Sleepaway Camp FAQ

At Camp Vacamas, we know that parents and campers will have a lot of questions about what life will be like at camp. Each camper and parent meets with staff during the enrollment process to help them prepare for camp and to help us to get to know your child. Here we have included some answers to questions and some information you will find helpful in getting ready for camp.

How do I prepare my child for sleepaway camp?
It is important to include your child in the decision to go to summer camp. Talk with them about your reasons for thinking that camp is a good idea for them. Talk about the activities they will do, the friends they will make and the fun they will have.

Can I tour the camp and see where my child will be living?
Absolutely! Parents and new campers are encouraged to join us at camp for one of our open house events or for the New Camper Day Tour which takes place just prior to each summer season. Parents and campers will be given a tour of facilities and a chance to meet key staff. There will be an information session for parents and a chance for campers to meet and interact. Transportation is provided from NYC and details will be given at the enrollment interview. Parents are not allowed to visit during the camp session.

Can my child be in the same bunk with his friend?
If your child has a friend going to camp, you can request to be in the same cabin, and we will do our best to put them together. This is not always possible but campers will have a chance to see their friends and siblings every day. Most first-time campers do not know any other campers, but don’t worry, your child will get to know other campers very quickly and soon make many great friends.

What should my child bring to camp?
Camp is a great place to wear out old clothes and sneakers! Please do not buy anything new for camp as children will be playing outdoors and getting dirty! It is a good idea to put your child’s name on all of their belongings. Campers’ laundry is done for them twice while they are at camp. We recommend having enough clothes for 10 days. You should also send postcards or paper and stamped envelopes for your child to write letters home. If your child has prescription medication, please pack it separately in a zip lock bag with the prescription directions and your child’s name. Hand this directly to the nurse or counselor in charge.

Click here for the SUGGESTED PACKING LIST.

What should my child NOT bring to camp?
We do not allow cell phones, video games, electronic items, open-toed shoes or two-piece bathing suits at camp. Also, please do not send money, expensive jewelry, food or over the counter medications.

How can I keep in touch when my child is at camp?
Keeping in touch with your child is important. Here are three ways to do so:

  • Write a letter. Campers love to get mail from home! Parents and family members should send campers mail regularly to offer support and encouragement and to keep them feeling connected. You can also send packages but please do not include food, candy or money. Campers are given the opportunity to write letters daily and it is important to provide paper, addressed envelopes and stamps for them.

  • Send an e-mail. Click here to e-mail your child. Enter your child’s full name in the subject bar. These notes are printed out daily and given to campers during mail time.

  • Give us a call. Our Camper Mediators are waiting to take your calls to tell you how your camper is doing. They will take your message, speak with your child directly and give you a call with feedback. You can reach our Camp Mediators during the summer at: 973-838-2568. Please note that direct phone contact with campers is not permitted.

What if my child is homesick?
Some campers experience feelings of missing home when they are away for the first time. It is important to recognize that this is normal. Counselors will work with the camper to get them involved in the program and connected with friends. Our Camper Mediators are also available to help campers adjust and keep parents informed.

What if my child becomes ill at camp?
Our onsite medical team cares for campers 24 hours per day and will attend to minor illness, bumps and scrapes. Our doctor is 7 minutes from camp and the emergency room is just 10 minutes away. You will be contacted by the health center if your child is kept there for 24 hours or leaves camp to visit a doctor or hospital.

Are there specific rules at camp?
Yes. In order to keep campers safe and ensure that everyone has fun, Vacamas camps have simple rules which campers take part in establishing. Our camp professionals are trained to recognize and respond to all kind of issues and potential problems. If problems should arise, parents will be asked to work towards a solution with our Camper Mediator. If your child writes home about a problem or you are concerned in any way about their progress, you should contact our Camper Mediator on 973-838-2568.

My child is attending 2 camp sessions. Can he stay over at camp in between sessions?
Yes, trip break stays are available for an additional $150 fee (EXCEPT at Camp TOP between TRIP 2 and TRIP 3). For more information, call (973) 838-0942 or email registrar@vacamas.org.

How do I contact Vacamas staff?
If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of your child’s experience please do not hesitate to call us:

CAMP VACAMAS
Camper Mediator: 973-838-2568
Camp Director: 973-838-1753
Office: 973-838-0942 or 877-428-8222

CAMP TOP OF THE PINES
Camper Mediator: to be determined
Camp Director: 917-474-0859
Office: 973-838-0942 or 877-428-8222

How do I get to camp?
Click here for detailed directions to Camp Vacamas and Camp Top of the Pines.