CBM Turns Siblings into Friends

Josh D’Agostino and his younger sister, Gaby Sussman, were close during their formative years, despite a five-year age difference. “When my sister and I were young we were the best of friends,” Josh explains. Gaby adds, “Josh was always protective and loving, and we had a good relationship; but I was a typical younger sibling, always wanting my brother’s attention, egging on fights, and trying to be cool around his friends.” Josh admits that as he got older this quibbling led to some distance between him and his little sister.

The siblings credit their intersecting summer at Camp Barney Medintz in 1996 as the catalyst for strengthening their bond; Gaby was one of 54 rising tenth- grade campers under the supervision of Josh and other counselors in the JIT unit. “I will always remember my JIT summer as one of the best of my life, and my brother was a part of that,” Gaby beams. “I got to see him more as an equal and less as an older sibling. It was amazing to be able to experience our love of camp together. It is a connection we will always cherish.”

Josh agrees, “We ended up having what we still call the ‘magic summer.’ I believe that shared experience was responsible for reconnecting me and my sister. It reminded me that my obligation to her was not just as a counselor, but, more importantly, as her brother. I realized how important she was to me, and I recognized the importance of being in her life.”

That summer at Camp Barney gave the siblings a foundation that would allow their closeness to endure. “After JIT we had friends in the same community,” Gaby explains. “We attended camp parties together and hung out more as friends than brother and sister. There was always something to talk about as we were constantly reminiscing about camp.”

“Since that summer we have been extremely close, which is quite different from our relationship in the preceding years,” Josh conveys. “In total, I spent only 10 months at Camp Barney, but its impact on my life has been immeasurable.”