For over 20 years, Headfirst has been creating camps, events and other experiences that inspire young minds to use their individual talents and gifts to become the absolute best version of their future selves.
The Headfirst Companies were founded in 1996 by Brendan Sullivan, a native of Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1996, Brendan returned to D.C. after the first of five professional baseball seasons. His journey had taken him from the District to Stanford University and then into the San Diego Padres minor league system via the Major League Baseball draft. Brendan arrived home with a handful of one-page flyers highlighting his rookie baseball card and advertising private instruction. With a single baseball lesson that September on the fields of St. Albans School, his alma mater, The Headfirst Companies were born. With the first pitch, his mission was simple. It remains the same today: Inspire the personal best in high potential young people. And we’ve dedicated every summer since to that mission, with passion, enthusiasm and a focus to improve every day. Today, The Headfirst Companies have flourished into a national organization that operates three divisions: Headfirst Summer Camps, Headfirst Showcases (Honor Roll & Top96) and Headfirst Professional Sports Camps. At our Headquarters in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., 35 full-time employees further Brendan’s vision – to elevate our experiences as a platform to teach young people about life and create opportunities for their future.
The Headfirst Companies will host over 18,000 campers this summer across our various business lines. Headfirst Summer Camps are award-winning STEM, STEAM, Sport, and Overnight camps for children ages 3 to 14 in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia metro areas. Headfirst Summer Camps create immersive, hands-on learning environments which utilize the power of play to entertain, challenge and inspire. At the heart of our programming is our dedication to building a child-centered community where a consistent emphasis on emotional, social and physical wellness meets daily opportunities for exploration, learning and developmental growth.
Headfirst Showcases (Honor Roll & Top96) are two-day baseball and softball showcase events that connect coaches from the nation’s most academically competitive colleges and universities with multi-talented high school student-athletes who have what it takes to excel in the classroom and on the field. Honor Roll Camps events operate throughout the United States, from New York to Florida to California, and draw top-notch coaches and players from across the country.
Headfirst Professional Sports Camps are youth soccer, flag football, baseball and softball programs operated in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, D.C. United, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates & Washington Nationals. Based in each team’s home market, Headfirst Professional Sports Camps tap into the unique magic of these legendary professional sports by combining behind-the-scenes stadium access and player meet-and-greets with curriculum-based sport-related instruction to spark passion, build skills and create MLB, NFL & MLS-worthy experiences for boys and girls ages 5 to 13.
Our mission is simple: to inspire the personal best in high potential young people. We believe all campers, with the right support and encouragement, are high potential and capable of amazing things. Our job is to place opportunities in front of them so they can continue to cultivate the greatness inside of themselves. When we say we inspire every camper’s personal best, we’re not playing around. Well, actually we are. We believe the power of play is one of the most effective ways to bring out each and every personal best. Every camper is unique and every “best” is, too. For us, summer is a time for exploration. Our experience shows that guided exploration leads to the realization of untapped passion and talent. And when that happens during the most memorable time of a child’s life? Well, we believe the possibilities for the future are limitless. For over 20 years, we’ve been creating programs that inspire children and young adults to courageously engage with the world, celebrate the challenges that come with trying hard things, and meet every opportunity and every setback with persistence, patience and a positive attitude. We do this work because we believe in the profound value of social and emotional learning to equip our campers with the power to spark inspiration and unlock potential. We have developed a set of tools that we call the Headfirst Super Six to teach these valuable lessons. They aren’t just any tools; they’re character building social skills that are highly correlated to success and leadership. The Headfirst Super Six are Resiliency, Hope & Goal Setting, Optimism, Emotional Mastery, Grit & Determination and Self-Efficacy. Whether it’s a STEM lesson in Summer Camp, a hitting lesson in Professional Sports Camps or objective measurements in Honor Roll Camps, we build these tools into each and every curriculum. And, we hope that in partnership with families, we are playing a small, but valuable role in helping our campers achieve success so they can be the absolute best version of their future selves.
Over the years we have been honored to receive recognition for the great work of our staff and the quality of our camps. Most recently—for the second year in a row—The Headfirst Companies was named one of Washington Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018!