A Camp Friendship Family

mother and daughter having fun in arts and craftsHave you ever been sitting at home, wondering what you and your family should do for bonding time? You already watched a movie and went bowling, and you are getting pretty tired of playing the same board games. What if you could go to a place where you and your family can canoe, make arts and crafts, and go on mountain biking adventures? After a day full of awesome activities, you then could be apart of a family talent show or go to a family campfire! Well, at Camp Friendship, all of this is possible!

That’s right! CF’s Family Camp is here! Families come and choose what activities they would like to do together. Each activity offers exciting challenges and is a great learning experience. However, most importantly, families can take on these challenges together.father giving his child a shoulder ride According to the American Camp Associations website, families attend family camps as a way to get a vacation, use camp as a sort of therapy, or just for educating themselves. These families then nurture their relationships because they must work together in a different setting and in activities they aren’t used to. Families must work on communicating better with each other, which is another plus of family camp.

So why do our family campers decide to come to Camp Friendship? I decided to talk to some of our family campers to find out. Mary discusses how busy her and her family is during the year, so family camp is a way they get to spend time with each other. “The counselors are really welcoming and make things fun…fun for both kids and parents.” Mary discussed how she liked how within her family, they could choose their own activities, but could still see each other throughout the day. I also talked asked a CF first timer, Eliot, why he decided to come with his wife and two children. He discussed he wanted to find a place that offered activities for all age groups, where his children can also socialize with other children. Second timer, Julie, actually shared a story of how she met some great friends at the previous year’s family camp. She remembered how they both had sons that brother and sister having fun during high ropeswere the same age, and their sons instantly became friends. They then found out that they lived only five miles from each other, and have been friends ever since.

It is never too late to make new friends in life, and it is great when families can meet other families with the same interest! Camp Friendship loves our Family Camp, and we are so happy we have such great families to share the experience with us! So whether you come to socialize, get a vacation, have fun, or even all three…we will be ready for you!

What a fantastic Summer!

girls having fun at summer camp With our summer coming to an end, I wanted to ask our staff some of their fondest memories. We have had so many campers this summer who have made a difference in every one of our lives. I know we had many amazing experiences, and we hope our campers did as well. We love Camp Friendship, and we want to share some of our experiences with you! I asked several staff members a variety of questions about this summer. Here is what they said!

Describe your favorite campfire performance.

Camp Director, Cris’s favorite performance was senior camper, Kevin’s light show. Kevin wore white gloves with lights on the tips of the fingers as he showed off his talent of dancing. The crowd roared and he got a standing “O,” which is a CF applause for the best of the best performances. “It was original and fun! It was so good!” said Cris.

The juniors’ river dance performance was senior village counselor, Kelsha’s, favorite. “I thought it was just adorable and they gave it their all…it was really cute!”

Isabella, riding camp counselor, loved the Kung-Fu performance done by campers from our Chinese group. “That week was really big on diversity because we had so many Chinese campers. To see them show apart of their culture after we showed them so much of ours was a good gift.”

camper and counselor smiling  What was the craziest or funniest thing you saw a camper do or say this summer?

“We had a camper who decided to put honey mustard in his back pocket,” laughed senior counselor, Josh. “He sat down and it exploded everywhere. We told him he needed to shower, but he was completely apathetic about the whole thing.”

Junior girl counselor, Susan, smiled as she remembered when one camper said, “You’re 21? You’re as old as my dad!”

Junior girl counselor, Katie, remembered the night her goofy campers gave her a wedding. “One night, when I came into the cabin with my CIT, they flipped on the lights and my side of the cabin was TP’d with toilet paper. They started throwing toilet paper and confetti, and started singing the wedding song.” Katie then described seeing one of her campers holding a book, dressed like a priest. The “priest” said the vows while two other campers brought out ring pops. “I still have the ring pop,” Katie laughed.

What was the nicest thing you heard a camper say or do?camp counselor and camper having fun at camp

Senior counselor, Levi, recalled a homesick camper who she helped. “She gave me a letter and told me to open it after she was gone. She said I was the first counselor who showed her it was ok to be sad and show emotion and I completely turned her day around. She also said Camp Friendship is the first camp she has been to where counselors asked the campers what they want from the counselors.”

Riding camp counselor, Erin, remembered one camper who had been at Riding Camp for three weeks sent back bracelets for all of the counselors. “I got a warm, fuzzy feeling,” Erin smiled.

“I thought it was great when I saw one junior girl camper pick up a pile of cups by the lake,” said Junior boy CIT, Scott. “She took five minutes out of her day to do that.”

Junior girl counselor, Laura said, “In low ropes on the rock wall, there was a camper who kept struggling. One camper surprised me because in addition to physically spotting him, he was encouraging him and helped him out.”

