Haley and Lindsey: Co-Counselors to Lifelong Best Friends

We love highlighting our alum’s stories, and that is especially fun when we get to share about the friendships that connect Greystone Girls for decades. Today’s Blog is a special one because we get to tell the story of a camp friendship that started as strangers and now connects two families for life.

Take it away, Haley and Lindsey!

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Hi! I’m Haley Messersmith (McGee) and Lindsey Mangum (Hall) is my best friend and the greatest gift Greystone could have ever given me.

We both came to Greystone for the first time summer of 2003 as counselors. We don’t even remember meeting during counselor orientation so when Laura Hollowell called our names out as co-counselors for June Camp we were both surprised. That night, we moved into Cabin 5 to prepare for our first campers. After a quick and awkward introduction we started working and talking, and talking, and talking. We talked well into the night and on into the early hours of the next morning. We quickly became close friends, sharing everything about our lives. By morning, any uncertainty we originally had, was gone and we were just full of excitement about the summer and our new friendship.

That summer, we were counselors for June Camp Cabin 5, a group of sweet middle schoolers that helped us get our feet wet as counselors, and then for the Main camp babies of Upper Tentalow 2. We worked wonderfully together, both bringing our own strengths that complimented the others and filled in the gaps when weaknesses emerged. Our friendship grew and we had the most amazing summer with our campers.

We kept in touch that school year and both decided to return to camp for the summer of 2004. We, of course, asked to be given the opportunity to continue as co-counselors and were thrilled when our request was granted. There was no awkward introduction that summer, we just jumped into the friendship, acting crazy, encouraging one another, and loving the great group of Bungalow girls to which we were assigned. There was rarely a time at camp that we could not be seen together. We understood the value of what we had and we savored every moment of our second summer at camp.

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Since leaving camp almost 20 years ago, we have kept in constant touch and our lives will truly never be the same.

We each graduated from college and I asked Lindsey to be the maid of honor in my wedding. While at my wedding, she met Tom who was a groomsman and best friend of my new husband, Micah. Tom and Lindsey hit it off and eventually got married with me crying like a baby at her side. Now, not only were we best friends but our husbands were best friends as well!

Through the years, the four of us have shared every stage of life. There have been many visits despite the fact that we have both lived in several different places and never in the same state! Visits as newlyweds turned into visits to meet babies, then vacations together, and now watching our kids grow up together. Despite our busy lives, jobs, and families, we do our best to get together for a weekend every 2 months and we talk at least once weekly.

There are so many things that make our friendship special. Serving as counselors together created a bond and shared experience that no one outside of the two of us will ever be able to fully understand. Like siblings, we grew, learned, struggled, laughed, succeeded and failed together that first summer. At nights, we would sit on the steps of UT2 and share our dreams and fears regarding our futures, we talked through our pasts, our struggles with friends and school, etc. We looked at scripture together and challenged each other to spend more time getting to know Jesus and to follow him more closely. There is a safety in the “camp bubble” that allows you to go deep fast with camp friends.

The second summer, we were able to lean into the gift we realized we had been given and just be joyful together. We were so silly and had so much fun! During the stage of life, when childhood was quickly fading and adulthood was swiftly approaching, we shared an innocent and sweet friendship and made so many precious memories. Away from our normal collegiate lives, nestled in the safety of the NC mountains at a truly magical place, we were able to build a deep and lasting friendship in just those two summers.

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As adults, this friendship has looked like walking through life together. Sharing heartache and joys through the stages of life. We have planned weddings, hosted baby showers, unpacked boxes in new homes and have traveled on tropical vacations. She is for sure the friend who knows me the best and who I am most likely to open up to about anything going on in my life. We aren’t afraid to ask each other hard questions or to challenge each other to look at situations differently. We share parenting tips, recipes, beauty products, and prayer requests. We get together each February to celebrate our birthdays and we do an Advent Bible study together each December.

Of course, it is also incredibly special that Lindsey met her husband at my wedding and that our husbands are best friends. The four of us have such a special and unique relationship. We are like family for sure and we often call ourselves “the Messergum family.”

The rarity and value of this relationship is not lost on us and we savor the times we are together. Being able to walk through life with each other along with our husbands who have each other has been such a unique gift.

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