Summer Camp FAQs
Camp Jewell YMCA’s overnight camps are a time filled with moments of pride, fun, friendship, and self-confidence. Parents tell us their kids gain independence; campers tell us they have a blast! At Camp Jewell YMCA we know that both of these are true—and along the way, we create amazing memories that will last your child a lifetime! These frequently asked questions are designed to answer the questions we most commonly receive from parents. We also encourage you to check out our Summer Camp Parent Handbook for additional information and we are always available via email or phone to answer any questions you might have. Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 888-412-2267 if you would like to talk with one of our staff or would like to arrange for a tour.
Can we visit camp before signing up?
Yes, we have four Open Houses each year. All tours are led by summer and leadership staff. If these days are not convenient for you, please feel free to call our office and set up a private tour with one of our camp staff any day of the week. For more information please click HERE.
Where is Camp Jewell YMCA located?
We are located in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut just outside of Winsted in the foothills of the Berkshires. With easy access to Route 44 and 8 we are less than an hour from Hartford and under 2 1/2 hours from both New York City and Boston. For directions please click HERE.
How do I contact camp in the summer?
You can reach us by phone 24/7 during summer camp at 888.412.2267 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I stay in touch with my child while they are at camp?
We encourage letters from you as the best way of communicating with your camper. Positive, supportive letters let your camper hear from you in a constructive way. You may want to send a letter a few days prior to the session to ensure that it is received while your camper is at camp. Additionally, we have partnered with Camp Brain to provide email service for our camp families. There is a small fee for this service, additional information can be found on our website. Parents, grandparents, etc. can send email to their child through this system, during their time at camp. Please note that due to the large number of campers, (we get over 400 emails each day), we ask that you limit your emails so that we can deliver them in a timely fashion. Emails are downloaded during the evening for printing the following morning and are distributed after lunch! Due to our policy of no electronic devices at camp Campers do not have access to email.
Can I send a care package?
Although all campers enjoy receiving packages from home, we discourage care packages containing food items as some campers have allergies to certain ingredients and food can attract unwanted insects and animals to the cabins. Any food in packages will be taken away and returned on the closing day of that session. You can also purchase items from the camp store online and we will deliver them to your child’s cabin with a personalized note.
Can I see photos of my child while they are at camp?
Our photos are also provided by Camp Brain in conjunction with Smug Mug. Each day we take several hundred photos of camp in action, we then upload those photos each night to SmugMug. There is NO CHARGE for this service. Families registered for camp will be sent an email to create an account and access photos. You can share this link once your account has been created with family members and friends. You can download as many photos as you would like for free, you can also choose to purchase prints at a nominal cost. Please note that we take several hundred photos at camp each day and while we try to take a variety of shots not every camper will necessarily be in a photo each day.
How does my child stay in touch with me?
Campers are encouraged to reply by writing letters. We suggest that campers bring paper and pre‐ addressed stamped envelopes. With this understanding, we ask that parents work with us in ensuring that campers do not bring cell phones to camp. Your assistance is greatly appreciated in helping us enforce this policy. Possession of a cell phone will lead to automatic dismissal from camp!
Can I visit my child while they are at camp?
Parents are welcome to visit and tour on opening and closing days of each session or trip. Parents can visit if their child is staying for more than one session during holdover, however we ask that you notify our office and make arrangements prior to the day you are visiting. For security reasons, all parents must be accompanied by a camp staff member if walking around camp outside of the check in and check out times.
What is security like at camp?
Security is extremely important at camp. Our staff are in constant contact with one another, and with the camp office, via hand-held radio. All visitors must stop by our office and be checked in, anyone visiting camp during the summer also must go through a security check and are given an identifying bracelet. Vistiors must also be accompanied by camp staff at all times. Our gate is locked overnight and we employ a nightwatch person during the summer to ensure that no unauthorized people are at camp outside of normal business hours. Any person not cleared to be at camp are immediately identified, approached, and asked to leave camp.
Do I need to be a YMCA member to attend camp?
No, it is not necessary to be a member of the YMCA to attend camp. However, there is a discount for full facility family members of the YMCA of Greater Hartford, for more details call or email camp.
Why are there three different rates for camp?
Realizing that families have differing abilities to pay, Camp Jewell YMCA has instituted a voluntary 3-tier pricing program for our Summer Resident Camp to accommodate all financial needs. Tier 1 most accurately accounts for the true cost of operating camp including food, staff salaries, supplies, wear and tear on equipment, transportation, and depreciation. Tier 2 is a partially subsidized rate for those who cannot afford to pay the full costs associated with attending camp. Tier 3 is a subsidized rate that only covers the basic costs associated with attending camp including, food, staff salaries and supplies. Please choose the tier that is most suitable for your family. All children have the same experience no matter which tier a family is able to pay. The tier selected by a family will be kept confidential.
Is Financial Assistance available for camp?
