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Registration is Now Open! Click Here to Register for 2022!

A COVID19 vaccination is required to participate in camp. Click on the red circle icons below to expand the section for more information. All families, including returning families should review 2022 updated policies BEFORE registering their camper for camp.

Girls First

At Madeira, we believe leadership and learning are active and experiential, joyful and personal. Girls First mixes the magic of Madeira sisterhood with leadership, community service, and immersive impactful learning on a subject your girl is passionate about. We use our sprawling campus as well as the Nation's Capital as both playground and classroom. Designed for Middle Schoolers (rising 6-8th grade), Girls First is part summer camp, part leadership institute, and part learning laboratory; combined to foster the intellectual, artistic, and practical growth of your girl in an integrated and holistic manner. 

Click on the red circle icons below to expand the section. All families, including returning families should review 2022 updated policies BEFORE registering their camper for camp. Registration opens at 10:00 am on Monday, January 17th. 


Everything You Need to Know About Girls First 2022

Girls First General Information

Grade Level

Rising 6th-9th grade

Program Description

Above all – Girls First is serious, good, fun. Campers steward their experience from day one by choosing one of six camp program tracks at registration. These unique subjects are not typically something you will find within your school walls yet are all experience and vocations that young women are increasingly interested in pursuing as a hobby or even a career! Over the course of two weeks, campers will spend about one-third of their time focusing on this track, going deeper into the subject every day through field exploration, guest speakers, and real-life applications and hands-on learning. The rest of your time will be spent exploring campus with friends, trying the pool and the pond, challenging oneself on the ropes course and archery range, and getting involved in our girl-leadership experience. Above all, campers will have an invaluable chance for young women to experience a new place, develop close friendships, and learn from committed mentors. Campers may choose either the residential sleepaway track or opt for the day-only track. More details on the two tracks, and the six course descriptions can be found nder the Courses & Tracks dropdown.

2022 Dates & Cost

Dates Session Course Cost
July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Architecture & Design WAITLIST
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day Architecture & Design WAITLIST
July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Art & Fashion $3,000
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day

Art & Fashion

July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Culinary $3,000
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day


July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Theatre $3,000
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day Theatre $2,200
July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Veterinarian Science $3,000
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day

Veterinarian Science

July 10-July 22 GF 1: Residential Virginia Adventure $3,000
July 11-15 and July 18-July 22 GF 1: Day Virginia Adventure $2,200


Contact the camp team!



Girls First Residential Specific Information

Girls First is best experienced as a residential sleepaway camp.

We believe that time away from home helps build resiliency, independence, courage, and confidence. Residential campers live in on-campus dorms that are staffed by a team of counselors and administrators. We welcome residential campers from all over the country and the world!

Staffing and Group Structure

During the day, campers come together with their subject-based cohort and work closely with their program instructor and counselors. Program instructors represent achievement in their field or discipline, helping campers to see the many contributions of women in that area of study. For the Girls First leadership experience, afternoon, and evening activities, campers come together in a mixed group regardless of program track. Day campers are integrated into afternoon and leadership activities but leave before dinner.


Campers eat thoughtfully prepared and healthy meals in the spacious Madeira dining hall, just like our students do! Residential campers enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Day campers enjoy lunch and are invited to stay on campus for a late-night dinner on Friday, July 15. Menus are flexible and work to accommodate dietary needs and allergies.


Residential campers live in a double room in one of our airconditioned dormitories. Campers share a bathroom with their floor, which includes shower stalls, sinks, toilets, and cubbies. Each dorm has a common room with lounge furniture, games, activities, and a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and sink. Laundry is in the basements of each dorm should your girl want to try her hand at laundry! Dorms are staffed by counselors and camp administrators, who live in the space in single rooms. They are available in the event of emergency during sleeping hours. Each evening, the dorm comes together for activities and fun. Once a week we come together for an all-campfire, singing and s’mores.  


