A Day at Camp Friendship

Being at Camp Friendship is like being at an amusement park — the fun never stops! This week at Camp I saw campers everywhere having fun and getting into their activities. With such a wide range of activities at Camp, I never know what I’m going to find when I’m around Camp.

Yesterday morning began in the Arts & Crafts buildings, where I got to see some campers making unique and colorful projects to take home for their families. I also saw a camper wearing a fantastic pair of shorts she made with tie-dye in last weeks session of Camp.

After Arts & Crafts, I headed over to the Games Pavilion where a group of seniors were playing Life and Monopoly. Games give them a chance to relax, while still keeping them engaged in activities. Plus, I think everyone has a great time arguing over money in Monopoly!

It was on to the Archery range after the Games Pavilion, where some juniors were learning to shoot for the first time this week. After a comprehensive look at the rules of archery, which are extremely important, campers got their chance to shoot a bow! Archery has become increasingly more popular as The Hunger Games, a young-adult book series, has been popular. I love to see all the junior and senior girls down at archery working on their Katniss-inspired skills right along with the boys!

There are so many activities going on at Camp at one time that I can never get to all of them. Usually, I enjoy the ones I do get to go to a little too much and end up staying for fun!

Make sure to check out CampInTouch for a look at some photos from the week. Also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates on events at camp and updates throughout the year. Tune into our YouTube channel to view videos from the summer.

Summer Camp Arts & Crafts

This week I spent a lot of time in Arts and Crafts filming the video of the week. I got a chance to see all of the great activities that happen in Arts and Crafts, and even got to participate in a few activities myself.

Arts and Crafts houses five activities: drawing and painting, pottery wheel, pottery flat, arts and crafts, and friendship bracelet making. Each of the activities is unique in its own way, and offers a different way for campers to be creative.

Though a lot of Camp’s activities are more sports-centered, Arts and Crafts offers campers a creative outlet, and a chance to relax during the day. Kids can paint pictures in drawing and painting,throw pots in pottery wheel, build sculptures in pottery flat, create dreamcatchers in arts and crafts, and design friendship bracelets in friendship bracelet making. (If you read last week’s post, you can learn more about friendship bracelets!)

Camp Friendship Bracelets

Being at Camp is like being in a different world—we’re isolated and self-contained, but in the best ways. We give kids a chance to escape from their everyday life, and separate themselves from technology. Camp is a chance for them to develop new interests that don’t involve a screen and keyboard.

Since camp is such a unique entity from the rest of the world, we have a host of our own traditions. One of the most popular and sentimental traditions we have is that of making and giving friendship bracelets. Campers, counselors, and supervisors (basically everyone at camp) like to give and receive bracelets.

Bracelets are made by creating strands of knots repetitively. If you want to learn more, come take the class “Friendship Bracelet Making” at Camp! It’s a fun way for kids to get a chance to relax and bond with other campers while making bracelets.

We’ll continue to support this tradition that combines creativity and goodwill, and if you ever get a friendship bracelet from your child, know it’s a great thing!

Radio Disney At Camp Friendship!

Last night, Camp Friendship junior and riding campers had a great surprise—Radio Disney came to host a special party just for them! Radio Disney is a radio channel that plays music especially for kids. Campers got to participate in fun Disney-themed activities and games, and win great prizes!

The night started out with some great relay games to get kids excited and pumped for the night. Campers had to pass balls down a line, over and under, as quick as they could! Then, everyone on teams had to circle up and hold hands, then pass a hula-hoop around the circle. If the music stopped and the hula hoop was on you, you had to go to the center and show off your best moves! I was definitely impressed with everybody’s great dance skills.

Then, campers got practice their moves even more by learning a great new dance to the Disney “Song of the Summer.” Everyone learned the moves, including some of the counselors and supervisors (especially junior boys counselors). After this dance, there was a competition based on Willow Smith’s popular song featuring the lyrics, “I whip my hair back and forth.” Five campers were awarded prizes for their awesome and hair-raising skills.

