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Session 8A- May the CF force be with you!

Sunday
A long time ago, in a camp not so far far away… we began the epic week that we know as 8A! After check-in, all of our new campers met their counselors and cabin mates and settled straight into camp life. We had dinner, international flag raising and then headed to opening campfire where we saw the long-awaited comeback of the act ‘YES!’ performed by 12-year CF returner Ben and Junior Boys superstar Jay! Some stayover campers also took to the stage and we had a brilliant ukulele rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on a Hill’.

Monday
And they’re off! Our campers have begun their first day of activities and we can see a lot of smiling faces. We had beautiful weather which made free swim very popular and the ice creams from snack bar went down a treat! Thankfully the sunshine stuck around and made our evening cookouts that much more enjoyable, especially for Riding Camp who partied at the lake and our senior villages who chilled at the pool.

Tuesday
Today our campers get to continue with their activities; mountain boarders get to ride the bigger hill; mountain bikers can head out on the more difficult trails and archers get a full hour of shooting. In the evening, our juniors got to run around playing chip cup (a tactical water fight!) and the seniors got to dive down Slip N Slide! Be sure to check out the photos on your CampMinder accounts!

Wednesday
Mid-week at camp and it started with glorious sunshine! We managed to get all of our five activities in before the rain (more commonly known as liquid sunshine at camp) started to fall. This meant our senior campers’ evening activity changed to a hilarious quiz night and juniors getting to play in an awesome dodgeball tournament.

Thursday
By Thursday all of our campers are showing how good they’re getting at their activities; archers hitting bullseyes, fencers perfecting their technique and tennis pros playing some pretty tense matches! Everyone was looking forward to the evening activity- the dance! The theme was ‘The Greatest Show at Camp Friendship’, all things circus! The campers were given colored wristbands to gain entry to the big top; mid way through the dance however, something strange happened… Luke Skywalker appeared! Then Leia, then Darth Vader and even R2D2! Random characters appearing and acting out a dramatic storyline? It can only mean one thing… COLOR WARS! The campers looked down at their wristbands and found out which team they were on! It’s safe to say it was difficult to go to sleep after all that excitement and knowing that tomorrow was going to be the ultimate day at camp!

Friday
Rebels, the Empire and Droids… Star Wars is our Color Wars theme this week and wow did our captains find the force! The lake events were awesome, with watermelon relays, sinking some canoes and some of the best interpretative dives ever created at Camp Friendship! Favorite moments included Luke finding out who his father was and falling off of the high dive in shock! What we love about Color Wars day is that sportsmanship also earns you the same amount of points as actually ‘winning’, so the chants and cheers are heard all over camp! After a much needed rest during village time, it’s on to the S tar Wars relay. We start at the lake and end up at the lower fields for the incredible rope-burning fires, everyone participates and it’s pretty epic! The last stage of the day is at the drama theater for the team songs, dances and floats. This is where our campers can get creative- black team’s dance to a Star Wars remix was absolutely phenomenal! 

As if all that isn’t enough for one day, we then moved to our closing campfire. This is where we discovered the winner of Color Wars 2018… Droids, yellow team! What a day and what a way to finish session 8A. Campers: in the words of Yoda… amazing, you were.

Session 7A- Sunshine, Soccer and so much S’more!

Sunday
The gates are open, and in come our campers for week seven! It’s a great week to be at Camp Friendship: we have our annual soccer game with Triple C as well as our second horse show of the summer. As always, we had our opening campfire on Sunday evening with some very funny acts from counselors and stayover campers. Junior boys created a skit called ‘The Interview’ which had everyone in fits of laughter!

Monday
Rise and shine campers! With over 35 activities on camp, our campers get to learn many different skills and try loads of new things. After a full day of free swim, snack bar, cabin time and five activity periods, you would think we’d be done for the night… not so! Our evening activities began – juniors had loads of fun with Slip N Slide and our seniors played Capture the Flag!

Tuesday
Soccer shirts, chants and banners at the ready! The 2018 Camp Friendship VS Triple C soccer match has arrived! Arts and crafts is busy today creating signs and flags for the game, our kitchen staff are preparing an all-camp cookout down at the lower fields and our soccer and dance teams are starting to get just a little bit nervous! Our day ran as normal up until 5:45pm, when we moved to the soccer field for the event everyone had been waiting for.