Yes Financial Assistance is available. Each year we raise over $200,000 and provide over $400,000 in scholarships to families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend camp. For more information please click HERE.
How do I know that my child will be safe at camp?
Safety is always our top priority at camp. We are accredited by the YMCA of the USA, the State of Connecticut, and the American Camp Association- meaning that we meet or exceed more than 300 standards of health safety, and program excellence. Our staff goes through a minimum of one week of staff training and are certified in First Aid and CPR, our waterfront staff are Red Cross lifeguards, and our trip staff have certifications in Wilderness First Aid.
What is the staff-to-camper ratio? How old are the staff members?
Our camper to staff ratio is 1:4 for our younger campers and 1:6 for our older campers. All of our counselors must be over 18 years of age and those working with our campers 14 and older are over 20 years of age.
Do the staff members have background checks?
All staff members complete a rigorous application process that includes reference checks, background checks, and a personal interview. Then they participate in extensive training that covers the camp mission, youth development, safety/emergency procedures, activity leadership, behavior management, and child abuse prevention.
What is healthcare like at camp?
We have three nurses on duty at camp every session of which a minimum of 2 are on site at all times. Our nurses distribute all medication to campers (over-the-counter or prescription), care for illness and respond to any emergency situations. In addition, our staff is trained in First Aid and CPR and our trip staff are also certified in Wilderness First Aid. The closest hospital to camp is less than 15 minutes away as is our camp doctor.
How recent should my child’s physical form be?
All campers must have had a physical exam by a licensed provider WITHIN 2 YEARS of their last day of camp.
What if my child gets sick?
While many times campers come to our infirmary feeling ill because they are overtired or a little homesick, some campers do actually have an illness that must be cared for. Our nursing staff will treat their symptoms and call you only if your camper spends the night in the infirmary, visits repeatedly with the same medical concern, has to visit our local doctor or hospital or if the nurse has a question about your camper’s medical form.
What if my camper gets homesick?
It’s perfectly normal for a camper to miss home and this can be an important part of their camp experience as they develop a sense of independence and self-esteem. Luckily, Camp is a safe place for campers to have a mix of these emotions and our counseling staff (many of whom were once homesick campers themselves), are highly trained in working with your child and keeping you informed on their well being.
My child’s birthday is while they are at camp, do you do anything special?
We love to celebrate birthdays, we even have a special chair and song during our daily pre dinner Thunderdome! If your child has a birthday while they are at camp, please feel free to send a special card or care package. We will provide the fun and a special treat for your campers birthday!!
Can we make a cabin mate request?
We understand that often campers may come to camp with a friend that they would like to bunk with. We strongly believe that camp is an opportunity for children to meet new people, and have new experiences. As such, we limit requests to one per camper. There is a space on the registration form to complete this request or you can call or email our camp office. Requests will only be honored for campers of the same gender that are within one year of each other in age. Both families must also mutually request the campers to be in the same cabin group.
Where do the campers sleep at camp? What are the cabins like?
Our cabins were designed to be used year round and as such have bathrooms and showers located within the cabin. All of our cabins have heat and electricity, sturdy wooden bunk beds and communal areas. Campers stay in age/gender appropriate cabins under the continuous care and supervision of qualified counselors.
What does my child need to bring with them?
Camp is all about having fun outdoors. As such, we strongly recommend that you do not pack clothing items that you would mind if they got dirty or stained. The packing list is to help in your preparation. The best way to transport all necessary clothing and gear is in a footlocker (or plastic storage bin), no higher than 14”. Footlockers can easily slide under your child’s lower bunk. A list of contents should be fastened to the inside lid and the camper’s name should be clearly marked on the outside. Please do not forget bedding, including sheets, pillow, blankets and a sleeping bag for overnights. Please mark all clothing and equipment with your camper’s name. This will help us return lost items.
Does camp do laundry?
We do not provide regular laundry service for campers. We do provide laundry service for special circumstances (bedwetting, etc.) We also provide laundry services for campers staying through consecutive sessions at camp (hold-over weekends). The YMCA is not responsible for lost or damaged personal items.
What do campers eat at camp? What if my child has food allergies?
Our food service department provides three well-balanced meals and one snack each day at camp. Each meal includes several options aside from the main course, with nutritious, fresh food being a focus. Camp can accommodate a variety of dietary needs and restrictions. Please contact our Foodservice Director Steve Faunce with any questions or concerns you may have.
What kinds of activities are offered at camp?
Campers have the opportunity to customize their program each week by signing up for three morning clinic activities (one of which can be swim instruction). With a wide range of progressive, skill based clinics our summer camp programs focus on developing social skills, team-work, self-esteem and an appreciation for the environment, all with a healthy dose of fun! For more information on our clinics please click HERE.
Does every camper participate in swim lessons?
No, not every camper will participate in swim lessons; however, every campers can choose it as an option. We do swim test all campers during their first 24 hours at camp, those at the lowest swim level are placed into swim lessons. Trained swim instructors lead every class.