Camp Chinqueka Blog

  • 8 Important Questions to Ask a Camp Director… BEFORE You Sign Up

    Posted May 4, 2018

    Here’s a rule of thumb: camp directors LOVE to talk about camp! A big part of our off-season time is dedicated to speaking with prospective parents and sharing with them what makes our camps so special.

    More often than not, newbie parents end our conversation with “so… what else should I be asking you?” Here are some great questions that you should ask your camp director before signing up for camp this summer!

    1. How do you help new campers integrate into the camp community? Find out what the camp does to welcome and integrate new campers. It is important to know how cabin assignments are selected and if the camp prepares icebreaker games and activities the first day to help him or her assimilate to camp life. Possibly the camp assigns a ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ to new campers or maybe the cabin counselors get a list of new campers to give them a tour of the camp. Find out what the camp does so you can prepare your child for the first few days of his or her new experience and give yourself a little bit of comfort in knowing the camp has a plan to make your child both comfortable and happy starting on day one.
    2. When is the best time to register and what other expenses are involved? Definitely find out the best time to register and some camps can be full as early as September or October. Most camps offer a financial incentive to register early and some camps offer promotions throughout the year. Find out when they are so you can save and plan accordingly. Sometimes camps even offer discounts or promotions that aren’t advertised online. Also don’t forget to ask about extra expenses. While most camps are all inclusive, sometimes certain activities or field trips come at an additional cost that you’ll want to know about.
    3. How would you describe the overall culture and community at your camp? Each camp is unique in it’s own way. You can truly gain a lot of knowledge about the camp you selected from the website, videos and parent ambassadors, but it’s important to understand the director’s goals and take on the camp community from his or her point of view. You can even pick their brain about special traditions or events – this is a great way to learn more about not only the camp’s culture but also the director who will be looking out for your child.
    4. Who is on your medical team? Of course, you never want to think about anything going wrong at camp, but if it does, you should find out who is there to care for your child. How many nurses or doctors are on campus? What are the policies in regards to contacting parents at home if the camper is ill? Where is the nearest hospital, doctors office and dentist? What are the camps emergency procedures and how often are they practiced with staff? Most camps are like a well-oiled machine and have very specific rules of action and a first time parent should absolutely know what they are.
    5. How do you recruit, evaluate and train your staff? I love when parents ask me this question. When parents hire a babysitter or a nanny they meet the potential sitter in advance and get the opportunity to ask them any question they want as well and call references themselves. At camp – parents are putting all of their trust and faith in the director to select great role models for their child. Find out how long staff training is, the average age of the staff, how many staff return each summer and also how the camp evaluates and provides feedback for their staff during the summer.
    6. What are meals like at camp and do you cater to picky eaters or allergies? Find out anything and everything you can about food! Ask how meals are served – are they buffet, family style or maybe both? Do campers eat with their age group or are there table assignments? How many options or choices do campers have and who is overseeing that the campers are making healthy choices in the Dining Hall? In regards to picky eaters, allergies and gluten – trust me, camps have seen it all. Don’t be afraid to share insight on your campers eating habits. The more the camp director knows, the more he or she can assist in making sure your camper is happy in regards to food.
    7. How can I contact my child and what are your technology policies? These policies vary drastically from camp to camp. Find out how you can communicate with your child so you can plan in advance. Some camps are completely tech-free and only allow letters, some camps have an email system and others have scheduled phone call times. Chances are, you’ve read about their policies online and it aligns with your views on communication and camp – but technology is constantly changing, so make sure you hear the most up to date policy from the camp director.
    8. Who else can I speak to about your camp? You may be afraid to ask the director for another contact but camp directors love this question. We are proud of our camp and other than speaking with a director, what better way to learn more about the camp than another parent or key staff member? Get at least two parent ambassadors or references from the director. There is nothing better than speaking with a current camp parent about their families experience with the camp.

    Happy camping & have a great summer!

    Amanda Ward

    Director, Camp Chinqueka

    About the Author

    Amanda Ward is the Director of Camp Chinqueka, having spent many summers as a camper there in the 1990’s and started as a staff member in the 2005. She has fond memories of the activities she tried, the lessons she learned and the friends she met along the way. Amanda graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has a background in Theater and Education and has taught Fifth Grade and Kindergarten in both Connecticut and Manhattan (NYC) private schools. Amanda’s love for working with children, training counselors and teaching camp traditions continues to grow every year. She develops close relationships with campers and camp families and prides herself on knowing every one of her campers by name!

  • Another Snow Day? Make it a Camp Day!!

    Posted March 7, 2018

    Are you stuck inside during another snow day this Winter? Why not turn it into a productive and fun “camp” day! Turn the technology off and keep your happy campers busy this snow day with some camp nostalgia!

