Words from a CF “Lifer”

Ashley Thompson is the mother of two boys and owner/head coach of ACT Running in Austin, Texas. She moved up the ranks from a camper to a CIT, Junior Counselor, Senior Counselor, Year-Round Staff Member and is now a proud Camper Parent. She makes the pilgrimage to Palmyra every couple of years to “Be and Find a Friend.”

Ashley Thompson

The summer of 1986 was the first year that I got to unload a trunk of my own at Camp Friendship. Up until then, I had to watch my older brothers bound up to their cabins, check in with old camp friends and get settled into their bunks.  After each previous drop-off, I’d cling to the window, soaking up every detail as we drove down the Senior Village hill, past Friendship Lake and took the tree-lined drive towards the gates. This time, however, we were headed down towards Junior Girls! I had heard so many stories from my brothers and their friends that I can’t be certain our car had even stopped when I jumped out in front of Cabin One. It was finally my turn.

During those two weeks of Session 4, a great deal transpired: I held a bow & arrow for the first time and later learned how to Walk Like an Egyptian (it was 1986, remember?). I also vowed to practice swimming so that next summer I could take on the challenge of the ropes swing and the lake zipline! But really, I set into motion a series of lessons that would help to make me into the strong but compassionate person I am today. There is a theory out there that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can lead to a hurricane half way around the world; small moments and memories add up to something greater than their sum. That summer, choosing my own activities allowed me to enjoy the rewards of independence – vital lessons I use today as a business owner – and ordering a snack from the Snack Bar helped this once painfully shy girl to practice speaking up and looking grownups in the eyes. I even met a young C.I.T. (Counselor-In-Training) named Anna Larson, who would go on to be my counselor for 4 more years, and who is still my dear friend 28 years later.

Camp is all about trying new things

I realized, too, that there was WAY more to experience than one summer could allow and I wanted to do it all. On a walk over the Junior Girl’s hill with my new friend Dot, I promised to come back the following year, and that when I was old enough I would go on to Senior Village…and eventually become a C.I.T … and then a Junior Counselor, and then a Senior Counselor and then a Director … and then send my future kids to camp. Camp Friendship offered so much more than I could articulate and I couldn’t wait to come back!

This upcoming summer, after experiencing 12 amazing years as a camper, counselor and year-round staff member at Camp Friendship, I’ll enter into a new phase. My 9 year old son, Oscar, will be headed to Camp Friendship for his first time at sleep away camp. We’ll head through the gates, pass Friendship Lake, and head up to Junior Boys. I can’t wait to see where it takes him!

New Year, New Summer in VA

There comes a point for everyone involved with camp when we finally stop wishing for it to still be last summer and begin looking forward to this summer. The beginning of the new year is the perfect time for this. The new year is a time of new beginnings for most people and, although that long list of resolutions most of us start out with in January has already been all but forgotten by the time the first spring blooms begin to peep out of the ground, there is always the promise of camp. In Virginia, Camp Friendship offers the great summer camp experience. We’re finally in the year 2014, and it is only a matter of months before we arrive at the Summer of 2014.  We spend cold winter evenings watching our camp videos or reading our camp newsletters. By spring we’ve ordered all of our new camp gear and are eagerly awaiting for it to arrive.  We start to set goals for the summer with our camp friends. Then we blink, and it’s May. It’s time to start packing! School ends and the countdown is down to days…days that seem to take longer than all of the months we’ve waited put together. But it comes, the new summer of the new year, faster than we ever thought it would a year ago.  Come join us at Camp Friendship in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a fun sleep away camp experience this summer!  To schedule a visit, contact us at 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950.

A Lifetime of Lessons to Learn at Camp Friendship

Camp Friendship, a sleep away camp in Palmyra, Virginia, is all about making the most of your summer! While you’re having the best summer of your life, you will also learn unforgettable lessons that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Here’s a list of just a few of the lessons you can take home with you from Camp Friendship.

1. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things- summer is the chance to explore your interests. At Camp Friendship, there are plenty of activities that allow you to try something you’d never thought you’d do before- who knows, you might end up loving it! From a wide variety of sports to arts, Camp Friendship will always have a new activity to participate in!

2. Friendship- Summer camps can build true friendships that will last a lifetime! Spending time with others that enjoy similar activities is a great way to strengthen the bond of friendship. We are Camp Friendship after all!

3. Things aren’t as bad as they seem – be happy with the basics! Get away from the materialistic life. Campers will learn how to enjoy themselves and build strong friendships without staring into a cell phone or computer screen the entire time!

