Camp Friendship


Gahanna Parks & Recreation

Office: 614-342-4250



Gahanna Parks and Recreation offers in-house school break and summer camp programs that are accredited by the American Camp Association and run by Gahanna Parks and Recreation staff. These programs are under the umbrella of the Camp Friendship Camping Company, allowing them to follow the same set of policies and procedures as well as the same set of health form and registration requirements.


The American Camp Association (ACA) is a community of camp professionals who have joined together, for over 100 years, to ensure the quality of camp programs. ACA provides education, resources and support for camp professionals and camp programs across the country and around the world. ACA also provides guidelines and standards for day and residential camps alike, to help ensure camps are providing safe, educational, and developmentally appropriate programs. These standards range from having adequate, working fire extinguishers and proper driver training to staff screening and camper to staff ratio requirements. In order to be an ACA accredited camp, a camp must provide written documentation that it upholds ACA policies and procedures, as well as pass an on-site visit where volunteer visitors see first-hand that ACA standards are being met. As ACA accredited camp programs, Camp Friendship Camping Company follows these guidelines, upholds standards and meets compliance as set forth by ACA.



School is out, and camp is in session! Camp Friendship Camping Company runs camps during Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools’ winter and spring breaks and are available on various days, dependent on the school and City holiday calendar. School break camps offer a wide variety of activities and multiple field trips throughout the weeks. Campers are able to register day by day or for the entire week. Dates of these camps are released a season prior, while details on times, activities and pricing are released in that specific season’s Gateway program guide.


For our younger campers who are too young or not quite ready to participate in our full-day traditional camp programs, Nature Bugs is the perfect opportunity to be introduced to the world of summer camp! Nature Bugs is a half-day programs for campers age 4 through 6. Campers will experience guided fun as they participate in various activities led by Camp Friendship Camping Company staff. Activities vary each week based on the theme and allow children to participate in fun, structured play and activities to help them develop their social skills and teamwork, while discovering the world around them.


Camp Friendship – Adventure is a day camp program held at Friendship Park for campers age 7-12. At Camp Friendship – Adventure, campers enjoy several of the traditional camp activities with the additional of specialized programs and activities specific to the weekly theme. Each week, campers will have a Pool Day and go on at least one field trip, and unlike Camp Hannah – Traditional, campers typically attend two field trips a week and/or an outside contractor brings activities and programs to camp that relate to the weekly theme.


Camp Hannah – Traditional is a day camp program held at Hannah Park for campers age 5-12. At Camp Hannah – Traditional, campers enjoy traditional camp activities that focus on teamwork and character education while also participating in weekly sessions of arts and creativity, sports and games, and outdoor education. Each week campers also have a Pool Day, go on a field trip, participate in an all-camp activity and Community Involvement, a program where outside organizations come to camp and present information about their programs or lead activities for campers, teaching them how to get involved in their communities. Camp activities and field trips are based off of weekly themes that vary week to week and year to year.

CORE – AGES 12-14

CORE (Creating Opportunities through Recreation Experiences) is a day camp program for campers age 12-14. This program is geared specifically to this age group, providing an age-appropriate mix of adventure, leadership, great field trips, community engagement opportunities and service projects. CORE allows for teens to get out and be active over their summer break, while also learning great leadership skills, participating in character development programs and engaging in community service projects around Central Ohio. CORE focuses on the specific developmental assets that mold caring, healthy and responsible adults, all while providing campers opportunities for some amazing summer adventures!

LEED – AGES 15-16

For campers who have graduated our other camp programs, LEED (Leadership. Experience. Exploration. Development.) is a counselor-in-training program that allows teens to give back to the summer camp programs they’re used to. Teens go through an application and interview process, for this program, that is similar to that of Camp Friendship Camping Company’s staff. Throughout the LEED program, teens get certified in CPR and First Aid, learn the background of Gahanna’s camp programs and what all goes in to planning each week of summer, go through an abbreviated version of Camp Staff training, learn the art of teamwork and experience Camp Friendship Camping Company programs first hand.


Summer Preview and Back 2 School Bash are day by day camp options that add days on to the beginning and/or end of the regular summer camp schedule to allow for some extra summer care options to fill the gap between school ending/stating and regular summer camp weeks. These program options vary each year and are based around the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools calendar. Campers register for these programs by the day, participating in traditional camp activities and station rotations.


What kind of staff do you hire for your camps?

Camp Friendship Camping Company staff are all 18 years old or older, have passed a background check and are CPR, First Aid and AED certified. Summer Camp staff are interviewed every year by the Camp Director, along with work history and reference checks.

What kind of training does your camp staff go through?

All seasonal Parks and Recreation employees receive training on workplace violence and harassment, accident and emergency procedures, ethics and Ohio laws. Summer Camp staff also go through several days of training specific to communication, leadership, recognizing and reporting child abuse, youth development and behavior management.

How do you transport campers for field trips and pool days?

Camp Friendship – Adventure and Camp Hannah – Traditional campers are transported for field trips via school bus through Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools transportation services. Camp Hannah – Traditional is also transported via school bus to their pool day. Camp Friendship – Adventure walks over to the Gahanna Swimming Pool for their pool day. CORE and LEED are mobile programs where campers and staff go to various programs and activities via City of Gahanna 15 passenger vans.

Do campers go on field trips?