    • Make a tasty camp snack – try S’Mores Bark! S’Mores Bark is an amazing inside out s’more that you don’t even need a campfire for! It’s easy to make and pairs well with your campers’ favorite story from the summer.
      • Ingredients:
        3 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
        ½ cup white chocolate chips
        1 cup marshmallow fluff
        3 sheets of graham crackers
      • Instructions:
        1. Melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and spread the chocolate over a wax-lined pan. Be careful not to make it too thin. Place the first layer in the refrigerator for about a half hour.
        2. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Then pour in the marshmallow fluff and microwave for about 30 seconds. Quickly spread the marshmallow layer over the hardened first chocolate layer.
        3. Crumble the graham crackers and press them into the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
        4. Melt 2 cups of chocolate chips and very gently spread it over the graham cracker layer. Put the bark in the freezer for about two hours. Take it out and break it apart.
        5. Keep refrigerated for good and more solid bark or leave it out for slightly more delicious, but slightly squishier bark.
    • Campfire Games – with the whole family! Every camp has funny and silly skits and games they like to play. Campfire Games are always a huge hit and you can simplify them to play with a smaller group. Here are two ideas… but I’m sure your camper has his or her own favorites, too!
      1. Put words on individual small pieces of paper such as “sun” “sky” “love” “family” “hot” “camp” “forever” “friends” “tomorrow” & “fire” and put the papers into a hat or bowl. Split your family into two teams and pick one piece of paper out at a time. Each team sings a song that has the word in it and the teams go back and forth until one team can’t come up with a song that includes the word!
      2. A great memory and concentration game starts with random categories such as states or boys name. Let’s say the category is grocery items – the first player starts with the letter “A” and could say apple, the next has “B” and could say bacon and so on. If you can’t come up with an item you are eliminated until the next round! You could even make the category camp related such as counselor names or camp activities.
    • Get Crafty – literally! Turn on some fun music and get out any arts & crafts supplies you might have around the house. Here are some fun camp crafts your campers might enjoy creating! If they are stuck on project ideas have them try to create a 3D campfire out of sticks, tissue paper and marshmallows.

    Of course, there’s nothing better than getting your campers outside and active. They can build a snowman, play snow-football, go sledding or have a good old-fashioned snowball fight!

    Happy Camping & enjoy the snow!

    Amanda Ward

    Director, Camp Chinqueka

    About the Author

    Amanda Ward is the Director of Camp Chinqueka, having spent many summers as a camper there in the 1990’s and started as a staff member in the 2005. She has fond memories of the activities she tried, the lessons she learned and the friends she met along the way. Amanda graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has a background in Theater and Education and has taught Fifth Grade and Kindergarten in both Connecticut and Manhattan (NYC) private schools. Amanda’s love for working with children, training counselors and teaching camp traditions continues to grow every year. She develops close relationships with campers and camp families and prides herself on knowing every one of her campers by name!

  • Campers Today, International Leaders Tomorrow

    Posted February 2, 2018

    Sending your kids to summer camp can be a long and exhausting process, especially for first-time parents. However, a significant benefit that is often overlooked is the ‘international community’ at some camps.

    There are a few ways your child can experience different cultural backgrounds and even languages. International family trips are a blast, and while most schools are restricted to a geographical region, some boast an amazing cultural experience with a wide variety of students. Did you know that summer camps can do this too?

    Camp can bring people together from all over the globe. Many camps, especially residential camps, have a wealth of campers from around the world from the far reaches of Russia and China, to campers from the Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Can you imagine your camper having an amazing camp experience surrounded by other campers all over the world?

    International campers not only come to camp to develop their English, but also to learn about the American people, their culture, their beliefs, and way of life. It is amazing to see how much international campers grow in their summer camp, but it is just as incredible to see how this is a two-way street; campers from the United States can learn just as much from their international counterparts.

    Sending your son/daughter to a camp with such an international community will help them develop a superior understanding of other beliefs, customs, and backgrounds compared to their peers. Campers are always eager to learn more about other cultures and languages. With knowledge also comes acceptance, allowing your child to broaden their cultural horizons. And how cool is it that your child will come home knowing campers from around the world? A vacation to Europe will have to include extra stops along the way to see your camper’s new friends.

    Many camps also employ a very diverse staff consisting of counsellors from all over the world who are fluent in many languages and bring their own unique experiences and culture to summer camp.

    Camp is a melting pot of communities and there is no better place to prepare your child for the future in this forever growing globalized world.

    Alex Rawlinson

    Assistant Director, Camp Awosting

    About the Author

    Alex Rawlinson is the Assistant Director or Camp Awosting. Alex has a Bachelors degree in International Business, graduating with honors from Leeds Business School in England. He has shown his passion for camp through his work at international staff recruitment partner Camp America in London and Sydney before joining Camp Awosting full time Alex is a camp staff recruiting specialist with a focus on camper safety. Alex prides himself on developing lasting connections with parents, staff and campers.

