Mail and e-mail are great ways to contact your camper and are encouraged by camp staff. Contact from parents and relatives eases the possibility of homesickness. Campers will not have the opportunity to take or make phone calls during the camp session. Parents concerned about their camper can call or e-mail the Camp Director or Assistant Director.
Campers Contacting Parents
Campers will be encouraged to write letters home during camp and may have opportunity to send e-mails to parents. Charis Hills limits e-mails to known parent addresses for safety purposes. Campers will not have an opportunity to make calls to family or relatives. Additionally, campers are not allowed to have cell phones at camp.
Contacting Parents by Camp Staff
There are times when staff will have to contact parents (reasons listed below).
When are parents contacted by the camp (during the camp session)?
- When a camper requires medical care (doctor visit, emergency room)
- Extreme case of homesickness
- Illness in excess of 24 hours
- Extreme behavior
- Additional information is needed (usually related to medication issue)
- When a camper becomes a danger to himself or others
What NOT to Bring
Please leave cell phones, game systems, digital cameras and large radios at home. Camp is a place to get away from the constant bombardment of noise, entertainment and distraction that occurs today.
Camp is a place to enjoy the great outdoors, enjoy nature, and a place to learn about Christ in a quieter, less cluttered setting. It is appropriate to bring an individual CD player or MP3 player for down time. Charis Hills is not responsible for loss or damage to items brought to camp.
Because of the nature of our campers and their needs, we know they sometimes react to situations adversely. Our staff has been trained to respond to children with different levels of emotional behaviors. Our focus will always be to help your camper work through their emotions so they begin to see how their choices and actions do not always need to negatively impact themselves and others around them.
The main focus of counselors will be to encourage and reinforce positive behavior. When necessary, we will redirect the camper, separate him for a short time and in extreme cases will assign a project to be completed prior to returning to activities. Having fun, being with the other campers, and participating in fun activities are strong motivators for the campers. Generally, campers are eager to return to their activities.
Campers who have never slept away from home, or have not yet established an independent schedule from away home, may experience some homesickness. Some reports say that this happens to almost 95% of all campers. This is to be expected. At Charis Hills, much of our arrival day schedule is set up to counter homesickness. Our counselors are trained to welcome and integrate the campers into camp life and activities from the very moment they arrive. Generally, once the camper has met and connected with a counselor and other campers, and is participating in activities, homesickness is no longer an issue.
About one camper per session will have a more serious case of homesickness. In those cases, there is a general strategy that we use. One counselor (usually a more experienced staff member) will build a relationship with that camper, and try to get him involved in an activity with his peers. Writing a letter to Mom/Dad is encouraged, and the fun stuff of camp is emphasized. Most of the time, the letter to Mom/Dad will ease the mind of the camper enough to allow him to begin to participate in camp activities.
On the rare occasion, a camper will be inconsolable unless he or she is able to speak to their parents. When all else has failed, the camper and counselor will call the camper's home. The counselor will call the parent first to prepare them for the camper's phone call, which can be difficult. It is imperative that the parent be encouraging to the camper, but supportive of staying at camp.
Sending Campers Home
The goal of Charis Hills is for all campers to have a positive, successful, incredible camp experience, and we hope you will bring home a more independent, capable and self assured child. In order for that to happen, your camper has to complete the camp session. Campers who endanger themselves or others, break the law, run away, hurt others, or exhibit some extreme behavior not appropriate at camp will be sent home, at the expense of the parent. This is a rare occurrence.
Illness and Parent Involvement
Charis Hills has a small infirmary and cares for most normal medical situations. In the event of serious injury or illness, the camp physician shall be consulted immediately. Parents or guardians will be notified as soon as possible. Specific situations in which parents would be notified are: serious illness, extended illness, injuries such as cuts requiring stitches, sprains, broken bones, or other care that requires a camper be transported away from Charis Hills’ property.