4. The value of time- Sadly, summer passes in the blink of an eye. Time goes by quickly so don’t forget to spend every moment enjoying it. Cherishing the moments spent at Camp Friendship will get you through the long year until you come back!

5. Dedication- You can’t be the winning team if the entire team doesn’t put forth the effort and work together. Putting the team first and helping those on your team succeed teaches the true value of dedication.

Get excited for Summer 2014, and register for summer camp today! Feel free to contact us with any questions and concerns.

QCV Receives USTA/Mid-Atlantic President’s Award

Charlottesville, Virginia (12/4/2013) – QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia, Inc. (QCV) recently received a President’s Award at the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (MAS) Awards luncheon at the Westin Dulles Hotel, held in conjunction with the MAS Annual Meeting. Over 250 USTA members attended the event, emceed by Leon Harris, award-winning evening news anchor in Washington, DC. MAS President John Raker presented the award to Lynda Harrill, QCV Vice President, QuickStart Coordinator and Founder.

Raker said, “President’s Awards are only given to recognize those making exceptional contributions to the United States Tennis Association’s mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia has taken tennis to over 64,000 kids in 136 schools in 22 counties in central and southern Virginia in the last four years. They have pioneered many best practices and led the charge to reach out to formerly underserved areas. They have exposed kids to tennis who would have never had the opportunity to benefit from our lifetime sport. USTA Mid-Atlantic is grateful for their work and tennis contributions.”4PS_5477

Harrill adds, “We are deeply honored to be recognized by USTA Mid-Atlantic for what we have done to grow tennis in formerly underserved rural areas in central Virginia. USTA Mid-Atlantic has also helped us greatly with their financial support. It’s hard to believe over four years have passed since we formed QCV, set out on our mission and made it possible for more than 64,000 kids to learn to play tennis in school today. It’s been a lot of FUN for all, and there’s plenty more FUN to come!”


QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia is an all-volunteer, grassroots Community Tennis Association established in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to promote, develop and grow QuickStart Tennis in 23 counties and one independent city in central Virginia for all beginners, especially underserved youth.

QCV’s Service Area includes Albemarle, Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nelson, Nottoway, Orange, Prince Edward, Powhatan and Rappahannock counties and the City of Charlottesville.

Visit QCV at: www.quickstartcentral.org and on Facebook.

Summer Camp in Virginia

There is nothing more memorable for a child than a really great summer camp experience. Camp Friendship is located in breathtaking Palmyra, Virginia and offers a Traditional Sleepover Camp experience. Our summer camp offers a wide variety of activities for children of all ages. The essence of this experience enhances a child’s self esteem, independence and social values in addition to providing wonderful memories which often last a life time. Camper’s develop a sense of accomplishment through the development of new activity skills and cultivate special friendships and enhance personal growth and independence, which is the true essence of the summer camp experience.For more information, contact 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950 or email: info@campfriendship.com

Summer Camp Year Round in Virginia

Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun! It’s summer camp year round at Camp Friendship in Palmyra VA. Our summer camp facilities are open year round for use by rental groups for wedding receptions, church meetings, youth retreats, and conferences. We also organize fun events for the whole family!

Here are some photos from our most recent bowling event!

Camp Friendship – The Best Virginia Summer Camp Experience!

Sign Up Early and SAVEOf course we think Camp Friendship is the best summer camp in Virginia. We could go on and on about all our great summer camp programs and activities. But, wouldn’t you rather read what a past camper has to say?

Here is a letter from Amon Ferrell who came to us thanks to the Scott-Free Scholarship Foundation:

My Camp Friendship Experience

My experience at camp friendship was fun, the activities were entertaining. My favorite activity was the lake and the pool because the free swim, zip line, rope swing, diving board, high dive and slide.

Out of all the camps I’ve been to this one was the best of all. There is a variety of different activities so you can never get bored. Also if you wanted to keep memories there is a gift shop with a snack bar next door.

Another one of the good activities is horseback riding this activity has mostly girls. During that experience I learn a lot of things. When mounted on a horse you can make the horse trot or run but when running or trotting you must be in 2 point this is basically standing up.

The food is good and there is a lot of food to go around. There are camp fires and so many things to do you will never get bored.

We LOVE hearing from past campers. So, if you had a great experience at Camp Friendship, tell us about it! Write us an email, post to our Facebook Page, or even send us a good ol’ fashioned letter (via snail mail).

It’s never to early to get your children registered for summer camp, especially when you can register early for 2014 and SAVE! Find out more information, and get registered for an experience of a lifetime!