After eating our hotdogs and burgers, we welcomed Triple C onto camp and got settled ready to watch the match unfold. Both teams were phenomenal; the game had to go to extra time and then penalties! Right at the end, Triple C managed to score the last penalty and won the game. Our team were amazing, as well as our fierce dance team who performed the half-time routine!

Overall, a great evening was had by all and our campers are the best supporters in the world!

Wednesday
After all the excitement yesterday, we had some sleepy campers this morning! It was fluffy waffles and bacon for breakfast (there are definitely worse ways to start a day) and then off to Day three of activities. Everyone enjoyed resting up during cabin time and junior girls prepared decorations for this evening’s dance: ‘Glitter and Glow!’ Neon glow sticks, glitter face paint, even a handmade disco ball, Camp Friendship campers sure know how to light up a dancefloor!

Thursday
Today our campers continued learning in their five activities, as well as spending more time with their newly-found friends during village time and free swim. The juniors got to dress up their counselors in ‘CF’s next top counselor’ using trash bags and imagination! Seniors moved to the gym and played Noodle Hockey variations, the hungry hippo round was a favorite!

Friday
Friday always brings mixed feelings to camp, we have loads to look forward to; our last full day of activities; finishing up projects we’ve been working on for the whole week and of course closing campfire. However, tomorrow means it’s time to go home and that can be bittersweet. Camp fire was certainly a great way to end week 7, we had glee perform ‘Titanium’, dance and drama showed us their amazing skills and lots of campers were getting up on stage to make us laugh out loud. It’s crazy how much we’ve squeezed into one week, hopefully we’ll see everyone next year for summer 2019!

Session 5A: Virginia My Second Home

Sunday

Today we met all of our new campers for Session 5A, which means we’re already over half way through our summer season! Time is really flying, but this week showed just how special and lasting a mere six days at Camp Friendship can be. Campers that meet on Sunday go home with new best friends on Saturday, with newly-discovered skills and maybe even a new love for a life away from technology… maybe!

We started off the way we always do with our opening campfire; highlights included the Junior Boys’ ‘Magical Frisbee of Camp Friendship’ and the original song written by some of our previous counselors, ‘Virginia My Second Home’.

Monday

We raised the American flag on Monday morning and then began a full day of activities. We have our newly added ‘Land Sports Ultra!’ running this week- campers get to try lacrosse, rugby, ultimate frisbee, gaga ball and many more sports all throughout the week. In the evening, each village had their weekly cookout. Hamburgers, hot dogs, taco skillet and s’mores all round!

Tuesday

Tuesday started off sunny and bright as everyone headed off to their activities. We have some incredibly talented campers with us this week, arts and crafts is full with amazing portraits, paintings and pottery projects! Later in the day we had some lovely liquid sunshine (known elsewhere as ‘rain’) which meant us combining activities and giving everyone the chance to try something that isn’t normally on their schedule. Evening activities ran as normal, juniors got to try ‘Minute to Win It’, a fast-paced game that presents a new challenge every minute. Our seniors took part in Mock Olympics and represented their country while competing in epic battles such as ice skating using paper plates as skates!

Wednesday

Another camp day and everyone is mastering the skills they are learning here. We had loads of fun during free swim and snack bar, as well as some much-needed chill time in the cabins. Wednesday also brought us the incredible ‘Hoedown of Horrors’ dance night! We had zombie cowboys, spooky scarecrows and a headless horseman! I think Wednesday night was the most people we’ve ever had on the dance floor for ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’, led by the fantastic Riding Camp counselors!

Thursday

As we near the end of Session 5A campers are already talking about next year, “Will you be coming back?” “Will you be my counselor again?” “Maybe we’ll be in the same cabin again!” It’s amazing to see how much our campers end up meaning to each other after just six days. Aqua Zumba (a 2018 addition to our activities) has proven so popular that even our director team took part today! No matter who you are, there’s always time for a bit of fun here at camp. This week Volleysquare has become camp’s new favorite game. We’ve played it in the pool all week and then moved it to Overlook Hill for the seniors’ evening activity, Slip N Slide! Our juniors headed to the lower fields for an intense and very funny game of Powder Fairies.  

Friday

We begin every Friday with a musical breakfast, including a compulsory ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ flashmob dance for Riding Camp. Today is the first Horse Show of this summer. Our Equestrian staff and campers work tirelessly to put on a show for the parents and showcase the skills they’ve learned over these 2 weeks. The show came together brilliantly and everyone was very proud of our campers and their horses! The evening brought us our closing campfire; we had many skits from campers this time around, as well as some funny counselor acts! Knowing that tomorrow will bring a lot of goodbyes makes everyone sing our Friendship song a little bit louder. Session 5A, you’ve been a blast!