  • 10 Great Holiday Gifts for Your Happy Camper!

    Posted November 25, 2017

    There is no gift better than the gift of CAMP! Organized activities, opportunities to learn new skills and developing close-knit friendships are all gifts that will last a lifetime. Once the decision is made to give camp (truly the best gift of all) – parents may find themselves looking for fun and inexpensive gift ideas for their camper!

    I’ve received excellent “camp related” gifts over the years and I mail my campers something special every winter to get them excited for the upcoming camp season. This year, I’ve narrowed down my long Santa scroll to the Top 10 Gift Ideas that any veteran or newbie camper will love to open this Holiday Season! Click on the pictures for a link to the product.

    1. Personalized Deck of Cards: Cards are a great all-inclusive game for any age camper. Make their deck extra special by getting them personalized! Consider an all-family photo, a sweet photo of your camper with his or her pet, or a cherished scenery photo of a favorite place or backyard to appear on the deck. They will have the coolest cards to share during cabin rounds of “Slap Jack” and “Crazy Eights.”

     

    1. Colored Zinc: Are you worried about your camper not wearing sunscreen? Make sunscreen fun by gifting colored zinc. Campers won’t forget to decorate their faces with all different colors and designs before heading to the lake for a swim. You can be creative by choosing their camp colors so they also remember to wear it for special events or camp pride days.

     

     

    1. Mini Poncho: Yes, it’s true; rainy days at camp are still better than sunny days anywhere else. But why pack a large, heavy rain jacket that takes up tons of space and is only worn maybe a few times? These mini ponchos that fold up are so practical (and stylish) in bright patterns and colors. Once they dry up, your camper can just wrap them back up and stick the poncho away in his or her trunk, taking up minimal space.

     

     

    1. Toiletry Pouches:Sharing a small bathroom space with twelve other campers and counselors isn’t easy – and keeping your own toiletries and personal items organized is important. For girls, check out these sweet pouches in different sizes that will look neat on a shared bathroom shelf and for boys check out thismasculine toiletry backpack in camouflage that he can hang off a bathroom shelf.

     

     

    1. Headlamp Flashlight: At the end of a fun, silly, adventurous and LONG day at camp – there is nothing better than getting under your covers and having a little bit of “flashlight time” before falling asleep. This headlamp flashlight is truly the best. Campers can strap it onto their heads to have their hands free for reading, games or that last minute trip to the bathroom before bed!

     

     

    1.  Showaflops: Flip-flops are an absolute must at camp for showering! Showaflops are comfortable, practical and fun. They are quick drying flip-flops with slip resistant holes making them the coolest sandal to wear to the showers or to the lake.

     

     

    1. Airbrush Sports Balls: Footballs, frisbees, soccer balls, hackie sacks – all things your campers will find all over camp. But your camper will love having his or her favorite item airbrushed with his or her name (or camp name!) on it!

     

     

    1.  Stationary: Stationary is the perfect gift for all those parents out there who are convinced their child will actually find time to write them letters this summer. 🙂 Check out this adorable stationary that you can monogram or personalize for those few (I mean… MANY!!!) letters home to parents, friends and grandparents.

     

     

    1. Banana Grams: This is an educational and fun game for boys and girls, best described to me once by a camper as “Modern Scrabble!” Campers can even come up with themes for different rounds. For example, “only camp words!” “only names of camp activities!” or “only counselor names!”

     

     

    1. Temporary Tattoos: I can’t promise your camper won’t hack into these before he or she departs for camp… but temporary tattoos and hand tattoos are always popular at camp. Campers are constantly dressing up for different themed events and campfires; and these are easy to pack and inexpensive idea to send them with.

     

     

     

    And don’t forget to check with your camp to see if they have an online store, where you can often buy camp T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas and more fun logo-wear to show your camp pride.

    Happy Camping!

    Amanda Ward

    Director, Camp Chinqueka

    About the Author

    Amanda Ward is the Director of Camp Chinqueka, having spent many summers as a camper there in the 1990’s and started as a staff member in the 2005. She has fond memories of the activities she tried, the lessons she learned and the friends she met along the way. Amanda graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has a background in Theater and Education and has taught Fifth Grade and Kindergarten in both Connecticut and Manhattan (NYC) private schools. Amanda’s love for working with children, training counselors and teaching camp traditions continues to grow every year. She develops close relationships with campers and camp families and prides herself on knowing every one of her campers by name!

  • Tips & Tricks For First Time Parents!

