Frequently Asked Questions
What if my child gets homesick?
Homesickness is real, so we train our counselors, leadership and clinic staff how to recognize and lovingly care for homesick campers. Our goal is to create an accepting, engaging and fast-paced camp experience that helps campers to focus on the present moment. If your child is homesick beyond the first 24 hours, one of our team leaders will call you. We like to say that we are on a team with each camper’s parents to create a fantastic camp experience for that child, and we want to ‘pool our resources’ to help your child overcome homesickness. Here are some “pre-camp” tips that might help prevent homesickness: 1 - Talk to your child about the camp experience. 2 - Schedule a tour of camp so your child can see where he or she will be staying and meet one or two of our staff. 3 - Share positive stories of your own camping experiences or overcoming homesickness. 4 - Emphasize how proud you are that your child is mature enough to spend a whole week at camp. 5 - Write daily letters to your child using our online message system. 6 - Avoid overemphasizing how much you will miss your child or how lonely the house will be – help your child feel excited about their independence.
Can I contact my child?
Summer camp is a fantastic opportunity for your child to experience independence and develop their interpersonal skills in a safe, caring, and supervised environment. With that in mind, we encourage you to limit contact with your child during the time they are at camp in order to create space for your child to learn some independence. If anything of concern with your child arises (such as homesickness, not eating, not connecting with their group, not feeling well, behavior issues), one of our team leaders will contact you via phone. If an emergency arises and you must reach your child, please call or text 703-943-0809, and we will arrange a phone call with your child as soon as possible (typically within an hour, depending on where your child is on camp).
How do I select my counselors?
All of our staff go through a careful screening process. 70% of our recruiting is done via word-of-mouth by former excellent staff because we realize that ‘good people are friends with good people.’ These applicants then go through a screening process that includes an application with essay questions, an hour-long in-person or Skype interview, phone calls to three references (a supervisor, a spiritual leader, and a childcare reference), and a background check. All of our counselors must be high school graduates; the average age of our counselors is 20. We do hire around twenty high school juniors and seniors to be Counselors-in-Training (CITs) each summer; these CITs go through the same rigorous screening process to work with our elementary campers. What qualities do we look for in our summer staff? We seek people who follow Jesus through regular personal Bible reading, church or campus ministry involvement, Christian service, and a life oriented around God’s teachings. We’re also looking for those with a hard work ethic, a teachable spirit, good interpersonal communication skills, an enthusiastically positive attitude, and willingness to be flexible. Finally, we give priority to those who have previous experience working with children or teens.
What if my child gets hurt or doesn't feel well?
Your child’s health is very important to us! Each counselor carries a first-aid kit and has basic training in common camp injuries. For anything beyond a band-aid, your child will visit our 24-hour on-site clinic, where we stock some medications (including painkillers, digestive aids, allergy relief, and cold remedies), as well as first-aid supplies (ice packs, Ace bandages, itch relief, eye drops, etc). If your child visits the clinic for anything more than basic first-aid or one-time headache, our clinic staff will inform you via a phone call. If your child is not feeling well, our clinic staff will inform you and seek any advice you may have based on your knowledge of your child’s health history. Our goal is to partner with you to help your child return to health, so they can continue to enjoy camp! For any injuries or illnesses that are beyond basic first-aid, we will call you to arrange transport to a local urgent care or hospital. For non-emergency issues, you may pick up your child to visit the medical provider of your choice. In the rare emergency situation, we will arrange transport via ambulance while letting you know to which hospital your child will be taken. If your child does need to visit a healthcare provider, he or she is welcome to return to camp once cleared by a doctor. Who is working at our clinic? Each of our clinic staff have a current first-aid certification and often, at least one of our clinic staff is a second- or third-year nursing student. We provide camp-specific healthcare training for our clinic staff, and they have 24-hour access to both our Camp Director and our Summer Camp Manager for any questions. Our clinic staff go through the same rigorous screening process as the rest of our staff, with the additional requirement of providing a healthcare reference.
Can my child contact me?
We do not allow campers free access to phones, texting, email or the internet, so your child will not be able to contact you whenever they desire. If a child feels a strong need to call home, we encourage sharing that need with her or his counselors & team leader; the team leader will discuss with the child and then contact the parents via phone to discuss whether you think it would be helpful for your child to call home. If so, we will schedule a time for your child to call you. We have found that for some children, easy access to technology actually creates deeper homesickness. Additionally, summer camp is a fantastic opportunity for your child to experience independence, develop empathy, and deepen their spiritual life in a safe, caring, and supervised environment – and technology can hinder growth in all three of those areas. For those reasons, we have a no cell phone policy for our campers. If anything of concern with your child arises (such as homesickness, not eating, not connecting with their group, not feeling well, behavior issues), one of our team leaders will contact you via phone. If you have any concerns about your child during the week, please feel free to contact our office at 540.687.6262, and we will arrange for a team leader to call you with a report on your child.
Can my child come with a friend?
Of course! When you register for camp, there will be a section where you can request up to two friends for your child. We can guarantee that your child’s first request will be honored, and we will do our best to ensure the second request as well. Please note that a little over a third of our campers come solo – to ensure these campers also have the opportunity to make new friends and have a fantastic camp experience, we can only guarantee one friend request per child. Please contact us if you have any questions.
What should my child bring to camp?
You can find our packing lists on the summer camp web page.
Where will my child stay?
Lodging for our campers ranges from 14-person cabins to dormitory-style lodges – all of which are air-conditioned! For specifics on where your child will stay, see our Camp Descriptions page; you can also see our Facilities page for details on our cabins & lodges.