6 Steps to Choosing a Summer Camp

When it comes to summer camps, there’s a lot more involved than just campfires, s’mores and sing-along songs. As a parent, you might already have come to the realization that picking the right summer camp for your child isn’t easy… it’s an important and time-consuming decision.

As leaders in the camp industry, we’ve simplified the process for busy parents by creating a 6 step process to choosing a summer camp:

1. Day or Sleepaway?
First things first, simplify your options. While there are hundreds of camps out there, you need to decide first and foremost whether you’ll be picking a day camp, an overnight camp or a combination of both for the summer. The most important part of this step is involving your child in the decision-making process. Some 7 year olds are ready for overnight camp, others are not; and parents need to be ready too. Session length is also a consideration when thinking of overnight camps as some offer 1 week sessions and others offer 2,3,4 and full-summer options.

2. Specialized Programming or General Fun?
Consider your child’s interests: what do they enjoy doing and what new activities would they like to try? Are you hoping for them to enjoy a wide range of experiences or do you want to opt for a specialty camp that focuses on a particular activity or set of skills? Nowadays camps offer all sorts of specialized options including horseback riding, circus and performing arts, sports, science and computer-based activities and more.

3. Philosophy and Mission: Does It Match Yours?
Now that you’ve narrowed it down some, it’s time to get to know the camp itself. What are you looking for in a camp? What should you be looking for? A sure-fire way to check whether a camp is the right fit is to consider your own parenting philosophy and whether the camp’s philosophy matches this: what is their view on competition, conflict resolution, flexibility and free-choice, are they affiliated with a religion etc. Another aspect to consider is the children that make up the camp’s community – would they all be from the same area or does the camp welcome children from out-of-state or other countries?

4. Consider the Costs
The general rule of thumb is that the earlier you sign up for camp, the cheaper it is. Some camps may offer financial aid or payment plans as well as sibling discounts or multiple week discounts. Check whether tuition is all-inclusive or if there are additional costs for transportation, specialized activities, out-of-camp trips etc.

5. Ask Questions:

All camps should have a helpful FAQ section on their website which will most likely provide answers to questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. The American Camp Association suggests parents ask questions relating to:

  • Accreditation and References: Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association and are they willing to provide previous camper families as references? What is their return rate for campers and staff?
  • Facilities and Food: How are campers bunked and what are the bathroom facilities like? How does the camp accommodate fussy eaters or food allergies?
  • Health & Wellness: How does the camp handle medical issues and manage camper medications? What about special needs? Are there health care professionals on-site and where is the closest medical facility? How is homesickness handled? What is the camp’s stance on behavior management?
  • Activities and Program Goals: How does the camp assign campers their activities – is it free-choice or do they receive a structured schedule as a group or individuals? Which is better for your child? How does the camp structure free time into a typical day?
  • Communication: How can you stay in touch with your child during camp? Does the camp allow electronics or is it technology-free?

6. Pay Them a Visit:
For a nervous camper (or parent!) there is nothing better than actually visiting the camp to ease any anxieties. Many camps have Open House Days during this time of year where first-time camper families are welcomed onto camp to meet staff, see the facilities and ask questions. Some camps also offer private tours just for you and your family. If you live too far away to visit, some camps may have camp videos or virtual camp tours on their websites which may be helpful.

Ready to start searching? Try the ACA’s Camp Search on www.campparents.org.

There’s a camp out there to suit every child, and when you consider the fact that over 14 million people attend camps annually in the United States alone, it becomes easy to recognize that there must be something special and beneficial about the experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about Camp Friendship, join us at our Open House on April 22nd.

Why the World Needs Summer Camp

With all the changes our world is going through, it’s important for youth development organizations such as summer camps to change with the times to continue serving young people and their families. The world needs the next generation to be more open to learning about each other’s views, beliefs, and cultures and summer camp is a special type of community where this can happen safely and easily. Summer camp is an opportunity for children to be exposed to the best of human character, where children practice being the best they can be and are encouraged by role models who have been carefully selected for just that purpose.

While there are many different types of camps and each one differs in terms of tradition and identity, they share the common goal of supporting and developing our youth. Summer camps add a spark of magic to a child’s summer: they are wholesome, inclusive environments purposefully designed to encourage self-expression and growth. At camp, campers always take that shot at a goal, comfortable in the knowledge that the people around them will cheer them on regardless of the result. Camp experiences stay with kids forever.

