Frequently Asked Questions

Campers

Where do your campers come from?
Our campers come from over 10+ states across the US and 10+ countries throughout the world.

What is the average amount of time your campers stay?
Our campers come for an average of two weeks each summer; many who are new to overnight camp (or CSW) come for a week, and many veterans come for the whole summer!

Can my child request a particular roommate?
Yes! Campers may request to room with a child of the same gender and age; as long as the request is mutual, we can honor it. Siblings of different ages/genders should not expect to live with each other.

Communication

Can I communicate with my child while they are away at camp?
There are several ways parents can communicate with children at camp! First and foremost, kids may bring cellular phones (or tablets/laptops if international) to call or skype home. These devices are turned in to the staff and may be used whenever campers are in the bunk. Parents may also send 1-way emails to campermail@marianapolis.org; these are printed out and delivered during the day. Similarly, parents can leave envelopes addressed to the camper to be delivered on designated dates.

Can I communicate with my child's counselors while they are away at camp?
When you arrive at registration, you will have the opportunity to meet many/all of your child's counselors. This is a great time to get to know them a little better! 

If you have a concern during your child's stay, however, all communication goes through the main office (directors). Your child's counselor our head counselor will not get on the phone during an evening call home, for example, per our instructions. (They will instruct that you call the main office for immediate response.) This allows the entire staff team to work collaboratively to support each child, and typically provides more comprehensive problem-solving, as the directors' team has far more "big picture" information and resources than any one counselor at a time.

Homesickness & Sickness

Is it possible for my child to come home on weekends?
Absolutely. Every family is different, and for some, sending a child to camp just for weekdays (Monday-Friday) is the best plan. If families would like to enroll a child for multiple weeks, but have the child return home on weekends, they can simply sign up for multiple one-week sessions. The tuition for this plan is the sum of each one-week session.

What happens if my child is homesick at camp?
Homesickness can happen to anyone - young or old - and can occur when a child stays away from home for an extended period of time. Sometimes homesickness manifests through nostalgia or uncharacteristic anxiety; it can be complicated by physical symptoms including crying, headache, tiredness, or upset stomach.

Homesickness may be new/unusual for a particular child, but it is very common among kids at sleepaway camp. It can happen to new campers or veteran campers, to children as young as eight and campers well into their teen years.

The most important thing a parent can do for a homesick child is to let them know they can do it. Often, if a parent over-sympathizes with missing home or feeling anxious, the child hears this as a sign of imminent failure. "They think something's terribly wrong," explains psychiatrist Josh Klapow. "But it's normal and adaptive to feel homesick for some period of time. It's just your emotions and mind telling you that you're out of your element."

Other common pitfalls with a homesick child include bargaining ("if you aren't feeling better tomorrow, you can come home") or focusing primarily on the negative ("what wasn't fun about today?"). Similarly, parents may be the typical go-to caregiver at home, but encouraging the child to contact home when feeling upset - instead of using camp staff resources - can hinder their adaptation to new environments/support systems.

So, what are some "dos" of handling homesickness?
-Ask your child about what they did during the day. What went well? What did they make? What skills did they learn?
-Keep updates about home simple and brief so there's limited concern about "missing out."
-Let your child know how proud you are of them for being mature and independent - staying away from home is a very grown-up thing.-
-Encourage your child to reach out to camp counselors and leadership staff if they are feeling upset.
-Listen to your child's physical/emotional symptoms and follow up with the camp director & camp nurse for updates on your child's well-being.
-Stay positive. Remaining calm and optimistic will help your child regain strength and confidence in their ability to thrive away from their home environment.

What happens if my child is sick at camp?
Illness at camp is not common, but it can happen. Camp Stonewall has a dedicated staff of Registered Nurses and leadership staff who are equipped to handle the vast majority of illnesses or injuries that can arise at summer camp. Campers can expect to receive top notch care during the day as well as overnight. If emergency treatment is ever required, parents are contacted immediately and decisions regarding care are made collaboratively. If a child must be removed from camp due to severe illness or injury, a refund for the remainder of the camp session may be available.

Can my child come home if he/she is mildly sick or homesick?
Occasionally, a parent may feel that a child's sickness or homesickness is best treated at home. Children may depart from camp to recover from illness/homesickness at any time. However, once the child leaves, he/she may not return to camp in that session. There are no refunds available for families who remove their child for mild illness or homesickness.

Medical/Special Needs

Is your camp able to support children with allergies?
Absolutely. All campers - new and returning - submit medical forms that allow us to prepare in advance for allergy protocols. If there is an accommodation needed for a camper that is not typical of a child's experience at camp, we work to ensure all the appropriate structures are put in place so that child can be safe and successful at camp.

Are there gluten-free options at camp? 
Yes! We have a gluten-free station that is restocked for each meal with specific options for gluten-free campers. Similarly, we provide GF snacks at the afternoon snack time daily.

Can my child carry medication or self-administer medication?
Per state protocols, campers may carry properly registered inhalers and/or epipens on their person in case of emergency. A 'backup" inhaler or epipen can be brought and stored with the nurse. ALL OTHER medications - including over the counter meds as well as vitamins/supplements - must be checked in with the nurse at registration and administered by the nurse or administrative staff. 

Does Camp Stonewall support campers with special needs?
Over the years, there have been a handful of special needs campers for whom CSW has proved an amazingly supportive and nurturing summer home! However, it is critical to note that Camp Stonewall is neither a special needs camp nor a program with significant staff training for special needs campers. To that end, families with prospective special needs participants are encouraged to contact the directors 1:1 to discuss the individual needs of the child. The directors will subsequently make a recommendation as to whether or not CSW is appropriate for all involved. 

Staff

Where does your camp staff come from? How are they screened/chosen?
Our camp staff come to us from northeastern states as well as countries around the world. As we recruit staff internationally, we partner with Camp USA Interexchange, a global placement organization for young adults (18-25) looking to work and travel in the United States. All applicants receive a background check and are required to submit 3 recommendations; they are subsequently interviewed 2-3 times by staff at Camp USA and Camp Stonewall. Domestic staff range from camp interns (young adults aged 16/17), many of whom are Marianapolis students during the year, to camp and educational professionals, all of whom have been screened/vetted by the camp and/or the state.

What is your staff/camper ratio?
Camp Stonewall maintains a 1:3 staff/camper ratio.

What is staff supervision at camp like? 
Campers are supervised 24/7. At activities, there are always 2 or more staff present at all times. Bunk staff include 4-5 counselors and a head counselor, at least 2 of whom are always present at all times. Should campers require additional help - a trip to the nurse, a stop at the restroom, etc - they are accompanied by a staff member as well. Senior campers (grades 9-10) are permitted to stop at and return from the restroom without a staff member.