Session 4A – Let me see your Funky Chicken!

Sunday

Session 4A started off with a pretty amazing campfire: we performed some classic skits including  ‘If I Were Not A Camp Counselor’ and ‘1,2,3,4′ also known as the ‘Funky Chicken’. A memorable moment during this performance was Gary (our SV2 Supervisor from Ireland) dancing around the stage like a leprechaun trying to find a pot of gold! Our new campers learnt how to ‘Jigga’ and give a ‘standing O’ (short for standing ovation).

Monday

Mondays are always exciting at camp – it’s the first full day and our campers get to try out their schedule of activities for the first time. During free swim and snack bar, the campers got to spend some time with their new friends, both in their cabins and from other villages. In the evening, every village had their own campfire and cookout and then it was time for bed to experience another full day of activities tomorrow!

Tuesday

The sun is shining today at camp! Aqua Zumba (one of our new activities this year) has proved massively popular, with two full classes running this week. We can’t wait to try it during Family Camp this summer. The juniors took part in ‘Camp Friendship’s Got Talent’ for their evening activity, where each cabin performs an act for our judges: Balthazar the Wizard, the Dairy Queen (our Junior Girls supervisor in a cow onesie!) and Spiderman! Our senior campers joined together for an SV3 pool party which involved music, inflatables, pool noodles and lots of smiling seniors!

Wednesday

Half way through our week and our campers are progressing nicely in their activities! Our performing arts areas are working on campfire skits for Friday and Glee club is creating a spooky Friday 13th themed mash-up for us. Evening activities were Pool Olympics for our junior campers (biggest splash, smallest splash, most creative synchronized swimming routine!) and a Noodle Hockey tournament for our senior campers.

Thursday

Thursday marks our weekly dance night at camp. This week’s theme was ‘Back to the Future’, where campers and counselors could come dressed as a caveman from the past, or maybe an alien from the future! We also had Marty McFly turn up from the actual film, hoverboard and all! We danced the caveman conga, as well as rocking out to ‘Johnny Be Good’ and of course all the other camp favorites we love.

Friday

It’s Friday, and everyone is getting their friendship bracelets finished to give to their new-found buddies; our media students are finishing up their photography and video projects so they have something to take home and our sport-lovers are making the most of their last day running around playing ultimate frisbee! Our evening activity is of course our closing campfire where Glee got to show us their amazing monster mash/ ET mash-up and the dance classes received standing ovations when their hard work paid off. Our Equestrian campers are lucky enough to enjoy another full week of riding, with the much anticipated horse show coming up on Friday of next week. 

At the end of each Friday night campfire, we celebrate our 5-Year Campers by welcoming them on stage for a giant high five and a well-earned 5 Year Pin. We also sing our bittersweet song ‘Linger’ which shows just how much camp means to everyone that comes to their home away from home.

‘Mmm-mm, I want to linger, mmm-mm, a little longer, a little longer here with you…’

Session 2A: Campers of the world, unite!

Sunday
Today we welcomed all of our new campers for week 2 of camp – our busiest week this summer! We had a little bit of rain during check in (ok… a lot!) but our lovely staff were out directing all of our families to their villages with a smile. Rain doesn’t get us down here at Camp Friendship, and we still had our outdoor opening campfire!

Monday
After raising the American flag, all of our campers made their way to their first activity of the day. There has been a high demand for a wide variety of activities this week, so our counselors are very busy! Campers can choose to start their day by jumping into a kayak, or take a more relaxing route and begin with yoga. Archery continues to be very popular, thankfully we opened up our second archery range this year so everyone has the chance to try this great sport. After a full day of activities we all headed to cookout. Junior girls made their dinner in their own fairy-light pavilion; junior boys hosted at our bike pavilion with their own fire pit; and our senior villages joined together to cookout at the lake and had a dance party!

Tuesday
On Tuesday everyone continued learning in their five periods and got to know their new friends a little better. Our evening activities were some classic camp favorites: powder fairies for the juniors and counselor hunt for seniors! Who knew dressing up as a fairy and running around a field with a flour-filled sock could be so much fun! (It’s a camp thing.)

