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boys canoeing and kayaking at summer camp

SUMMER CAMP FAQ'S

We're here to help you with any questions you may have about our awesome summer camp programs. Check out our FAQ section below, and if you still have any doubts, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're always happy to assist you!

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Can you accomodate dietary restrictions?

Of course! We understand that allergies and intolerances can greatly affect the happiness and well-being of our participants, and we want to ensure that they don't become a barrier to enjoying the great outdoors and creating unforgettable memories on the trail. We are fully equipped to cater to participants with the following dietary restrictions: 

 

- Vegetarian/Vegan 

- Gluten 

- Dairy 

 

We offer a variety of pre-packaged, dehydrated backcountry meals from Mountain House, as well as solid foods while on the trail. Our meals come in a wide range of options, allowing us to provide meals that meet the specific needs of our participants. For dinner, we typically serve pasta, rice, and potatoes with a variety of flavors and dietary alternatives to gluten, dairy, and meat. Some of our popular dinner options include lasagna, Santa Fe chicken and rice, Spanish rice, beef stroganoff, mac n’ cheese, and mashed potatoes. Our lunches and snacks vary widely and include options such as bagels and peanut butter (alternative butters are also provided), tuna, sausage and cheese, hummus, carrots, fresh fruit, nut & fruit mixes, and granola bars. Our breakfasts range from oatmeal and grits to granola and pancakes. 

 

If your child has a severe allergy that requires no contact with a specific allergen, such as nuts or gluten, we will work with you to alter or eliminate allergens from the group entirely. We ask that you provide us with information regarding your child's allergies and level of tolerance in their health forms so that we can make appropriate plans and contact you accordingly. 

 

If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding your child's dietary needs, please do not hesitate to call or email us ahead of time.

Packing list, what should I bring?

Download the full packing list here!

As an adventurer, you will be spending all of your time outside, so it is crucial to keep certain clothing considerations in mind. Remember that you will be carrying all of your gear in a backpack, so it is important to adhere to our packing tips to ensure your comfort in the outdoors.

 

When it comes to clothing, it is best to choose items that are small, light, and quick-drying. Materials such as fleece, polypropylene, wool, and CoolMax are preferred over cotton, which is heavier and slower to dry. It is also recommended to bring clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.

 

To avoid blisters, make sure to break in any new shoes or boots before arriving. Personal care items such as toothpaste, deodorant, and body powder should be travel-sized to reduce bulk and weight.

 

Contact lenses can be difficult to keep clean on the trail, so we recommend bringing eyeglasses instead. Even if you plan to wear contacts, it is a good idea to bring spare eyeglasses as a backup.

 

Valuables such as electronic devices, jewelry, and money are not allowed on the trail. We provide lockers for participants to store personal items, but Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing will not be held responsible for any damage, loss, or theft of such items.

 

For safety reasons, any jewelry or piercings must be studded, and hoops are not permitted. Lighters, matches, and knives, including pocket knives, are also not allowed.

What items do summer camp leaders carry?

  • Staff Manual

  • First Aid Kit

  • Emergency Cell Phone

  • Water Purification Tablets

  • Map & Compass

  • Extra Clothes

  • Extra Food & Water

  • Biodegradable Soap

What items does Wilderness Adventure provide for campers?

  • Backpack

  • Sleeping Bag/Liner

  • Sleeping Pad

  • Stuff Sack

  • 2-3 Person Tent

  • 1-Liter Water Bottle

  • 2-Liter Dromedary

  • Food, Snacks, & Spices

  • Mug, Bowl, & Spoon

  • Whistle/ID Tag

  • All Equipment Required for Activities (Bikes, Boats, etc.)

How much weight do campers carry?