    Posted November 14, 2017

    Sending your child to sleepaway camp for the first time is one of the biggest milestones of parenthood! We get it – you are excited for them to start this chapter but you are scared to let them go. Even for an independent, confident child – 2 or more weeks away from home can be difficult. And for parents… sometimes even more challenging! Here are a few tips and tricks for first time parents as the lead up to Opening Day approaches.

    1. Get them comfortable – It’s never too early to get to know the camp you chose. Together with your camper, check out all of the camps social media pages, watch videos on YouTube and explore the camps website and virtual tour. Use positive language when talking about the camp. If you have the opportunity to meet a Director, ask for a home visit from the camp or take an in person tour– do it! The more familiar your camper is with the camp, the more comfortable they will feel on drop off day.
    1. Have a sleepover – Many first time campers have never had a “practice run” before heading off to camp for the first time. Once you decide on camp, start to plan sleepovers with friends or family members so your camper can experience sleeping in a different bed and being in environments without you. This is also a great way for parents to practice being away from your future camper. If they ask, try not to call them or pick them up early. Practice makes perfect.
    1. Psych them up – When you are talking about camp with your camper, be as positive as you can. “We are so excited for you!” “We are jealous, we want to go to camp!” and “You are so lucky you get to go to camp” – are great lines to reassure your camper (and yourself!) Try not to focus on things that might go wrong, such as missing each other or homesickness, and focus on the things you know will go right.
    1. Shop till you drop – A great way to get your camper both pumped up and comfortable about camp is including them in every step of the process. Bring your camper with you to pick out a trunk, camp linens or even items as simple as toiletries. It is helpful for campers to have tangible objects to get them thinking and preparing ahead for their big camp adventure.
    1. Make a plan – Discuss how you and your camper will communicate when they are away. Camps have various different rules and philosophies on phone calls, emails and communication. Educate yourself on the camps policies and agree together on the format and frequency of contact. During moments of communication, remember to keep it light-hearted and happy. Most importantly, understand that for children hearing a parents voice while away brings all kinds of emotions bubbling to the surface. Your camper will want to tell you the highs and lows and will be looking to you for reassurance. Tell them that you love them and that you are confident in their ability to cope. 
    1. Reflect – While your camper is away from you, try to remember that they are doing all of the things you hoped they would when you first started researching camps all those months ago. Yes, your camper will be participating in activities like waterskiing, dancing on stage or climbing to the top of the rock tower. But additionally, and more importantly, they will experience how to get along and live with others and how to figure things out for themselves, all while learning to be better communicators and growing as individuals. Use this time while your camper is away from you to reflect on your parenting goals for the upcoming school year and to prepare to welcome home your more confident, wiser and braver child.

    Happy Camping!

    Amanda Ward

    Director, Camp Chinqueka

     

  • The Banquet Edition Goes Live!

    Posted August 24, 2016

    IMG_8552

    The end of summer Banquet was a great success! The 60’s themed banquet was the culmination of loads of care love and effort on behalf of cabin 14. Everyone got dressed up nice and enjoyed an amazing meal. Check out this year’s Banquet Edition Tom Tom for Cabin Reports, Activity Reports and much more.

    Pages from Banquet2016

  • Need a Towel?

    Posted February 4, 2016

    We are excited to add Towel Service as a new benefit in our inclusive tuition. No more wet towels for our happy campers! All campers receive a fresh towel every day – INCLUDED IN TUITION – and parents don’t have to worry about packing them with extras.

    towels

  • Cabin Renovations Near Completed!

    Posted January 7, 2016

    Chinqueka have you heard? Exciting things have happened at camp this winter! Teams of workers are putting the finishing touches on the renovated cabins, with some major upgrades:

    • New pine wood paneling on the cabin interior walls
    • New windows
    • Ceiling fans in most cabins, for better ventilation
    • New white bathrooms, including new sinks and vanities
    • Additional storage in bathrooms for shower caddies

    Our facilities crew has been working hard to get them all completed and we are very proud of the outcome. The best way to see the finished product is with a tour, but here are some teaser images until you can make it in person. See you this summer!

    C10Doorajar  C10doorclosedC10hat C10inbed Bathroom1

  • Meet Our Director, Amanda Ward!

    Posted September 11, 2015

    Hear more from Amanda Ward, our passionate Director of Camp Chinqueka. Amanda and her team ensure your daughters have a safe and fun-filled summer. Check out her video, where you can learn more about Amanda and why Chinqueka is such a special place filled with love, laughter and life-long friendships.
    Amanda
    Having practically grown up at Chinqueka, Amanda embodies the Chinqueka spirit and we can’t wait for you to meet her…

  • Check out our NEW VIDEO!

    Posted January 18, 2015

    We’re very excited to share with you our new video! It captures the fun, spirit and essence of Chinqueka and our amazing campers. Click on the “Our Video” to take a look and we hope you enjoy the show…