Sleepaway Camp: Is Your Child Ready?

At this time of year, families all over the country are asking a similar question with regards to their summer plans – is it time to try sleepaway camp? Although summer may seem like light-years away, Camp Friendship encourages parents to consider these important questions before making any decisions.

Summer camp in VirginiaReady?
First of all, it’s important to note that it’s not only your child that needs to be ready for sleepaway camp – as parents, you need to feel ready too! Your family’s readiness for sleepaway camp depends heavily on your parenting style, your child’s age and temperament as well as their comfort level at sleeping away from home with friends or relatives. If your child has already mentioned the idea of sleepaway camp or has friends that attend sleepaway camps, this is a good sign that they might be ready.

From a young age, children seek ways to develop their autonomy, and overnight camp is an environment that supports this natural development in a completely organic way.

Co-ed summer camp for kids in VASet (the scene…)
With over 7000 overnight camps to choose from, it’s important to pick the camp that fits your child’s hopes and expectations for their first overnight camp experience. Top tip: Involve your child in the decision making process! Studies on homesickness have found that children handle separation best when they feel in control. Giving your child the opportunity to help pick out a camp will boost confidence, ease anxiety and reduce homesickness. As a family, decide whether you are looking for a one week experience or for something longer. Find out from your camper whether they are hoping to try a wide variety of new activities, or specialize in an activity such as gymnastics or horseback riding. To find the camp that’s right for you, ask fellow parents or check out – a resource provided by the American Camp Association.

overnight camp VAGo!
Contact the camp to take a tour, or take a virtual tour online. With the season of camp fairs upon us, many parents will visit local malls and schools to meet camp directors and find out more about their summer options. Camp Friendship offers shorter Spring Break or weekend camp experiences to give first-time campers a taste of the overnight camp experience. Family Camp is another sure-fire way to get the whole family on board, and day camps are always a popular first step.

sleepaway camp in VirginiaEven if you decide that 2018 is not the summer for your family, rest assured that parents all over the country are unified in their opinions on the benefits of summer camp. Many parents comment specifically on their children’s increased independence and confidence when speaking with teachers and other adults, as well as improvements in their cooperation with siblings and classmates. One parent shared that instead of investing in private school they opt to send their children to Camp Friendship. They haven’t regretted a single summer!

Unfortunately, sometimes as a parent you will only get a definitive answer on readiness when you arrive to pick your camper up from camp. If you find them crying to stay for longer, chances are your family made the right choice!

The Week So Far… Session 8A!

It’s Week 8 and things are going great!

On Sunday we kicked things off with our Opening Campfire where we saw a hilarious depiction of how animals eat their food as well as some funny counselor impersonations, a song about bananas, impressive dance offs and more.

Our week began with a bit of a wet and rainy Monday, but that didn’t dampen our spirits – we still had plenty of time for fun with dodgeball and noodle hockey tournaments in the gym, a special event of Mock Olympics and some bonding time with our cabin mates and counselors. Monday’s evening activity was a cozy movie-watching session in the Dining Hall with all our new friends.

On Tuesday the sun shone brightly and everyone had the chance to try a full day of activities including free swim in the lake or the pool. On Tuesday evening the Seniors enjoyed a very competitive game of Counselor Hunt while the Juniors had a rocking Pool Party! Whatever we do at Camp Friendship, it’s always a good time.

Wednesday was our third day of activities, and the fun just keeps going. We’re all very excited for our very special evening activities tonight – instead of dinner in the Dining Hall we’ll be having a camp-wide cookout, and then we’ll all watch the big soccer match against Triple C, our day camp friends from nearby Charlottesville.

This friendly soccer game is an annual tradition for our counselors, and every year our soccer team is ‘sponsored’ by a different camp celebrity. This year it’s Owner Alina Ackenbom’s turn! Our soccer shirts are tennis-ball green in honor of Alina’s passion for tennis and her successful tennis program that brings campers from all over the world to improve their game. We hope this brings our team luck in the game tonight – be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date with the score!

The Week That Was… Session 5A/4B!

As we’ve already reached the end of Week 5 here at Camp Friendship, it’s time to take a look back at all the amazing things we’ve experienced this week. As always, there’s never a dull moment here at camp, and this week has been no exception!

We started off the week by welcoming our international friends who traveled from far and wide to experience the CF way of life. Our International Flag raising ceremony showed us flags from places such as Turkey, Mexico, France, Hong Kong, Russia, Spain and more! We then jumped straight into the festivities of our Opening Campfire where our zany counselors took to the stage to perform all sorts of interesting acts. This week we had some fear-factor type eating contests, a dancing competition that ended in everyone getting soaked, and of course Camp Friendship classics such as the Jigga.

On Monday morning we received our activity schedules for the week – it’s always great to see the excitement levels rising as campers get to try out their chosen activities for the first time! This week saw the start of another Drama Production, and after the success of Law & Order: Fairytale Unit we think The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet is going to be a hit when it’s performed at the end of Week 6. On Monday afternoon the weather man decided that it was time for us to take the fun indoors, and so our Cook-Out became a Cook-In due to a rainy evening. Needless to say a little rain never dampens our spirits here at Camp Friendship and after everyone enjoyed their hamburgers and hot dogs in the Dining Hall we settled in for a cosy movie-watching session.

On Tuesday we spent the day enjoying our second day of activities and getting to know our cabin mates during Village/Cabin time. Our evening activities were some camp favorites – Pool Party for the Juniors and Tri-Cone Ultra for the Seniors which always gets ultra-exciting. 

Our camp-wide dance took place on Wednesday, and what a wild night it was! Everyone came dressed to impress in their best cowboy and cowgirl outfits, and the gym was transformed into a Saloon with hay bales and saddles for us to line dance around.

To cool things down on Thursday evening our Seniors took to the pool for a Pool Party whilst Juniors played Chip Cup on the lower fields. Chip Cup is easiest to describe as a water fight of epic proportions, and it’s always a great deal of fun!

On Friday our 2-week Equestrian Campers had the chance to show off their skills during the end-of-session Horse Show. Parents, siblings and friends were invited to attend and everyone was so very proud of the girls and their 4-legged friends for doing such a great job! Friday night saw the end of our week here at Camp Friendship in Virginia, and the Closing Campfire was a special one with many of our campers performing acts with their new friends.

At the end of every campfire we sing the Friendship Song, a camp classic that has been around for 51 summers and will remain “ever true at the camp for me”. The Friendship Song describes the Camp Friendship experience as a “symbol of my favorite memories”, and these sentiments were definitely felt at the end of this week with many tearful goodbyes on Saturday as our campers bid farewell to their new friends… until next summer! Thanks one and all for helping to make this our best summer ever! “Friendship Camp, you will never know what you mean to me.” #cfbestsummerever