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

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 to learn more.

The Week So Far… Session 6!

It’s the middle of Week 6 and the good times keep rolling in!

We started off the week by showing a warm welcome to our international campers who have come from all over the world to be with us this week. We’ve got a diverse group of campers from Andorra, China, Spain, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Canada and the United Kingdom to name just a few.

On Sunday night the good times began with campers and counselors sharing their talents on the Campfire stage as well as a very messy and muddy act which continued the Junior Boys vs Junior Girls rivalry that started a few weeks ago.

On Monday we started our week of activities and had a blast trying new things! We took our cabin and village pictures (look out for those in your envelopes on Check Out day!) and spent time in the Lake and the Pool during Free Swim. Our first full camp day ended with a camp-wide Cook Out where we had the chance to bond as a village group over hamburgers, hotdogs, taco skillet and of course s’mores!

On Tuesday we continued with our 5 daily activities, learning more about the things that interest us and getting to know our new friends. The evening activities were some camp favorites – Powder Fairies for the Juniors and Slip ‘n Slide for the Seniors. Needless to say there was plenty of laughter to be heard both on Overlook Hill and the Lower Fields on Tuesday night!

On Wednesday we continued progressing within our activities and enjoyed a much needed rest during cabin/village time… having all this fun is hard work! This evening’s activities involve a great deal of splashing – we’ve lined up Chip Cup for Juniors and the oh-so-competitive Pool Olympics for Seniors. Stay tuned for more news!


The Week So Far… Session 4!

It’s the middle of the week at Camp Friendship, and we can’t believe how quickly it’s come around! We’re sure that as parents and grandparents you’re already missing your happy campers, but we can guarantee that there hasn’t been much time for missing home here at camp!

We started the week off with a bang during Sunday’s Opening Campfire where new campers were introduced to some CF classics such as the Jigga and everyone’s favorite, Radio. Much to everyone’s delight there was also a performance of the Banana Skit which seems to be this year’s trend – ask your campers to tell you all about it in their e-letters!

Monday night presented our first chance to bond as a village with a camp-wide cookout. Junior Boys took to their beloved Bikey P (Bike Pavilion) so they could be close to the gym for a few games of GaGa Ball and Dodgeball. Junior Girls and Riding Camp enjoyed their cookout and s’mores close to home in their villages while Senior Village 1 and 2 spent their time at Friendship Lake.

The sun shone brightly on Tuesday and so it only seemed appropriate to do some of our favorite evening activities, Slip ‘n Slide for Juniors and Pool Party for Seniors! Be sure to check your CampInTouch accounts for pictures, everyone had a blast! Tonight’s evening activities involve water, water and more water as the Seniors take their turn on the Slip ‘n Slide and Juniors play a game of Chip Cup. Although there are some basic rules to the game of Chip Cup, it’s best described as a giant water fight involving a few poker chips and cups of water on the lower fields… the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer’s day! 

In other news, our Drama Production campers have been working hard on their upcoming performance of Law & Order: Fairytale Unit this Friday. We can’t wait to watch all their hard work pay off with plenty of laughs and cheers from their camp friends!

On the horsey side of things, our 2-week Riding Campers are having a ball getting to know their horses and learning all about what it takes to care for their very own 4-legged friend. At the end of next week these girls will present their skills at a Horse Show which they are all very much looking forward to!

Look out for some great photos of our camp-wide dance on Friday, the theme is To Infinity and Beyond and our campers and counselors are always very creative when it comes to costumes. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

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.

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!

Coed Summer Camp near Maryland

You may think its too late to be looking for a coed summer camp near Maryland, well it’s not! Check out Camp Friendship located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains! YEs, camp may be starting all over the country, but it’s not too late to sign up for our later coed sessions. Camp Friendship has a special sleep away summer camp program 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 coed 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 coed summer camp near Maryland,  contact us at 1-800-873-3223.


Get to know our tennis team and find out more about what happens on the courts!

