Camper Questions

FAQ 1

Not many campers come to camp with friends from home or school. Your unit mates will become your close friends at camp pretty quickly, since your unit will be spending most of the time together as a group. You will also have a few opportunities to choose activities with campers from other units during Open Activities and Specials, so there are lots of ways to make new friends. Your Unit Staff will help you with this. Camp is a very “make new friends” kind of place, and inclusion is a key aspect of our philosophy.

FAQ 2

Definitely. You can eat together during our Scramble-Amble (see “Where do we eat?” below). In addition, units do activities together in the evening—stuff like soccer, campfires, dances, etc. You’ll also likely see them multiple times a day, just walking around camp going to activities.

Everyone eats together in our lodge three times a day. Each unit is assigned 2-3 tables and that is where your unit will sit. At least twice a week we have ‘Scramble-Amble’. At that meal you can seat at any table in the lodge! It’s a great time to visit with friends or siblings in other units.

We’re very proud of the food we serve in our kitchen. We have a lot of variety, including vegetarian options and most everything we eat is made from scratch. In case you can’t find anything to eat at a particular meal we will have peanut butter and jelly available. But we’re confident you’ll find something you like. See our Food & Wellness page for more information.

FAQ 3

You can often see deer wandering around the property day and night – but they aren’t really curious enough to come into your tent or tipi. Sometimes mice and raccoons get a bit curious, but they quickly learn that there is nothing there for them and move on. Your tent or tipi is definitely safe from most critters – but sharing space with wildlife is part of camping. Otherwise you can see bald eagles, ravens, herons, otters, seals and maybe even an Orca from our shores! And that’s just what’s above the water. Tidepooling is a great way to see starfish, crabs, and lots of other sea creatures at camp too.

On arrival day, our Travel Staff will meet you at your drop-off location. You might fly into Sea-Tac Airport, or be dropped off at our North Seattle bus location or Skyline Marina in Anacortes. In any case, our staff will be there to meet you and guide you the rest of the way to camp. From Seattle, campers are bused up to Anacortes to meet the charter boats that sail directly to Johns Island. On the boats, campers are grouped by unit, so right away you’ll be able to get to know the other campers in your unit as well as your Unit Leaders. Once you reach the dock on Johns, you’ll be greeted by lots of other staff before you head off to your unit and a tour of the property. Your parents will receive travel information in the spring so you’ll be well prepared.
While you’re on your way to and from camp you’re welcome to enjoy things like iPods, cell phones and Gameboys. Once you arrive at camp we collect all those things and keep them safe until the day before you go home. One of the best things about camp is putting those things away so we can enjoy the camp activities and each other’s company. It’s an adjustment we all make but it only takes a day or so!
Camper laundry is sent out every week. Typically, it leaves on Monday and returns on Wednesday. The important thing is to have a laundry bag with a draw string so your clothes don’t fall out during their ride to and from the laundry. You’ll get a packing list before the summer to help you decide what to bring. Old clothes are best – clothes that require special care (like dry cleaning or handwashing) are generally not a good idea.
The days are generally warm (mid 60’s to mid-70’s) and the nights are cool. Our lodge is open to the south so it’s best to come with a warm jacket and a couple of sweatshirts for layering in the morning and evening. If we’re lucky we get rain at least a couple of times a session and activities don’t generally stop when it does. So be sure to bring rain gear.

Parent Questions

FAQ 4

The core of our program philosophy is to provide children the opportunity to become part of a dynamic, supportive community and to experience the joys and challenges inherent in being a contributing member of a small group of their peers. Our experience in the area of group development supports an extended, away-from-home experience. While an individual’s skills can be increased in a short period of time, the development of relationships within a group takes longer. Over the course of four weeks, campers gain insight into themselves and others, develop conflict resolution tools, and acquire the confidence necessary to face new activities previously out of their comfort zone. We consider the extended-stay experience of four weeks to be a cornerstone of our program.

FAQ 5

The majority of our campers are from Western Washington and the Portland, Oregon area. We also have many campers from Canada, central and southern Oregon, California, Colorado and Arizona, as well as campers from across the country and several from countries around the world!

