Camp Friendship is a 30 year old grassroots 501(c)(3) not-for-profit youth service organization whose mission is to provide at-risk youth, from age 5 to 14, with tools, confidence and support to achieve academic success and to become healthy, successful and responsible citizens. Camp Friendship provides comprehensive, year-round programming, transitioning youth from season to season with a combination of team based and center-based activities, in an environment of support and high expectations. Through its programming strategy, Camp Friendship strives to develop cohorts of confident and motivated young people who provide one another with mutual support and positive reinforcement. Youth are provided with a structure that promotes positive values, creates familial ties with the institution, and develops important peer bonds that provide further positive reinforcement. In keeping with Camp Friendship’s mission to serve at-risk youth, all of CF’s programs are priced well below comparable programs in the area.
From humble beginnings… Camp Friendship (CF) began in 1973 as a committee of concerned neighbors working to raise funds to send children in need to summer camp. CF has evolved into a distinguished and vital community institution. Exploring new vistas… The programs that CF currently offers have developed from the organization’s mission to anticipate and provide for young people’s needs as they face the challenges of growing into adulthood within an urban community, in a rapidly changing world. This has meant an increased role as a “surrogate parenting network,” supporting working parents by providing their children with quality educational and recreational programs. CF challenges young people to expect excellence from themselves in every aspect of their lives, while reinforcing their role as important members of an extended community. CF recognized early on that sending young people to summer camp was not enough to make lasting improvements in their quality of life. To address this issue, in 1976, CF began its first after school program, initially as recreational activities designed to build character through team sports. In 1980, CF assessed its young peoples’ need for academic support and began its after school tutoring, homework help and academic advocacy programs. A new standard in community service emerges… In 1985, after a long period of renting whatever community spaces were available, CF was able to purchase and renovate its current site at 339 – 8th Street in Park Slope. At the same time, CF faced its greatest challenge: that its ability to meet the expanding needs of its constituency could no longer be met by staff alone. CF reached out to its young peoples’ parents and other concerned community members and made a call for volunteers. Today, many of CF’s after school educational and recreational programs are supported, as a whole or in part, by trained parents, youth and community volunteers; please consider joining this dedicated group of individuals! CF has grown into an institution that truly reflects the collective efforts of an entire community cooperating to serve the needs of its young people. To all those who have supported our youth programs in the past and to all who continue to support our programs through volunteering and donations — – the children served, and our Board of Directors, gratefully offer their thanks.