9 Questions to Ask Before Sending Your Child to Overnight Camp
December 21, 2022 by Darby Dame
Finding a summer camp is often done through a friend’s recommendation or a google search. Choosing a camp takes more than that. Before you sign your son up for a camp, there are a few questions you should be asking their Camp Directors. Here are the best 9 questions to ask before sending a child to overnight camp.
1. What does a day in the life of a camper look like?
2. How do you hire and train your staff?
3. What makes your camp unique?
4. Where do campers sleep and use the restroom?
5. How does your camp work with homesick campers?
6. Is your camp ACA Accredited?
7. What is the goal of your camp programming?
8. How will this help my child’s future?
9. What else? What did I miss? – (Answers will give you insight into what each camp finds important!)
Here are our answers:
1) What does a day in the life of a camper look like?
Our daily schedule is straightforward and easy to follow for campers, while allowing for fun and camper choice! You can see our schedule hour by hour here. Each camper chooses five activities to take daily, allowing campers to choose what they are excited about. Our activity offerings are here.
Picture this: A day starts with the sound of a bell and ends with the bell as the sun fades, telling campers it is time to sleep. No phones, no alarm clocks, just a bell.
2) How do you hire and train your staff?
Staff are hired from all over the country along with a handful of international staff. All counselors are vetted and must pass a background check. Additionally, over half of our staff are former campers that have grown up at High Rocks. These staff are thrilled to be mentors, leaders, and friends with our campers. Once hired, our staff will arrive two weeks (and sometimes more) before camp to receive certifications and attend Staff Orientation! We cover a range of topics, from creating a bedtime routine to teaching campers to live within a community. Staff Orientation prepares each staff member with the skills they need to create a positive summer experience for our campers!
3) What makes your camp unique?
Campers feel like they are part of something special here. We purposely have kept our enrollment small so no one gets “lost in the crowd”. Our sessions have approximately 165 campers while most of our peers are closer to 250-350 campers. We cultivate a welcoming community led by quality staff mentors. Our staff are here because they truly care and want to support each camper’s personal growth.
With over 1,000 acres and a private 11 acre lake, Camp High Rocks is one of the most picturesque camps in Western North Carolina. However, what sets us apart isn’t our location, it is our exceptional staff. Our staff are the key to creating a fantastic summer. They are dedicated to supporting campers and creating positive experiences that allow each camper to challenge themselves. Our staff know and believe that being a camp counselor means making a difference in campers’ lives.
4) Where do campers sleep and use the restroom?
Campers sleep in traditional wood cabins on bunk beds! Each cabin has roughly 5-7 other campers. Cabins are screened in and have shelves for each camper to store toiletries and knicknacks. Each cabin has a private bathroom that includes a sink, shower, and toilet. The cabin turns into their home away from home.
5) How does your camp work with homesick campers?
Will homesickness happen? Yes, homesickness is a pretty common experience. The good news is the vast majority of children conquer homesickness within the first few days. During Staff Orientation, we train our staff on effective ways to support campers through homesickness. We take the time to get to know every camper and support their needs. If a child is struggling, we will be in contact with you. A supportive “You’ve got this!” letter from home goes a long way. Read our 2017 blog post about talking to your son about homesickness.
6) Is your camp ACA Accredited?
Yes, we are accredited by the only national accrediting body for summer camps. The American Camp Association accreditation focuses on health, safety, and risk management. The ACA accreditation means that we maintain a high standard of care for each camper throughout the years.
7) What is the goal of your camp programming?
Camp High Rocks’ mission is to create a community where boys connect with the outdoors, each other, and most importantly themselves. We encourage growth and learning through adventure and the great outdoors.
Our camp is non-competitive. Although competitive fun is a part of tennis and soccer, competition is neither used as a motivator nor emphasized in the learning process in any activity. The test of a camp is its successes with individual children. Here at High Rocks, success stems from individual effort, not from being better than someone else. We give no ribbons or medals for such titles as “best camper” or “best rider.” Instead, we reward an individual’s effort and skill progression with more challenging and exciting experiences within the skill they are learning.
8) How will this help my child’s future?
Camp High Rocks offers boys the opportunity to try new things, take risks, go on adventures, and learn new skills in a safe environment. We offer a change of pace from the busy, go-go-go school year, allowing our campers to spend time outdoors while learning to appreciate nature. Children come home from camp with a stronger sense of independence and of themselves. Thinking far down the line, as your son heads off to college, the growth and independence he experiences at camp will help make the transition a positive one.
9) What else? What did I miss?
A good camp experience is much more than a vacation or time away from home. Finding the right fit is important. Knowing if your son is ready is also important! Not all children are ready for camp at the same time. These six signs can help decide if your son is ready.
High Rocks will not be the right fit for every camper. We invite you to take a look at our camp video to get a stronger feel for who we are and what we do. If you believe we may be a good fit for your family, give us a call or send us an email. We can connect you with current families who are happy to chat about their experiences. These are great questions to ask before sending your child to overnight camp – if you have more questions, reach out!