Parent Information / FAQ
Our Packing List has been developed over the years to help families prepare their children for camp. Please do not feel that you need to buy lots of new clothes or equipment for camp. Old clothes often make the best camp clothes. Campers need enough clothes to wear for at least one week because the laundry goes out once a week (extra socks, underwear, and t-shirts are recommended). Campers should bring clothes suitable for warm summer days and cool mountain evenings. We do our best to send home items left behind on packing day, making sure all items are clearly labeled will help us do this, but camp is not responsible for lost items.
Camp is designed as a group experience, and we find that electronic devices hinder that experience. Therefore, we ask that campers do not use ipods, cell phones, video games, etc. at camp. Counselors will ask parents to take such items home with them on opening day, or your child’s counselor will give these items to the Head Counselor for safekeeping.
We like to keep you posted on the activity at camp! You can check or subscribe to our blog
(http://www.crystallakecamps.org/blog/) to see daily updates, or check out our Photo Gallery to see daily photos of camp and your camper(s)! To stay in touch with your child, you can send an email which we print out for our campers each day. Campers also love getting “snail” mail, and we encourage you to write to your child often. Letters should be mailed to:
1676 Crystal Lake Rd.
Hughesville, PA 17737
You’ll enjoy getting written notes directly from your camper, because all campers write home twice a week. Send your camper with plenty of paper and stamped, addressed envelopes to make it easy for them to share camp with you. If an emergency arises, please feel free to call the office. The Camp Director is always happy to take calls from parents and give you a report on how your child is doing. However, please do not tell your child that they can call home whenever they want. If a child wants to call home for any reason, they can talk to the Camp Director about it. We will discuss the reason for the call with the child and decide if and when a call will be made. Calls home are generally not allowed except for health or significant well-being needs. Most often, we find that calls home only exacerbate homesickness issues. For that reason, it is important that your camper not expect to be able to make calls.
The best thing to send your child is lots of postcards and letters. Most campers do not receive care packages, so your child will not feel left out if you do not send one. If you would really like to send something, please keep it small and inexpensive. A good choice would be a reading, coloring or puzzle book, or some fun activity that your child could use and share during rest hour or other cabin time. Do not send food or gum. Campers are provided with plenty to eat. Sweets in the cabins only attract unwanted critters, and wrappers and often found strewn throughout the cabin.
The girls and boys live in separate camps. Within each camp, your child will be staying in a cabin with other children in their age group. There are two to three counselors living in each cabin who are responsible for maintaining an orderly and harmonious living situation for their campers and for making sure the personal needs of each camper are being met. At least one counselor is in the cabin whenever the children are there. The Head Counselor is there to support the staff and to spend time with the children.
Unless you have enrolled your child in LT or CIT, campers will sign up for three activities in which they will participate on a daily basis. In addition, your child will be able to choose one other activity each day. For example, a child might take swimming, horseback riding, and archery every day. One day for the free choice period, the child might also make tie-dye t-shirt in arts and crafts. The next day for free choice period, the child could choose to play soccer. If your child chooses to do something different each day, they could participate in as many as 12 different activities. There are also evening and special activities such as cookouts, campfire nights, barn dances, etc. We strongly recommend that beginner level swimmers take swimming as one of their everyday activities.
Many children learn to try new foods at camp. Our menu is designed to be healthy, balanced, and delicious. We strongly encourage each camper to try a taste of everything being served. Campers who are vegetarians or vegans will be provided with an alternative. We make sure that no child leaves a meal hungry. In addition to the main course at any given meal, we also have a salad bar that offers many different healthy options for campers.
Each camp has a Quiet Room where the children are lovingly cared for by a Camp Parent until they can resume their regular activities. The Camp Parent is a Class taught student of Christian Science, who is a parent or has experience with children. Also at camp, there is a Journal-listed Christian Science Practitioner who is available to give specific prayerful treatment, and a Journal-listed Christian Science Nurse who is available to campers. Of course if they prefer, campers always have the option to speak with a family Practitioner and we are happy to arrange a phone call for this purpose whenever needed. You will be promptly notified by the Camp Director whenever a practitioner has been engaged or if there is any significant interruption in your child’s regular schedule.
Help your child prepare for camp. If your child has any special needs or interests, be sure to speak with the Camp Director as far in advance as possible. Write to your child regularly with the focus on what is happening at camp, more than what is happening at home. Pray daily for your child just as you would if they were at home.
Unless you have signed up for a special program, LT, or CIT, you will have 3 classes that meet every day. In these classes you will be able to learn and practice new skills. You’ll also have a chance to sample other activities during your free choice period, called a '5th Period'. If you took a different activity during each 5th Period, you’d be able to try as many as twelve different activities - plus lots of other evening activities and special activities such as cookouts, campfire nights, etc. We strongly recommend that one of the classes you take be a swimming class, if you are a beginner level swimmer.
Camp food is good food. You’ll get really hungry at camp because you’re always doing fun activities. We serve big breakfasts that include foods like scrambled eggs & toast, French toast, cereal, and pancakes. Things you’ll have for lunch and dinner include macaroni and cheese, turkey and mashed potatoes, hot dogs/hamburgers and so much more! We also have a salad bar available at lunch and dinner, as well as delicious vegetarian and vegan options for each meal.
There are separate camps for girls and boys. You’ll be living in a cabin and sleeping in bunk beds. You can choose either a top or bottom bunk. You’ll have shelves and hanging space for all your stuff. The youngest campers (nine and under) have a bathroom in their cabin. Older campers may have to walk to a nearby bath house with sinks, toilets, and showers. There are between 3-6 campers in each room and 6-12 campers in each cabin (fewer in the younger cabins, more in the older cabins).
Quiet Hour is the time for reading the Christian Science Bible Lesson. Everyone in your cabin will read from the Lesson together and talk about how the ideas can be applied to your daily life. You will also choose a “thought of the day” from the lesson to memorize so that you can use it throughout the day, and share with the rest of the camp at the daily assembly/MAP.
Cabin assignments are based on age. If you and your friend are close in age, then you will probably be in the same cabin. If you are different ages then it might not work out. We’ d be happy to consider your request, but know that camp is also a great way to make new friends!
We have a packing list to help you decide what to bring. Don’t bring lots of new or expensive clothes. Bring some older grungy stuff so you don’t have to worry about your clothes when you are doing pottery or playing mud soccer. Some kids like to have one nice outfit to wear for Sunday church. At the end of every session we have a banquet - a big party to celebrate - and it always has a theme (Vikings, the jungle, outer space, or something like that!) You can bring a fun costume to wear to this too. Check the Crystal Lake Camps Facebook page or our blog to see what the banquet themes will be this summer!
If you play a musical instrument, we would love to have you bring it to camp. Many campers play in front of an audience for the first time at camp. You can perform in the talent show and during our Sunday evening vespers, either solo or with a friend or a group of cabin mates. If your parents are worried about sending an expensive instrument to camp, ask them to talk to the Director about it. If you play the piano, bring your music because camp has lots of pianos where you can practice or perform!