Sparked by the exciting adventures that childhood brings, Camp Friendship sets the benchmark for an exceptional summer experience with tried and true methods stemming from 50 years of experience. We are eager to be active partners in your child’s journey of wonder and self-discovery, and would be happy to tell you more about the benefits of camp in person, over the phone or via email. Our family-owned camp is available throughout the year for private camp tours – give us a call to set up an appointment and we’d be happy to show you around. See you this summer!

Give Your Child A Sense Of Success At Camp

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Coed overnight summer Camp has a lasting impact. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a sense of success and achievement. Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. Like school, family time and other youth activities, the overnight camp experience can be an integral part of each child’s life and your child’s success. So…have you registered for coed overnight summer camp yet?

You can also read what the campers are saying on the Camp Friendship website! Our testimonials page lets you read first hand, previous campers summer experiences at Camp Friendship. Find out about Camp Friendship and see if it is the right fit for your child. Make this the best summer yet for your kids, and for you!

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Contact us at 1-800-873-3223, 434-589-8950 or email Camp Director sarah@campfriendship.com if you have any questions.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for Choosing Camp Friendship.

Tips for Homesickness at Summer Camp

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Being away from home for the first time can be a scary experience for children. At overnight camp, it is often a child’s first time away from home and their family, which makes feeling homesick extremely common. Feeling homesick at summer camp near Maryland, is extremely common and inevitable. After over forty years in the overnight camp industry, we like to think we are the experts at dealing with homesickness here at Camp Friendship. So we have come up with a few tips to prevent your child from being homesick at overnight camp this summer!

  1. Positive Thinking- Parents, we know that you are just as nervous about overnight camp as your children are. But don’t let them see that! Speak positive about overnight camp and all the fun that they are going to have! Talk about all of the overnight summer camp activities they are going to learn and that they can show you once they come back in a few weeks. Whatever they do, don’t let your son or daughter see that you are stressed or upset about them leaving for overnight camp. Children will often pick up on these feeling and make leaving home even more difficult.
  2. Be Prepared- One of the best ways to get ready for overnight camp is to practice. Now how do you “practice” for overnight camp? Have your child spend a weekend away from home and from you. Ask a family member or a friend if they would make their own little overnight camp for the weekend and send your son or daughter there. Start off the experience by packing for overnight camp (for the weekend) together. Then once they are there, have them practice following a similar overnight camp schedule for the weekend.
  3. Tours- The best way to prepare your son or daughter for overnight camp is by touring the campgrounds. This will give your child a chance to get more comfortable and familiar with the layout. Allow them to explore the different overnight camp facilities and where they will be living.
  4. Staff- The number one source for any questions is the summer camp staff. Many of the staff members have dealt with children who have felt homesick or had trouble adjusting to overnight camp in the past. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to speak with them.

Hopefully these tips can help your child feel better about going away to overnight camp this summer. Just remember, after the initial first couple of days children usually adjust to being at overnight camp and have tons of fun!

If you’re interested in sending your son or daughter to the best summer camp near Maryland, contact Camp Friendship today at (434)-589-8950 for more information or to schedule a tour!

Make New Friends at Summer Camp

IMG_9640One of the highlights of summer for children is spending a few weeks at overnight camp! Here, they have endless hours of fun and adventure that they can’t have anywhere else. So what exactly is the best part about going to an summer camp near Pennsylvania? At Camp Friendship, we believe that it’s all the lifelong friends that campers will make!

When looking at overnight camps, a lot of parent’s main concern is whether or not their child will make friends. But rest assured, by the end of the first day, your child will have met a ton of new people, and likely met one of their new best friends! A lot of campers make new friends by finding other children that have similar interests. That makes our overnight camp activities the prime opportunity to make new friends. Children have to communicate and work with each other to achieve a common goal. By doing this, children aren’t just making new friends, they are also gaining social skills, boosting their self-esteem, and also gaining self-confidence, all while having a fun time! Our safe and supportive summer camp environment is the perfect place for children to discover who they truly are. Therefore, making friends that support them and have similar mindsets. School can be a stressful place, therefore finding time to make friends can often be hard. Allowing overnight camp is the perfect place to make new friends happen!

So are you ready to sign your son or daughter up for the best summer camp near Pennsylvania next summer?! Then call Camp Friendship to get more information or to schedule a tour today at (434)-589-8950.

Life Lessons at Overnight Camp

1426879986_tmp_confidenceEven though the summer just ended at Camp Friendship, we like to think that it is never too early to begin the overnight camp search for next year! When looking for the perfect overnight camp, you should select a camp where children learn, explore, and have fun every single day. And our overnight camp near Washington DC is one of the best places for children to learn about themselves and lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their life! Keep reading to find out about some of the life lessons that come along with sending your son or daughter to Camp Friendship next summer!

