OUR FOUNDER

Chuck Ackenbom
Founder

Chuck’s dream of starting his own camp was sparked by many summers spent at Boy Scout Camp.  After serving 5 years as a Navy pilot, he longed to own a camp that invited children and staff from all over the world to gather in peace.  In 1966, his dream came to life when he opened Camp Friendship.  As Camp Friendship grew, Chuck was active in promoting the goodness of camp for all kids.  He served both as the American Camp Association (ACA) Virginia President and as the ACA National President.  He was honored by the ACA as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award presented in the camping industry. He also served as the United States representative for 20 years on the International Camping Fellowship Board. 

Now, semi-retired, Chuck still lives on Camp and enjoys daily walks of the property. He loves talking with campers and staff about both current activities and the history of Camp.  He still gets a twinkle in his eye when discussing what this place means to him, and his enthusiasm is contagious.  Chuck is proud to have family members that share his passion, his vision and his dream.  Younger generations of the Ackenbom family now operate Camp. Camp Friendship was truly founded in love and acceptance, and Chuck is happy to see his legacy continue for many more years to come.