For the Classic Adventure, Wilderness Leadership Course, and specialty trips campers will be carrying full backpacks ~35-40lbs with everything they will need for one week.  On multi-week trips they will receive resupplies of food and necessities at the end of each week. Our Outdoor Discovery programs are designed to help develop self-reliance, but at the same time we recognize that most participants at this age aren’t ready to carry 35lb backpacks.  OD participants will typically carry what they need for the day in small daypacks (water, extra clothing, snacks, etc.) and their heavy stuff (tents, stoves, food, etc.) will be shuttled to their campsite for them. Please feel free to also send care packages that will go out to your camper on trail, but be sure to check our guidelines on the packing list.

How do campers wash their clothes?

When camping, it's important to be mindful of the impact we have on the environment. To minimize our footprint, we use biodegradable soap and draw water from nearby creeks to wash both our bodies and clothes. After washing, we hang our clothes at our campsite or on our backpacks to dry, following the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics. This way, we can take care of ourselves while also taking care of the natural surroundings we're visiting.

What if my child gets sick or injured while at camp?

Adventure groups meet with an activity instructor almost every day. In case of an illness or injury, the activity instructor can take the affected participant to the Base Camp infirmary or a nearby medical facility. To ensure immediate medical attention, each Group Leader carries a cell phone, or can use a phone at a nearby house, to call 911 or Base Camp for someone to pick up a sick or injured participant. Our dedicated staff is available to answer the phone at Base Camp 24 hours a day during the summer program. Additionally, we ensure that all of our staff has a minimum Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification before beginning the summer.

How do you handle bug bites and poison ivy?

Preventing bug bites and poison ivy can be challenging, but there are ways to minimize the risks. Some people prefer covering themselves up completely, but most campers find it impractical during the summer months. They rely on bug spray and avoiding poison ivy altogether. 

 

Our leaders educate the campers about poison ivy and show them the areas where it's common during the first hike. Despite frequent breaks for water, sunscreen, and bug spray, participants still get bug bites. Some believe it's part of the adventure, but the best remedy is to apply bug spray every two hours and wear long sleeves and pants when in areas with a lot of bugs.

Can campers communicate with home while at camp?

Please note that during your child's backpacking trip, they will be away from modern conveniences such as phones, fax machines, or e-mail. However, we encourage them to send mail home and you can send paper, envelopes, and stamps with your child if you wish. As a parent, you can also send mail and care packages to your child while they are on the trip. These care packages can include treats and little things to keep them motivated and excited, and will be delivered to them on the trail. We kindly request that you send enough for the entire group and both the leaders, so that no one feels left out. You can find more information about care packages in the Registration Packet.

Is this a boot camp or troubled youth program?

Despite what we see on television these days, there are still outdoor adventure programs that are not about dropping kids off in the woods and filling their pockets with rocks. In our application process, we require participants to sign a Participant Agreement to ensure they understand that our program is fun, exciting, and physically challenging, but it is not a Boot Camp. Our program is designed for kids eager to meet new people and experience adventures they wouldn't have the opportunity to otherwise. Children sent to our summer camp against their will will be sent home without a refund. Campers must understand their commitment and be enthusiastic about spending time in the wilderness with new friends.

What do campers eat at summer camp?

Participants on our trips will carry specially designed lightweight food items for backpacking. These meals are rich in carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that will give campers the energy they need to keep going. Most lunches consist of bagel or pita sandwich items, while dinners include pasta, vegetables, and sauces, followed by delicious desserts. The only difference with our Mountain House dinners is that the water has been removed from the food, so to prepare it, you need to add hot water and rehydrate the food, similar to a fancy Cup of Noodles. We will accommodate dietary restrictions, but it's crucial to note them clearly on the medical forms so that we can plan accordingly. Please note that eating enough at each meal is essential for your camper's safety but also the safety of the entire group. Opting not to eat is not an option.

Do I really need to send a front and back copy of my health insurance card?

It's important to have a copy of your child's insurance card with you in case they need medical treatment. If you don't have the card, it could take longer to get treatment and you might end up being charged the full amount. You would then have to handle the reimbursement from your insurance company on your own. To make things easier, it's a good idea to include the social security number of the primary insurance holder, although it's not absolutely necessary.

