Preparing For Camp
A Parent's Guide for Sending Your Child to Camp
Going to camp for the first time can be an exciting, yet scary thing for both our youth campers and their parents! At IOLBC we want to provide an opportunity for all of our campers to make new friends, try new things, relax, and grow in their walk with Christ. To help both campers and parents get excited and feel safe coming to camp, we have compiled some great tips and advice. If you have any questions or concerns, we hope you'll contact us by calling 1-800-OKOBOJI or sending us an email.
HELPING CAMPERS HAVE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
Whether it is for a day or a full week, time at camp can be intimidating for both parents and youth and could cause some anxiety. This is normal and can be worked through both prior to and while at camp. Here are a few things remember:
Coming to camp healthy is a great way to start off the camp experience. This Healthy Camp has lots of great tips to help you be sure camp doesn't start with a trip to the medic. From getting enough rest before arriving to making sure medical forms are updated with allergies and dietary concerns, camper health starts at home!
Going to summer camp is full of learning and growth opportunities including meeting new people, trying new things, and sharing about your faith. Camp is a safe place for campers to discover tons about themselves and who they are becoming. Anticipate celebrating with your camper how brave they are by going to camp, how much fun they are going to have with their cabin and counselor, and how many funny stories they will have to tell about the people they meet while at camp.
Having conversations with your camper about how to act and handle situations that may arise will go a long way in helping them have a positive experience. You can talk about how meals times will be similar to what they experience at school and practice sleeping in their sleeping bag at home. Ask your camper if there is something they are nervous about and offer to role play with them so they are confident they can handle the situation.
We take homesickness seriously. We train our staff and plan our program in such a way as to help avoid homesickness. We create the most nurturing, comforting environment possible. With all our activities, most children are able to overcome their homesickness quickly. Often, if a camper can make it through the first 24 hours, they will have a great experience at camp because they will find themselves so busy having fun. However, there are a few children every summer who are unable to shake homesickness. If this happens, one of our leadership staff will contact you.
Practice spending time away from home at a friend or neighbors’ home.
Invite a couple of friends over for a sleepover. Allow your child to practice falling asleep someplace other than their room with different people in their sleeping bag.
Don’t promise to rescue your child if they become homesick. Instead, express how confident you are that they will have a great time while at camp. Assure them that everyone is a little nervous, even if they don't show it, so they are not alone in being nervous. Send them with materials to write a letter or create something to help calm them down and record the details of camp to share with you when you pick them up.
Don’t suggest phone calls - They are very difficult to manage and take the focus off of the fun and experiences waiting for them at camp. If needed a camper is truly not adjusting to camp and may need to come home, our leadership staff will be in contact with you to discuss the situation and, when needed, form an action plan.
Preview what happens at camp. Check out our YouTube page for videos that feature camp highlights. Additionally, our Facebook page features photo albums from almost every week of camp in recent years.
Check out these additional resources to help prevent homesickness:
From the American Camping Association: Homesickness How to Prevent
From the American Camping Association's Parent Blog: Homesickness Do's and Don'ts for Parents
CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT
Check-in: Campers will be greeted by staff upon arrival and guided through the check-in process. Please have any necessary forms, all medications (in original containers), and camp store money readily available.
Summer Youth programs: Check-in for overnight youth camps is 4:00-5:00 pm on Sundays with a closing program on the final day (12 noon at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, and 2:30 pm at Ingham Lake Bible Camp). We will plan on our closing programs being outside unless bad weather causes the program to be moved into the chapel. Please watch for an email with additional details for your child's camp approximately 5-7 days before the start of camp.
Summer Camp-in-a-Day at Ingham Lake Bible Camp starts at 9:30 am and concludes at 4:30 pm. Please watch for an email with additional details for your child's camp approximately 5-7 days before the start of camp.
Recharge Programs: Check-in begins at 8:00 pm and runs until 9:30 pm. Check out for Recharges is after lunch on Sunday (around 12:30 pm). Please watch for an email with additional details for your child's camp approximately 5-7 days before the start of camp.
The camp store will be open for the kids during their time at camp, but you can also check out and purchase items for your campers at camp swag page.
Check out the "What to Bring" page to see a list of things to bring to camp!
IOLBC has a qualified camp medic to handle distribution of medication, health issues, and, if necessary, accidents. On check-in day medications and health forms are looked over by the camp medic to best care for any and all special needs of campers. A health screening will be done on the day of check-in. All medications must be brought in original containers.
Please fill out all forms at least 2 weeks prior to the start of your camper’s event. Remember to check to be sure you’ve signed all forms so your camper will be able to participate in all activities. Having all forms completed prior to the coming to camp will speed up your check in process. If you have trouble logging in, please contact our camp registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-OKOBOJI.
