The Week So Far… Session 7A!

It’s Week 7 here at Camp Friendship in Virginia, and it’s been nothing but fun, friendships and WAR… SV Wars to be precise! This week our Senior Villages have declared war and are out to win in the epic battles of SV WARS. SV Wars is a brand new Village Time activity here at camp where campers and counselors compete in various activities throughout the week – there have been dance offs, ping pong tournaments, fashion shows, volleyball challenges and so much more! Be sure to follow our Camp Friendship Facebook and Instagram pages to find out whether SV1 or SV2 are victorious at the end of the week.

Taking it back a day or two to Sunday, we started Week 7 in the same way we start every week at Camp Friendship, with our Opening Campfire on Sunday night. This campfire is a time for new friends to come together beneath the stars and get to know each other a little better. It’s also a time where we watch our counselors make complete fools of themselves up on stage, and we love every minute!

After an early start on Monday, there was much excitement as everyone received their activity schedules and prepared to try their activities for the first time! Instead of regular dinner in the Dining Hall, our campers and counselors ate outdoors in a camp-wide cookout that was great fun!

After a full day of activities on Tuesday, it was time to cool off with a few camp favorites for evening activity: Slip ‘n Slide for Juniors and a highly competitive round of Pool Olympics for Seniors.

On Wednesday we received some much needed rain which gave us all some time to rest and recover from the high-energy activities we’ve been doing all week.

Rest time didn’t last long though as it was soon time to head Under the Sea for our camp-wide dance. It’s always great fun to see how our campers interpret the dance theme, and this week we had sharks, crabs, fishermen, squid and a whole crew of Spongebob Squarepants characters that made everyone giggle. Needless to say we had a whale of a time!

As we near the end of our week, we still have big plans for camp fun with our camp friends. Thursday‘s evening activities are some camp classics: Pool Party for Juniors and Powder Fairies for Seniors. Our Equestrian Campers will spend the evening preparing themselves and their horses for the big day on Friday: Horse Show Day! At the end of every 2-week Equestrian Camp session, the girls get the chance to perform the skills they’ve learned at camp to their families and friends, and of course their counselors swell with pride at seeing how far each rider has come in just 2 short weeks.

Be sure to look out for photos of your camper on CampInTouch over the weekend, and there’ll be a special Week 7 Wrap Up video to watch on our YouTube channel.

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 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

The Week That Was… Session 1A!

Blink and you’ll miss it – we can’t believe that Week 1 of camp is already over! Although for many of our campers it went by far too quickly, we managed to squeeze in as much fun as possible, and here’s how:

We kicked off the week by welcoming our campers and staff from all over the world with our International Flag ceremony, before checking out some awesome acts at campfire. We learnt some new songs (one of which is a new favorite ‘Funky Chicken’) and witnessed some of CF’s finest campfire classics such as the Airplane Skit aka Chicken or Beef.

Excitement was in the air on Monday morning as we got ready for our first full day of activities! As always, there’s never a dull moment at camp and things got a little wet in the afternoon but as we say at camp… there’s no such thing as rain, there’s only liquid sunshine! We spent the time in our cozy cabins getting to know our cabin mates and playing games like dodgeball, shadow puppets, spoons and cards. Our dance pavilion transformed into a movie theater for our seniors which just goes to show that rain can never get us down here at camp!

On Tuesday evening it was time for Senior Villagers and Riding Campers to go head to head in an epic battle of Capture the Flag. The intensity was kicked up a gear when the campers took on the counselors…and won! The Juniors competed in a new evening activity called Get To Know Your Counselor where they had to guess all sorts of silly facts about their cool and crazy counselors with all their fun accents.

With the sun shining brightly on Wednesday we did some serious splashing with Slip ‘n Slide and a Pool Party and of course plenty break out dances when counselors were asked to ‘Show me how you get down!’

During our Thursday daily activities we started to put the skills we learned into practice in games and matches and then it was time to dress up for the big dance! We had berets, boots, flags, feathers and more as we all took to the gym floor for the Around the World boogie!

The final campfire on Friday is always bittersweet as it brings the week to a close, however there was much to celebrate with some campers receiving their 5 Year Pins for being loyal CF campers since 2013! We had some fantastic performances from groups and individuals including drama, dance, glee and more. Be sure to check out the Week 1 Wrap Up to see more, but it’s safe to say we had some really talented people here at camp this week!

We’ve been working hard to make 2017 our #bestsummerever, and so far it seems we’ve done a good job: a whopping number of Early Birders have jumped at the chance to sign up for next year! We can’t wait to see what Week 2 will bring… watch this space!

Writing Letters to your Camper: Tips Every Parent Should Read!

We know how hard it can be to send your child away to camp for weeks at a time and not be able to call or message them as often as you’d like. Although Camp Friendship is a technology-free camp, we also highly value communication and try to help you stay in touch with your camper as often as possible. We have our special e-letter system in place for just this reason, and we even set aside time during each busy camp day for campers to write home.

