Getting Ready for Summer Camp
We understand the importance of getting everything ready for you camper's upcoming adventure. That's why we have prepared the following documentation for you to review. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAMP FOR YOUR CHILD(REN)
Sending your most precious possession away to camp for a week or nine weeks is not a decision taken lightly! As a camp professional for over 20 years, I find it strange when a parent apologizes to me for asking too many questions about my camp. When sending your child to camp, there is no such thing as too many questions.
I believe the first step on the process is to choose a camp that is an Accredited Camp through the American Camping Association (ACA). The ACA provides its member camps with ongoing education and a community of camp professionals to provide training and support The ACA Standards provide a bench mark of rules and regulations that should be attained to provide campers the safe, caring and healthy summer camp experience we all want for our kids. These standards must be met for a camp to maintain its ACA Accreditation.
Are you looking for a local day camp while you are working or are you looking for a residential sleepaway camp? You will find an incredible selection of camps from which to choose. Day camps, residential camps, special needs camps, sports camps, travel camps, specialty camps, and so much more. Is your family looking for an all boys camp? An all girls camp? A coed camp?
How can you, as a parent possibly narrow down this search?
Personally speaking, (Bias note: I have spent every summer since 1988 working at an overnight summer camp) sending a child away to a residential summer camp provides children an experience that lasts a lifetime. The soft skills learned while being away from home at a young age will travel with the child throughout his or her life. The independence gained at a summer camp will help carry a child through some difficult adolescent experiences. Experienced sleepaway campers have an easier time during the first year of college than students taking this giant step in life without the experience of leaving home and the creature comforts and safety it provides. Most quality ACA accredited summer camps will provide these skills. But is your child ready for such a big step?
The truth is, that most campers are ready at least a year sooner than the parents! The thought of being separated from your child is too difficult for a parent to imagine. But look at the benefits that a well-chosen camp will provide your child. On a daily basis, your child will have positive interaction with their peers, they will have counselors there to assist them at all times, they will participate in incredible activities that provide entertainment and skill development. The parent has an empty room (we can address this later)!
What activities does the camp provide? Making sure the camp provides the activities that meet the wants, needs and interests that you and your child are looking for in a summer camp experience is pivotal in the research process.
- Does the camp provide activities that are cabin-based or individual free-choice elective program? Are there mandatory activities?
- Does the camp’s goals and philosophy match your family’s needs?
- Does the program encourage the child to try new things? Learn new skills? What level of instruction is provided?
- Does the camp offer a wide range of activities or a narrow based specialty program? Are you looking for specific skills to be learned in the summer (film editing, soccer, tennis, golf lessons, etc)?
- Are there any physical, intellectual, or social limitations that you child has that may need to be considered when choosing a camp?
Once you have the basics of what you are looking for in a camp, you can take the next step in really narrowing down your search. Some of your considerations will include:
- Session dates
- Cost of the programs
- Special needs (dietary, learning disabled, ADD, physically disabled, etc)
Once you have narrowed down your search to a few different camps, now is the time to really examine the camp. As a parent, you are choosing a camp for your most precious possession. Asking questions will be the only way to get the answers you need to be comfortable in the knowledge that your child is safe at camp while you are in an empty house.
- Hopefully you will have had the opportunity to review the prospective camps website, brochures and DVDs.
- Find out if there is an opportunity to visit the camp. Most camps have open houses in the spring.
- The ideal way to view a camp is to visit the camp the year before you are ready to send your child to camp during the summer.
- Is it possible to speak with the director or a camp representative?
- Does the camp have campers in your area who have attended the camp before?
Asking direct questions is the best way to narrow down the camp choice to the right choice. The one that fits. The choice that feels right. Here are a few questions that a camp director or camp representative should expect to hear from a prospective parent.
1. STAFFING: What percentage of returning staff does the camp have? What is the average age of the staff? What is the PROGRAM staff to camper ratio (do not count maintenance, house-keeping, kitchen staff) How long is the staff training? What is covered in staff training? How do I know that my child is being cared for in the cabin? Where do the staff members come from? Who conducts the interviews? What is the screening process? What is the director's age and background? How long has the director run this camp?
2. CAMPERS: What percentage of campers return each year? What type of camper attends the camp? Why do campers choose Pali? What is the policy on bullying? What is the average age of the campers? How many campers of my child’s age will there be? When do girls and boys interact? What is the supervision between girls and boys? Did the camp send any campers home the previous year? What for?