Campers also got the privilege of coating their counselors in toilet paper! There was a mummy competition, in which campers had one minute to make their counselor into the best mummy they could. Mostly, everyone just liked putting toilet paper on their counselors.

The night was so much fun that no one wanted it to end! Some supervisors and counselors stayed and danced until the music was off, though the party had stopped long before. Everyone had a great time, and we can’t wait for Radio Disney to come back again!

Ropes Course Adventures

As the marketing intern, I get to try out a lot of Camp’s cool features so I know what they’re like. One of these things I got to try was the ever-intimidating ropes course! The ropes course offers campers a really unique experience that helps them conquer obstacles and build confidence—at least, that’s what it did for me!

I completed two of the obstacles at the course—“Pamper Pole” and “Stairway to Heaven”—with the support of camp staff during our staff training. At each of these, I was initially boosted with the help of friends, and then supported by everyone watching me climb. Similarly, when campers begin the obstacles, they physically leave the group to climb, but are encouraged every step of the way.

The course is not only physically challenging, but also mentally challenging. If campers even have a slight fear of heights (like me!), it is a little disconcerting to venture up into the ropes course. However, I learned, like campers, to trust my counselors supporting me and try my hardest to make it to the top. Though the climb was scary, the rewards and accomplishment we feel afterwards are exhilarating.

Some of the campers were so confident with their abilities at the ropes course that they took the challenge a step further. After climbing a course once, they added a blindfold for an extra dimension of difficulty. These climbers then had to rely on their group’s support and individual skills to reach the top. By taking away their sight, these campers reached a whole new kind of achievement.

Everyone who tries the ropes course, whether they reach the top or not, gains a new respect for group support and teamwork. I know I did, and campers I have spoken to feel the same.

Camp Friendship Dances

I love a lot of things about Camp Friendship: the lake, the sunshine, the activities, the campers! But, there is one thing that I really look forward to each week—the dance! I, like most girls, absolutely love the dances during the week. From the wacky themes and costumes to the fun music played, I’m always guaranteed to have an awesome time at the weekly dance.

The themes of the dances always set the mood for the dance. In past weeks we’ve our dances have been a Halloween Party, King Arthur’s Boogie Court, and the Western Hoedown. This week’s theme for the dance was Beach Party! Camp’s Art’s and Craft’s Supervisor and the program staff created beautiful beach-themed decorations,and campers dressed like they were ready for a luau! Counselors dressed up as giant bottles of sunscreen, characters from Cast Away (including Wilson), King Neptune, and a school of fish. As another joke, female Senior Village counselors and supervisors dressed up as some of their most well-known male campers, which made everybody laugh!

Everybody had a great time to dancing an singing along to Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Carly-Rae Jepson. Counselors performed choreographed dances throughout the night, and campers joined in for favorites like the “Cupid Shuffle.” No matter what, every camper and counselors dances at some point in the night, whether they plan on it or not.

One of the reasons camp dances are so fun is because it gives all the villages a chance to mingle and interact. Plus, who DOESN’T like dancing to “Call Me Maybe”? Not this intern!

Summer Camp Fire

Every camp involves (in one way or another) a quintessential summer experience — the campfire. You might imagine campers gathering around a roaring fire and singing “Kumbaya” while holding hands. That’s certainly what I pictured before coming to Camp. However, Camp Friendship has updated its campfire ceremony so it involves the best of old traditions and the creation of new ones.

Each week, Camp has both an opening and closing campfire. At opening campfire, counselors usually perform funny skits or songs. Campers usually haven’t had time to prepare anything since they have just arrived. To get everyone involved right at the start of campfire, we do something called the “Jigga.” The MC’s of campfire sing to a village, for example, Riding Camp:

Hey Riding Camp,
You’re all real cool cats
You’ve got a lotta this
And a lotta that
So don’t be afraid of the boogie man
Just stand up and jigga
As fast as you can!

