January 18, 2024

Dear Harbor Families,

This time last year, I received an email from a local advertising company and the heading read “Camp Begins in January”. As I started to plan for Camp Harbor 2023, I came across this phrase more than a few times. If you are familiar with the registration process for camp in the DMV area, you may be familiar with this phrase as well, which simply means that all planning and programming correlated to the upcoming summer begins in the first month of the year. January is also when registration opens and it is time to start thinking about summer camp to ensure that plans are set for the summer!

The last day of Camp Harbor, Summer 2023, was August 11th - Carnival Day. What a special and memorable day it was! My morning started with a meeting with the CITs (Counselors in Training) to review and prepare for the exciting carnival plans we had for the day! The first task, which I thought would perhaps be the least exciting, was popping popcorn. 

The CITs spent the morning enthusiastically preparing popcorn bags for each camper to surprise them as they came upstairs after arrival. Since our goal was to create an authentic carnival experience, we wanted the hallway to smell like popcorn as the campers arrived. My team was onboard, and we all worked hard to ensure that the hallway smelled like a carnival! 

As we frantically worked to make sure that all bags were popped and on trays in time to distribute to teachers for morning snack, we could hear the excitement of the campers as they walked up the stairs exclaiming, “I love that smell!”, “I smell popcorn”, and  “It’s Carnival Day!” I vividly remember feeling the palpable excitement of our campers that morning, as with many mornings at Camp Harbor!. 

In that moment, I began to think about Camp Harbor 2024.

It was in this moment and several other joyful moments throughout the summer, that I realized that for me, personally, camp does not begin in January. For me, planning for Camp Harbor is a continuous creative project.  As campers played with bubble wands and ran across the field jumping through sprinklers on Water Play Wednesday - the wheels in my brain turned and I would think “what can I add to this experience for next week”? Sure enough, each week, there was something new and exciting on Water Play Wednesday! And throughout the school year, whether it is seeing an inspiring project in one of our classrooms at Harbor or researching in my spare time, I am always thinking of how to make the summer even more fun! 

The joy of a child is precious. I strive to make each day of Camp Harbor better than the next! After all, can you really have too much fun at camp? 

The moment has arrived, and it’s time to officially announce Camp Harbor 2024! This summer, we will  embark on a whole new Camp Harbor journey!This summer we will journey through seven exciting and engaging themes. Each week will be filled with inquiry based learning, interactive projects, arts and crafts, movement, and outdoor play. The Camp Harbor themes are as follows: 

The Journey Begins June 24th! 
June 24-28: Journey Through the Galaxy
July 1-5 (no camp July 4): Journey Through Nature
July 8-12: Journey into the Jungle
July 15-19: Journey to the Ocean
July 22-26: Journey to the Olympics
July 29- August 2: Journey to the Amazing World of Engineering 
August 5-8: Journey to the Carnival 

Registration is officially open! Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions. We hope that your camper will come along for a journey filled with creativity, discovery, and exploration.  


Ashley Howard 

Camp Harbor Director and Learning & Literacy Specialist

Harbor School