When should my child arrive to camp and what time do they leave?

SUNDAY ARRIVALS

  • Campers should arrive between 11 am and 1 pm. Note: If you need to adjust the drop-off time outside this window, please inform the office via phone or email ASAP.

  • Parents/Guardians check in at the Administrative Office. Our staff will check all your child’s paperwork and direct you to where their group leaders and other participants in your child’s group are setting up. This is where campers will swap their duffel bags for backpacks and prepare for their adventure.  Any gear or possessions not going on the trail (such as duffel bags, electronics, and fresh clothes for departure day) will be placed in lockers until the end of the camp session.  At the gear issue site, parents/guardians can speak with trip leaders about any specific questions or issues concerning the trip and get to know our staff better. 

  • Lunch will be available from our Outpost Kitchen; we offer a diverse menu with items such as shrimp or chicken tacos, burgers, black bean burgers, watermelon salad, etc. Your camper’s lunch is included, though accompanying family members must purchase meals separately. Please arrive in time to order and enjoy lunch with your camper before departure.

*Please note that while we welcome any pets on arrival day, they must be kept on a leash and are not permitted inside buildings.

SATURDAY DEPARTURES

  • Campers can be picked up between 10 am and 12 pm.

  • Campers with their groups will be visible behind our Main Lodge or in our large covered pavilion.

  • Parents/Guardians will need to locate your child’s leaders to be sure they have everything they came with and to check out your camper officially.

  • You will want to stop by our camp store to verify your child’s purchases and pick up any last-minute items before you leave.

  • Lunch will be available at The Outpost, our on-site full-service kitchen!

Are there lodging options for parents and children arriving early or leaving a day late?

Please feel free to arrive the night before pick-up or drop-off and enjoy the weekend. Every weekend in the summer we have live music Saturday night, delicious food all weekend, and fun activities for the whole family: tubing, canoeing, zip-lining, biking, hiking, etc.

Check out our accommodation options here!

What is The Camp Store?

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing offers a variety of amenities, including the Base Camp Store. This small shop carries camping gear, snacks, toiletries, and souvenirs. Some examples of our inventory include batteries, toothbrushes, flashlights, insect repellent, sunscreen, rain gear, trail snacks, socks, camping chairs, WAEL T-Shirts, and postcards. Participants will have two opportunities to visit the Base Camp Store: on arrival day and on the last full day of their session. For multi-week trips, the store travels to participants out in the field as part of the mid-trip resupply.

 

While WAEL provides meals, we encourage campers to bring extra snacks for quick energy and comfort food on rainy days. You can have your camper arrive with snacks, send a care package from home, set up a care package through the Base Camp Store, or give your campers a "Store Allowance" to buy snacks and other products for themselves. This allowance can also be used to purchase other Base Camp Store products, such as toiletries, gear, games, and souvenirs.

How does The Camp Store allowance work?

You can set an amount you're willing to allow your camper to spend on products at the store via check or credit card. Cash is acceptable but not recommended. Based on your camper's pre-determined limit, WAEL will keep a running tab from arrival to departure of the purchases made on each participant's account. For allowances paid by check, WAEL will deposit your check upon its arrival and refund any balance over $5.00 not spent in the store. WAEL will charge the total accrued tab following your camper's session for allowances via credit card.

 

We typically recommend $20/week for snacks and an additional $35-$60 for non-food items; however, please note that this is a very general suggestion and that allowances often vary quite a bit from our recommendation. We encourage you to talk to your camper about your expectations regarding spending—i.e., this amount for snacks and souvenirs—at the Base Camp Store. Suppose your child arrives without all the required clothing and/or personal care items. In that case, WAEL reserves the right to issue them from our store for safety or hygiene and is authorized to deduct the cost from your camper's pre-arranged allowance, charge your credit card, or bill you after the session at our discretion.

Can I get a refund or cancel my summer camp booking?