3. FACILITY/PROGRAM: What are the sleeping arrangements? What toilet and shower facilities exist? How does the camp insure the safety and security of its campers? Is the camp a gated community? What do the campers do during inclement weather? Does the camp have a pool? Pond? Lake? Are the programs and activities all-inclusive? Extra program fees? Are there waiting lists for some activities? How exactly does the program work? What is a typical day? How do campers choose their programs (if picking an elective program)? How is the food? Is there a sample menu? What does the camp do if your child is a picky eater? Do the campers sit by cabin at meals or wherever they want? Do you survey campers and parents after the summer?
4. EMERGENCY: What medical staff does the camp have on-site? Are all of the staff trained and certified in CPR/First Aid? Where is the closest hospital? How far is the nearest EMS service? What is the camp’s policy on contacting parents if a camper is unwell? What accidents occurred last summer? How did you deal with that situation?
5. PARENTAL CONCERN: Who can I call to check on my child? When are the phones at camp answered? What happens in an emergency? Can I call someone 24/7? Can I send or receive emails from my child? Is my child allowed to call me? Can they have a cell phone? Do you post photos during my child’s stay?
This is certainly not a complete list of questions. You will have your own specific questions relating to your child and their needs. Choosing the right camp will provide your camper with an experience that will last a lifetime. They say that camp friends are the best friends. I agree.
Good luck on choosing the right camp. The right camp is the right fit for your child and for your family.
Ian Brassett has worked in sleep-away camps since 1988, starting as a counselor and soccer instructor in a four and eight week summer camp. His current role is director of Pali Adventures, a residential one and two week specialty summer camp in Southern California.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A SUMMER CAMP EXPERIENCE!
As a Camp Director, I’m slightly biased when it comes to the importance of a summer camp experience to the development of a child. I have been very lucky that every year since 1988, I have worked at a sleep-away camp. I’m constantly amazed, and in awe with the impact a quality summer camp program has on a child. Children, with the loving support of their parents (from afar), attend camps and leave their support system at the gates (parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, cell phones, e-mail/Facebook) to embark on a great adventure of fun and learning.
Children are put into active living situations where 12 individual personalities, from diverse backgrounds coexist in harmony in very short order. At Pali, for example, one of the many benefits of attending Pali Adventures is this wonderful diversity of cultures that live harmoniously together! In 2009, for example, Pali Adventures had campers representing 39 states of the Union along with 17 countries including Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Jordan, Italy, China, England, France, Spain, Germany, Columbia, Gaina, Switzerland and Canada and Ireland. Wow!!! Don’t forget the world-class staff members who call 11 different countries home (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, Holland and the United States). Camps in general, provide campers a melting pot rich with languages and experiences found in very few other environments today!
While at camp, campers form very close friendships and bonds with campers, who only two days earlier were total strangers. Campers establish new support systems through experience and acclimatization. In most ACA accredited camps, well-trained counselors are observing and guiding campers as surrogate brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, children find strength from the society that is in “the bubble” that is well-run summer camp program.
This is why I love camp. I’ve had the pleasure of watching young campers grow into becoming lawyers, doctors and dentists. I’ve seen children go from critical-state homesickness to Evening Activity Directors. Children given the confidence at camp to travel the world as young adults.
Parents do their part. Showing loving strength and encouragement from the sidelines, they allow remarkable growth to occur. It is painful for parents to drop off their child at camp with strangers. Remember this, when a child is in camp, he or she has friends in the cabin, counselors whose only job is to make sure they have a great time, and a program of activities that is designed for fun and encourages skill growth and special events. The parent’s have an empty bedroom, a pet they have to feed and something they are simply not familiar with… time on their hands!
One of my favorite calls was from a parent 5 years ago. A mother called to thank the staff and I for the change in her boy. She’d given up hope that at 14 years of age, that he would ever pick-up after himself without constant “nagging”. After 4 weeks in camp setting, he went home a more mature boy. “I didn’t recognize him.” The mother indicated. “The first day home he made his bed and placed his clothes in the hamper”. The mother initially said nothing to the boy. This behavior had continued to the time I received the call… three weeks later.
In this tough economic environment, it’s seems to me to be even more important for children to enter an environment that is free from the “doom and gloom” of world and economic news. The daily chatter and subsequent stresses and worries that have been creeping into the conversations in far too many kitchen tables and school classrooms across the country.
