We swim daily at the Broadmead Swim Club in Princeton. Broadmead offers two pools: a full-sized swimming pool with a shallow section, a lap lane, and a diving section; and a second wading pool for our younger swimmers. Both pools are supervised by trained, certified lifeguards, and our PFC counselors swim with the campers. All swimmers, campers, and counselors (and the camp director) must pass a “Deep-End Test” to swim in the deep end and use the diving board. This test is administered and evaluated by the lifeguards, and we trust their judgment and defer to them on the issue. The test consists of swimming one length in either the front crawl or breast stroke, one length with the backstroke, and one minute of treading water. We swim in two shifts, our younger half of camp swims first from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m., followed by the older half from 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. This allows us to play games and have activities that are tailored for the appropriate age groups, and focus our lifeguards on the campers’ particular needs. While we do not offer swim lessons, we do allow campers to practice strokes in the lap lane, and the lifeguards and counselors are more than willing to work with campers who need some help in mastering a particular technique.
Princeton Friends Summer Camp has campers who come for one week, campers who come for all nine weeks, and every combination in between. To ensure a complete camp experience for those staying with us a short while and to keep things interesting for those staying the whole summer, we assign each week a special theme. These themes range from the abstract (Habitats) to the specific (Greek Gods). The weekly theme helps determine what games, activities, and special events will transpire during the week. For our Art Camp, the themes inspire the type of art styles and craft projects the unit will be working on. During Superheroes, art campers may design costumes or create their own comic books; during Music, they may paint their moods while listening to various types of music. Our Drama Camp will be writing and performing short plays based on the themes, perhaps a Wild West folk tale or a Greek Tragedy, depending on the theme. Kungaloosh! Camp will use the weekly theme as inspiration for characters, imaginative campus-wide adventures, and Village structures.
For each theme, the campers and camp staff will be asked to pretend to be characters within the theme, such as a member of a pirate crew or a famous jazz pianist. We encourage the campers to develop original characters and dress accordingly if they choose. We do not encourage the purchase of costumes, but rather taking a towel and wearing it as a cape or using a bandanna in a creative way, emphasizing simplicity and imagination over complexity and expensive costumes. Some of our camp parents also show up in character and use our PFC themes at home for play or educational purposes, so feel free to join in on the fun!
When registering for camp you may notice several programs available: Summer Camp, Drama Camp, Art Camp, and Kungaloosh. While these programs are different, they are all a part of the same overall camp, Princeton Friends Summer Camp. All are overseen by Camp Directors, Courtney Braconi and Firoozeh Wilson. Each specialty camp is offered to a select range of grades: Art (K-5th), Kungaloosh (3rd-8th), and Drama (5th – 8th) while the regular camp program is available for campers Pre-K through 8th grade. The specialty camps will only become available for registration online if your camper meets the required grade level for the program.
The regular camp offers a traditional program that features a mix of activities ranging from arts and crafts to music to sports to building in the woods (what we call Village), without focusing on any of these specifically. Each of the specialty camps is centered on a specific discipline, be it drama, art, or crafting/role-playing (Kungaloosh) with other camp activities mixed in to varying degrees. The Drama, Art, and Kungaloosh camps will join the regular camp for morning and afternoon Community, and participate in the weekly theme.
Hours for the regular camp and specialty camps are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All camps offer “Extra Camp” which runs from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
At camp, we experience a lot of mixed age activities, from morning community to special events. Something magical happens when we get all of the campers together. We also recognize that playing a game of soccer with both Pre-K and 8th graders would present a challenge to say the least. To accommodate the specific needs of each age group, we break up the camp into smaller units. Each unit consists of a Unit Director, an Assistant Unit Director, a Floater, and several campers. While the size of a unit may fluctuate, we aim to never have more than an 8-1 ratio of campers to counselors for our elementary school aged campers and 9-1 for our middle school aged units. Our younger units spend more time on activities like changing, lunch, and set snack, bathroom, and water breaks. Our older units have more time playing sports and games, and may even work in some time assisting the younger units with storytelling or Village building.
A Unit Director is a counselor who is over 18 years old, has worked at least one year at the camp, and demonstrated an ability to lead, entertain, and effectively supervise a unit of campers. An Assistant Unit director is over 15 years old and most have had at least one year of experience as a volunteer CIT (Counselor In Training). Floaters are typically 17 and older, and split their time between two units, providing assistance when it is required.
Every camp day begins and ends with a whole-camp gathering we call Community, an integral part of our day. Community begins with groups arriving and settling in silence. This allows us to appreciate the natural world around us and observe birds, squirrels, and even the occasional deer in the distance. We then check in with every unit by performing short cheers written by the campers at the beginning of each summer. After that, we might receive a visit from a Superhero, Greek God, or visiting Wizard, take turns presenting skits or songs prepared during the day, play some games, sing some songs, or anything else that ties in with the weekly theme.