  1. One of the most obvious life skills that children learn when they attend overnight camp is how to be independent. Instead of always being with mom and dad, campers are now in a new environment where they have to take care of themselves. Our overnight camp staff is always there to help children and to keep them safe, but now children are completely in charge of themselves. They have to learn how to live by themselves and make their own decisions.
  2. When children participate in many of our overnight camp activities, they learn to socialize and work with others. With all of this new technology, children no longer learn the skills necessary to effectively communicate with others, face to face. Whether it is playing soccer or trying out the high ropes course, campers will learn how to work and communicate with others while at overnight camp.
  3. At Camp Friendship, we are really proud of the safe and supportive community that we have established. Overnight camp is less stressful and more comfortable than school is. This gives children the freedom to be themselves without the fear of judgment or failure.
  4. While having no cell phone service at overnight camp may seem like a nightmare, it actually benefits and creates a better experience for children. Overnight camp gives children a chance to reconnect with nature and the world around them by getting away from technology. Campers can go on an adventure, explore our overnight camp facilities, hang out with new friends, and spend their time more productively.

Are you looking for the best overnight camp near Washington DC for your son or daughter next summer? Look no further than Camp Friendship! Call us at (434)-589-8950 for more information or to schedule a tour of the campgrounds today.

Riding A Horse Can Be Good For Your Health

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of riding a horse, then consider this-
Aside from the immense enjoyment, riding a horse can be good for your health!
Riding a horse is good for you physically.
To keep fit: Riding allows you to spend some time outdoors in the fresh air. When you ride a horse, balance is developed. Coordination and motor function is improved. Muscles you didn’t know you had are being strengthened. Riding a horse improves your reflexes, increases joint mobility, increases blood flow and gives your cardiovascular system a boost. Calories are burned while riding a horse. When

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riding a horse you can experience improved visual perception of space and stimulation of your senses.

Riding a horse is good for you mentally.
To decompress: Being outdoors is good for your mind. Not far into your ride you’ll notice time will slow down a little while you have the chance to connect with nature. Making your way down the trail, you’ll feel more relaxed, gently easing away from the distractions and the stress of everyday living. A horse is a big and beautiful animal. It can be a quiet friend and companion while you take a break from your normal day to day routine.

To exercise your mind: Learning to ride is a challenge, but becomes easier and more fun over time. The most experienced rider can tell you riding a horse is a continual process of new learning opportunities. Continual learning exercises your mind, helps to keep you sharp, focused and feel young.
To build self esteem and confidence: Learning to control, and interact with such a large animal, can really boost your confidence. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you succeed in mastering various riding skills and techniques. When you progress in your riding skills enough to go a little faster, there is no comparable feeling to the exhilaration and sense of freedom of the wind through your hair, or hearing the sound of hoofs and the breathing of a horse while your heart races with delight. Getting to share in the camaraderie, of others who love horses and riding, is a great way to build lasting friendships and well…have fun and feel good about yourself!
Riding a horse is fun, and can benefit your child and/or you more than you can imagine. Camp Friendship offers horseback riding weekends for girls each year in the spring and fall. Riding weekends are a great experience for prospective campers, and a fun time for returning campers who just can’t wait for the next summer camp! Camp Friendship also offers mother/daughter horseback riding weekends. Call to find out more about our horseback riding opportunities. Please contact Skye, our Equestrian Director with any questions at (434) 589-3878 or stables@campfriendship.com. Riding a horse is not just fun. It can be good for your health!
Join us for our
FALL FAMILY FUN DAY
October 18th from 11 am – 2 pm
– – – – – – – –
Come to our
FALL CAMP WEEKEND
for ages 7-16
October 31st – November 2nd $200 per camper
Check out our Events page or call 1-800-873-3223 for more info.

What a Summer!

session8a92The past eight weeks have positively flown by, but there is no denying it- this is the last week of summer 2016. Although we are nearly done, there is still fun to be had this week at Camp Friendship.