Day campers do not participate in activities on the weekend between camp weeks. Camp weekends are for kicking back with friends and having fun the way Maderia students do. Girls will get to sign up for a variety of activities and connect with campers outside their dorm. You might take a trip into Georgetown, go to a Washington National’s baseball game, head to Great Falls National Park, or go caving in central Virginia. On Saturday night, campers can participate in the annual “Miss. Greenway” competition, where groups or individuals compete in an off-kilter pageant that tests trivia, talent, creativity, and teamwork. On Sunday, girls get to sleep in, have brunch, and choose from a selection of low-key campus-based activities like yoga, swimming, canoeing, tye dye, or hanging with friends.

Drop Off Day

Residential campers move onto campus on Sunday, July 10th. This will give your camper time to settle into her campus dorm, meet the other residential campers and staff, and start to get the lay of the land! Course programming begins for all girls on Monday, July 11th, where residential campers will be joined by the day camp girls.

Pick Up Day

The last Friday of camp is a full day for all campers. Residential families are invited onto campus as early as 2:00 pm to pick up and pack out their camper. Campers who need to catch flights can arrange for an earlier pick up time. Day campers and residential campers are welcome to stay on campus until 5:00 pm. 

What to Bring

A suggested packing list will be shared with families closer to the start of camp. This will include requirements for bringing any medications to camp. 


Girls First follows a traditional sleepaway camp cell phone policy and we do not allow campers to have their phones while at camp. We believe in fostering deep connections with new friends, and this helps contribute to that type of environment. Girls are more connected, when they are disconnected. If campers are travelling to camp, they may bring their phone and turn it in to the camp office on the first day of camp. Phones will be stored safely until the end of camp. Caregivers can stay connected with their girl through our one-way email system or traditional snail mail, which campers love!

International Campers

Every year girls from around the world attend Girls First. We hope this year it will be you! No special VISA is required to participate in camp; a regular tourist VISA is all you need. Bedding and towels can be provided if needed, and airport transportation can be arranged for an additional fee. There is no language requirement to participate in camp programs, however all courses are taught in English. We recommend that international families contact the camp team, prior to registering for camp with any questions you may have.

Vaccine Requirements

  • Following policies of The Madeira School, all campers, including international campers, must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to participate in camp programs. Requests for exemption must be submitted in writing to the health team prior to registration; refunds are not issued due to vaccination status and exemptions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Staff must provide proof of full vaccination for employment.




Courses & Tracks

2022 Girls First Course Concentrations

Girls First registration includes all course content, materials, and field trips. Field trips listed in descriptions are offered as suggested possibilities. Summer at Madeira staff reserve the right to edit, modify, and suppliment camp program content based on group interest and field trip availability come summer. 

In addition to course content, all campers will participate in the Girls First leadership institute and afternoon camp activties which includes swimming, high and low ropes, arts & crafts, games, and more. Campers enrolled in the residential track spend evenings, nights and weekends on campus. Campers enrolled in the day track are on campus Monday-Friday. Drop off is from 8:30-9:00 and their day ends at 5:00 pm. Day campers are invited to an optional late night on Friday, July 15th. Course enrollment includes a mixture of day and residential campers. 

Architecture & Design (WAITLIST)

Do you dream of designing? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be an architect? Spend two weeks exploring architecture and desing - from landscape to residential, and everything in between. Practice different architectural drawing skills like plan, elevation, and section drawings, design a room using SketchUp, and conduct a client interview for a re-design of a space on campus. Take the cardboard chair challenge to see if you and your team can design and build a functional chair entirely of cardboard, create and design accessories for your space at home (maybe a hand-dyed pillow, woven wall hanging, or a lamp), and create a mood board where you’ll explore materials.  Possible site visits could include The National Building Museum, Frank Lloyd Wrights Pope-Leighey House, or the American Society of Landscape Architects. Campers will end the week designing a scale model of a space of their dreams.

Art & Fashion (TWO SPACES LEFT)

How does art and fashion intersect? Creativity is key as you explore our beautiful campus with an artistic lens as you dabble in elements of art and fashion. Discover the history of traditional “women’s work” such as quilting, embroidery, needlework, and ceramics painting, and see how contemporary artists have turned these domestics into fine art worthy of museums. Create work inspired by artists who are blurring the boundaries of between art, craft, and fashion. Maybe you’ll create your own textile, develop a sculptural knitted creation, or design a tapestry celebrating your family or ancestry. You’ll explore pop art, kitsch, and tradition, and take a virtual field trip tour of America: A Lexicon of Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will end the week designing, prototyping, and creating a garment or accessory inspired by a work of art that you experience on a museum trip in Washington, DC. 