CAMP STORE MONEY
A common question is how much camp store money to send with campers. It really all depends on what your camper is wanting to buy! While camp store items do vary between the Ingham Lake and Okoboji locations, below is a general list to give you an idea of what could be available:
- Summer Themed T-Shirts ($12 for youth; $15 for adults)
- Camp Themed T-Shirts and Sweatshirts ($10-$15 for t-shirts; $20-$30 for sweatshirts)
- Candy Bars, Ice Cream, and other snacks (average of $2 each)
- Soda ($2 each)
- Camp Themed Mementos ($2-$10 each)
For Ingham Lake Campers - Please note that candy and soda purchases are limited to 2 candy bars or ice creams and 1 soda per day.
For all Youth Campers - Please note that candy, snacks, and soda will not be allowed in cabins. This is partially to help campers avoid eating candy and sweets all day and partially because we want to keep cabins free from uninvited furry friends.
Parents are encouraged to add camp store money to their camper's account PRIOR to arriving at camp as this will help the registration process go more quickly and smoothly for everyone. Campers will not be allowed to hold onto any money, debit cards, or credit cards while at summer camp to help prevent loss or theft. Any money remaining in camp store accounts at the end of a program will be refunded or can be left as a donation to IOLBC. We do not hold money in camp store accounts for future use.
Camper mail is always lots of fun for our campers! To make sure that your camper receives their mail from you, please be sure to send it early in the week, or even send it before the camper joins us at camp.
For Ingham Campers, please send mail to:
c/o Ingham Lake Bible Camp
2258 450th St
Wallingford, IA 51365
Or Email at email@example.com
For Okoboji Campers, please send mail to:
c/o Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
1203 Inwan St
Milford, IA 51351
Or Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that campers are not allowed to keep snacks or beverages (other than water) in their rooms and refrain from sending these items. If you would like to send something for your child's cabin to share, please contact us to for guidance.
PAYMENT INFO/CAMPERSHIPS/REFUND POLICY
All camps require a non-refundable deposit. Your deposit may be transferred to another program or an immediate family member within the calendar year (for example, if your camper can't come to Trailblazers #1, you can transfer the deposit to Trailblazers #3 within the same year). Please contact our Registrar if you need to change the week your child is attending camp.
The only exception to this policy is if a camper isn't able to attend due to illness or injury. (We reserve the right to require a doctor's note before deposit is refunded.)
IOLBC offers camperships when local help cannot be secured or is not enough. Please do not let finances be the reason you do not send your child to camp!
For assistance with questions regarding payments, camperships, or refunds, contact the Camp Registrar at email@example.com or 1-800-OKOBOJI.
DEDICATION TO SAFETY
IOLBC strives to create and maintain a safe and caring environment that encourages opportunities for physical, emotional, and spiritual growth for each camper. All camper recreation activities are "challenge by choice" meaning that campers will be encouraged to try something new, they will never be forced to do something they are truly uncomfortable doing. Additionally, all of our camper swim times are supervised by certified life guards. All of our youth camps have a certified medic onsite. Our year-round full-time staff, as well as many of our summer staff, are first aid and CPR certified. And our staff training includes time to review and practice our emergency procedures.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
IOLBC staff know that communication is an important piece when it comes to health and safety. We strive to communicate with parents/guardians regarding the health of their campers anytime there is an emergency situation, anytime the camp healthcare staff seek additional medical care, and in any situation where clarification and guidance is needed from the parent/guardian.
We also invite you to read our most recent update to our health and wellness plan as we continue to be acutely aware of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, at camp.
SEVERE WEATHER OR FIRES
Camp staff are trained in safety procedures in the event of severe storms, including flooding, tornadoes, and fires. We have storm shelters at both Ingham Lake Bible Camp (located in Emmet county) and Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp (located in Dickinson county), where campers can gather if there is a tornado warning and designated areas in case of a fire. Camp also stays closely connected to weather watch and warning sources, including local weather updates, local news stations, and local law enforcement. If there is excessive heat, campers are given regular breaks and encouraged to wear sunscreen and drink water. Most sleeping and dining accommodations are held in air-conditioned spaces.
Staff are trained to deal with inappropriate behavior in a safe, constructive way that leads to positive outcomes. At IOLBC, campers will be held responsible for their actions in a positive and respectful way. Misbehavior in a camping setting takes many forms. We want to ensure all campers and guests feel safe, secure and loved. As staff we try to stop and redirect behaviors which are not in alignment with this core value. Each behavioral situation is dealt with on a case by case basis. If staff are unable to correct the misbehaving, IOLBC reserves the right to ask parents/guardians to pick up their child early from camp.
Each year we are blessed with great counselors who love the Lord and who love sharing their faith with everyone who comes. Our counselors are carefully selected through an application and interview process. All counselors are required to pass a background check as well as complete training specific to their roles prior to the start of summer programming.
I HAVE A QUESTION?
We're here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-OKOBOJI, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.