Building Life Skills At Camp

IMG_3465We all want our children to live a better quality of life, accomplish their ambitions and live to their fullest potential. By learning new skills they increase their understanding of the world around them and become better equipped with the tools they need to live a more productive life. Life skills are not always taught directly but often learned indirectly through experience and practice. By presenting a goal such as summer camp, your child can think about it, focus and strive for it all year long. Whatever it is that gets your kids excited you can make sure that is incorporated on their focus of summer camp. Like adults, when children have something to look forward to, it helps them to complete their tasks and responsibilities and stay on track. They can look forward to reaching their goal and reward. As your child gets excited you can talk about your expectations of them. You can also let them make some mini goals themselves that they can accomplish along the way and discuss these together. A countdown always seems to add a thrill as the goal gets closer and closer. A visual reminder can teach them that hard work pays off and that putting time and effort into something is worth it, teaching them about hard work, patience and determination. Getting your child involved in goal setting and giving them something to look forward to is an important skill that they will benefit from and use during their entire lifetime.

• This Early Registration Discount for the summer of 2015 is only available until December 1st, save $100 per week plus you can qualify for additional discounts.

• Ice Skating Event is December 7th from 2pm-3:30pm in Ashburn Ice House. Free for everyone. Have to go to the Camp site to Upcoming Events to reserve their spot.

Camp Friendship Tennis Pro Is New QuickStart President

Friendship Tennis Nov12_14Hurray for our Alina Ackenbom, Camp Friendship’s Tennis Pro, was recently elected as the new President of QuickStart of Central Virginia (QCV) non-profit organization. QuickStart Tennis is the USTA’s kid-sized, age- appropriate format for teaching kids ages three and up the “sport for a lifetime.” QuickStart Tennis tries to grow tennis from the ground starting by introducing tennis to young kids through school, pre-school and afterschool. Tennis has always taught kids valuable character-building life skills like integrity, sportsmanship, dedication, determination and teamwork. QuickStart adds FUN fitness and conditioning activities that work on agility, balance, coordination, footwork and reaction time. QCV is helping create “play pathways” in the communities we serve. Kids have so much FUN with QuickStart that they don’t even know they’re learning, and they’re learning a lot. Alina’s term is for the next 3 years.

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Just more confirmation that Camp Friendship knows how to find quality people to teach your kids!

Don’t forget to keep checking our events page to find out about upcoming events.

Starting To Think About Next Summer

Camp Friendship Thinking about next summerWe’re slowly approaching less than 200 days until summer camp begins. I can’t wait! I’m not sure if it’s the cold weather approaching, the shorter days or simply missing all the fun, that moments like these are already becoming more frequent.

During this time of year the staff at Camp Friendship is thinking about what new changes we should incorporate for next summer to make it better than the last, as well as wondering who will be coming back to join us. By now parents likely have adequate feedback to be able to evaluate the value of their kids spending the summer at Camp Friendship sleep away camp, and soon decide to register their returning campers. Some campers who know they are returning, might be looking forward to the coming summer just as we are, waiting to see friends and counselors with whom over the years they’ve built strong bonds with. We all are looking forward to more memories, adventures and new options and opportunities as they begin to present themselves.

So much happens at camp each summer, it’s easy to see that by not returning–even for a summer–campers could miss out on something big! Probably the most important thing to contemplate when deciding whether to return to camp is that next summer could be a camper’s best summer ever! With that being said, we at Camp Friendship are really missing everybody and hope to see you all again next year!

Don’t forget to keep checking our events page to find out about upcoming events.

Let’s Work Together to Prevent Bullying

Since Camp Friendship started over forty years ago, we’ve learned a thing or two about cooperation. To get along with others it helps to practice open communication, understanding, respect for others, responsibility, accountability and kindness. Hopefully we can all see how important it is to promote cooperation and most importantly how we need to work together to help our children grow and flourish in a positive environment where they can feel comfortable and safe.

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I don’t think our problems with bullying will go away without our becoming more aware of what’s going on in our homes and communities with our children. We need to be discussing causes and possible solutions and implementing them. Visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/ to know more.

Bullying is an intentional aggressive behavior towards a person or persons by someone perceived to have more power. It is usually someone picking on someone else who most likely won’t or can’t stop them. It might be physical, verbal, or emotional. It can happen out in the open, away from the public or online. Kids can be mean. They can say or write mean things, and sometimes it can be snarky, sarcastic or teasing meant to be funny. But there’s nothing funny about demeaning another person, or showing disrespect towards someone just because you can. Yet for some bullies it’s a way to show off, and usually their acting out for a reason. In a video I veiwed the other day, the phrase “hurt people, hurt people”, gave me food for thought. The reaction for some to bully a bully is not addressing the problem. The action itself needs to be stopped.

Kids who bully aren’t bad kids, but need to understand why their behavior is unacceptable and hurtful. They need to get help to stop this behavior. Many times schools, camps and even families are unaware of the bullies or who the victims are. We need to create an environment where kids feel safe to report situations and become more aware and informed so we can prevent bullying in the future.

Many times a victim will not talk about it, so it’s important to notice changes in behavior that could signal that your child is being picked on. Kids who’re bullied often become anxious and diminish in self-confidence. Help your child if they’ve been bullied by being their advocate and try not to be judgemental. Talk to teachers or other adults and try to work as a team to resolve the problem. Kids need to be able to speak up safely to stop the cycle of aggression. Get them engaged in activities they love and that make them feel good about themselves. Praise their strength, courage, and perseverance.

Also difficult, is when parents find out that their own kid is the bully. If you find out your child has been exhibiting this type of aggressive behavior, take the opportunity to be the example of a good empathetic friend. Talk about it and your expectations. Keep looking for good resources to understand the problem better. It’s so important for all of us to be good role models and show our children good ways to deal with conflict and frustration. They watch how we talk about people and interact with people. If kids see us act mean or aggressive towards others, admitting to the child that we were wrong and shouldn’t have acted that way helps them learn what to do in their own friendships.

It’s too easy for kids to feel isolated in today’s world. They need to know there is help and that someone cares and notices what’s going on with them. We have to be conscious of our children’s social skills and give them opportunities to practice dealing with their emotions, showing respect to others and learn how to assert themselves in positive ways with their peers. They need to know help is available to guide them through challenging circumstances. Sometimes that’s hard at school with limited time and supervision. That’s why it’s necessary to encourage team sports or other positive situations.

The unique experience of camp is just one thing that helps. I have seen kids progress in just a few months at summer camp, communicating better and building self confidence through their accomplishments individually and with team activities. The important thing is for each of us to do what we can. Let’s work together to be the example, and to help our children practice understanding and kindness. I’m so glad that the discussion is out there and not being ignored. Our kids are, and our future is, counting on each of us to help prevent bullying and promote caring and respectful behavior.

Sleep Away Summer Camp for Teenagers in VA

If you’re looking for a sleep away summer camp for Teenagers in Virginia, check out Camp Friendship located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Camp Friendship has a special sleep away summer camp program designed for teenagers in VA where they can have their own space, be free to be themselves and enjoy a new sense of responsibility. This program is for teenagers who want to explore new interests, learn new skills, and participate in a rewarding summer. A sleep away summer camp experience can provide teenagers with independence, social values, and confidence. Camper’s develop a sense of accomplishment through activity skills and  enhance their personal growth and independence.

Your teen has the opportunity to meet international campers, build social values and confidence, gain independence and create wonderful memories when they spend their summer at Camp Friendship. To schedule a tour or for more information about our teen camp in VA,  contact us at 1-800-873-3223.