Culinary Exploration (WAITLIST)

Are you the foodie of the group? Can you see yourself on Top Chef? Spend two weeks getting creative in our cooking laboratory as you learn culinary basics and best practices such as kitchen safety, preparation techniques, workspace organization, nutrition, menu planning, and vocabulary essential to any cook. You might learn to properly cut, slice, chop, sauté, roast, and caramelize an onion, try your hand at a blind taste test, and even develop your own recipe. You'll learn to cook for a variety of diets like vegan or gluten free as we explore culture and tradition through cuisine. At the end of the week, work together as a team to plan and execute a delicious lunch soiree – all cooked by you! Trips into the field could include a behind the scenes tour of a local restaurant, a private cooking class, or a visit to a food incubator like Union Kitchen: DC. The Culinary Exploration program features primarily savory-based cusine cooked on stove top or induction burners and includes minimal baking. Campers with allergies or dietary restrictions are encourage to join and recipies can be modified.

Theatre (WAITLIST)

Lights... Camera... ACTING! Join fellow dramatics on the Madeira stage. You will gain confidence in expressing yourself and find your creative voice. Learn the basics of staging, voice, and speech, or deepen your technique. Together, campers will explore the nature of storytelling, drawing upon personal stories, written scripts, and even writing their own. Specific skills include voice and diction, movement and choreography, improvisation, physical comedy, and play analysis. Campers will work on their acting techniques with the goal of creative unique and compelling characters. They will also collaborate to realize the technical elements including costuming, props, and set design. The group will visit a local theatre to see a performance live, and then will work towards creating their own short group or individual performances for the end of the session. Please note campers will be working to create meaningful vignettes rather than a full-scale performance. Families will be invited to view the theatre showcase on the last day of camp. 

Veterinarian Science (WAITLIST)

Are you wild about animals or envision a career in veterinary medicine or animal science in your future? In this program, you’ll learn about the fascinating, dynamic field of animal care as you explore biology and life science principles through the lens of dogs, cats, horses, and exotics like lizards or snakes. Your day will be packed with hands-on labs and activities as you learn what a veterinarian’s job entails. You will learn to assess animal vital signs, practice bandaging techniques, debate veterinary ethics, restrain animals, give injections, and analyze x-rays. You’ll have the chance to dissect and observe a variety of specimens such as frogs, nurse sharks, and worms to observe the skin, muscle, bones, and organs within. Campers end the week working through a real veterinary case from start to finish. Trips into the field could include visits to a local animal hospital or veterinary practice, the National Zoo, or an animal shelter to volunteer. In this program, campers will get to interact with dogs, horses, and small reptiles. 

Virginia Adventure

From city streets to mountain peaks, come spend two weeks exploring the DC metro area. Become a cultural anthropologist for two weeks as you explore the Nation's Capital learning about history, culture, cuisine, and art. You'll take a down-town mural tour to explore the streets of NoMA and Union Market, then create your own mural back at camp. As a group, you'll decide on a museum, monument, and restaurant to visit. Maybe you'll visit the new Futures exhibition the Smithsonian Castle, learn about President Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial, or enjoy tacos at chef Jose Andreas' Oyamel Cocina. Explore one of DC's oldest public marketplaces - Eastern Market and purchase fresh ingredients to prepare a snack back at camp. End the week exploring nature! Train for a hiking with friends at Great Falls National Park, and sleep out under the stars (in tents!) on Madeira's campus. Each day will be an adventure on its own, and this is just a sampling of trips you will take and people you'll meet. This program is considered a tripping program. Campers will spend most of their days off-site and will travel by Maderia bus, chartered vehicle, or Metro. Day campers registered for this program are invited to stay for the overnight on campus. 





Camp Questions?

Want more information about Summer at Madeira? Contact us at 703-556-8234 or email us.