Our signature activity, Village, is perhaps the most popular time of day for our campers. Village is, at its heart, kids, sticks, twine, and imagination. We set aside a small section of the woods for every unit, and give them one hour every day to build. We have seen elaborate engineering, simple structures, and everything in between. Emphasis is placed on working together to build communal structures, and younger units explore the concept of sharing and ownership as they learn to work together to create something that they couldn’t build on their own. We also place an emphasis on safety, tailoring the rules for building to each age group, thus ensuring that the villages grow in size, structure, and complexity as the campers get older.
We talk about the SPICES quite a bit during our time together each summer, but what are they exactly? The SPICES are a selection of Quaker testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. Simplicity refers to appreciating the simple joys in life and looking towards nature and imagination. Peace is our commitment to peaceful conflict resolution when addressing issues between campers and the understanding that we don’t act aggressively towards each other. Integrity speaks to the respect for oneself that we hope to instill in each camper, and the honesty we expect from those who are a part of our community. Community is not just an event or place, but a feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself and the joy and strength that comes from embracing that. Equality reminds us that everyone has a unique and valid viewpoint from which we can all learn, and that no one should be made to feel less than anyone else. Stewardship teaches us to take care of the people, places, and things around us so that others may enjoy them after we have moved on. We weave these SPICES into the storylines of the week and use them as gentle reminders when campers are in need of such guidance. We are constantly amazed by how even our youngest campers can understand these very big words and concepts.
A day at PFC is filled with fun and fresh-air, so we ask that you bring a few things with you to get the most out of your day. Campers should arrive with their bathing suit on or underneath of their clothing and should put on sunscreen at home before camp, as it takes awhile for sunscreen to fully soak in. Please bring the following:
- Extra sunscreen to reapply after swimming
- Bug spray to reapply after swimming
- Goggles, if you like to use them
- Change of clothes for after swimming
- Completed medication form and the original packaging of the medication if applicable (forms will be available when you arrive at camp)
Please leave all electronic devices at home.
We ask that each camper bring his/her own lunch and snacks to camp every day. For lunches, we ask that no “heat-ups” or items that require refrigeration be brought. We also ask that you avoid glass bottles. For snack, younger units will set aside a specific time every day to sit down and enjoy snack together, while older units will be allowed to take a snack break as needed between activities. If your camper has specific needs regarding snack or lunch, we ask that you speak with your unit director They will work with you to make sure that your camper is eating properly and well taken care of. Occasionally, we may offer special snacks related to the theme, for example last year we had “ambrosia” during Greek Gods week. When a specialty snack is offered we check our medical records for food allergies and provide an alternative snack for those who require it.
At the Princeton Friends Summer Camp, we place a high value on communication. Communication between parents and counselors is vital to ensuring a great summer and a happy camper. To this end, we require all parents to sign in and out at the beginning and end of each day, both for safety concerns and to allow for conversation about the day. Drop-off begins at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at 8:15 a.m. We highly encourage campers to be on time because starting the day together benefits the individual camper and entire unit. Pick-up is from 4:30 - 4:45 p.m. While we certainly allow for late drop-off and early dismissal, we ask that this not occur during Morning or Afternoon Community, 8:15 - 8:50 a.m. and 3:45 - 4:30 p.m. Furthermore, please be aware that campers will be off campus for a portion of the morning and parents should speak with their camper’s unit directors ahead of time regarding late drop-offs during swim hours.
We realize that many families need care outside of our 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. hours. To help out, we have created an Extra Camp Program. This program runs from 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. in the morning and from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. in the afternoon. During this time campers will play games, have free time on the playground, or curl up with a good book and relax. Because of the length of the day, we provide a snack for campers staying in Extra Camp. The cost for a week of Extra Camp is $40, a single day is $10. If you are ever late in picking up, or need to drop off early one morning, please rest assured that we will be able to accommodate your needs. Campers not picked up by 4:45 p.m. are automatically placed in Extra Camp, safe, engaged, and happy until you are able to arrive.
This is our camp word. It means “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “That was awesome,” “I’m sad camp is ending,” or whatever other meaning we need it to convey. If you hear someone say “Kungaloosh,” the proper response is always, “Kungaloosh!” This is but one of the many camp traditions you will encounter during your time with us. We believe that having traditions unique to our camp is an important part of building our community. These traditions reward long-time campers, who come in with the knowledge, and they welcome new campers by letting them in on the secret. Plus, our traditions are a lot of fun!
Kungaloosh Camp, however, is a specialty camp that takes the weekly theme and seeks to bring it to life through crafting, role-playing, leading activities, and all manner of storytelling. This is a program for students who seek to engage the imaginative play and Village side of camp more deeply.