Some parents like to pre-write a number of letters to be delivered during their child’s stay at camp. If you’d like to do this, please date each letter and mail them ahead of time or drop them with us on Check-In Day. For ideas, check out 5 Letters to Write to Your Kids and our 5 tips below:

  1. Keep your letters upbeat. It’s important for campers to receive encouraging letters focused on the positive experience of camp rather than what they may be missing out on at home.
  2. Ask lots of specific questions. What is your favorite activity so far and why? What do you do in the evenings? What countries are your counselors from and have you learned anything new about that country?
  3. Give them updates about things that interest them. If their favorite sports team has played recently, give them the scores and updates, or if they’re interested in a particular celebrity, TV show or competition you could update them on these too. Not only does this show your camper that you value what interests them, but it will help them to feel connected to something familiar without bringing about homesickness.
  4. Send campers your love, not your anxiety. Try not to constantly talk about how much you miss them – rather express how much you care and how you can’t wait to hear all about the fun they’ve had at camp.
  5. Get creative and fun! Unique letters from a pet, secret coded letters or puzzle-type letters that need to be solved are always a hit here at camp! You’ll find some great ideas here  and also here.

What to do if your child gets homesick:

Research shows that around 90% of campers will experience some level of homesickness at least once during the summer. Please know that homesickness is definitely the norm rather than the exception, and let your child know that it’s completely OK to miss home and the things that are familiar to them.

At Camp Friendship, our staff are well-trained to deal with all levels of homesickness and with this being our 51st summer we have a good idea of what works to encourage campers to make the most of their camp experience. Our goal is for every camper to have a successful summer where they gain independence, increase their self-confidence and form connections with others. Parents can help by preparing themselves and their camper for the summer in a way that might prevent homesickness. Read more here.

Tips for what to say in a letter to a homesick camper: 

  • Empathize with them, but let them know that you’re proud of them for taking the big step to come to camp.
  • Reassure them that it’s OK to miss home, everyone does at some point, and being in a new environment can make anyone anxious.
  • Relate to them. You could share personal experiences of a time when you yourself felt homesick or if your camper has an older sibling or family member that successfully overcame homesickness you could share what helped them.
  • Focus on the positive. By the time you receive a homesick letter, your camper is likely to have bounced back and started to enjoy themselves again, so it’s important that your letter doesn’t hinder any progress they may already have made. Concentrating your letter on any exciting news your camper has already shared is a sure-fire way to remind them that camp is a fantastic experience.
  • Make them smile. Write them a few jokes or other creative letters to make them smile if they happen to experience another moment or two where they miss home.
  • Don’t suggest they quit. One of the hardest things for parents not to say is ‘if you don’t like it you can just come home’. While many parents think this will reassure their child, it often does much more harm than good. Of course in severe cases of homesickness this is a decision you would come to over multiple talks and updates from your camper’s Village Supervisor or a Camp Director, however sending your child to camp with the knowledge that they can pull the plug at any time can set them up to have an unsuccessful summer.

Please know that while homesickness is common at all sleepaway camps and across all ages, it doesn’t last long. We’ve had years of supporting our campers through their initial adjustment periods and we know that your brilliantly written letters will help to put a smile on their faces when they need it the most! We believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and we look forward to being an active partner in your child’s journey of wonder and self-discovery.

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.

6 Steps to Choosing a Summer Camp

When it comes to summer camps, there’s a lot more involved than just campfires, s’mores and sing-along songs. As a parent, you might already have come to the realization that picking the right summer camp for your child isn’t easy… it’s an important and time-consuming decision.

As leaders in the camp industry, we’ve simplified the process for busy parents by creating a 6 step process to choosing a summer camp:

1. Day or Sleepaway?
First things first, simplify your options. While there are hundreds of camps out there, you need to decide first and foremost whether you’ll be picking a day camp, an overnight camp or a combination of both for the summer. The most important part of this step is involving your child in the decision-making process. Some 7 year olds are ready for overnight camp, others are not; and parents need to be ready too. Session length is also a consideration when thinking of overnight camps as some offer 1 week sessions and others offer 2,3,4 and full-summer options.

2. Specialized Programming or General Fun?
Consider your child’s interests: what do they enjoy doing and what new activities would they like to try? Are you hoping for them to enjoy a wide range of experiences or do you want to opt for a specialty camp that focuses on a particular activity or set of skills? Nowadays camps offer all sorts of specialized options including horseback riding, circus and performing arts, sports, science and computer-based activities and more.

3. Philosophy and Mission: Does It Match Yours?
Now that you’ve narrowed it down some, it’s time to get to know the camp itself. What are you looking for in a camp? What should you be looking for? A sure-fire way to check whether a camp is the right fit is to consider your own parenting philosophy and whether the camp’s philosophy matches this: what is their view on competition, conflict resolution, flexibility and free-choice, are they affiliated with a religion etc. Another aspect to consider is the children that make up the camp’s community – would they all be from the same area or does the camp welcome children from out-of-state or other countries?

