There are many things that you may ask yourself as you prepare your child for summer camp.
What should we pack, can I visit my child, can I send packages, what if my child is homesick? We have prepared this page to help answer some of these important questions. While this page cannot be comprehensive enough to answer every question, we have picked topics that we think you want to know the most about. You have our promise that the physical and emotional welfare of your child is our first priority. The practices outlined here have been created with that commitment in mind.
If you have questions that are not addressed or involve other camp programs please contact the camp office at 262-763-7742.
Camper welfare comes before everything else. Camp MacLean 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. Fire/severe storm drills occur the first day of each session.
We keep a registered nurse and an assistant health care manager on staff. Health care personnel live on site and are available 24 hours.The camp maintains a well-equipped health station with restrooms and separate living quarters. Campers must have a health history form, physical examination form signed by a licensed physician, and consent to treat form on file with the health care staff. 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 at the Burlington Clinic. The clinic and Burlington Memorial Hospital are seven minutes from camp and are operated by Aurora Health Care.
Our health care staff keeps a variety of over-the-counter medications and health supplies on hand to treat common health concerns. Campers who bring prescription medications must bring them to camp in the original container. Each camper is required to have a completed health form on file with the camp nurse. There is a section of the form devoted to medications. 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 health/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 must turn medications over to the nurse on the first day of camp. The camp nurse reserves the right not to dispense medication if it is not stored in the original container or is not listed on the campers health form(s).
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.
You may send letters and packages to the following address:
c/o YMCA Camp MacLean
31401 Durand Avenue
Burlington, WI 53105
You may fax letters to your camper at (262) 763-9944. Please put your child’s full name on the fax. Campers do not have access to the fax machine.
We encourage parents to use the chartered motorcoach service that departs from the Chicago area YMCA’s. We have found that this is an easier way for parents to transition their children into sleep-away camp. If our bus service is not practical, parents can drop their child off at camp. Some of our sessions do not have round-trip bus service. We will send a separate packet out to all campers and their families regarding transportation. Camp MacLean hires Coach USA-Wisconsin Coach Lines to provide bus service.
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. Camp MacLean is not open on weekends for tours.
We encourage campers to use the washhouse throughout the day. If a camper needs to go to the washroom in the middle of the night, they must notify a staff member. However, 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 his/her 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 name on his or her belongings. 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).
No. While many children come to camp with developed swimming skills, others do not. It is not a requirement. All campers will take a lake swim test on the first day of camp. If a camper cannot take the test for any reason, he or she will be listed as a beginner. The purpose of the swim test is to evaluate camper’s skill and endurance in water so that they can be safe in the activities provided. Beginning and intermediate swimmers will take swim lessons in order to improve their swimming ability. Advanced swimmers will be able to sail, canoe, kayak, and windsurf. Beginning swimmers are allowed to go row boating as long as they are with a staff member. Intermediate swimmers can row boat without a staff member. All campers and staff wear life jackets when boating, canoeing, sailing, kayaking or windsurfing. Aquatic activities are supervised by certified lifeguards.
Advanced swim test: equal to five pool lengths, multiple strokes required, water depth 10 feet, tread water for 60 seconds.
Intermediate swim test: equal to two pool lengths, two strokes required, water depth 7 feet, tread water for 30 seconds.
Campers are assigned to cabin groups prior to the start of the session. Assignments are based on age, gender and program. We assign cabins so that no one is made to feel left out.
Going to camp with a friend is very common. If the friend is the same gender and age or one age/grade apart they can be placed together in the same cabin. There is space on the registration form to list friends. We cannot honor the request if campers are two or more years apart in age.
While we try to honor camper requests for particular counselors we cannot guarantee such assignment. We also cannot honor requests for particular cabins. Cabins are generally grouped by the following ages (Any exceptions to these groupings are determined by the camp director):
7 and 8 year olds
9 and 10 year olds
11 and 12 year olds
13 and older
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. Most 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.
If your child has severe food restrictions it is encouraged that you talk with a director before enrolling your child. We do not allow campers to bring food from home in place of our camp meals. Exceptions to this must be cleared through a full-time director. Camp MacLean does have procedures in place to deal with peanut allergies. A copy of our peanut procedures may be found in our forms section.
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, a thought for the day is held after the breakfast meal and a non-denominational chapel service is held on Sundays when camp is in session. In addition, each cabin has a short devotion held before lights out. Campers wishing to go to Catholic Mass on Sunday are bused to St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington. During mass campers are supervised by MacLean staff.
Camp provides a birthday cake and special recognition for those celebrating a birthday at camp. Please include your child's birthday on the registration form.
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. A store account sheet can be found in our forms section. Store items include:
Toilet Articles such as toothpaste / shampoo
Cabin group photo