I think my favorite part was the things you don’t plan for, you know, interactions that happen in the pine grove or during electives or in the Meetinghouse making art. All those small moments. How did you hear about Friends Camp? I grew up Quaker, going to Quaker meetings, yearly meeting, and retreats, and I heard about Friends Camp through those. I think I started going to camp when I was like 7 or 8 or 9...I don’t really remember! When did you know you wanted to be a counselor? I knew camp was a really special place growing up, and I didn’t want it to disappear from my life when I got older. I actually was a counselor at another camp when I was still a camper at Friends Camp, so I had experience, and I just love camp! What was your favorite part of being a counselor? I think my favorite part was the things you don’t plan for, you know, interactions that happen in the pine grove or during electives or in the Meetinghouse making art. All those small moments. Do you remember an activity that you ran that you really liked? Another counselor, Alex F., and I ran a wereporky-related scavenger hunt during Jones. It was awesome but also a total mess. We said the mac and cheese pancake recipe had been stolen and we took the campers on a scavenger hunt to get it back. Do you have memories of particular days or moments at camp that were really special? One from when I was a camper was “Box Day.” It was special day and the theme was boxes. It started pouring when we were at waterfront and there was [...]
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Ben is a lifelong Friends Camper. He was a camp counselor in 2018 and 2019, as well as running the most successful program in our Virtual Everybody Camp 2020: Dungeons and Dragons! For the 2021 summer, Ben will be a Program Director at camp supporting staff in designing exceptional programs that are pandemic-safe. I think about “rockstar day” when The Bumbling Woohas were coming to camp, and none of the kids thought they were real, but when they showed up all the campers were in disbelief. I got to play with them on stage too. It was amazing. How did you hear about Friends Camp? My best friend from preschool went for a summer before me and then he told me about it. I think I started going when I was about 10 and I was a camper until I was as old as I could be. When did you know you wanted to be a counselor? I think as soon as I realized that was something I could do. When I was camper, being a counselor seemed like the coolest thing ever, so cool it seemed unattainable. Then when I was in my last summer as a camper, or maybe a little before, I started getting asked if I would want to come back as a counselor and that was when I realized I could do that. It was something I always would have wanted to do, I just needed it to be made clear that it was an option for me. What is your favorite part of working at camp? My favorite part is probably coming up with programs. I worked at another camp before Friends Camp, and I think the biggest difference [...]
Now as a teacher I make the point to focus on creating a classroom community, and developing a sense of belonging to each other and ourselves, before focusing on learning. If kids feel out of place they won’t learn, but if someone feels like they belong, they will take more academic risks. You have to take care of your heart so that you can use your brain better. At Friends Camp I learned that everyone can feel like they belong, which takes work and intentionality. When did you work at camp? Well, I was a camper there from 1999 until 2002 and then I was counselor in 2006, 2007, and 2009. And I’ll tell you that in the summer of 2008 I did a teaching program for the summer instead of going to camp because I thought it would be more focused on what I wanted to do after college, but I just missed camp! How did you hear about Friends Camp? I heard about camp from a friend who went to my Quaker school in South Jersey, and she heard about it from a girl named Laura Sawyer, and later, Laura Sawyer and I worked at camp together and became good friends. When did you know you wanted to be a counselor? I always knew I wanted to work at camp when I was a kid. Friends Camp was this magical place where literally anybody could belong — I had never felt so instantly a part of a community. I went to a Quaker school pre-K through 12, too, and Friends Camp did it right. What was your favorite part of working at camp? I think my favorite part was that we could create [...]
