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 http://www.friendshipgymnastics.com

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 organicfacts.net 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 !

Get a feel for Camp in our Week Three Update.

There is no calming feeling like the one you get when you escape from a busy day to find yourself at one of camps more peaceful areas. If you’ve ever taken a right turn before our pool area and looked past the trees surrounding our gymnasium, you will have had the pleasure of stumbling upon the Media Cabin. This is a chilled zone where our digital photography students spend time reviewing and editing their photographic pieces. Our media cabin is the perfect retreat for campers to practice art and take a break from the more physical activities around us. Digital Photography is the answer to a balance of tranquility amongst the lively atmosphere at Camp!

Campers have been exploring the beautiful nature and wildlife that our mountains have to offer. Campers have enjoyed discovering the interesting shapes and textures to incorporate into their creations. Digital Photography tutors have been encouraging campers to choose a themed outcome for their work such as a photo album or photo cube.

3ablogpostHere is one of our Senior Campers reviewing images and trying out different retouching methods.
On Monday evening, campers played the Counselor Hunt activity. Starting at our flag point, campers excitedly explored Camp in order to uncover the hiding places of counselors. The winning team were the Riding Dudes And Dudettes who found a grand total of fifteen counselors stationed around camp. Campers waited eagerly outside Scott hall whilst votes were counted in secrecy by Ashling, our target sports supervisor and Peanut our Lake Supervisor. The winning prize was first prize for activity swap although as a consolation prize every participator received a high five from our judges.

IMG_8395revisedIn senior activities, campers strapped on their running shoes for the Tri-cone activity, where the aim of the game is to take a cone from the opposing teams and not get caught returning that cone to your base area. Well done to the green team who were the over all champions of the evening.


In other news, campers have been working in the variety of Arts and Crafts programs we offer at camp. These include panting, drawing, pottery wheel and more ! This week we have seen some campers moulding clay models of their counselors or creatively making patterns on their finished cups or pots. What’s for sure is that each camper has their own unique vision of what they want to create and there is an interesting diversity around the Arts and Crafts studios.

3AblogaacDon’t forget to tune in to the next update of our Camp Blog this Friday and keep updated with Camp Photographs on Camp Minder.

Zombie Virus Outbreak At Camp Friendship

Anyone who’s been at camp over the past few days will have spotted cryptic posters scattered around villages by our junior boys counselors. The messages were headlined ‘Camp Friendship is set to be swarmed by a lethal strain of the FFX-1966 VIRUS’ and urged any campers and staff to speak to junior boys counselors if feeling unwell, to which they were greeted with stories about the zombie virus outbreak. Zombie Apocalypse CF


As campers prepared for the zombie apocalypse dance which took place on Thursday evening, Cody became the first counselor to be captured at lunch break by Alex, our high ropes expert and new found zombie disinfectant agent. Campers rose from their chairs with excitement as the junior boys counselors ran across the dining hall in full costume screaming ‘he’s got me.’

After a day of activities campers entered the hall for dinner feeling excited. Some campers were already dressed up for the evenings activities and some went back to cabins to prepare their makeovers.2AA

The Zombie Apocalypse Dance went down a storm. Against the sound of beating rain there was a wonderful atmosphere of chaos and fun. Campers did the limbo, had a chance to have a dance with the whole of camp and admired each others costumes whilst telling each other their characters stories.IMG_6992 2ABOur junior boys counselors delivered a skit performance delivered by Ben who acted as a news reporter. Ben began the skit by reporting on the zombie outbreak around camp, closely followed by an outbreak of disinfectant agents that came into the audience from various store cupboards to seize the crowd. This performance made a tremendous impact on not just the evening but was the finale of

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this weeks themed activity.


In other news, during activities on Friday, some of our campers enjoyed the fencing program by taking part in a game of roundheads and cavaliers. This is a game where campers split into two teams and can battle anyone on the opposing side. In this case one camper put up a good fight when he took on the challenge of defeating three remaining opponents.


Today we look forward to performances at our weekly closing camp fire before opening for week three at camp.

Also don’t forget to check out our weekly video which will be released today.

What’s new in week two of Camp?

Week two is well under way and since arriving at Camp, campers have been smiling from cheek to cheek. On Sunday we enjoyed some special Camp Fire performances, including a junior girls rendition of Katy Perry’s firework. A dodge ball slow motion ballet performance from the junior boys counselors was a unique sketch that received a special camp ‘O’vation. For those of you that don’t already know, this happens when a performance is outstanding and members of the audience raise their arms up into an O shape.

Senior village decided they were staying seated when they got down to the stage, where they acted out hand movements onto a table in fast unison. This was a particularly notable act, leaving the crowd ready to go forward into the weeks activity and also considering their own camp fire performance for our next camp fire which will take place on Friday.


Go Senior Village!

As they have began to explore our activities and enjoyed settling into camp life since Sunday, campers have been spending time by the lake, enjoying the sun and getting the chance to enjoy water activities around camp. Many campers have had their first attempt at rope swing and others have teamed up to paddle their way under the bridge at canoeing. Our fishing activity has been more popular than ever and there have even been a few catches down there! Good work.


Catch of the day.

Stepping away from lake activity, Our ESL teacher Becky has been leading the way in interactive language teaching and our international campers are enjoying the opportunity to experience a lesson that defies straight forward text book teaching. Becky makes memorable language classes by encouraging campers to connect with each other by asking each other questions then deciding whether each question belongs in the present, future and past tense section.


Campers decide where they stand on each phrase.

So what’s next? Moving into the later half of this week campers will enjoy dining outside at our cook out events tonight before preparing to get scary at the Zombie Apocalypse dance tomorrow evening. Don’t forget to check out our photography gallery at camp in touch, and watch out for our new video release this Friday which will be available to view on the camp friendship youtube and vimeo.