The Week So Far… Session 2A!

Our second week of camp is off to a great start with plenty of memories already made and new friends around every corner!

On Sunday evening we had our first flag raising ceremony where we recognized how far everyone has traveled to get to their summer home away from home. This week we have campers visiting from Palestine, China, France, Mexico and Mongolia, not to mention our staff members from Puerto Rico, Scotland, England, Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Venezuela… the list goes on!

Every week there are new accents and cultures at camp and this helps us to achieve our mission of being a place where children can gather in peace… it really is a unique setting and something we are very proud of here at Camp Friendship!

Sunday night’s Opening Campfire gave our new campers their first glance at just how much fun camp can be: our counselors taught them songs, performed funny skits and had everyone joining in with the camp classic, the Jigga.

On Monday morning our Traditional Camp campers got to sample their first 3 activities while our Equestrian Camp campers got a chance to ride their horses for the first time. Later on in the day everyone took the chance to cool down in the pool and lake during Free Swim. There were more new activities to try on Monday afternoon and Monday’s evening activity offered a chance for village bonding during Cookout. There were even a few impromptu games of Chip Cup, frisbee, volleyball and Gaga Ball that broke out, so everyone had a great time. Our first full day of camp ended as all good camp days should – around a fire with s’mores!

Tuesday was a total splash for our senior campers who took to the mountain boarding hill for slip ‘n slide. We saw some interesting techniques and some pretty funny faces, because slip ‘n slide is always a ton of fun. Junior campers enjoyed one of the craziest evening activities there is: Powder Fairies, where they work as a team against the powder-swinging fairies who are out to interfere with their mission and get them stuck in one spot!

During tonight’s evening activities it’ll be time to cheer on our teams as we take to the gym for Mock Olympics. Our senior campers will go head to head on the sports fields for an epic game of Tri Cone Ultra, a unique CF activity that gets even more intense than Capture the Flag!

Stay tuned for more news and be sure to follow our social media accounts for the latest updates! For more pictures, login to your CampInTouch account!

The Week That Was… Session 1A!

Blink and you’ll miss it – we can’t believe that Week 1 of camp is already over! Although for many of our campers it went by far too quickly, we managed to squeeze in as much fun as possible, and here’s how:

We kicked off the week by welcoming our campers and staff from all over the world with our International Flag ceremony, before checking out some awesome acts at campfire. We learnt some new songs (one of which is a new favorite ‘Funky Chicken’) and witnessed some of CF’s finest campfire classics such as the Airplane Skit aka Chicken or Beef.

Excitement was in the air on Monday morning as we got ready for our first full day of activities! As always, there’s never a dull moment at camp and things got a little wet in the afternoon but as we say at camp… there’s no such thing as rain, there’s only liquid sunshine! We spent the time in our cozy cabins getting to know our cabin mates and playing games like dodgeball, shadow puppets, spoons and cards. Our dance pavilion transformed into a movie theater for our seniors which just goes to show that rain can never get us down here at camp!

On Tuesday evening it was time for Senior Villagers and Riding Campers to go head to head in an epic battle of Capture the Flag. The intensity was kicked up a gear when the campers took on the counselors…and won! The Juniors competed in a new evening activity called Get To Know Your Counselor where they had to guess all sorts of silly facts about their cool and crazy counselors with all their fun accents.

With the sun shining brightly on Wednesday we did some serious splashing with Slip ‘n Slide and a Pool Party and of course plenty break out dances when counselors were asked to ‘Show me how you get down!’

During our Thursday daily activities we started to put the skills we learned into practice in games and matches and then it was time to dress up for the big dance! We had berets, boots, flags, feathers and more as we all took to the gym floor for the Around the World boogie!

The final campfire on Friday is always bittersweet as it brings the week to a close, however there was much to celebrate with some campers receiving their 5 Year Pins for being loyal CF campers since 2013! We had some fantastic performances from groups and individuals including drama, dance, glee and more. Be sure to check out the Week 1 Wrap Up to see more, but it’s safe to say we had some really talented people here at camp this week!