Ty was a Friends Camp counselor from 2017-2019. Ty's first summer at camp was as a counselor (she wasn't a camper first). We love to have staff members who are brand new to Friends Camp, because they bring in amazing new ideas! I learned how to be organized and how to innovate, like with making new activities.Ty Simmons How did you hear about Friends Camp? I heard about Friends Camp through a teacher at my high school who was a camper when she was a kid! She recommended it to me in 2017. What was your favorite part of being a counselor? I think the creativity part is my favorite! We don’t have a lot of things at camp so we get to be creative with what we do have, and kids get to do new, fun, exciting activities with new people. Do you remember an activity you ran that you really liked? I ran a spa program that was really fun where we did like self-care things. There were two or three boys that joined, too, and that was fun for them to learn about skin care and get to try something new. Boys don’t get to do that at other places a lot of the time. When you think about camp, are there particular days or moments that come to mind? Camp seems very weird to people who have never been there, and when you talk about it to those people it sounds really cheesy, but people love camp. You know, you get to eat ice cream out of gutters or other crazy things like that, things that you don’t get to do at home. It’s a new environment where kids can try [...]
Not all Friends Camp staff members are from the Northeast! We interviewed Molly Kaviar (counselor 2013 and 2014). Molly hails from Kentucky and now serves on the Camp Committee and has remained involved in the Friends Camp community. I know this is cheesy but now whenever I see a sunset I think about Friends Camp. How did you find out about Friends Camp? I was a camper there! My aunt and uncle live in Boston and I used to visit them in the summers, and they took me to a Quaker meeting one summer and I met some kids who told me about Friends Camp. What was your favorite part about working at Friends Camp? I really liked designing morning programs, I felt like it challenged me in a good way and made me learn to be more creative. Maybe if you had asked me at the time I was working there that wouldn’t have been my favorite part but now, years later, it is something that sticks out in my mind the most. Do you have a particular program that you did that you remember or that you really liked? I did a program called Campfire Cooking where we cooked a different food over a campfire each day. The first day was a disaster because we didn’t start the fire early enough so it wasn’t hot enough to pop the popcorn, but Jack came and helped me out. The program was a good learning experience for me too. Jack came and taught us how to make a cake in a box over the coals of a fire. When you think about your time working at camp, what is a memory or moment that comes [...]
Kieto was a camp staff member I applied to an internship at a solar company. At the interview, the owner of the company was looking over my resume and all the courses I had taken that were related to the company’s work, but he saw that I had been a camp counselor, he said to me “I love seeing that. Counselors learn to work with lots of different people, and they get experience that you don’t get elsewhere.” How did you hear about Friends Camp? Well, I was a camper for many years. Family friends of ours went to a Quaker meeting in Lawrence, Massachusetts and I was best friends with the son of that family. He went for a summer, so then I tried it, loved it, and kept going back as a camper until I couldn’t! When did you know you wanted to be a counselor? I think my last two or three years as a camper I definitely wanted to, and I remember counselors and campers were starting to recommend that I become a counselor. I was responsible for my peers even as a kid. I felt like Friends Camp when I was younger helped me define myself so that I could be myself, and then when I was older I could help other kids find themselves. What was your favorite part about working at camp? Wow, there were so many good parts. I think my favorite part in retrospect is my awareness of the many different ways people communicate, and the different ways people connect to the Quaker community. I think while I was working at camp what I appreciated most was the escapism. Friends Camp was a world we got [...]