Alina Ackenbom our co-founder and tennis pro spends her time coaching students and campers down at the tennis activity spot. Attracting many beginners and experienced players from our local area and summer camp Alina works closely with the tennis team to deliver an outstanding program built from her own industry knowledge which she has gained from competing in tournaments internationally from a young age. Alina is passionate about passing her own experience in tennis on to her students, campers and program staff.
So what’s been happening on the courts this summer? Anyone here at camp will often walk past the tennis court to see an intense game in action as campers battle against their component to secure the final match point. Coaches support those in play by offering direction and feedback as the game is in play which improves the players ability to make confident returns. You may also see campers working on their body movement, learning how to stand and practicing a variety of swings.
Tennis lessons at camp are fundamentally made up of activities and match games. Players sometimes start out by taking part in a tennis rally where campers split into two teams and make a transition from one line to the next after taking a swing at the ball. At this time campers are practicing reaction time and hand movement whilst getting warmed up for the sessions main game.
In recent activity, this week some players practiced drills whilst others battled to hold onto their crown in ‘King of the courts.’ In king of the courts one camper plays as king whilst rallying with another camper to hold the king of the court position and stay in play with the next component. Players love this game as it gives them a chance to take on many players at once and support each other’s efforts.
On Wednesday, senior village counselor Chris took some time to instruct campers on how to stand and intercept the ball in order to gain more control. Chris did this by taking some time to work one on

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one with players whilst others rallied. Together they practiced hitting the tennis ball as hard as possible at the wall of the court. Whilst doing this Chris demonstrated a good standing position to hold, explaining how tennis is about short sharp movements. campers also practiced following Chris’ movements as Chris held the ball focusing purely on reaction and body movement.

That’s all from the courts for now but don’t forget to check out my next blog post on Friday where I will be highlighting some more of this weeks activity at Camp Friendship!

What happens in our gymnastic centre? Everything from trampolining to aerial silk performance!

If there’s one place that highlights commitment to activity and brilliant mentorship around camp, it’s our gymnastics centre. Sadly It’s not every day that staff, campers or parents get the opportunity to see all the tricks that happen in our gymnastics classes, but after finding out information on the program highlights, many campers are instantly signing up for sessions and can’t wait to make use of our studio and equipment. That’s why I have decided to uncover some of the program details and information to you in this blog post.

Even at first glance the hand painted forest scene of the buildings exterior reflects camps creative personality. When you set foot into the studio which was partially built by our founder Chuck Ackenbom you can instantly see instructors educating and supporting campers on their technique. This immediately makes you think ‘Wow, why haven’t I been here before!?’ Kay Walsh, our Gymnastics Director works together with her team of dedicated instructors to offer skilled tuition from beginner level right up to level 9.


With a multitude of returning campers eager to get started on the program each year, participators look forward to an exciting week of gymnastics which includes tumble track, bars and beam. In the trampoline activity campers perform seat drops and the week is ended with free play/volt board sessions. Towards the end of weekly sessions we begin to smile as we notice how students have developed from having little confidence or knowledge in the area to completely letting go and attempting the moves.

As well as the mentioned activities, campers can experience the silks activity, where some students work towards building a dance routine with a difference. You are suspended in the air! Silks expert Ashley explained to me how students take on different climbs depending on which part of their body is most suitable for the exercise and skill level. Silks exercises nearly every muscle in the body, as well as improving flexibility, balance and strength. It can also battle a fear of heights!


Throughout winter the centre celebrates the Winter Fest show which is a contest worked towards by year round students and instructors. In the summer a variety of programs run and a close knit tuition pattern works well with attenders, it’s amazing to see the results for campers after just a short time in the gymnastics centre.

Part of our gymnastics philosophy states that instructors want kids to have

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an enjoyable experience and learn how to move and think about how the body learns. We believe that to learn something we must see it, hear it say, it and do it.

But don’t just take my word for it, you can find out more about our gymnastics program on our website at

You’ve never had a friend like me!