Wednesday
How is it already Wednesday? Campers in pottery are perfecting their projects today to make sure they’re ready for the kiln; photography and video production are out capturing moments on camp and drama workshop, dance and glee are rehearsing their campfire skits! Our junior villages took part in ‘Camp Friendship’s Got Talent’ this evening, showcasing the impressive skills our campers and counselors have! We saw some standing Os (like a standing ovation, but way more fun!) and our audience cheered everyone on. Meanwhile, the senior villages headed to the lower fields for the ultimate camp challenge… Capture the Flag!

Thursday
Thursday saw our weekly Camp Friendship dance- this week’s theme was ‘Yo Ho Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me!’ Stripes, bandanas and eye patches everywhere! The gym was transformed into a pirate ship, with sails and pirate flags hung around the room. We danced to the classic songs ‘cotton eyed joe’, ‘wagon wheel’ and ‘the cupid shuffle’.

Friday

Yet another week that has gone by too soon, today our campers finished off their friendship bracelets, had their final jumps off the lake’s high dive and practiced their acts for our closing campfire. It’s always difficult to say goodbye to new friends, but the best thing about camp is that there’s always next year!

Session 1: And so it begins!

Finally, the summer gates of Camp Friendship are open! Our first week of camp has been one to remember, from our hilarious opening campfire (featuring two counselors lip-sync battling to Moana) to our awesome pajama dance party- where we saw some of the best onesies ever created! Everyone here at camp has had a blast, here’s what we got up to this week…

Sunday- A Warm Welcome!
After settling into their cabins, our campers had some scrumptious pizza and headed to International Flag Ceremony. This is where we ask all of our campers and staff from different countries to raise their flags and celebrate the diversity we have here at Camp Friendship. This week we had campers all the way from Saudi Arabia and counselors from New Zealand, not to mention at least 15 other countries! We then moved to our opening campfire, where the campers got to know how funny their counselors can be; the famous “How Animals Eat Their Food” and classic skit “Suzie” were definite favorites!

Monday- Here we go!
First day of activities! Today was the first time our campers got to try all the program activities we run here at camp. Archery, fencing and paddleboarding have been very popular choices this year, as well as pottery wheel. Over at our Equestrian Center, the campers met the horses they would all be riding for the week (we have over 80!) and started a full day of riding camp! In the evening, all of the villages had their own cookout and got to know everyone a little bit more; we’ve already had campers promising to write to each other when they’re back at home- which is what Camp Friendship is all about!

On Tuesday, our junior campers played ‘Minute to Win it’, the fast-paced, intense group competition to establish: Who can catch the most marshmallows while blindfolded? Who can get the most steps on a pedometer in one minute? Who can move a cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands and eat it under one minute? As we said… very intense. Our seniors had a massive noodle hockey tournament, and were pretty tired after running around waving pool noodles in the air for an hour!

Wednesday brought us the classic evening activity… Slip ‘n’ Slide! Campers and counselors went sliding down our mountain boarding hill, aiming to knock down some inflatable bowling pins. Human bowling is now a thing at Camp Friendship!

Thursday arrived and our counselors started to see how much our campers have learned and improved in just one week. We had junior fencers parrying and working on their fancy footwork; mountain boarders riding the big hill without any worries; drama students performing in front of an audience without feeling nervous, and so much more! We all dressed up for our ‘Pajama Party’ dance in the gym Thursday evening. There were minion onesies, unicorn onesies, even a giraffe with a tail! Our classic camp routine ‘Everytime we Touch’ got every camper on the dance floor and we all danced until it was time for bed!

And here we are already, Friday. We had a little weather trouble Friday morning, so merged our activities and created the ultimate basketball tournament in the gym- as well as a 10 V 10 volleyball match and our seniors all got to try waterpolo in our pool! As the evening drew in, we prepared for our closing campfire. This time around, our campers were the stars of the show- performing everything they had been working on in the week as well as some village skits they’d created. At the end of our campfire, everyone joined together and we sang our Friendship song, followed by ‘Linger’, which sums up our first week at camp pretty perfectly… ‘This is goodnight and not goodbye.’

5 Reasons Why… Camp is Beneficial for Kids

In a world where children are plagued with outside pressures and high expectations, camp is a pressure-free world of endless possibilities and fun! As youth development professionals who spend every day thinking about camp, it’s near-impossible for us to simply explain the magic of the camp experience in words, not to mention narrowing down the benefits to just 5. Nonetheless, we’ve given it a go. Here are the reasons why we believe camp is beneficial for kids:

1. Connect without Technology: Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of attending sleep-away camp is that it forces campers to unplug. This is not only beneficial for developing personal connections and practicing social skills, but it helps to relieve social media pressures where popularity and self-worth are measured through the number of likes or followers you have. Kids experience constant pressure from social media to be what others want them to be, rather than being themselves. At camp, kids choose to do what makes them happy because it’s what they want to do, not to impress others or get digital ‘likes’ for doing it.