We’ve been working hard to make 2017 our #bestsummerever, and so far it seems we’ve done a good job: a whopping number of Early Birders have jumped at the chance to sign up for next year! We can’t wait to see what Week 2 will bring… watch this space!

Writing Letters to your Camper: Tips Every Parent Should Read!

We know how hard it can be to send your child away to camp for weeks at a time and not be able to call or message them as often as you’d like. Although Camp Friendship is a technology-free camp, we also highly value communication and try to help you stay in touch with your camper as often as possible. We have our special e-letter system in place for just this reason, and we even set aside time during each busy camp day for campers to write home.

Some parents like to pre-write a number of letters to be delivered during their child’s stay at camp. If you’d like to do this, please date each letter and mail them ahead of time or drop them with us on Check-In Day. For ideas, check out 5 Letters to Write to Your Kids and our 5 tips below:

  1. Keep your letters upbeat. It’s important for campers to receive encouraging letters focused on the positive experience of camp rather than what they may be missing out on at home.
  2. Ask lots of specific questions. What is your favorite activity so far and why? What do you do in the evenings? What countries are your counselors from and have you learned anything new about that country?
  3. Give them updates about things that interest them. If their favorite sports team has played recently, give them the scores and updates, or if they’re interested in a particular celebrity, TV show or competition you could update them on these too. Not only does this show your camper that you value what interests them, but it will help them to feel connected to something familiar without bringing about homesickness.
  4. Send campers your love, not your anxiety. Try not to constantly talk about how much you miss them – rather express how much you care and how you can’t wait to hear all about the fun they’ve had at camp.
  5. Get creative and fun! Unique letters from a pet, secret coded letters or puzzle-type letters that need to be solved are always a hit here at camp! You’ll find some great ideas here  and also here.

What to do if your child gets homesick:

Research shows that around 90% of campers will experience some level of homesickness at least once during the summer. Please know that homesickness is definitely the norm rather than the exception, and let your child know that it’s completely OK to miss home and the things that are familiar to them.

At Camp Friendship, our staff are well-trained to deal with all levels of homesickness and with this being our 51st summer we have a good idea of what works to encourage campers to make the most of their camp experience. Our goal is for every camper to have a successful summer where they gain independence, increase their self-confidence and form connections with others. Parents can help by preparing themselves and their camper for the summer in a way that might prevent homesickness. Read more here.

Tips for what to say in a letter to a homesick camper: 

  • Empathize with them, but let them know that you’re proud of them for taking the big step to come to camp.
  • Reassure them that it’s OK to miss home, everyone does at some point, and being in a new environment can make anyone anxious.
  • Relate to them. You could share personal experiences of a time when you yourself felt homesick or if your camper has an older sibling or family member that successfully overcame homesickness you could share what helped them.
  • Focus on the positive. By the time you receive a homesick letter, your camper is likely to have bounced back and started to enjoy themselves again, so it’s important that your letter doesn’t hinder any progress they may already have made. Concentrating your letter on any exciting news your camper has already shared is a sure-fire way to remind them that camp is a fantastic experience.
  • Make them smile. Write them a few jokes or other creative letters to make them smile if they happen to experience another moment or two where they miss home.
  • Don’t suggest they quit. One of the hardest things for parents not to say is ‘if you don’t like it you can just come home’. While many parents think this will reassure their child, it often does much more harm than good. Of course in severe cases of homesickness this is a decision you would come to over multiple talks and updates from your camper’s Village Supervisor or a Camp Director, however sending your child to camp with the knowledge that they can pull the plug at any time can set them up to have an unsuccessful summer.

Please know that while homesickness is common at all sleepaway camps and across all ages, it doesn’t last long. We’ve had years of supporting our campers through their initial adjustment periods and we know that your brilliantly written letters will help to put a smile on their faces when they need it the most! We believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and we look forward to being an active partner in your child’s journey of wonder and self-discovery.