Last Friday, everyone participated in our second Color Wars of the summer. The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows theme meant that the teams were the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone and Invisibility Cloak. The Elder Wand, captained by SV1’s Claude Kirton and JG’s Antonia Lanaras, wore green all day. Meanwhile, the Resurrection Stone team was led by JB’s David Ross and JG’s Amy Pedlow and favored white. The day included a surprise for me, as I was one of the captains of the Invisibility Cloak team along with JB’s Daniel Hajdar. Our team sported purple throughout the day.

session8a97The day was full of fun competition, even with on-and-off rain throughout the morning and early afternoon. In the morning, campers played dodgeball and volleyball, competed in lake events and worked on the songs, dances and floats for their teams. They earned more points for their teams during silent lunch, with groups of campers and counselors performing silent dances and skits to entertain the supervisors. In the afternoon, it was time for the House Cup relay race. The race ended at the edge of lower fields when the team captains built a fire to snap a rope suspended off the ground. Following the relay race, the teams met at their headquarters so that everyone could learn the songs and dances. After a break for dinner, it was time to head to the drama theater to show off the songs, dances and floats.

session8a98After performances in the theater, everyone headed to Campfire. After acts from various activities and campers, it was time for the big reveal. The captains were called down onstage and the supervisors revealed a Sorting Hat. The Sorting Hat announced that, after a day of fierce competition, the Invisibility Cloak team had won!

There is a lot more to look forward to this week. In addition to the production Beauty and the Beast being staged on Thursday, we have an Olympics-themed dance and the final closing Campfire of the summer coming up.

A Little Competition This Week at Summer Camp


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Competition is in the air here at Camp Friendship this week! Last night, Friendship FC squared up against Triple C in a good-natured soccer friendly at lower fields. Tomorrow, we will have our second Color Wars of the summer.

The soccer game was an enjoyable night for everyone! The counselors who played for the team ran out to the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” earning cheers from campers and other staff members. session8a95While the game raged on, campers enjoyed burgers and dogs and rooted for their counselors to defeat Triple C. Although in the end Friendship FC was unsuccessful, it was a competitive matchup. Sports supervisor and team captain Antony Shinks scored a goal for Friendship FC, heading it into the net off of a corner kick. At halftime, a music mashup was played and campers danced around, keeping the energy up for the team.

session8a98We may be done with the soccer game, but we certainly aren’t done with exciting events this week! Many of the counselors and campers have been very excited about last weekend’s release of the script of J.K. Rowling’s play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This excitement exploded earlier today, when the theme for tomorrow’s Color Wars was revealed. As everyone filed into the dining hall for breakfast this morning, they were surprised with Harry Potter themed decorations. Meanwhile, supervisors were dressed as witches and wizards, complete with their own wands.

Tonight’s 90s-themed dance is sure to hold more surprises about tomorrow. Stay tuned for more information about Color Wars and closing campfire in the next blog!

How to Pack for Summer Camp

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Can you believe that our first session at Camp Friendship is less than two weeks away?! Hopefully, you’ve begun or maybe even finished packing by now. But if not, don’t freak out! We completely understand that packing for summer camp can be a super stressful and frustrating experience, but don’t worry, we’ve all been there! And to help, we have come up with a few tips to help when it comes to packing for our coed summer camp in Virginia!

  1. Get a trunk. Look for a trunk that is guaranteed to last for a couple of future summers at camp. Many of our camper’s live out of the trunk all summer. There are also trunk organizers that you can purchase that make packing a lot easier. Try and personalize the trunk too with some stickers, paint, or vinyl to make it feel a little more “homey”.
  2. The worst part. Start packing. See if the camp has a summer camp packing list or parent packet that you can follow. Follow this list because it is everything that the camp believes your son or daughter will need to have the best summer camp experience.
  3. Labels are a MUST! Every single item no matter how small should be labeled. Many of our families recommend using a laundry marker or waterproof labels. By labeling everything, it helps reduce the risk of an unwanted trip to the lost and found on pick up day.
  4. What summer camp activities will your child be participating in? Find out if he or she needs to pack any kind of equipment or specific clothing.
  5. Medications. If your son or daughter will be required to medications at camp, speak with our Health Center. Our Health Center is one of our summer camp facilities that has certified and experienced health personnel who are there 24/7.
  6. Invest in a shower caddy or waterproof basket. This will ensure that your child will not forget anything when they go to the showers. We encourage good personal hygiene at camp and a shower caddy often helps with that.
  7. All liquids should be packed carefully in some kind of plastic or Ziploc bag. No one wants to have their socks soaked in shampoo.
  8. Feeling homesick at summer camp is completely natural. To help your son or daughter to fight these feelings, pack some reminders of home. A stuffed animal, blanket, or photographs are common items that children will associate with home.
  9. NO ELECTRONICS. Personal electronics that can connect to WiFi are restricted at camp. It takes away from the experience and children will likely be too busy having fun to look at their cell phone! We do however allow older iPods and MP3 players that don’t connect to WiFi to listen to music. But to protect your child’s possessions, we encourage you to keep valuable items at home.

If you’re looking for the best coed summer camp in Virginia, contact Camp Friendship at 434-589-8950 to schedule a tour or for more information today!