eagle River to Facetime. Soon, our weekly calls became nightly. And after our Ozo summer, when college admissions time rolled around, we realized we both had the same dream school. We were both waitlisted, but eventually accepted on the same day. After sharing many summers together in a small cabin – as both campers and co-counselors – we knew we were destined to be roommates.

Packing up everything and moving to an unfamiliar place was scary. Coming from the Midwest, Scarlett missed the small kindnesses from strangers. And Mollie, from Lake Tahoe, was appalled by the constant sunshine. We spent the first few weeks of college wandering around, feeling out of place, and away from the comforts of home. But soon, we realized there were a few things that could keep us grounded. We had each other, we had camp memories, and we had camp traditions. Over the following months, we ziebened our way through frat parties, skipped around the dorm on birthdays, shook trees during the rare (but extremely heavy) California dew, and impressed our friends with our speedy clearing skills in the dining halls. 


We can’t wait to be back at camp this summer. We both know our campy story is winding down, but luckily, camp traditions are portable. As we packed our duffels full of clothes, toiletries, and In-n-Out gift cards, we also packed up all the camp magic from over a decade of summers. As roommates, we incorporate little bits of camp into our everyday lives, even though we’re away. In doing so, we’ve been able to make an unfamiliar place – hundreds of miles away from Eagle River – feel like home.

Mollie and Scarlett