January 21, 2021 Dear Friends, We opened for Summer 2021 registration this past Saturday at noon. Because of limited capacity this year due to COVID, we chose to open spaces first to returning families, anyone who was registered to attend in 2020, and families connected with New England Yearly Meeting (our parent organization). Wow: that was fast! We have already filled all of our open session spaces for camp. How unbelievably exciting it is to look forward to building in-person community on China Lake again this summer. We so earnestly wish that we could host all campers who want to spend time at Friends Camp this summer, but operating an overnight camp safely during a pandemic has required a reduced capacity as well as many other adjustments to our operating plan. You can read some FAQs about camp this summer here, and see our session schedule here. We encourage interested families to sign up for our waitlist. We are actively working to expand capacity slightly if the pandemic situation improves significantly. It is likely we will take multiple campers of the waitlist for each session. Returning families are currently able to register for spaces on the waitlist, and we will open for waitlist registrations by new families starting at noon on January 30th. If you have questions about camp, want to learn about your position on the waitlist, or anything else please feel free to get in touch with me at 207-877-4302 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay well, Anna Hopkins Camp Director (207) 877-4302 email@example.com
Guitar class over Zoom! Earlier in July, we ventured into the world of at-home camp, and hosted a two-week, virtual and remote session called Everybody Camp! Over 200 families registered, and over 500 participants logged on from around the world to share in our camp community. We began each morning with a Courier Pigeon email that included announcements, the day's schedule, a gratitude to someone in our community, a suggested do-at-home offline activity, and a video message from someone in our community. Throughout the day, campers and families chose from many avenues of engagement that allowed folks to opt into how much screen-time felt best. In the early half of the day, campers played Dungeons and Dragons, learned guitar, sculpted masks, practiced camp leadership, danced, and even baked treats during programs run by Friends Camp staff members who Zoom-ed in from across the country. Families chose from 19 programs (and some chose to do many!) including two programs for adults! In the afternoon, campers of all ages could join in on electives which asked them to be silly, creative, thoughtful, reflective, and more. Over the course of the session, families participated in seven Evening Programs that brought some of our camp traditions home including the soiree, game night, and the variety show. Everybody Camp also offered folks the opportunity to engage offline, on their own time through do-along activities like making postcards and favorite camp recipes. We didn’t know what to expect when we decided to try Everybody Camp: would it feel like camp? would we feel connected? would it be fun? Thanks to the energy of the staff and the infectious smiles of the campers, each day provided optimism and light, reminding us all [...]
Letter to the Community, Monday, May 4th, 2020 Dear Friends Camp Community, With great sadness, we are writing to share that our youth sessions (Jones, Mott, Rustin, and Fell) have been cancelled for 2020. For the last few months, the Friends Camp staff and committee have been working hard to imagine how we could make camp work this summer. Last week, Governor Mills rolled out guidelines for the phased re-opening of Maine, including camps. These guidelines prohibit any overnight camp from opening before July 1 and, after July 1, allow a maximum group size of 50 and require a 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling from out of state. With these restrictions and the social distancing, healthcare monitoring, and sanitation procedures necessary during a pandemic, it has become clear that we will not be able to host camp sessions as we planned this summer. Since 1953, campers and staff have gathered to create a community built in love, belonging, and joy. Some of our favorite moments each summer are those where we are close together, shoulder-to-shoulder around a campfire, in calm silence at Vespers, and cheering each other on at the variety show. Simple times like lunchtime and rest hour even take on a special glow at camp. We will miss sharing these moments together in the coming months. Friends Camp is a haven of fun and silliness, and it is also a place of enormous growth, belonging, and community for our youth. Losing a year of camp is a big deal to our campers and to their families. Click here to see a video from our camp director for campers, acknowledging some feelings campers may be having. We will be in touch shortly by email with [...]
Sometimes you just need a break– from school, from your job, from your friends and family. Two years ago, exhausted and stressed out from a busy year, it was time to switch up my routine. Working in the Friends Camp kitchen was not a break in the traditional sense. I spent long hours on my feet, slowly wearing away at the soles of my clogs. Every morning I rose early, pulling on a dirty sweatshirt and stumbling into a quiet kitchen while the rest of camp slept. I finished out each day emptying trash cans and scrubbing countertops. It was hard work. But camp was still the break I craved. After years spent building my resume in the hectic world of political campaigns, I learned to approach work differently. Sometimes the political world can teach sly manipulation and encourage getting ahead at all costs. Until my first summer in South China, I had never been part of a community of people so committed to each other and so solely focused on creating a positive space. Friends Camp gave me a perspective I desperately needed. I reveled in the magic of the little things: a cooling midday swim in the lake, a round of knockout won on the basketball court, an imperfectly executed variety show routine. I laughed until my stomach ached and my jaw became sore. I cried at meetings for worship and fire circle messages. We prepared ridiculous amounts of pizza on Friday nights and felt an immense amount of pride when we finally mastered the newest friendship bracelet technique. Scrubbing pots and pans became an activity that couldn’t be completed without a shared smile and a dance party. For two summers, I lived [...]