NOTE: The following frequently asked questions provide an overview of how youth camps run in a typical year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the questions addressed below will be modified or changed completely.
- Where do we go when we get to camp?
When you arrive at Camp Friedenswald, follow the signs for the Dining Hall, parking in the main parking lot. After you park, there will be signs pointing towards the Dining Hall. A camp staff will greet you near the “Camp Friedenswald sign” by the Dining Hall and will direct you to the start of the check-in process.
- When does camp begin and end?
Summer camps begin on Sunday with check-in from 3-4 pm and end on Friday (after lunch) at 12:30 pm.
- What happens when I arrive at Camp on the first day? What forms are required?
The first thing everyone does is check-in. We try to keep the check-in process running smoothly and quickly, and appreciate your patience as we welcome all campers. During the check-in process we’ll make sure that we have all necessary permission forms and that your camper is fully paid (check, cash, or card accepted). Campers and parents will have a time to check-in with the camp health officer. All medication will be given to the health officer at this point, and the camper will receive a brief health screen. As part of the check-in process campers will receive their cabin assignment for the week. Parents and campers will have a chance to check out the Camp Store, and if desired, purchase a gift card for their camper to use during the week.
- What is Camp Store?
The Camp Store has a variety of Friedenswald-gear – from summer t-shirts, to logo-sweatshirts, bandanas, and lanterns. Each camper will have at least one opportunity to visit the store mid-week. Additionally, you can visit the store during pick-up or drop-off times. If you purchase a gift card as part of the registration process, or during check-in, your camper will have dollars to spend on goods during the week. At the end of the week, any remaining balance on the card will be transferred to our need-based camper scholarship fund.
- Are you able to accommodate special diets?
Yes, we are happy to accommodate special diets. It’s important that you let us know your child’s special dietary needs in advance on the health form. You can contact our Food Service Director with specific questions or concerns. Please note that we do not operate a nut-free kitchen.
- What does my camper need to bring? What should we leave at home?
For a full list of items, see a list here.
- Can I send my camper mail throughout the week?
Of course! Campers love to hear from their families during the week. We encourage parents to leave mail with camp staff at check-in, and we will deliver it to your camper on the date you specify. This helps make sure your mail actually gets to camp while your camper is here, and not stuck in the mail!
You may also send a note through snail mail to:
c/o Your camper’s name
15406 Watercress Way
Cassopolis, MI 49031
- Can my camper bring a cell phone?
No, we ask that camp be a week to disconnect from phones and other technology in order to most fully engage with the people and experiences around us. Please leave phones at home or else turn them in during the check-in process and they’ll be returned at the end of the week. We promise to take photos throughout the week and will take an all camp photo to send home with your camper on Friday.
- What will my camper do during the day? What’s the daily schedule?
Here’s an idea of what a typical day looks like at camp (note that times and activities vary depending on the camp/grade level):
7:15 Polar bear and fliers run (optional)
7:45 Wake up bell
8:15 Morning watch
9:30 Cabin clean up
11:00 Activity time
1:30 Cabin kick back
2:00 Open beach
3:30 Activity time
4:30 Activity time
7:30 Free time / Camp Store / snack
9:30 Cabin devotions
10:00 Lights out!
- What does worship look like at Friedenswald? How do you approach faith development?
Worship occurs throughout the day of camp, and is woven into the routines and rhythms of our days. While there are set times for gathering together for prayer, singing, sharing, and reflection (i.e. Morning Watch, Quest, Campfire, evening cabin devotions), worship also happens in informal ways – while hiking, playing, and eating together. We recognize that campers come to Friedenswald from diverse church, and non-church, backgrounds, and we respect the diversity of beliefs and opinions represented. We approach faith formation and times of worship from a Mennonite/Anabaptist perspective. We will never “push” or coerce campers into particular beliefs or practices.
- How does Camp Friedenswald handle homesickness?
We realize that homesickness can be a struggle for some campers, regardless of age. Our goal is for all campers to have a fun and enjoyable time at camp. When homesickness arises, our counseling staff spend time engaging with the camper, helping them focus on the activities and experiences they get to have while at camp. If homesickness occurs at bedtime, we try our best to keep the campers occupied until they fall asleep. If their homesickness is keeping them from enjoying camp, we will call you (the parent/guardian) and discuss options for helping them through the week, including an early departure. Even in this scenario, we’ll celebrate the days your camper DID spend at camp, and look to build on it the following year.
- Can I pick up my camper early?
Yes. If you need to pick your camper up before the end of camp, you need to fill out an Early Release Form during the check-in process. When you come to pick up your camper, you will need to sign your camper out with a camp staff in the Main Office.
- What happens during the swim test?
Our swim area in Shavehead Lake has three different sections: red, yellow and green. The red section is the shallowest and anyone who is comfortable doing so can be in this section without taking a swim test. To swim in the yellow section, campers must be able to swim approximately 25 meters without touching the bottom of the lake and without stopping. To swim in the green section, campers must be able to tread water for 3 minutes, in addition to swimming 25 meters. Certified lifeguards conduct the swim tests on arrival day and guard the swim area whenever campers are in the water. While the test can be daunting to some campers, our staff work to help campers feel supported no matter what color of swim tag they might receive. You can help prepare your camper by letting them know what to expect, and by assuring them they’ll have a good time at the beach regardless of what “tag” they receive.
- What if my child gets sick or has an injury? Is there a doctor on staff? How is health care handled?
We have a qualified health officer on duty at all times throughout the week. We will notify you immediately if your child is sick and needs additional medical attention or needs to be transported to a hospital.
- Can my camper request to be in the same cabin as someone else? How do cabinmate requests work?
The camp experience is all about making and deepening friendships, so we allow campers to request two cabin mates and do our best to accommodate requests. However, we cannot guarantee campers will be with each of their requested cabinmates due to housing limitations.