An environment built around fun and excitement. Escapism for the camper into an environment and program designed for kids, if only for a week or two. Responsibility. Self-reliance. Improved confidence. These are all just amazing by-products of campers having a blast in a safe, caring environment. I’m delighted, and honored to play my small part in this growth.Ian “Gunner” Brassett
Pali Overnight Adventures
SUGGESTED CLOTHING LIST
The following clothing list is designed as a guide for parents and campers and should be tailored to your child’s planned specialty (see below), and activity interests.
Campers and staff dress informally at Pali Adventures. The rule of thumb is to bring clothes that are comfortable and expendable. We discourage designer clothing for three main reasons;
- camp is rustic and your child will be active
- a relaxed no pressure environment gives campers the opportunity of not having to compete
- clothes are very easily lost or damaged at camp
Camp implements a strict policy when it comes to “provocative clothing”. A general rule is that undergarments must be worn at all times and may not be visible; and that the area from the navel to the bottom must be covered completely.
LAUNDRY is done for campers staying with us for three or more weeks. Laundry is done after the second week of a camper’s stay. Please make sure your child has a laundry bag for their belongings.
LOST AND FOUND Name tags should be placed on all camper’s belongings. Please put the campers first and last name. While every effort is made to help campers be conscious of their belongings and return lost and found articles back to the campers, unlabeled articles are rarely recovered.
Pali Adventures is not responsible for the loss or damage to a camper’s personal belongings for any reason (i.e. fire, theft, laundry or forgetfulness) and Pali Adventures strongly recommends that campers not bring items of value to camp.
All lost and found clothing is donated to a local charity at the end of the summer.
LUGGAGE should be confined to bedding and one suitcase or duffel bag. We reserve the right to screen a camper’s luggage.
BEDDING Pali does not provide any bedding or linens. All campers must bring their own sleeping bag (or sheets and blankets for a twin bed) for their nightly use, plus a pillow and pillow case. Pali does not provide towels.
PROHIBITED ITEMS Dangerous items are strictly prohibited from camp. No drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, matches, fireworks, or other contraband may be brought into camp. If these or any other dangerous items are found at camp, the staff will confiscate them and disciplinary action will be taken. Camp cannot guarantee the safekeeping or return of confiscated items.
CELL PHONES & OTHER ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT Cell phones/i-phones are not permitted in camp nor on camp sponsored trips. The camp will hold all cell phones or other similar devices. Confiscated cell phones may be picked up at the end of camp.
Parents are welcome to call the Head Counselors if there is a concern or question regarding your child. Almost all electronic devices are prohibited at camp. As a rule, any item that can: send or receive a phone call or text messages, play a DVD, access the internet or send or receive e-mail is prohibited at camp. Hand held electronic games, iPods or other expensive equipment are strongly discouraged. The camp is not responsible for the damage, theft or other loss of any personal items.
The following list is based on a two-week stay.
- 16 pair of underwear (including bras for girls)
- 16 pairs of socks
- 8 -10 pairs of shorts
- 2 - 3 pairs of long pants, jeans or sweats
- 1 pair of sturdy sandals, thongs or tevas
- 1 - 2 pair of tennis shoes
- 13 – 14 short sleeved T-shirts
- 1 - 2 long sleeved shirts
- 2 sweatshirts
- 1 light jacket
- 1 hat
- 1 semi-nice outfit (for the dance!)
- 2 bathing suits
- 2 towels
- 1 beach towel
- 2 set of PJ’s
- Toiletries. (Please include sunscreen, lip balm and moisturizer.)
- Insect repellent
- Day pack – small backpack for daily items
- Disposable camera
- Pens, pencils, paper, stamps
- Deck of cards or community game (Optional)
- No green t-shirts! (We use a green screen)
- You can send your scripts ahead for review by our staff if you would like!
- A sleeping bag and backpack if scheduled for the two-week SAC program.
- Extra long pants and sweatshirts (Paintball)
- Extra long pants
- Closed toe shoes
- 1 extra bathing suit/pair of swimming trunks
- 1 extra beach towel
- Wetsuit (recommended)
- Rash guard Tees
- Spray Jacket
- Extra-strength sunscreen (30-50+)
- Brimmed hat
Secret Agent Camp:
Motorsports / Extreme Action
Our goal is for all campers to have the very best summer possible. The following regulations help make the camp environment the safest and nicest environment possible. By checking each box BELOW, the camper and parent have agreed to the terms listed above and understand that they are in place in ensure the most successful and safe camp environment.
