May is here, which means camp starts next month! This is the third in a series of blog posts geared toward 1st year campers. Check out the first two if you missed them. They can be found HERE and HERE. They covered what the first few days at Deerhorn are like. We hope that these posts help you feel more comfortable about coming to camp for the first time! Today we’d like to answer some questions you might be having about life at Deerhorn. More questions can be found on our FAQ page.
What if I don’t know anyone?
There are lots of kids who come to camp not knowing anyone, and camp is all about meeting new friends! You are in a koogee with kids your age, and your activity group is also kids your age. You will be assigned a table with kids of all ages for a week at a time, and you’ll also be drafted to a team, where you can get to know kids of all ages. You’ll be so busy having fun that you’ll make new friends before you know it!
Do I get to choose my activities?
You are assigned to an activity group and will have six activities on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and six other activities on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The only activity you will have every day is Sports and Games, where we combine two groups so they can play fun sports and crazy games our staff has invented over the years. We believe that it’s important for kids to try all of our activities, as you likely will find an activity you love that maybe you’ve never done before and wouldn’t be willing to try if given the choice. There are a few choices in the schedule. When you have biking & crafts, you’ll report to mountain biking to check in, but then you can decide if you want go biking that day, or do crafts. Some kids change it up each time. Other kids never go biking or never go to crafts. It’s up to you each time. You also choose ahead of time if you want to do horseback riding or golf. Horseback riding is a pay-extra activity and your parents make that choice on your application. But if you get to camp and want to do riding and aren’t signed up, we can add you, if space allows, the first time you have the activity. Whichever one you pick, you’ll stay in that activity the whole session. (E session kids are a little bit different. They are only at camp a week, so will do one period of horseback riding and one period of golf, to be able to try both.)
What’s the deal with teams?
Every summer, we choose four 16 year-olds to lead our four camp teams, the Navajo, Iroquois, Chippewa, and Apache. They are long-time veteran campers who have shown themselves to be awesome kids, ready to lead their teams and help campers have the best summer ever. Within the first few days you’re at camp, the leaders will secretly draft teams and we’ll pass out t-shirts and announce who is on each team. Every Sunday there’s a big team event, like Chariots of Fire or the Monkey Relays, which are really exciting. And most nights, the evening activity will be team comp, like basketball or soccer. If you are 7-10 years old, you compete as a junior. If you are 11-12, you are an intermediate, and if you are 13 and up, you are a senior. The stars you earn in activities will also count toward helping your team win the summer. (see below)
I’ve heard about stars in activities. What are they?
In every activity, there are requirements for earning red, blue, and gold stars. If you participate and try your hardest, you get a red star. If you want to go farther, you can earn a blue star. Gold stars mean mastery of that activity. Earning stars is completely optional. Some kids really love earning stars in activities, while others just want to play and have fun. It’s totally up to you! Red stars count as 25 points for your team. Blue stars count as 50 points, and gold stars are 100. There are team star charts in the lodge, where you can keep track of all the stars you’ve earned. If you work hard and earn lots of stars, there are various levels of patches you can earn at the end of the session like Trailblazer or Warrior. You can make your Deerhorn experience whatever you want it to be!
What about the food?
In 2018, we changed our camp kitchen by hiring a professional food service. It was a game changer! Deerhorn food has always been great, but now it’s even better. Every morning there is a hot breakfast like scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon, or pancakes and sausage. But breakfast has lots of other great options as well. There is always delicious hot oatmeal, cold cereal on each table, and an incredible fruit and yogurt bar. For lunch, there is always a salad bar packed with veggies and protein like eggs and turkey. Hot lunches can be anything from grilled cheese and tomato soup to Italian subs or pizza. Dinner might be things like tacos, chicken fingers, or spaghetti. The food is delicious, and there are always lots of great options to choose from.
How can I keep in touch with my parents?
You can rely on good old-fashioned snail mail as well as email. You can send letters to your parents, and they can write you letters, and send emails to you at email@example.com. They’ll put your name in the subject line and emails cost $1 each will be taken out of your store funds. We print them out and deliver them with our mail at dinner each night. We don’t let kids use the office phone to call home, and cell phones are not allowed at Deerhorn. We ask parents to have their sons leave their phones at home. If you have to travel by plane, you can bring your phone to the office when you arrive. We will store it and charge it and give it back to you when you leave. For anyone else, if cell phones are brought to camp, we will package them up safely and ship them home. Cell phones cause nothing but problems and we want camp to be a place where kids can escape screens and the issues that come with them. Please help us in this quest, and leave all cell phones and electronics at home. Check out one of our recent blog posts for more info on our policy.
We hope this post helped answer some of your most pressing questions. What other questions do you have? Feel free to post them in the comments or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, answers to more questions can be found on our FAQ page.