4. Consider the Costs
The general rule of thumb is that the earlier you sign up for camp, the cheaper it is. Some camps may offer financial aid or payment plans as well as sibling discounts or multiple week discounts. Check whether tuition is all-inclusive or if there are additional costs for transportation, specialized activities, out-of-camp trips etc.

5. Ask Questions:

All camps should have a helpful FAQ section on their website which will most likely provide answers to questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. The American Camp Association suggests parents ask questions relating to:

  • Accreditation and References: Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association and are they willing to provide previous camper families as references? What is their return rate for campers and staff?
  • Facilities and Food: How are campers bunked and what are the bathroom facilities like? How does the camp accommodate fussy eaters or food allergies?
  • Health & Wellness: How does the camp handle medical issues and manage camper medications? What about special needs? Are there health care professionals on-site and where is the closest medical facility? How is homesickness handled? What is the camp’s stance on behavior management?
  • Activities and Program Goals: How does the camp assign campers their activities – is it free-choice or do they receive a structured schedule as a group or individuals? Which is better for your child? How does the camp structure free time into a typical day?
  • Communication: How can you stay in touch with your child during camp? Does the camp allow electronics or is it technology-free?

6. Pay Them a Visit:
For a nervous camper (or parent!) there is nothing better than actually visiting the camp to ease any anxieties. Many camps have Open House Days during this time of year where first-time camper families are welcomed onto camp to meet staff, see the facilities and ask questions. Some camps also offer private tours just for you and your family. If you live too far away to visit, some camps may have camp videos or virtual camp tours on their websites which may be helpful.

Ready to start searching? Try the ACA’s Camp Search on www.campparents.org.

There’s a camp out there to suit every child, and when you consider the fact that over 14 million people attend camps annually in the United States alone, it becomes easy to recognize that there must be something special and beneficial about the experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about Camp Friendship, join us at our Open House on April 22nd.

Tennis Summer Camp VA

If you are looking for a tennis summer camp in VA for you or your child, Camp Friendship offers a fantastic program, as well as great scenery.

Tennis Summer Camp VA

Our tennis summer camp in VA is supervised by tennis pro, Alina Ackenbom. A member of the Camp Friendship staff since 1997, she holds her Elite Tennis Professional Certification from United States Professional Tennis Association.

Originally from Russia, Alina has over 30 years of experience of playing and teaching tennis.

Our tennis clinics

  • Tennis Summer Club Programs
  • Summer Camp Tennis Clinics
  • Junior Team Tennis Leagues
  • Adult Cardio Tennis Classes

Along with its tennis summer program, we have a plethora of sports for kids to participate in at their summer camp in Virginia. Camp Friendship is a great place for your child to enjoy sports at camp in close proximity to VA. Camp Friendship is an overnight summer camp in VA for campers ages 7-16 and offers six different summer camp programs and unique activities such as tennis, a horseback riding program, color wars and a ropes course, to name a few. There are a wide variety of traditional summer camp activities such as soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts, camp fires, and more!

Come visit or request more information. Contact us call 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950.


Camp Friendship offers a summer tennis camp in Virginia. If you have any questions pertaining to summer camp, sleepaway camp, overnight camp, coed summer camp, horseback riding camp, residential camp, or tennis summer camp in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania, contact Camp Friendship at: 1 (800) 873-3223 or (434) 589-8950.

 

 

 

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!

Spotlight: Emily Salvant & Friendship Bracelet Making!

Friendship Bracelets

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Besides Target Sports, Friendship Bracelet Making is one of the top activities here at Camp Friendship. Emily Salvant, Junior Girls counselor and instructor, has been making friendship bracelets almost 10 years now. I personally (today!) took her class and learned so much from the empress of friendship

bracelets.

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Campers and counselors alike love to get involved with friendship bracelets and make them for one another. Campers also make their friends and are able to take home priceless gifts handcrafted by their friends, and continue to cherish the memories. During off time and cabin time, more campers and counselors than not are seen around camp with their materials. The campers like to sit with their counselors and discuss different patterns, styles, and colors they would like to use next! Boys and girls alike enjoy making and receiving friendship bracelets throughout the week, and often leave with arms covered in bracelets made by their closest friends.

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Hopefully soon I’ll finish my first, and begin working on some for others! Friendship bracelet making here is a positive activity that everyone can enjoy, and random gifts from friends always make the campers’ day.

Upcoming Event: 80’s Rock Dance

This Thursday, June 23, Camp Friendship is hosting the weekly dance for our campers, this theme being 80’s ROCK! Counselors, staff, and campers have already begun looking for costumes, myself included!! Personally, I’m excited and cannot wait for what the campers have in store for us! I’m about to crimp my hair, find the hairband sunglasses and dance the night away along with the kids!