Our staff come from all over the country and the world. Many are past campers, familiar with our program and philosophy; others come to us through referrals from past staff and camper families. We look for new staff that have had prior experience at summer camps or have done student teaching, coaching, outdoor programs, tutoring or worked with children in a formal setting.
Our screening process is very thorough. All new staff are required to submit a detailed application form and 3 references. References are verified through phone calls or emails from the camp office. Final candidates receive a personal interview with one of the directors. Before any staff (new or returning) is offered a contract, a Criminal Background check is conducted, both in their home state and the state in which they currently live. In addition, a check of the National Sexual Offenders Registry is conducted annually on all staff, as well as all volunteers.

All staff participate in a minimum of 13 days of training prior to the campers’ arrival – some staff arrive earlier for special trainings as well. Administrative staff and professionals present topics such as safety, emergency response, working effectively with children, low impact camping, and dealing with homesickness and discipline. In addition, all staff are required to have current certification in First Aid and CPR. Local paramedics will spend a day with staff reviewing safety and emergency situations. Many staff are required to have special or advanced certifications, depending on the job they are hired for, such as Lifeguard Training, Small Water Craft Certification, Guiding, Wilderness First Aid, and National Archery Association Certification. All our staff are hired for their maturity, experience, and leadership skills, and Staff Training is an important time for learning and coming together as a group to support the camp’s mission with our campers.
Our supervision ratio of staff to campers is approximately 1:3. A team of two Unit Staff supervises each group of campers. In addition, each department has 1 to 8 full time staff, depending on the activity. During the day, a group of 15 campers may attend an activity supervised by 3 to 7 total staff, again, depending on the complexity and risk involved in the activity. Drama may have a ratio of 1:5, while kayaking trips would be 2:5. In the evening, all staff participate in activities like soccer, dances, campfires, resulting in a ratio of at least 1:5.
We have lots of options for meals at camp including vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten free alternatives. It’s a good idea to contact us before your child’s session to talk about their specific needs to ensure we are well aware of them. Please visit our Food & Wellness page for more information.
We hire at least one full-time Registered Nurse to staff our Health Center every summer. In addition, we have a full-time Nurse’s Assistant and part time support from a Nurse Practitioner. Camp also has great relationships with local hospitals and Emergency Services. All staff are required to have at least Standard First Aid and CPR certifications, and many have advanced training in Wilderness Medicine. Please visit our Food & Wellness page for more specific. information.
After enrollment, in the spring, you will receive a clothing list outlining the recommended items for your child’s stay. Campers old enough to participate in the four and five-day trips will receive an additional list of equipment which will be needed. The general rule of thumb is to send old clothes, prominently labeled, whenever possible. Our camp store also stocks certain items, such as cook-kits, tarps, flashlights, and other outdoor equipment as a backup if you are unable to purchase the items prior to your child’s arrival at camp.

Living out of a trunk, for four weeks, without the help of Mom or Dad to organize and sort things, can be a real challenge. It is part of the camp experience. Campers can best be prepared prior to camp by being expected to do these sorts of things at home.

Kids will get dirty at camp and will most likely come home with a trunk containing twigs, dirt, and possibly someone else’s clothes. That being said, we make every effort to monitor the daily hygiene of every camper. Showers are scheduled for every unit, at least twice a week. When a group is in the shower house, staff are present. Campers are given daily reminders about such things as brushing teeth, changing clothes and wearing clothing appropriate to the weather conditions.

We are very sensitive to this situation and Unit Staff are given detailed instructions on how to handle it. Parents and guardians can help us by doing a few simple things. Tell your child that you will be letting the camp know about his situation and that he or she should let the Unit Staff know whenever he has an incident so they can help him. We know this takes some courage but remember there are probably several campers in the same situation. It would be best to send your child with a sleeping bag with synthetic filler that does not require an industrial size washer/dryer or special handling. If this is a regular occurrence it would be ideal if you would send two bags, so that when the wet one is being washed we can use the other. In addition, we might recommend that you talk to your child about wearing some sort of disposable undergarment to bed. We have successfully used this practice with several campers. Unit staff are discrete and will work with campers on how to dispose of the undergarment each day.

From our end, Unit Staff are expected to check camper beds daily, to ensure they are dry. If one is wet, the sleeping bag is removed, washed, and returned during the day. We also use moisture resistant mattresses for younger units.

Snail Mail! It’s fun! It’s classic! Please visit our Summer Communications page for more details about letters and care packages.
We have Visitors’ Days once each session for parents and families of current campers. Please see our Visiting Camp page for more information.