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.

Why Camp Is a Multi-Year Experience

As active leaders in the camping industry, we know that Camp Gives Kids a World of Good. We’ve seen the studies and statistics and know that summer camp – regardless of which one you pick – can be a positive and impactful experience for any child. But is one time at summer camp enough?

We believe camp is a multi-year experience. Unlike many other long-running sleepaway camps on the east coast which offer 4 or 7 week options, Camp Friendship offers short 1 and 2-week sessions which can be combined to stay multiple weeks. We know that many first-time parents consider their first summer a ‘trial run’, and we also know how important it is for both campers and parents to feel ready for an overnight camp experience (even though at the end of the week, many first-time campers beg to be allowed to stay longer!).

Here’s 5 reasons we know that camp is best when experienced over multiple years:

1. Strengthen connections. Camp gives kids the chance to connect with others face-to-face. Campers stay friends with each other throughout the year and strengthen those existing connections at camp the following summer. Better yet, they continue to expand their circle of friends each year and, at Camp Friendship, they have the added benefit of being exposed to a global village with people who come from all over the world.

2. Practice emotional intelligence. As they get older, children need to practice the self-management of their emotions. Camp is the ideal setting to practice this as counselors serve as excellent yet subtle role models. Children expect to be told what to do and how to be by their parents… they don’t expect to be shaped by their counselors who can give them friendly advice from the vantage point of a friend who cares.

3. Guaranteed growth and progression. Not only is there the activity progression that follows the notion that ‘practice makes perfect’ in any sport or activity, but multiple years at camp offers social growth and development. It also allows campers to increase their independence from year to year. The first time at an overnight camp makes a big impact in the life of our campers, but each subsequent camp experience adds to and enhances the next.

4. Take a break from technology. We hear it every day – the ever-increasing impact of technology on humanity, and specifically children. Every year, as campers get older and become more dependent on technology, having a time set aside when they can be technology-free is a great way to help them become well-adjusted individuals.

5. Remove outside pressures that increase with age. Camp Friendship is a place to be YOU, allowing campers to join a welcoming community where they don’t need to pretend to be someone they’re not. Every aspect of camp creates a nurturing, inclusive environment where campers are encouraged to be themselves. Everyone is equal, everyone is supported, and everyone matters. The pressures from school, siblings and peers are removed, and, as parents, having these pressures removed for a period of time every year is especially appealing.

Tennis Summer Camp VA

If you are looking for a tennis summer camp in VA for you or your child, Camp Friendship offers a fantastic program, as well as great scenery.

Tennis Summer Camp VA

Our tennis summer camp in VA is supervised by tennis pro, Alina Ackenbom. A member of the Camp Friendship staff since 1997, she holds her Elite Tennis Professional Certification from United States Professional Tennis Association.

Originally from Russia, Alina has over 30 years of experience of playing and teaching tennis.

Our tennis clinics

  • Tennis Summer Club Programs
  • Summer Camp Tennis Clinics
  • Junior Team Tennis Leagues
  • Adult Cardio Tennis Classes

Along with its tennis summer program, we have a plethora of sports for kids to participate in at their summer camp in Virginia. Camp Friendship is a great place for your child to enjoy sports at camp in close proximity to VA. Camp Friendship is an overnight summer camp in VA for campers ages 7-16 and offers six different summer camp programs and unique activities such as tennis, a horseback riding program, color wars and a ropes course, to name a few. There are a wide variety of traditional summer camp activities such as soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts, camp fires, and more!

Come visit or request more information. Contact us call 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950.


Camp Friendship offers a summer tennis camp in Virginia. If you have any questions pertaining to summer camp, sleepaway camp, overnight camp, coed summer camp, horseback riding camp, residential camp, or tennis summer camp in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania, contact Camp Friendship at: 1 (800) 873-3223 or (434) 589-8950.

 

 

 

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.