Every May, an Arizona tradition continues. Children roll sleeping bags, pack duffel bags and make their way to Friendly Pines Camp in Prescott.
Located in the cool pine forest of the Bradshaw Mountains, Friendly Pines Camp fills the summer with activities.
Founded in 1941 by Bud and Isabelle Brown and accredited through the American Camp Association, Friendly Pines Camp is the longest-running family-owned summer camp in Arizona.
Designed for ages 6 to 14, this coed sleepaway camp offers more than 30 traditional camp activities, including horseback riding, swimming, ball sports, rock climbing, performing arts, fine arts, pet care, fencing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, dancing and sewing.
The camp offers one-, two-, four- and six-week sessions.
“We’re now seeing a fourth generation of campers,” says Megan May, the camp’s director, who is the great-granddaughter of the camp’s founders.
“Many of our former campers, who are now the parents and grandparents of current campers, tell us that they love the fact that we’re still teaching the same, classic camp songs and square dances; still cooking Dutch oven biscuits over a campfire; and offering many of the same outdoor sports, activities and camp traditions that they remember doing.”
Friendly Pines Camp is also a place where boys and girls are required to make their own beds every morning and are assigned individual chores to help keep their cabins clean.
Children quickly learn how to share a small, cozy cabin with one bathroom and shower with new kids from around the world.
Parents should know that while many of the camp’s activities and traditions have remained the same over 81 years, all the main buildings and cabins have been remodeled and upgraded. Plus, while many of the same classic camp foods continue to be served, the kitchen staff accommodates children who are vegan, gluten free and lactose intolerant.
“Our daughter has been going to Friendly Pines for four years now, and we have also attended family camp,” says Allison Frumker of Chandler. “There is so much thought and energy put into every single detail, from registration to pre-camp checklists, activities, food, safety, communications, the entire experience. … As soon as camp is done for the summer, our daughter is already planning for next year.”
Friendly Pines Camp is also looking for counselors, and it has the highest staff salary of any Arizona summer camp. Their camp counselor pay breaks down to $17 per hour, $697 per week, and $6,274 for nine weeks of employment. That includes room and board plus three meals a day.
“Not only will a job at camp keep you gainfully employed, but it will also enrich your life in a variety of ways,” May adds. “Camp counselors have the opportunity to be a positive influence and role model in the lives of children, and they get to experience a great deal of adventure, exercise and nonstop fun in the great outdoors.”
Save the dates
7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 28: Friendly Pines will host a YouTube Live information night.
7 p.m. Monday, April 25: In-person roundup at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale. Families can learn about the camp program. The first half of the presentation is specifically directed toward new families.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21: Families are invited to visit Friendly Pines Camp in person for camp tours, wagon rides, toasting marshmallows, zip line rides, and drawings for prizes. A complimentary lunch will be served. Advanced registration is required. For more information, call 928.445.2128 or visit friendlypines.com.