To which campers reply, with corresponding dancing:

Jigga up, jigga jigga, jigga jigga
Jigga down, jigga jigga, jigga jigga
To the side, jigga jigga, jigga jigga
The other side, jigga jigga, jigga jigga

Then, for the rest of campfire, counselors, and sometimes even ambitious campers perform for the rest of camp. Usually these performances involve silly skits, like pretend synchronized swimming behind blue sleeping bags, more callback songs, or fun games that usually involves counselors getting water (or shaving cream!) poured on their heads (or down thier pants!).

Closing campfire is all about campers’ talents! Usually, classes from the week will perform things they have practiced through the week, like the Drama Workshop and Dance classes. Also, villages will have practiced something through the week to wow their fellow campers. No matter the performance, I’m always sure to be impressed by the many talents campers and counselors at Camp Friendship have to offer!

Summer Camp Color Wars – Holiday Edition!

Yesterday was our nation’s birthday, and to celebrate it in style, Camp Friendship held COLOR WARS! Red, white, and blue edition. Camp was divided into three teams for a day-long competition, complete with singing, dancing, float-making, land and water sports, and a cross-camp relay.

The day began with junior team members competing on land activities, and seniors in lake activities. Juniors boys played in a fierce dodgeball competition, and junior girls worked on the team’s float, song, and dance. Seniors competed in canoe relays, tube relays, and a splash competition. In the next round, the areas were switched, with juniors going to the lake to compete in more lake relays, and seniors moving to play volleyball, gaga ball, and dodgeball.

Lunch was perhaps the most fun challenge of the day for those running the games, because anyone on a team had to be completely SILENT during lunch. I’ve been in the dining hall a lot already at Camp, and I have never heard campers resist talking for so long. But hey, nobody wanted to lose points!

After lunch, all teams participated in a camp-wide relay, spanning from the lake all the way to the lower fields. Almost each team member was involved in the race, whether skipping, playing a hand of blackjack, or shooting a bulls-eye at archery. The relay culminated in the team captains building a fire large enough to burn through a rope.

Later that night, the teams participated in old-fashioned relays, like sack races, egg-and-spoon races, and three-legged races. They also presented their final songs, dances, and floats. Then teams separated back into their camp villages to watch fireworks. Camp Friendship’s founder, Chuck Ackenbom, even treated campers to a verse of “Taps” when the fireworks finished.

After fireworks finished, campers headed off to bed. But don’t you want to know who won? It was . . . (drumroll please) the RED team, led by their team captains Alex and Becky! Overall, Color Wars was a great way for campers to make new friends and join in a little America-themed competition.

Summer Camp Experience

As a child, I never went to a stay-over summer camp. I worried about not making friends, and being uncomfortable, and other things that seem daunting to a young child. My parents sent me to day camps, and other camps close to home, but I lacked the summer-camp experience. Now, as a recent college graduate, I get finally get to spend a summer at camp.

Already, I can tell this experience will be a lasting one. All the interactions I’ve had here, with campers and counselors, have shown me the unique world that is “summer camp.” There are songs, games, phrases, and secret societies that exist only in this world. Also, this world gives kids and staff alike a chance to feel free in a way that no other experience offers. Summer camp lets kids show off their inner goofball while surrounded by other goofballs.

Camp Friendship especially gives kids a way to explore themselves and their interests. Unlike specific clinics or camps that only allow kids to focus on a certain activity, Camp Friendship lets kids choose between extremely varied classes. Each Monday and Tuesday at lunchtime, campers are free to change their schedules for the week if they are not happy with one of their classes. This gives kids the structured freedom that leads to the discovery of interests they may have never suspected.

Spending time at camp has made me realize I definitely missed out as a child. Seeing the bonds that develop between campers shows me the lasting friendships I could have made, and lasting qualities I would have liked to develop. However, the summer has only just begun, so I know I have loads more to learn!