For some parents sending your child away to camp can be a difficult and worrisome time. We would like to relieve some of your anxiety by providing you with more information. Much of the information below will help you understand how we handle certain situations that may arise while your child is at Camp Luther. We hope you find this helpful.
- Gary "Woody" Vought, Executive Director
Will my child be supervised 24/7?
Absolutely! We strive to maintain a camper to counselor ratio of 8 to 1. In villages 16 campers are supervised by 2 counselors and 2 junior counselors. In the retreat center each counselor is responsible for their group of 8 campers. There are occasions when there may be more than 8 campers in a group. Groups remain the same for the entire stay at camp. We strive to create a comfortable atmosphere for each camper to bond with others in their group. Counselors sleep in separate rooms from the campers, but are considered ‘on call’ even during sleeping hours.
What if my child has a food allergy or dietary restriction?
If your child has an allergy or dietary restriction concern that could result in a reaction while at camp, we want our health staff and food service team to be knowledgeable about your child’s situation. PLEASE include this information on your Medical Form and communicate with us so that we can provide a positive and safe experience for your child. Our Food Service Manager, Ren, is available for information on menus and managing food restrictions. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-546-3647.
What if my child has special needs or disabilities?
If your child has any special needs or disabilities that could impact their camp experience, please identify this information on your Medical Form and Camper Profile Form and communicate with our Program Manager, Sojo, to discuss how we can best serve your child during their camp experience. Sojo can be contacted at email@example.com or 715-546-3647.
What if my camper takes medication?
Any required medications should be brought to camp with your child. Our First Aid Office is stocked with over the counter medication (ibuprofen, tylenol, benadryl, etc.), so your child does not need to bring these items unless he/she takes a specific amount each day. In compliance with state regulations, all medications brought to camp (including inhalers) must be in the original prescription container with a physician’s directions for dosage. We CANNOT accept unlabeled medication.
What about medical emergencies and illness?
Ensuring the health and safety of your child while at camp is of utmost importance to us. We have a certified medical professional on site 24/7, as well as a trained Health Care Coordinator. In addition, all of our summer staff are certified in First Aid/CPR. If your child is injured at camp, our trained staff and volunteer medic will attend to their needs, assessing the seriousness of the injury and determining if additional medical attention is needed. If additional medical help is needed, we will address those needs immediately. If time is critical, we will first get help before calling you. If time allows, we will call you and alert you to the situation and keep you posted as the situation changes. (Please make sure that our staff has the phone numbers necessary to contact you while your child is at camp.) Our staff will not hesitate to call 911 in case of an emergency at camp.
If your child is sick, our staff will assess the situation. If the illness is of a serious nature, we will contact you ASAP. If your child needs medical attention, we will contact you before taking them to a hospital or clinic. Being sick is never fun, but it can be worse at camp. In cases of prolonged illness, we will ask that the child be picked up and returned home if they are ill, rather than remaining at camp and being miserable.
What if I have to drop my camper off late, or pick them up early?
Late arrival or early pick-up is not recommended and should be considered only in extreme circumstances. If you must arrive late for any reason please call our office in advance so we may prepare for your arrival. Early pick-up should also be arranged in advance.
Can my camper bring their cell phone to camp?
We do NOT allow campers to bring their cell phone or other handheld electronics to camp. We have found that a technology-free policy not only promotes camper safety, but also greatly enhances the overall camp experience. Any cell phones that are sent with campers will be confiscated and held in the office until the end of the session.
What is Canteen and how much money should I send with my camper?
The Canteen is our camp store that offers a variety of snacks, clothing items, souvenirs, and more. Campers visit the store twice a day and use pre-paid Canteen Cards to purchase items. If you registered online, you may add money to your camper's Canteen account prior to attending camp. Otherwise, you can purchase a Canteen Card when you drop your child off at Camp Luther. A typical spending amount for a week at camp is $15-$30.
What is village life like?
Camp Luther's villages provide a unique camping experience! Each village is about a quarter mile from the main camp so campers should be prepared for lots of hiking during their stay. At least one meal per day is prepared as a group using the campfire and outdoor kitchen. Campers in villages will learn about camp fire safety, cooking outdoors, and working together. Life at a village is rustic. We recommend that village campers bring weather-appropriate clothing, a rain coat, and a backpack to carry personal belongings with them thoughout the day. Boys and girls stay in villages together, but with separate, unique sleeping quarters. Campers sleep on bunk beds. Each village is staffed with two college-age counselors and two high-school age junior counselors. Each village has an outhouse, and campers hike to a nearby facility for showers.
What is Retreat Center life like?
The Retreat Center is a dormitory style facility. Campers are housed in rooms of four. Each room contains two single beds and a bunk bed. Bathrooms are located across the hallway. Retreat Center campers have boy or girl camper groups, however they may have combined activities with other boy or girl camper groups. Retreat Center campers generally have one counselor for each 8-10 campers. Retreat Center campers eat the majority of their meals in our Dining Hall but do have cookouts and outdoor meals. They will also participate in a camp-out during the camp (optional for Trailblazers).
Can I contact my child while at Camp? (Pathfinder, Trailblazer, IMPACT, Teen campers)
You are welcome to send your child mail while at camp! Letters can be mailed to Camp Luther with your child’s name and camper group listed in the attention line. Emails can be sent by visiting https://campluther.com/parents. Please be aware that campers are not able to respond to email messages--emails will be printed and distributed on paper. Our last email/mail delivery takes place on Thursday afternoon. We do not allow parents to call campers during their time at camp, except in the case of a family emergency.
What about calling camper?