School Break Camps go on multiple field trips throughout the break and details are outlined in the applicable Gateway. Summer Day By Day camps typically do not have any field trips, with the exception of possibly a pool day if schedules allow. Camp Friendship – Adventure goes on one to two field trips each week, depending on the weekly theme and schedule. Camp Hannah – Traditional goes on one field trip a week. Campers are split in to two field trip days and will go on the field trip depending on what group they are in each week; details are sent out in each weekly newsletter. CORE and LEED are mobile programs and travel to various activities, field trips, and service opportunities each day. As Nature Bugs is a half day program, campers do not go on any field trips.

Do campers ever get to go to the pool?

Both Camp Friendship – Adventure and Camp Hannah – Traditional have a Pool Day each week. On this Pool Day, campers head to the Gahanna Swimming Pool around lunch time and will remain at the pool for the remainder of the day. Camper pick up occurs at the pool on Pool Days.

What if my child can’t swim or is not a good swimmer?

As per policy set forth by the City of Gahanna, all pool patrons age 12 and under must pass a swim test in order to go off the diving boards or swim in the back pool. Camp participants must also pass this swim test in order to swim in the back pool, but due to our low camper to staff ratios and camp staff station assignments on Pool Day, Camp Friendship Camping Company campers have the option to take an intermediate swim test as well. For campers who cannot swim or who do not pass a swim test, they receive a red camp wristband and stay in the shallow end of the pool. There is a black line on the bottom of the pool that a counselor is always stationed at, and campers with red wristbands are not to pass this line. Other various specific boundaries are given to other campers, based on the swim test they have passed and the coordinating colored wristband they receive. Also at Pool Day, Camp Staff are stationed at restrooms, both the front and back pool, and various other locations, keeping an eye on campers throughout the day, in addition to those staff who are in the pool interacting with campers.

Do you offer extended care hours?

Camp Friendship – Adventure and Camp Hannah – Traditional camp programs and activities are planned 9am-3pm each day and extended care hours are provided 7a-9am and 3-6pm, included in the weekly price of camp. Since Nature Bugs is only a half day program, no extended care hours are available. CORE and LEED programs and activities are planned 9am-4pm each day and extended care hours are provided 7:30-9a and 4-5:30p, included in the price of camp. For school break camps, extended care hours vary based on the program, so please see the specific program section in the Gateway or online.

Do you provide lunches or snacks?

Nature Bugs campers will receive one morning snack each day. Camp Friendship – Adventure, Camp Hannah – Traditional, CORE and LEED campers will only receive an afternoon snack each day. Morning snacks, along with a non-refrigerated packed lunch is to be provided by parents each day.

What do campers need to bring to camp?

Each day campers should bring a packed lunch (except for Nature Bugs campers), a refillable water bottle and wear closed-toe shoes and clothes appropriate for active play. Depending on the day’s activities, an extra change of clothes, pool attire and towel or clothing layers would also be appropriate.

What is your camp’s sunscreen policy? Do I have to provide my child’s own sunscreen?

Camp policy has campers put on sunscreen multiple times throughout the day. Parents indicate on camper health forms whether Camp Staff need to apply a camper’s sunscreen or if the camper is able to apply his/her own sunscreen. If a parent indicates a camper can apply his/her own sunscreen, Camp Staff still ensure that all campers apply sunscreen appropriately each time. Camp Friendship Camping Company provides sunscreen (SPF 30) for all campers. If your camper has sensitive skin, would prefer a higher SPF or has a sunscreen preference, feel free to provide your own sunscreen for your camper. Please label this sunscreen and inform Camp Staff that it is available to use instead of camp sunscreen.



All participants in any Camp Friendship Camping Company program MUST have a completed health record on file in order to participate. We work with ePACT, a third party organization, to organize all camper health forms and get information to parents. Upon registration with Parks and Recreation, a camper’s name and email address are sent to ePACT for an account to be created. Once created, an email is then sent from ePACT to invite the camper parent to log on, create an account and complete camper health information. In order for the camper’s health forms to be connected and visible to Parks and Recreation staff, parents must hit submit/share at the end of the health profile. The health form process also requires parents to upload and attach a current immunization record and both a front and back copy of an insurance card, in order for health forms to be complete. These items can either be uploaded by the parent or emailed/faxed/delivered to Parks and Recreation. Please contact Parks and Recreation with questions or for exceptions to these requirements. Lastly, there are health form deadlines and late fees that are applicable to all programs and dependent on the season. Please see the applicable Parent Handbook for additional details and deadlines.


While registration for school break camps opens once that season’s Gateway is printed, summer camp registration does not open until Camp Registration Day. Camp Registration Day is held the last Saturday in February each year, and it is on this day that in-person registration for all Camp Friendship Camping Company and contract camp summer programs opens. Online registration for these programs then opens the following Monday at 8am. Details for each year’s Camp Registration Day will be listed in the Spring/Summer Gateway.


Registration for school break camps opens once that season’s Gateway is printed. In-person summer camp registration opens on Camp Registration Day, while phone and online registration opens the Monday immediately following. Registration for all Camp Friendship Camping Company programs closes ten (10) calendar days PRIOR to the start of that camp week or day for which a camper is wanting to register. Camp cancellation, refund and credit policies will be specifically outlined in the applicable program Parent Handbook, as these policies differ from other Parks and Recreation programs.

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