- I will treat everyone, both campers and staff with respect and consideration.
- I understand that there will be no fighting, teasing, foul language or abusive behavior.
- I shall not change my appearance in camp. I will not cut my hair (or allow others to do so), pierce my ears (or any other body part) or get a tattoo (except at the camp sponsored carnival).
- I will obey all of the camp rules. I will stay supervised at all times. I understand that sneaking out of the cabin after curfew is very unsafe and will result in immediate expulsion.
- I understand that to be a camp friend I will not exclude deliberately or maliciously other campers in the cabin. (Cliques)
- I understand that Cell phones (and iPhones) are not permitted in camp or other similar devices. I understand that any electronic device that can: send or receive a phone call or text messages, play a DVD, access the Internet or send or receive e-mail is not permitted at camp.
- I understand that to provide a safe, enforceable limit, campers are to limit their sexual behavior to appropriate hugging. Camp is not a place to be sexually active.
- I understand that camp implements a policy when it comes to “provocative clothing”.
- I know that undergarments must be worn at all times and may not be visible and that the navel to the bottom must be covered completely.
- I understand that dangerous items are not permitted in camp. No drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, matches, fireworks, or other contraband may be brought into camp or used while at camp.
- I know I am responsible for my own actions. If I make a mess, I will clean it up, if I break it, then I will fix it.
- I will be responsible for my own possessions. I know that if my clothing or any possessions are lost, damaged by fire/laundry, Pali Overnight Adventures is not responsible. I will not bring expensive clothing, cameras, jewelry and other expensive items to camp.
- I understand that Pali Overnight Adventures does not operate a “finders-keepers, losers-weepers” policy. If I find something that does not belong to me I will turn it in to my counselor.
- I will not take food into the cabin.
- I will not take photographs inside the cabin. I understand that any photographs I take at camp are not to be used on social networking websites or on the internet.
- I will inform my counselor, group leader, head counselor or camp director if I am unhappy or if someone in camp is making my summer less than perfect. Their job is to help me.
- I understand the sole purpose of the counselors is to insure my safety and happiness and I should expect the same respect, understanding and attention that I will show them.
- I have instructed my child in the importance of knowing and abiding by the Pali’s rules, regulations and procedures for the safety of camp participants, the requirement that campers attend scheduled activities and remain supervised at all times, and my child has agreed to do so.
Directions from Los Angeles1. Take the I-210 Freeway East towards San Bernardino
2. Take the Mountain Resorts/Running Springs exit for CA-330N and continue on 330N for 15 miles.
3. Take exit ramp for Running Springs and go East for 600 feet until you come to a yield sign. (if you go under an overpass, you have passed the exit.
4. Make a hard left onto CA-18, Rim of the World Highway and go northeast towards Lake Arrowhead.
5. Go exactly 2.7 miles, and turn right into Pali Mountain. Please obey the 10mph limit. Thank you.
Directions from Orange County1. Take CA-91 East
2. Continue onto I-215 North
3. Take exit 40A for I-10 East towards Redlands.
4. Take Exit 77B for CA-210 West towards Highland / Running Springs.
5. See directions 2 – 5 from Los Angeles
Directions from Palm Springs1. Take the I-10 Freeway West to CA-210 towards Mountain Resorts/Running Springs.
2. See directions 2 - 5 from Los Angeles
Directions from San Diego1. Take I-15 North
2. Take I-215 Freeway North
3. Merge onto the I-210 Freeway East towards Mountain Resorts.
4. See directions 2 – 5 from Los Angeles.
Directions from Arizona or eastern portions of California1. Take the I-10 Freeway West to CA-210 towards Mountain Resorts/Running Springs.
2. See directions 2 – 5 from Los Angeles.
Directions from Las Vegas or Northern California1. Take the I-15 Freeway South to I-215 towards San Bernardino.
2. Take I-215 to CA-210 East towards Redlands.
3. See directions 2 – 5 from Los Angeles.
IF YOU RUN INTO ANY PROBLEMS WHILE TRAVELING TO PALI – OUR PHONE NUMBER IS
DURING THE SUMMER, OUR OFFICE IS STAFFED 7 DAYS A WEEK
7:00AM – 11:00PM