We hope you’re having a wonderful summer so far. For staff at camp It’s pretty hard to believe that we’ve already hit week four of our summer season. We’ve seen thousands of memories being created around our villages in the past few weeks and we are so pumped to greet our new comers each Sunday knowing that we will start to see life lasting moments for our campers.

Riding Camp Counselors

As many of you know, we find no better way to begin a fresh week of camp than with a classic camp fire. This week the audience were filled with laughter whilst watching a comedy skit about a Chinese takeaway order gone wrong acted out by some of our junior boys counselors. Riding girls DJ misk-a-lot took to the stage with their seventh performance this year – a campified version of chart song ‘Honey, I’m good.’ This left the crowd tapping their feet and excited to begin their time at camp. As the camp fire ended kids held hands and swayed to The friendship song before heading back to villages for a much needed rest.

Around activity areas many of our campers are in the midst of preparing for our Aladdin performance which will be unveiled to the whole of camp in the drama theatre on Friday. Some of our dance students began working on sequence routines under the guidance of our wonderful dance mentor and co-director Lauren. Lauren gave campers the chance to suggest moves they feel should be in the performance to Aladdins ‘friend like me’ Our second director Cody has used his charisma and energy to engage campers in rehearsals, helping actors to build on their confidence and stage presence. Our support staff and CIT’s have worked behind the scenes, painting the stage and making props for the show.

Drama Production

At camp we work together as a community to make our events a representation of group activity. We are sure to see something special in the drama pavilion on Friday. Magic carpets at the ready!

In other dance pavilion activity, Campers have been trying out the head stand position under the instruction of Ashley and Gemma. Did you know that yoga Increases our flexibility ? According to There are specific yoga postures that positively affect various joints and stress points of the body.Yoga synchronises body, mind and breath and according to recent studies, that’s why there are over 20 million Yogi’s in the US. Camp is definitely a great time to introduce or build yoga into daily activity for campers.


We have rounded off each day with evening activities. On Monday we held a pool party in the sun for senior village which was a great window for campers to unwind and bond. Junior and riding villages were visited by the powder fairies who invaded our lower field areas. The obstacle of this game is to retrieve a word from each counselor without getting flour thrown on you by one of the three powder fairies at which point you must quiz or sing your way out to the next obstacle. On Tuesday junior campers enjoyed the chip cup activity and senior village held their own Olympic contest with all sorts of tasks including the slow motion race. Watch out for our weekly video update which will show you some action from our evening activities.


Heading to the second half of this week, we continue to get geared for our Aladdin performance and begin making props for our Wild West themed dance tomorrow!

Camp Friendship celebrates 4th of July with our famous color wars


IMG_8125At camp we kicked off Fourth of July celebrations on Thursday at our IndepenDANCE. Campers dressed up in patriotic attire and happily danced the evening away in our gymnasium. During celebrations a surprise guest appearance was made from Mother Earth who had briefly greeted campers at morning flag and returned to a sound track of thunder with Zeus, Poseidon and the Vulcan goddess to announce that the next earth leader would be chosen at Fridays Color Wars. Two captains for each Gods team were elected and dreams of color wars filled the mountains.

For those who haven’t heard of color wars, I’m referring to a huge competition between three teams that takes part at camp each year and has become a famous camp tradition. As Morning events kicked off, team members gathered in their head quarters where they addressed who would take part in the lake or land activities, after designating rolls team members ran to their lake or land activity. Participants of land activities dodged their way to victory in dodgeball and volley ball whilst chanting for each other. In lake activities campers took part in the water melon relay and canoe activity.


Campers headed next to silent lunch, that’s right, speaking will dock off points from your teams result and impressive performances may add a few points to your score! Counselors got up and performed a spot of synchronised dancing as campers communicated with hand gestures trying to resist the temptation to answer any of the supervisors trick questions. Blue team performed a Mexican wave performance in a bid to secure points. Members of each team stood up to do ‘the wobble’ before joining the conga line to dance to one directions you don’t know you’re beautiful.


To follow the rest of today’s story and see our highlights don’t forget to tune into our special color wars edition of our weekly camp video update !