Parent Information

This page is designed to provide camper parents with all the information needed to make the summer camp experience as smooth as possible. If your question is not answered here, please contact the Youth Office. We’re glad to help!

Viewing pictures of camp activities

Camp photos will be posted on a web gallery hosted by Waldo Photos. To view all the pictures from camp, simply click the yellow button below and enter the join code. The join code will be included in pre-camp emails to parents of registered campers; we will also send an email reminder when the first photos are posted for each week of camp. You do not have to create an account or pay a fee to view all the photos on the free web gallery. If you’d prefer to view photos of your camper specifically, you may choose to sign up for Waldo’s optional facial recognition service. Waldo does charge a small fee for this very cool service.

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Keeping in touch during camp

Overnight campers enjoy receiving mail. You may send cards or letters (make sure you allow plenty of time for them to arrive in the mail). 

To address a letter to your child at camp:
Camper’s Name
Highland Retreat
14783 Upper Highland Drive
Bergton, VA 22811

You may also send your child notes through the one-way email feature on Campwise while they are at camp. Simply click the button below, and log in using the same user name and password you used to register your child for camp. Click the “Update Info” button that follows your child’s name, then on the camper dashboard look for the “One-Way Emails” item. Emails will be printed each day around 11:30am to be distributed to campers at lunchtime. Any emails sent after that cut off time will be given to the child on the following day.

Campers will not be able to send email, but will be able to mail letters if they bring stamped envelopes or postcards to write on.

Having trouble logging in? Contact the youth office for help!

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What to bring (packing lists)

Clothing should be comfortable, loose fitting, and appropriate for being in the outdoors while maintaining a high standard of modesty. View detailed packing lists below. We encourage you to write your child’s name on their items to help minimize lost possessions.

Campers will not need any spending money; T-shirts and small gift items are sold only during check-in and departure times. Campers should also refrain from bringing electronics (including cell phones), weapons, illegal substances, and any other items not in keeping with Christian values and summer camp expectations. See also the Guidelines for Our Time Together document.

All overnight campers should bring:

  • Pillow 
  • Sleeping bag
  • Change of clothes for each day
  • 2022 (optional): A clean face mask for each day
  • Sleeping clothes
  • 2 towels
  • Swimsuit (one piece or tankini)
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Shower shoes (optional)
  • Sturdy sneakers
  • Old sneakers/creek shoes
  • Plenty of extra socks
  • Sandals with heel strap (optional)
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Water bottle
  • Sun & bug protection
  • Poncho/rain gear
  • Jacket/warm clothing
  • Long pants
  • Bible (if you have one)
  • Stamped postcards or envelopes (optional)
  • Edge Camps only: A backpack or day pack

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Day Campers should bring these items daily in a backpack:

  • 2022 (optional): A clean face mask
  • Water bottle
  • Sun & bug protection
  • Swimsuit (one piece or tankini)
  • Towel for swimming
  • Sturdy sneakers
  • Old sneakers/creek shoes
  • Extra socks
  • Sandals with heel strap (optional)
  • Poncho/rain gear
  • Jacket/warm clothing
  • A change of clothes (just in case)
  • Bible (if you have one)

For optional Thursday sleepover:

  • Water bottle
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping bag
  • Towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Long pants
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Evening/morning medications

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Check-in and departure times and procedures

Overnight camps (updated for 2022):

  • Check-in for overnight camps will be on Sunday afternoon. To cut down on lines and wait time, each cabin group will be assigned a specific window of time between 3:00 and 5:00pm. You will be notified of your arrival time about a week before camp begins, along with your camper’s cabin assignment. We will do our best to ensure that siblings attending the same week of camp have matching or back-to-back arrival times. Please notify us if you are bringing multiple non-sibling campers to check-in so we can give you the same consideration.
  • We request that all family members wear a face mask during check-in. Healthy staff and campers are vital to a successful camp session, so we want to minimize exposure to germs of all kinds! Wearing a mask when talking face-to-face with camp staff is greatly appreciated.
  • Our staff will greet you as you come in Lower Highland Drive and help you get parked. Report directly to the kitchen deck for check-in, where, among other things, the camp nurse will collect camper medications. T-shirts may be purchased at this time.
  • Following check-in, camp staff will introduce you to your camper’s cabin group, and you will have a chance to speak with your child’s counselor. Each cabin group will gather in a designated area, and the counselors will help their campers take their belongings to their cabin at the end of the check-in period or once all members of the cabin group have arrived. Family members who wish to see their child’s cabin are welcome to stay and walk to the cabin with the group. Family members are asked NOT to ENTER the cabins unless they are wearing a face mask!
  • Departure is on Friday afternoon (or Tuesday for The Lookout). There will be an assigned time for each cabin group’s check-out, identical to their check-in time. You’ll be directed to park in a similar area as for check-in, and will be directed to your child’s counselor to sign them out. You’ll also want to see the camp nurse to collect any medications, and the camp store will be open.
  • Pets are not permitted at camp. If you must bring a pet during check-in or departure time, the pet must remain in your vehicle.