After going down the slip and slide again with a camper, even though she had soap in her eyes, junior girl counselor Ashleigh said, “The camper told me I was a dedicated counselor…it was so cute!”

If you could say anything to one camper or campers in general, what would you camper and counselor having fun say?

 “The more blue juice you drink, the better camper you will be!” said Program Director, Niko. Our blue juice is definitely a friendship favorite at lunch and dinner.

CIT supervisor, Tom shares, “That it’s ok to be awkward and weird because every camp counselor is one of those people, and they are the best and most interesting people!”

“Weird is the new pretty!” said Monica, riding camp counselor.

 What is one thing campers have taught you or you learned from them?

Junior boys supervisor, Jon, said his campers taught him to “only worry about what’s important rather than silly, little things.”

“How important the small things are,” commented junior counselor, Ben. “Like they will see a sparkling rock and think it’s the coolest thing ever. They treat every little thing as a new adventure and they appreciate everything for what it is.”

Now, these are only a handful of memories we will take with us wherever we go. This summer was unforgettable for the Camp Friendship staff. It is amazing how much we learned from our campers and this experience. Camp Friendship is already excited for next summer, and we hope to see you there! In the mean time, check out our last video “What a Fire!” highlighting some of our great campfire performances!

It All Started with a Campfire!

staff lighting campfire at camp It’s Sunday afternoon, and Camp Friendship receives its new campers for the week. It is an exciting time for everyone! Campers get to meet their cabin mates and counselors, and they get to experience our international flag raising after dinner, welcoming those from countries all over the world! However, we save the best for last, which is our Opening Campfire!

Our Opening Campfire does include a campfire, but that’s not all! This is a time where each village gets to share skits and other performances with campers. It is sort of a “welcome to Camp Friendship.” Some performances allow campers to see that it’s ok to be silly and goofy. Others encourage campers to be confident and show off their talents. Then on Friday, it is our campers’ turn to perform during our Closing Campfire. Some performances are from dance, glee, and theatre activities of that week, while others were created by villages as a whole. This is the time when campers get to say goodbye to one another and share one last great experience, Camp Friendship style.camp counselors putting shaving cream on each other

Unfortunately, we had our last Opening Campfire this week. It was bittersweet because it was a last for the CF staff, but a first for the campers. Although summer is coming to a close, we put forth all our energy and love for CF in our Opening Campfire. We welcomed this last week of campers with a traditional favorite, smooth and creamy. Two junior boy counselors who are CF alumni put on a great performance. They call themselves Ben squared since they are both named Ben and they took turns putting shaving cream on each other while the audience sang the smooth and creamy song. Then we saw a show from our Senior Village that was a montage of their favorite performances throughout the summer. This gave campers who weren’t here a little taste of all the great memories CF Staff  and passed campers have experienced this summer.

campers dancing a camp song In fact, we have so many memories from Campfire and other parts of the summer that I decided there are just too many to fit into this article. This is why I will dedicate this Friday’s article to our Camp Friendship staff’s favorite memories. Although we have only one more closing campfire this summer, it will produce one great shared experience for campers and staff alike. To get in on this experience, stay tuned for this week’s video that highlights some great moments from campfires throughout this summer!

Water Adventure

Picture this. You are gliding over the water as it sprinkles your face, trying to cool you off boy skiing on a lakefrom the warm sun. You fly by land and beaches, as it passes by with a blur. You feel the wind as you push against it, yet you are not knocked down but maintain a confident position. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, that’s because Camp Friendship’s waterskiing clinic is amazing! Our awesome waterski counselors make this picture come to life for our campers.

Whether you have been doing water sports your whole life, or you are a first timer,

our waterskiing program offers an exciting water journey, whether it be waterskiing or wake-boarding. I went on a lesson this week to see our waterskiing counselors and adventurers in action. The group this week consisted of all water sports first timers. “I haven’t been waterskiing in my life,” said senior village camper, Tobias. “I want to see if it’s cool!” I asked Tobias how many tries he predicted it would take him to get up, out of the water. He guessed a 100! I had way more faith in Tobias and with such great counselors, I girl skiing on a lake at camp doubted he would be correct. For instance, counselor Liam showed off his skills in the water, zigzagging back and forth across the waves, and made it look easy as pie! Kirsty comes from a family of water-skiers, with her brother even being ranked 4th overall in the world! I was right to have faith in our counselors and Tobias considering it only took him one try.

