When campers consider attending sleep-away camp, often one of their biggest questions is: “Where will I sleep?” Campers at Friends Camp live in rustic cabins with a total of 6-10 campers and 1-2 counselors. In Jones Session, campers may also have a Rising Leader, or counselor-in-training living in their cabin. Cabins have electricity to run a fan and power lightbulbs, but there are no bathrooms inside. There is little shelving inside cabins, so we recommend campers pack in something easy to access such as a flat-bottomed duffel bag.
When we create cabin groupings, we look to set campers up for a successful time at camp. Since the purpose of attending camp is to make new friends and grow, we do not place friends from home in the same cabin. As a small camp community, we do almost all of our activities as a large group and your camper will get to spend plenty of time with her friend from home at activities, meals, and free time. We use a family grouping method for cabins, meaning that there is age diversity in each cabin, within reason. We also try to make sure that a camper is never the only camper of color or first-time camper in a cabin group.
Our cabins have been around for a while– except for one new cabin built in 2018. A fun Friends Camp tradition is the camper history that lives on in cabin graffiti. Graffiti is now allowed outside cabins at camp, but inside campers are welcome to add their art to the memories on the wall. Recently one camper found his mom’s name from when she was a camper in the very bunk he was sleeping in!
Gender and Cabin Groups
Cabin groups typically are arranged by boys and girls, although sometimes we also offer a “gender expansive” cabin option for campers who sign up if enough families are interested. We are proud to be a camp for kids of all genders, where campers are free to make platonic friendships with others regardless of gender. At the same time, we value the opportunity for single-gender spaces, especially with our teens. Our young adult counselors are well-positioned to be role models and provide guidance to campers who are developing their identities as young people. To be with others experiencing similar challenges and joys around growing up can be an important factor in youth development.
While we value single-gender experiences in our cabins at camp, some of our campers don’t fit in the boxes of “boy” or “girl.” In order to offer a gender-identity affirming experience for all campers, we are offering a cabin option for campers who identify outside the gender binary where they can be with campers and staff members who also identify outside the binary. We hope that by creating a gender-expansive cabin option, campers who are often targeted by misunderstanding or forced to conform to gender expectations not true to who they are will be able to fully be themselves in a safe and supportive space.
If you and your camper are interested in them being in a gender-expansive cabin this summer, contact Anna by phone or email. You can also indicate this preference on your camper application. This cabin option is open to all interested families. Even if your camper does not identify as gender-expansive but you and they feel this cabin would be a good place for them, please do let me know. If you don’t contact me, your camper will be assigned to a cabin of the gender specified when you registered for camp.