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Day Camp (updated for 2022):

  • Day Camp campers must be dropped off and picked up each day, Monday through Friday.
  • Daily drop-off and pick-up times will be staggered, with each age assigned a specific window of time each morning and afternoon. You will be notified of your assigned times about a week before camp begins. Drop-off times will be between 8:00 and 9:00am; pick-up times will be between 4:00 and 5:00pm. We will do our best to ensure that siblings have matching or back-to-back arrival times. Please notify us if you are bringing multiple non-sibling campers so we can give you the same consideration.
  • As you come in Lower Highland Drive each time, there will be staff and/or signs to greet you and direct you to the appropriate areas for parking and drop off/pick up.
  • We request that all family members wear a face mask when dropping off or picking up your campers. Healthy staff and campers are vital to a successful camp session, so we want to minimize exposure to germs of all kinds! Wearing a mask when talking face-to-face with camp staff is greatly appreciated.
  • Pets are not permitted at camp. If you must bring a pet during check-in or departure time, the pet must remain in your vehicle. 

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Healthcare at camp

Please note that a pre-camp health screening is required for admittance to camp. Read this document for the three screening options and the symptom tracking chart. A few more details about the 2022 COVID health policies can also be found on the youth camps page.

Please make sure you have completed a Medical Information Form for your child at least three weeks prior to camp. This form is part of the online registration process, or you can print and mail a paper form.

While camp is in session, a nurse is available to treat illness and injury, to manage medications, and to work with local healthcare professionals. Several additional staff members are trained in first aid and CPR.

Bring all your child’s medications in the original packaging or bottle. In an effort to reduce the number of medications that a child needs to bring, the camp nurse stocks many common over-the-counter medications (Tylenol, Benadryl, cough & cold remedies, etc.). The camp nurse will collect all medications (over-the-counter, nonprescription, or prescription) at check-in. Keep them separate from your gear.

Accident Insurance – The camp carries limited accident insurance. If your child needs treatment and you have insurance, your coverage will be applied first. If your policy does not cover the full bill or you have no insurance, you should inform us. Our coverage has certain limits, including a maximum than can be applied per camper per incident.

Food Allergies/Dietary Restrictions – Be sure to mention any food allergies or dietary restrictions when registering your child and filling out the Medical Information Form. Highland’s kitchen is prepared to offer some substitutions and modifications for common allergies/restrictions, but to do this best we must be notified in advance. Read this document for additional information.

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Cabin mate requests

We are committed to working with parents to find the best arrangement for cabin mates. It is our desire to both accommodate cabin mate requests (up to three friends together) and still allow for new friendships to grow. Cabin mates’ ages must be within a year of each other. Requests should be mutual. Cabin assignments will typically be made the Monday before camp begins, so make sure any cabin mate requests are submitted before that date. We will send an email notification to let you know your child’s cabin as soon as the housing assignments are finalized; cabin assignments will not be adjustable upon arrival at camp.

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Day Camp details

Camper Groups – Because Day Camp serves a wide age range, campers will be grouped by similar ages for daily activities. In order to avoid disappointment or confusion, please inform your child that he or she will be grouped with other campers by age.

An optional Thursday night sleepover is available to campers ages 7 and up. There is an additional $30 fee for campers who wish to participate in the sleepover. You can opt into the sleepover when registering your child, or let us know no later than Tuesday of Day Camp week if you want your child to participate.

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Additional FAQs

What are the intended results of the Highland Summer Camp experience?
Highland Summer Camp aims to provide an uplifting, enjoyable camp experience for children and youth. Specifically, we aim to:

  • Provide programming that encourages meaningful spiritual growth in Jesus Christ
  • Provide quality staff, each with a servant’s heart and a strong commitment to living God’s Way
  • Challenge youth to make a commitment to Jesus Christ and His way of living
  • Help youth develop a greater self-understanding and acceptance of others
  • Help youth develop and strengthen friendships

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What is the right age to send a child to camp?
The answer to this question really varies from child to child. According to Toni Anderson, “It’s more a maturity issue than an age issue. . . Some important criteria to consider before making a decision on camp, especially one where kids spend the night, include: showing an interest in the experience; being able to tie shoelaces; cutting their own food; being able to take care of their grooming needs; being able to read and tell time; having some level of emotional maturity.”

If you are still uncertain about a particular child, we encourage you to contact the Highland Youth Office. We can partner together to try to determine your child’s readiness for camp and see which program might best meet your child’s needs.