It's our policy at Camp Luther not to allow campers to use our phones or cell phones. There are several reasons for this. 1. It would simply be impractical to allow up to 175 campers a week to call home. 2. Part of what makes camp special is the time away from home. Phone calls from home interrupt this special time and sometimes take away from the camp experience. 3. Phone calls can lead to, or worsen homesickness. For these reasons, campers are not allowed to use our phones and campers with cell phones are asked to give them to their counselor until the end of their camp experience.
One more thing about contacting your child at Camp...
As a parent, it is difficult to be away from our children. We miss them, we worry, we wonder how they are.....It's hard!! We really want to talk to them. However, this may be one of those situations where less is more. Being at camp is a very special event in the life of a child. Some parents diminish that experience by flooding their children with all the details of what is going on at home. Some parents even make their children feel guilty for being away because they miss them so much. Consider limiting your contact with your child while at camp to allow them a special time away from the normal things of their life. They may have a much better experience at camp!
What if my child has homesickness?
Homesickness is a hard and difficult experience for campers, and for their counselor. It is our goal at camp to help campers make it through this difficult time, and if at all possible, make it to the end of their camp. While most homesick campers feel a sense of relief upon returning home, those feelings will usually turn into feelings of failure and regret. We will do everything we can to help a camper make it to the end of their week and experience the success of this accomplishment. If homesickness is detected, counselors will do their best to comfort and encourage the afflicted camper. Campers will not normally be allowed to call home just because they are homesick. Parents will be called only as a last resort.
Can I visit?
We do not allow campers to have visitors at camp. Camp provides an opportunity to develop independence and personal responsibility. Sometimes interruptions from family members can detract from the experience and even increase homesickness. We have found that parent/child separation is often harder on the parent than the child.
What does Camp do in bad weather?
In the event of bad weather, all Camp Luther campers and guests are moved to safe areas as quickly as possible. More commonly at camp, however, campers are moved to safe areas prior to the onset of severe weather. All summer campers are assembled in the basement areas of the Retreat Center. Village campers are kept indoors on evenings when bad weather (severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings) is imminent.
How are lost items handled?
We highly recommend all of your child’s belongings are marked with their name. This will make it more possible to return items to their owners. At the end of each camp session, all lost and found items will be gathered and displayed in the main courtyard or placed in the Lost and Found box. Valuable items may be found in the camp office. Please take a few moments to look over the lost and found items. Camp Luther will gather and date lost and found items and have them available through September. After that time they will be donated to a charity. If you would like any items sent to you, we ask that you pre-pay for the mailing costs ($5 minimum) either with check or credit card.
Will my child make friends?
One of our core values is "Develop respectful and caring relationships which serve to provide a lifelong network of Christian mentors and friends." We know that this is essential to a positive camp experience and our success as a camp as a whole. Therefore, it is something that we don't just assume will happen. Instead, we intentionally conduct activities designed to engage campers and create relationships. Obviously, this is not going to be an easy thing for every camper, but in most cases, campers do make great friends. We encourage you to help your child keep these new friendships active through letters, email, etc. Many lifelong Christian friendships have been formed at camp.
What should I expect after Camp?
When your child returns from camp you may be wondering "What happened to the child I dropped off?" Please be assured, this is a very common phenomenon. Odds are, your child will have a million bits of information they want to share with you. They are going to be busting with stories, and songs, and all kinds of crazy information about people with crazy nicknames. How you handle this exciting time with your child is important. Here are some suggestions:
1. Show interest in everything they are sharing with you. Your child is talking to you! That's great! Give them the opportunity to share this special and memorable experience with you.
2. Your child is likely to be extremely tired. Campers are usually on the go from 7:00 am to 10 or 11 pm at night (depending on their age). The activity they have experienced at camp is likely much more than they are used to. So we encourage you to let them sleep. And don't plan anything important for that night or the next day for your child. They may be too tired to participate.
3. Don't be offended if your child doesn't want to come home or is sad about leaving camp. Avoid making them feel self-conscious, rather, help to explore these feelings and consider what was it about this time at camp that was so special to them.
4. Some things you can ask and talk about: Who was their favorite counselor? Why? What was your favorite activity? What will you remember most about camp? What did you learn about Jesus this week?
5. Warning! Open the dirty laundry bag carefully! :)
How does Camp Luther handle disruptive campers?
Our counselor training focuses on using behavior management and positive reinforcement to prevent disruptive behavior. We aim to keep our campers so busy doing fun and creative things, that they have little time to consider misbehaving. In the event that discipline is necessary, it is our policy to correct campers individually and work toward behavioral improvement together. Our full-time staff will step in if any serious infractions occur. Campers will be sent home if they are a serious disruption or danger to other campers.
The most important thing you can do - PRAY!
Pray for a wonderful experience for your child as they spend time with their counselor, make new friends, experience new things, and have tons of fun. Pray for their counselor as they are challenged to provide for the needs of all the campers in their care. Pray for the safety of all of the campers this week. Pray that your child might become a friend to someone in need this week at camp. And most importantly, pray that God through his Holy Spirit might touch the heart of your child in an extra special way this week; that through this experience, they may return home with a new understanding of Jesus' unending love for them.
Additional helpful information
Christian authors Jim Burns Ph D. and Cheri Evana offer advice and tips to parents on Preparing Your Kids for a Great Christian Camp Adventure. Here is a link to that pdf document.
Have a question?
After reading all this and you still have a question about camp, please feel free to contact us via email or phone. Please understand that our staff is very busy, but will do everything we can to get back to you in a timely manner. If you have a question about a summer camp program, you should direct your questions to our Program Manager in charge of our summer camps.