GENERAL REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY

Our cancellation policy is based on our investment in food and equipment purchases, program planning, and staff training. Due to our small group size, many sessions will be filled by April 1st. Cancellation on short notice often prevents others from attending, and we may be unable to recover our expenses. Because of the financial consequences of canceling within 30 days of a session, we strongly recommend you purchase refundable airline tickets and travel insurance, which will reimburse you for cancellation under certain circumstances (e.g., medical reasons, family illness, etc). For more information on travel insurance, please look at the section below. Tuition will be refunded for cancellations according to the following schedule:

Before April 1: Full refund, less a $75 processing fee.

Between April 1 and 30 days before the session: Refund of all tuition, less 25% deposit.

Within 30 days, no refund will be given, regardless of the reason.

CANCELATION DUE TO INJURY OR ILLNESS

Within 30 days of start date: If a cancellation within 30 days of the session is due to a non-preexisting illness or injury (documented by the attending physician), we will apply all amounts with-held to future tuition (less a $75 processing fee and any amounts already committed to an outfitter for a contracted activity).

Injury of Illness during camp session: If a participant is sent home due to a non-preexisting illness or injury, we will apply a pro-rated amount to future tuition (less $75 and any amounts already committed to an outfitter for a contracted activity).

Behavior Issues during camp session: No refund will be given if a participant is sent home for behavioral issues, otherwise violating our Participation Agreement, or if a participant voluntarily withdraws for whatever reason. We reserve the right to cancel sessions or change schedules due to unforeseen circumstances. Specific trips require a minimum number of participants. If we must cancel a session before the starting date, we will refund all amounts paid.

MANDATED COVID-19 CLOSURE

Due to the ever-changing COVID climate of our times, it is always possible that Wilderness Adventure will either choose to cancel or will be forced to cancel a portion of our summer program for an undetermined amount of time. If we close or cancel a trip on our end, you can get a full refund or apply any monies paid to a future adventure with us.

HOMESICKNESS/SELF-REMOVAL

Due to the structure of our summer camp, we cannot issue refunds when a participant goes home early due to homesickness or by choice. We encourage all parents to address potential homesickness and challenges with their child before the start of their trip, discuss that these feelings are normal and will pass, and ensure that their child is ready for our program.

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing shall have the right to give first aid to any participant. We shall also have the right to retain the services of a physician or, if necessary, to hospitalize a participant. All expenses related to physician care, medication, or hospitalization (including travel expenses if the participant has to be sent home) shall be paid by the parent/guardian or reimbursed to us (such amounts will be added to the participant’s camp store bill). All participants must be covered by medical insurance. If you do not have medical insurance, we request that you purchase an inexpensive policy for the length of your child's stay with us.

SAFETY/ASSUMPTION OF RISK/ITINERARIES

In all outdoor adventure programming involving travel in remote areas and the unpredictable forces of nature, there will be some element of risk. Please be assured that safety is our primary concern. We have an excellent safety record due to our high standards for staff qualifications, staff training, and safety policies and procedures. We provide the supervision, instruction, and equipment needed to minimize risk while participating in program activities. Please note that we contract for services in some of our Specialized Trips and Earth Explorations, such as SCUBA, ice climbing, and rafting. We aim to follow the sample schedules and itineraries described on our website. Adverse weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances may necessitate changes in the schedule. If an activity must be postponed or canceled for any reason, every attempt will be made to reschedule it or replace it with a similar one.

How can I communicate with my child during camp?

MAIL

Mail is delivered to the participants at every available opportunity. It is a good morale booster and we strongly encourage your cards and letters. To reduce homesickness, don’t write about things your child is missing back at home, and how much you and your pets miss your child. Instead, focus on camp and the fun activities your child is participating in. You may wish to include an addressed and stamped return envelope and pen. Mail should be addressed in the following way:

[Participant’s Name & Dates of Trip]

c/o WAEL

11176 Peaceful Valley Rd.

New Castle, VA 24127

NOTE: We accept mail that fits into standard envelopes, postcards, or any flat mailing envelope.