In fact, it took all the campers only a few tries to get up out of the water. Whether they wake-boarded or waterskied, with the help and words of encouragement from Kirsty and Liam, the group did fabulous! First, the skiers used the boom bar, which is a training bar that comes out of the side of the boat. “It provides the opportunity to directly talk to skiers to help them,” said Kirsty. I witnessed this when one camper was having difficulty staying up and was instructed to straighten his arms and legs more. If he had been pulled behind the boat, he wouldn’t have been able to hear, so it was great to see this sort of interaction.

It was also fabulous to see the campers light up when they were able to stay out of the camper sleeping after a long day water for long periods of time. “Water skiing is not natural and its something you have to work for, “ said Kirsty. “When kids have been working all week and they finally get it, it gives you a real sense of accomplishment.” You can always tell just how hard these kids work all week at the end of the trip, which is Liam’s favorite part. “Driving home, the kids literally always fall asleep,” laughed Liam. “They are always exhausted and it’s adorable.” So, yep… I have deduced that waterskiing is legit! What else could you want after spending a warm summer’s day with friends, flying over the waves, and getting a nap afterwards? To see some footage from that day, check out our weekly video “Let’s Go H2O!”

What a Blast!

girl having fun in riflery classShooting is as easy as pointing and pulling the trigger at any target, right? Not exactly. At Camp Friendship, our campers are trained how to use guns properly and safely. Every one of our riflery instructors took intense riflery training courses to become NRA certified in riflery. They used 16 different rifles, learning about the different types and parts. They spent most of this time shooting and learning how to coach others to shoot in a safe, effective manner.

Not knowing much about riflery, I went to the Civilian Marksmanship Program website to better educate myself on the subject. I also I talked to our very own target supervisor, MJ Johnson to learn even more! Did you know that riflery is one of the safest youth sports? Since 2003, after the CMP implemented new safety standards, there have been no gun accidents in supervised shooting sports activities in the US. “Being educated on gun safety is so important,” says MJ about such standards.

It was obvious that MJ and the riflery staff have taught our campers proper gun safety when I witnessed one camper even correcting another camper about making sure to have the gun pointed down range at all times. Shooting also teaches discipline, responsibility, and self-control. MJ shared that to see those campers that have a difficult time staying focused actually pay attention to loading the gun and concentrating on their aim is rewarding for both instructor and camper.

With staff as well prepared as ours, they not only train our campers what they know about gun safety and how to use firearms properly, but they make each class a blast, pun intended! For instance, pop cans, clay pots, and other random items are strewn about the range to use as targets. In the past, one lucky class had even gotten to shoot watermelons! This week, paper targets were adorned with cowboys and other western folklore to support the western themed dance on Thursday. So if I have learned anything, it’s that riflery is pretty awesome and it is a rewarding experience for both camper and trainer. MJ summed it up best when she exclaimed, “It’s a magical moment when the kid who hasn’t been able to get the target finally gets it, and it just clicks!”

We love our CFFC!

Camp Friendship and Triple C in a group photoAs long as anyone can remember, the Camp Friendship Football Club has played against our friendly rivals, Triple C Camp. Each year, the CFFC prepares for an exciting game of football, or soccer as some call it. No matter what you call the game, it is always filled with intensity and suspense. This year was with no exception! The players gave the game everything they had, and the match was a sight to behold.

campers having fun watching a soccer gameSo what did our CFFC, composed of Camp Friendship staff, exactly do to get ready for the game? They trained, and trained, oh yeah; and trained! Twice, sometimes three times a week the team woke up bright and early at 6 a.m. to prepare for the game. Captain, Alex Lopes, shared that the team worked on both mechanic based drills and skill based drills. With each scrimmage, not only did they get into shape and became better prepared for the game, but Lopes explained the team built chemistry and had loads of fun. Considering our days go from dusk until dawn and are always packed with vigorous, awesome activities, it is obvious CFFC has a great amount of determination and fortitude.

Not only were they prepared to play well, but they came ready with this year’s CFFC uniform. Lopes created the shirts that helped us represent the team. Campers even painted their faces to match the shirts. With the campers cheering excitedly, the CFFC played their hearts out. With most of the game being a tie of 1 to 1, the suspense was unbearable. There were many close goals and the fans roared louder and louder as the game progressed. Then, Triple C made their last goal, winning the game.

Campers holding a sign for a soccer game Although we lost the game, we did not loose our spirit or pride and CF and players joined in on our famous “Friendship We Will Give” camp song. “I was impressed with how well we played,” said Lopes. “ I knew we had to give it our all and I think we did. We gave 110 percent.” The CFFC not only impressed Lopes, but made all of Camp Friendship proud. To see this CF pride and some great footage of the game, check out our latest video, “CFFC 2013: Most Awaited Game of The Summer!” All we can say about next year’s game is, we will be ready!