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Do you have any suggestions for first-time campers?
Cheri Evans suggests the following:

  • Allow your child to be involved in the decision-making process.
  • Involve your youngster in selecting clothes. Do the packing together so your child is aware of what is in the suitcase.
  • Select some postcards and pre-address and stamp them so your child can write a quick note and send them to you while at camp.
  • Inform your child that the camp has a policy that campers are not permitted to make phone calls during their stay at camp, except in an emergency.
  • Talk with your child about what to expect in all areas, particularly the area of spiritual emphasis and development.
  • Pray with your child about what will be happening. Encourage your son or daughter to share concerns or fears he or she may have so you may pray about them.

If you are interested in some additional hints, contact the Highland Youth Office for a free copy of the Cheri Evans pamphlet entitled “Preparing Your Child for Camp,” a publication of CCI/USA.

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In what ways does Highland offer Christian spiritual nurturing?
Highland Retreat has been and continues to be missional in nature, providing opportunities for campers to accept Jesus Christ or recommit their lives to Him. With this in mind, we sense the continued need for presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all campers at their level of understanding, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). This will be done through daily Bible study, worship services, and interaction with staff members who are dedicated to demonstrating their commitment to Jesus Christ in word and deed.

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What is the food like? What if my child has dietary restrictions?
Most lunches and dinners are served on the kitchen deck, but campers will also have the opportunity to enjoy campfire cooking (under the supervision of their counselors) for a few meals during the week, usually breakfasts. Our kitchen staff do their best to provide balanced meals that are both healthy and child-friendly. Be sure to mention any food allergies or dietary restrictions when filling out your child’s medical information form, and read this document for information about how Highland’s kitchen staff can help make sure your child is safe and well-fed.

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What do you do to make camp a safe place?
Camp, like life, can never be risk-free, but we work hard to make Highland Summer Camp a safe place to be. Staff are selected for their ability to work with children, their desire to serve in camp ministry, and for their Christian faith. We seek to find staff who demonstrate a desire to know, love, and share their faith with others through their words and lifestyle.

While camp is in session, a nurse is available to treat illness and injury, to manage medications, and to work with local healthcare professionals. Several additional staff members are trained in first aid and CPR.

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How do you screen and train your staff?
Quality staff are the number one asset to our program. We seek to find solid Christian men and women who are living their faith authentically and with integrity, and who possess the skills and gifting for the roles they will fill.

  • Staff Screening – Each staff person at Highland Retreat is carefully screened. The process starts when an application is submitted, which we review carefully, even for returning staff. We contact at least three confidential references, including one from their home church, before conducting a personal interview with the applicant. The next step is a complete criminal background check. Only individuals who meet each careful requirement are hired.
  • Staff Training – All staff are required to attend 4 to 14 days of staff training. The general training that all staff attend involves sessions on health and safety, risk management, age group characteristics, organizational mission, supervision, and more. More specific training is offered for staff working with campers, in the kitchen, in supervisory roles, and so on.

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What is your counselor to camper ratio?
The ratio changes with the age of the campers, but we generally place seven to nine campers in each cabin with one to two senior counselors, supported by experienced head counselors and other staff who are available to assist as needed. For younger campers, we set a maximum of ten campers with two counselors per cabin, and for older campers, a maximum of eight campers with one counselor per cabin.

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Can I visit or call my child?
While camp is in session, visits and phone calls are discouraged and should be limited to emergencies only. However, we encourage parents at check-in to meet the counselors and visit the cabin their son or daughter will be staying in. Parents are welcome to write or email their child. Receiving mail while at camp is a highlight for many campers. If you are concerned about how your child is doing while at camp, feel free to contact the Highland Youth Office and speak with the Program Director. We can arrange a time when your child’s counselor can let you know how your child is doing.

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What are the cabins like?
Our camping cabins are simple structures with bunk beds and electric lights. Each cabin has a fire circle for outdoor cooking and a bathhouse just a short distance away. For more details, including pictures of the cabins, visit the camping cabins page.

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Will my child need spending money?
No. The camp provides snacks. We do have a camp store with T-shirts and other items available for purchase; however, we only sell them during check-in and departure time.

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What if my child needs to leave early?
A parent will need to indicate during check-in if their child needs to leave early or will be leaving for a period of time and then returning to camp. Refunds are not available for those who leave for homesickness or bad conduct.

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What if we need to cancel a registration?
Cancellation Policy: The registration deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. Any amount paid in addition to the deposit will be refunded as follows: Cancellations made at least 14 days prior to the starting date will be refunded. Cancellations made 4-13 days prior to the starting date will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations made 3 or fewer days prior to the starting date will not be refunded. In special circumstances, some exceptions to this policy may be considered.

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