2. Grow to be Independent: Camp offers a taste of independence that is hard to come by in today’s world. From as young as age 7, campers are responsible for keeping their cabin space clean and making their bed daily. They separate, sort, and put away their own laundry. Sometimes, they are even responsible for tasks that affect their whole cabin such as setting the table or picking up food for their cabin mates. At Camp Friendship, campers are even responsible for arriving at their activities on time. This makes campers accountable for their own actions and teaches the importance of being punctual.

3. Experience Inclusion: No matter which camp your child attends, they are sure to be included in the warm, welcoming and supportive community that all camps provide. Camp Friendship celebrates differences and sends children home with a greater understanding of the world around them and a higher tolerance and appreciation for those who are different from them. The camping industry as a whole is also truly inclusive – there is a camp for every child. There are sports focused camps, artistic camps, music camps, space camps, camps for people with special needs, religious camps and camps for everyone in between.

4. Gain Values: Every camp has a purpose for existing and maintains a set of values that they incorporate into the camp experience. Camp Friendship was founded as a place for children from all over the world to gather in peace. At Camp Friendship, being yourself comes naturally because we celebrate diversity, we focus on connection and we encourage growth. We structure our camp and programs around these values and we love that our campers take these values away with them at the end of the summer.

5. Have Fun! The most important benefit of sleep-away camp is that it’s just downright fun! Kids get to be kids, explore new interests and push themselves to new heights surrounded by role models who want to see them succeed. There’s no better way to spend your summer!

As passionate industry leaders, we could talk about camp until our faces turns blue, but there’s no better explanation than experiencing it for yourself. For adults looking to experience the magic of summer camp, why not register for Camp Friendship’s Family Camp from 20-26 August 2018!

Planning for Camp 2018

In the circus of life, parents are the extreme jugglers: constantly juggling fireballs, curveballs, meatballs and more. As a local business that works one-on-one with parents and their children, we know that you put a great deal of effort into not dropping the ball.

While many of you are still recovering from a jaded January and a far-from-festive February, we want to help you avoid a manic March by offering the following advice when it comes to your child’s spring and summer breaks – start planning now! As the year marches on these holidays loom ever closer, and it’s time to consider the options available to you.

It is our opinion that the time kids spend away from school shouldn’t be filled with meaningless activities. We see this time as an opportunity for children to continue learning, to have meaningful interactions, and to gain new experiences that will continue developing them into the best possible version of themselves. We know that as parents you want the best for your kids, which is why we highly recommend the summer camp experience. While it is your job as a parent to make a decision, it is our job as youth development professionals to make that decision as easy as possible.

Why Camp?

There’s a common saying amongst those who have been hooked by the summer camp experience: they’re living 10 for 2. Once you’ve been bitten by the summer camp bug, the remaining 10 months of the year become inconsequential – it’s all about getting back to camp!

The summer camp experience is also described as a ‘bubble’ that children and staff members enter into and never look back. This bubble effect is created in a serene, natural setting surrounded by role models who genuinely care. It’s the type of environment that welcomes you as you are and helps you to be your best self in the most natural, fun-focused way. Campers gain independence by being away from their parents, they learn respect by sharing a living space with others, they learn to challenge themselves by trying new things, and they learn to connect with others by meeting people from all over the world.

Which Camp?

To assist with the endless planning that comes with being a parent, summer camps gather at Summer Camp Fairs throughout the early months of the year. These fairs are typically held at large shopping malls and schools, where parents can browse the various programs on offer and have their questions answered by knowledgeable staff. If you can’t make it to one of your local fairs, search for accredited summer camps on the American Camping Association’s website for parents.

Try It Out!

A number of camps will offer Spring Break Camps for first-timers to get a taste of what camp is all about. To see whether Camp Friendship’s Spring Break Camps align with your child’s school dates, visit www.campfriendship.com.

The summer camp experience is unlike any other youth development activity on offer. Some call it magic, some call it a bubble, but we call it home.

Camp Friendship sets the benchmark for an exceptional summer experience. Founded in 1966, we are a family-owned summer camp that offers year-round tours of our facilities. Give us a call on 1-800-873-3223 or visit www.campfriendship.com to learn more.