"FMC is one of the best camps I've ever been to. It inspires both musically and spiritually. "
-- Camper reflection
In 1980, two friends (and Friends) Peg Champney and Jean Putnum combined their love for music with their deeply held belief in Quaker ideals of community, equality, integrity, peace and simplicity to create something unique: a Quaker music camp. Nearly forty years later, Friends Music Camp remains committed to helping every camper grow musically and personally in a supportive environment.
There is much that we can say about how this intersection of music and Quakerism is special, and you can find our thoughts below. First, we suggest you watch this video, where our campers and their parents share their thoughts.
How does Quakerism influence what we do at FMC?
We set aside twenty minutes each morning and evening to gather as a community for a period of silence.
For staff and campers from Quaker or other religious backgrounds, this is a period of silent worship. For staff and campers from non-religious backgrounds, this can be a period of meditation, reflection or simply a way to think through one’s day. This time draws our community together, and campers and staff from all backgrounds describe it as a central part of their FMC experience.
On the first Sunday of camp, we visit the Clear Creek Meeting on Earlham's campus for meeting for worship, which is an hour-long version of our daily collection.
Inclusivity and Social Responsibility
FMC is a community that is welcoming and safe for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic circumstances.
All campers take a class called Life Challenge, where they discuss ethics and social justice issues.
To help campers see how their music making can serve a greater good, each year we give a benefit concert for an outside organization, currently Birth to Five in Richmond, Indiana.
Cooperative music making
We encourage campers to work every day to improve their musical skills, without creating a sense of competition between campers.
Guided by the Quaker belief in the value that each person brings a community, FMC welcomes campers of all levels of musical ability. Every year we have a different mix of instruments and voices, and campers with a wide variety of musical experience. Our staff are expert at tailoring their teaching and their repertoire choices to each summer's unique group of campers.
Campers actively create our community by joining and leading committees to help organize social activities, celebrate birthdays, write the camp newsletter and more.
Returning campers may join the Camper Advisory Committee, which meets to discuss issues and concerns related to the camp community.
Committees report to the camper community at weekly business meetings, run by clerks selected by the campers themselves.
Weekly camper-led sharing groups bring campers together in small groups to discuss topics of their own choosing. These groups are formed to allow campers who might not otherwise socialize together to share their thoughts and get to know one another.
Many evening activities are planned and run by campers, including Capture the Flag, Stunt Night, Original Works Sharing and the Camper Planned Dance.