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Camp SMILE

Fauquier County’s annual Summer Residential Camp for rising 5th graders is called Camp SMILE (Summer of Memories, Inspiration, Learning, and Enrichment). The program originated in 2006 at Markham Virginia’s Camp Moss Hollow.  For the past six years, Camp SMILE has been located at the Northern Virginia 4H Educational Center, just outside of Front Royal.

From July 30 – Aug 3, 2023, the 4-H camp’s beautiful mountain setting will be home to about 80 rising 5th graders from Fauquier County Public Schools who will engage in academic enrichment activities to give them a jumpstart to their final year of elementary school. The academic instruction will be taught by certified Fauquier County Public School teachers from various specialties including elementary and middle school, ESL, and special education.

Throughout the day the students spend about three hours on 5th-grade curriculum academics: math, reading, science, social studies, and a “Five Needs” class that helps build their self-esteem and awareness of their basic needs as human beings. The small class sizes incorporated hands-on learning, as well as outdoor activities whenever possible. In the afternoon and evenings, students will participate in typical camp activities, including campfires and singing.  

Camp SMILE activities include many components that incorporate Fauquier County Public Schools’ emphasis on the “5 Cs”--critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and citizenship. For example, through the “Five Needs” class students will practice citizenship skills. In addition, work in all classes features a variety of opportunities for students to apply their creativity and collaboration competencies. Finally, science assignments include small-group work focusing on critical thinking and communication between students.

Along with academic instruction, the students will also enjoy supervised camp experiences, including swimming, hiking, canoeing, campfires, and other selected activities. Students will stay in dorm-style accommodations with their peers and a trained 4-H camp counselor.

Image App

Photos from 2023 Summer Camp