Headfirst Summer Camps was founded in 1997 with a single pitching lesson by D.C. native, Brendan Sullivan, and quickly grew into a popular area baseball camp. Over the past 20+ years, they have branched out into other sports and day camps, and now maintain four locations in the DC/MD/VA region, including the historic St. Alban’s School campus in NW DC. With programs that range from sports and STEM to Junior Day camp and overnight, they’re one of the most popular camps around, with the area’s highest renewal rate.
Headfirst: A Camp with Benefits
Headfirst is more than just a camp, though. One of Mr. Sullivan’s goals was to bring some of the skills that are practiced naturally in sports into other programs. Headfirst’s camp curriculums are written by experienced educators and promote social-emotional learning, emphasizing empathy, setting and achieving goals, and the ability to manage emotions and make responsible decisions. Each week, campers are immersed in a carefully crafted story, giving them a unique way to understand and experience different types of challenges. In other words, to learn when they don’t know they’re being taught.
Through their story-centered programming, Headfirst aims to strengthen six core developmental skills, which they call their Super Six:
- Hope & Goal-setting
- Emotional Mastery
- Grit & Determination
Staff are trained on how to use research-based language to relay these concepts to kids in age-specific ways and ensure that the lessons learned at Headfirst Camps will stick with campers far beyond the summer.
In another nod to their sports-based roots, the Headfirst culture includes tons of fun and team-building traditions, such as eyeblack with positive messages, Icees parties (which must be earned by working together) and wristbands highlighting whichever Super 6 Skill is the focus that week (which also must be earned). Campers who attend multiple weeks of camp wear their collection of wristbands proudly.
Headfirst: A Camp for Every Camper
Headfirst’s range of programming includes Day Camps and Junior Day Camps (half and full day) for the youngest kids (Pre-school through First Grade), STEM and Multi-Sport for Kindergarten and up, and STEAM, Basketball, Soccer and Overnight Camps for older campers. As an added bonus, children in Day and Junior Day enjoy swim lessons as part of their camp day at most locations.
The wide array of themes for Day and Junior Day campers include Construction/Building, Geography, the Human Body, Superheroes, Dinosaurs, Urban Animals and more, while STEM is broken into different age groups and features Robotics, Dot and Sphero, Claymation, Hopscotch Coding and Invention Convention, just to name a few.
New this year is a STEAM program offering—Innovators, Inc.⎯which gives each group of campers a challenge to research, plan and overcome during their week, such as putting on a variety show or revamping a restaurant, from the handmade menus to the food to the staff. This year’s themes include Urban Planning, Hamilcamp (Hamilton!), Time Traveling through History, the Olympics and more.
Headfirst Conveniences and Extras
Perhaps most importantly, Headfirst also strives to make summer fun and easy for parents. With bus service to some locations, easy-to-order lunches, extended care in both mornings and afternoons, and the option to add private swim lessons, Headfirst wants parents to enjoy the summer, too. In fact, DC Moms Blog readers receive a special 10% discount by using code DCMB10.
For more information on Headfirst’s programs and philosophy, please visit www.headfirstcamps.com.
Headfirst Camp Locations: