Camper welfare comes before everything else. Our camp is accredited by the American Camp Association. All of our activities operate under strict policies and procedures. Staff members live in the cabins with the campers and are trained in emergency and security procedures prior to the start of camp. All visitors must check–in at the camp office. Parents and/or guardians must show a photo ID before they take their child from camp. Directors are in constant communication with the nurse, supervisors, lakefront staff and other activity areas.
A health officer lives on site and is available 24 hours a day. Campers must have a health history, physical examination, and consent to treat form on file with the health officer. If there is an illness (other than a minor symptom) or an emergency, parents will be notified by the health officer or a full-time director. The health care staff works closely with local physicians and area clinics and hospitals.
Our health care staff keeps a variety of over-the-counter medications and health supplies on hand to treat common health concerns. All medications come to camp in the original container. Parents will receive a medication form as part of our health care packet. This form will need to be filled out and brought to camp with the medicine. Except for asthma inhalers and epi-pens, all medications are kept under lock and key at the health station and given at the times indicated on the medication form. If your child has an inhaler or an epi-pen they may hold onto that medicine during their time at camp. All campers will turn medications over to the health officer on the first day of camp.
Homesickness is a normal, common experience for children, especially for those away from home for the first time. Homesickness usually subsides when campers become more comfortable with their surroundings. On average, most kids at camp will overcome any anxiety or homesickness on their own within 24-36 hours. There are many ways we work to minimize homesickness. First, campers are kept very busy. The program is highly structured and full of activity from sun up until sun down. Campers are encouraged to find a buddy when going to activities. We keep a 1:5 staff to camper ratio. This allows campers to have quality time with their counselors. Counselors provide homesick campers tender loving care, along with a supportive atmosphere.
Our belief is that camp is a great place for kids to learn how to deal with homesickness. Experience shows that having a child call home makes the situation worse. Because many kids will experience homesickness at camp, we only notify parents if it becomes unmanageable. One way to try to limit the severity of homesickness is for parents to remind kids how much fun they will have at camp and how many new friends they will make. Remind your child not to worry about family back at home, tell them to go out and have a good time!
We strive to make camp a positive atmosphere for children and teens. Each cabin group works with their counselors to establish rules for the entire session. These rules are very similar to what kids might encounter at home and school (example: no bullying others, no fighting/hazing, listen to counselors, respect other people and their property, no foul language or swearing, etc.) The counselors meet one on one with campers that act against these rules. In some cases the situation might require the involvement of the counselor's supervisor or camp director(s).
We work hard not to dismiss campers from camp. However, some cases require us to send a camper home if they begin to endanger other campers, or if the camper requires an undue amount of attention from one or more staff members. While we keep parents informed of behavior issues, some situations may require immediate dismissal without prior communication with the parents. Parents are required to arrange for the pick-up of their child if they are sent home for behavior.
Camp is designed as a place for children and teens to learn independence. For this reason and due to the structure of the program and the number of youth in attendance, telephones are not available to campers. Exceptions may be made for special circumstances or emergencies. Do not give your child a cell phone, pager, calling card or promise them that they can call home. Cell phones will be collected and returned to the campers when they leave camp. Cell phones do not allow the child to acclimate to the camp experience.
Campers are encouraged to write letters home. We provide campers with postcards, which they must complete and mail to parents and guardians. Early in the session parents may receive letters indicating homesickness. This is common. Letters often become better as the session progresses.
You may also want to send self-addressed, stamped envelopes with your child to promote letter writing. Campers enjoy receiving mail. Please write your camper. Keep in mind that the tone of the letter makes a difference. Keep letters light-hearted and friendly. Anxious letters from parents make it hard for kids to overcome homesickness. It is okay to send packages. While snacks are allowed, we ask that you do not send beverages. Campers cannot have soda.
Camp Independence encourages parents to drove their camper to camp. This is an important opportunity to meet your child's counselor, camp director, health care team, tour the camp facilities, and help your camper get settled.
For security and homesick management, we do not have visiting days during camper sessions. If you want to meet the counselors and see camp during the summer we recommend that parents come to camp on the final day of each session. If you pick-up your child early from a session please check-in at the main office upon your arrival. You will need to present a photo ID.
If you want to tour our facility prior to the beginning of summer camp you may attend one of our open houses or call the office to set up a weekday tour.
We encourage campers to use the washhouse throughout the day. Specific time is built into the daily schedule to meet the needs of Camp Independence campers. From time to time bedwetting occurs. Staff members are trained to deal with bedwetting. First, measures are taken not to embarrass the camper. The sleeping bag and/or sheets/blankets will be cleaned and returned to the bed as quickly as possible. Preventative measures such as frequent bathroom breaks and limiting heavy fluid intake after supper work well. All campers have a bathroom break before bedtime.
What should my child bring to camp?
We will provide you a list of what your child should bring to camp based upon their length of stay. We encourage campers to bring clothes that can get dirty. Soft-sided luggage works well. Parents are encouraged to mark their child's belongings with their name. During camp, lost items are gathered and throughout the week we take time to return items. Any items left behind at camp will be returned if identified.
Campers are responsible for their own belongings. We will hold all items left at camp for one month. We do our best to locate and return lost items, however we will not reimburse families for lost clothing or other items brought to camp.
Campers need to bring enough clothing to last the entire session. If campers stay multiple sessions, they must take clothing home to be washed. The camp does not provide laundry service (bedwetting or extended stays being the exception).
In addition - Camp Independence campers will need to bring any medical supplies they use on a daily / weekly basis.
No - All campers take a swim test in our indoor pool. All aquatic programs are supervised by certified lifeguards. In addition, flotation devices like noodles and life jackets are available. For Camp Independence campers - the pool serves as a great place for therapy and excercise. All campers and staff wear life jackets when boating, canoeing, sailing, kayaking or windsurfing. Aquatic activities are supervised by certified lifeguards.
Meals are a very important part of camp. Our food service manager takes great pride in serving well-balanced, nutritious, and filling meals. Campers will find plenty to choose from at each meal. Meals are served family style. Each cabin group sits together, with their counselor(s). Meals last 45 minutes so campers have time to relax. During hot days, campers are encouraged to drink more fluids. Campers take turns setting/cleaning their dining table and sweeping the floor for their cabin group.
We have campers and staff from every major religious faith. Our purpose is not to change or instill upon campers any particular faith or belief. Our goal is to make every child feel comfortable while still including the traditions of the Y. These traditions help foster character development. Grace is sung before each meal and we focus on the 4 core character valuse of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.
Camp provides campers the opportunity to purchase snacks and souvenirs. Campers are allowed to purchase no more than two edible items from the store each day. Campers should not bring cash to camp. Parents are asked to provide the camp office with a credit card prior to their child's session. We will keep track of what your child orders and charge your credit card after your child's stay. Campers will not be allowed to spend more than $30 during their stay unless the parents notify camp otherwise. Balances from checks or cash sent for store purchases cannot be refunded. Store items include:
Souvenirs like: T'shirts, Sweatshirts, Backpacks, Water Bottles, Stuffed Animals
Bottled water / Soda