POLICY ON CARE-PACKAGES

WHAT WE KNOW: Campers love receiving written mail from family and friends while “on trail”. Written correspondence creates excitement and, when done correctly, provides a healthy connection to home. Please be sure to get your letters or postcards in the mail at the start of your child’s trip to be sure it arrives during their time with us.

WHAT WE DISCOURAGE: We discourage parents from sending items that could detract from their overall wilderness experience. While it is easy to imagine the joy your child might experience with a new toy or trinket (i.e. new flashlight, glow sticks, or trail game), the probability is higher that it could create a culture of “want” and competition among campers. Please do not send such items so that your camper can focus on the transformative experiences we have prepared for them.

WHAT WE DO NOT ACCEPT: We cannot accept care packages containing food or items not essential to the camp experience. If your package does not fit in a flat envelope or is somehow not essential, we will most likely hold it until your child’s session ends. If you have an item your child forgot and would like to send it to us, please call ahead of time so we can be prepared for it to arrive.

PLEASE NOTE: Our Base Camp Store has all the essential items your child might need: batteries, flashlights, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. If there is something that your child needs that we cannot procure for them, we will certainly reach out to let you know. Our overreaching goal is to help your camper stay in the “here and now” of their camp experience.

PHONE CALLS

Due to the nature of our program and the all-outdoor experience we are promoting, adventurers will not be near a telephone to call or to receive calls. Please don’t tell your children that they will be allowed to call home—this just sets them up for homesickness. If you don’t hear from us, just remember, “No news is good news.”

WHEN WE WILL CALL YOU

If your adventurer is returned to Base Camp for illness, injury, or disciplinary reasons, we will contact you using the information provided to us on the “Health History & Examination Form.” Please make sure you have provided several contact numbers, including cell phone numbers, on that form.

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

If you should have an emergency or other need to contact your adventurer please call the Base Camp at (540) 864-6792. Base Camp phones are answered 24 hours per day during our Adventure Camps. In the rare event that the phone is not immediately answered, please call back in a few moments, as we were most likely on another call.

Where do campers use the bathroom during summer camp?

We want to take care of our natural surroundings, so we teach campers a method called troweling which helps them dig a hole in an eco-friendly manner. Then, we use Mother Nature (or the facili-trees) for waste disposal. If they need it, we can show them natural alternatives to paper waste. We'll also make sure everyone knows how important it is to keep things clean and tidy. If there are any Forest Service "outhouses" nearby, we'll make use of them. And for our younger Outdoor Discovery groups, 8-10, they'll use on-site toilet facilities during their one-week trip.

Do participants get to take showers during summer camp?

Campers shower on the final day of their trip, don't worry, we make sure that everyone goes home clean! We like to keep things natural and in line with Leave No Trace principles, so groups will be near a creek or river. Participants will learn how to bathe using biodegradable soap and enjoy the beautiful outdoors while getting squeaky clean. Remember, getting dirty and smelly is a part of the adventure and we'll make sure that everyone experiences it with a smile!

Is there anything campers should do to physically prepare for camp?

Because our trips can be physically challenging we suggest checking out these links on getting physically prepared so that you can better enjoy and get the most out of your experience with us.

https://www.backpacker.com/skills/10-minute-backpacking-fitness-plan/

https://www.backpacker.com/skills/backpacking-fitness/16-exercises-to-train-like-a-guide/

https://www.backpacker.com/skills/bodyweight-exercises-for-hikers-in-quarantine/

What discounts do you offer for summer camp?

We offer the following discounts for our summer camp programs:

  • Super Early Bird Discount: $100 off when you book summer camp prior to January 15th.

  • Sibling / Multiple Session Discount: $100 off each extra session you book.

  • Returning Camper Discount: $100 off for returning campers.

  • Refer a Friend: When you refer a friend, both you and your friend will receive $100 credit in The Camp Store.

**Early Bird specials only valid when paid in full before end date of discount.

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