About

Frequently Asked Questions


41.2266° N, 75.2676° W

Have questions about summer camp at Spruce Lake? Here are answers and details to the most common questions parents ask.

Before You Come To Camp
What are the ACCOMMODATIONS for EXPEDITIONS?

When on-site, Expeditions campers sleep in two raised Adirondack-style lean-tos and have access to Wilderness Camp facilities.  When off-site, campers use four-person A-frame tents at various campgrounds and primitive sites.

What ACTIVITIES do you have at camp?

We offer a wide range of activities such as sports, arts, outdoor recreation, and adventure programming.  Our highly developed adventure program features an extensive Challenge Course (group cooperative course), two Zip Lines, a Climbing Tower, a Power Swing (giant swing), Outdoor High Ropes and a Vertical Play Pen. Because of the high use of our Specialized and Adventure Programs, we are able to employ a number of year-round staff who are highly skilled, experienced and professional. The activities and choice will vary greatly depending on the age of the camper and the program you choose.

What programs do you offer CHILDREN with SPECIAL NEEDS?

We do not serve special needs populations but are willing to discuss involvements on a case-by-case basis.  Our team members and training are not geared toward children with special needs or at-risk children, and all campers must be reasonably mobile in order to participate.

Spruce Lake Retreat provides the facilities for an excellent Family Camp each summer called Joni and Friends.  Their program is designed to provide a retreat for families which have a family member with special needs.  Learn more about Joni and Friends family retreats.

What is the COST of CAMP? What's included?

The average week of Wilderness Camp costs $365 this year, but tuition is less for Mini-Weeks and a bit more for Navigator Youth Week and Expeditions.  The deposit, meals, lodging, standard activities, theme T-shirt, camp DVD and a tent group photo are included in the cost.  Bus service and camper spending money are not included.

One week of Day camp costs $205 per camper and covers all program costs and care from 9AM-4PM. It includes lunch, 2 snacks, and covers the cost of off site excursions. Each camper will receive a camp T-shirt and water bottle. There are many discounts available; please see the registration form for details.

What is the DAILY SCHEDULE?

The schedules will vary dramatically depending which week of camp you choose. Visit the Summer Camp and Off-Site Expeditions pages for more details.

 

Do you have DIRECTIONS to Wilderness Camp?

From the light at the intersection of Routes 390 and 447, take Route 447 about 3 miles north. Turn left onto Long Road, and Wilderness Road will be the first road on the right. This is a gravel road, and you will follow it to the open-air pavilion.

What are the FACILITIES like @ Wilderness resident camp?

Large canvas tents are placed on a 16 x 16′ or 16 x 20’ raised wooden platform with 4’ tall side walls and an 8’ ridge in the center.  We have two distinct sleeping areas for the genders and 20 raised platform tents total.  Approximately eight campers sleep with their counselor(s) within the appropriate tenting area.  Each campsite has a cooking ring, picnic table and seating area.  There is no water or electric at any of the campsites. However, guys and girls each have access to two separate spacious bathhouses that are within a short walk of the tents.

There are plenty of sheltered areas around camp (pavilions, bathhouses, tents, snack shop, etc), but much of our program occurs outdoors or in open air buildings.  Insects, weather and animals can impact any outdoor camping experience, so it is important that campers come prepared for outdoor activity.  We take seriously our job to care for the physical needs of your child when at camp.

Because we are an outdoors camp, our activity areas are spread out and walking is a part of the daily routine.  It is about ¼ mile from the tents to the Wilderness Camp Pavilion. The Retreat Center swimming pool and snack shop are ½ mile from the Pavilion.  The terrain can be rough and uneven in some places, so it is important that all participants be fully mobile to participate.

Is FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE available?

Financial assistance is available by application only and a $75 deposit is required to register.  If your application is not accepted for any reason, the $75 will be returned to you.  If you register but cancel, the $75 deposit will be considered nonrefundable. Complete and submit a Campership Application upon registering.

LINK: /youth-camps/forms/

Can we bring a GROUP to camp? How do you ASSIGN TENT MATES?

Our goal is to provide a time to meet new people as well as enjoy existing friendships.  Here are our priorities in creating tenting assignments:

  • Honor one tent mate request for each camper.
  • Limit arranged tent mates to two or three.
  • Look for age compatibility within tent units.
  • Group together several campers coming without a tent mate request.

Groups are welcome at camp, but campers are still treated as individuals as mentioned above. Youth group leaders are welcome to contact us about serving while youth from their church are at camp.

What do I PACK for camp?

Packing for Overnight Wilderness Camp

The camper details for your son/daughter’s week can be found on our Forms & Information page, under the name of that week’s camp (Discoverers, Trekkers, Adventurers, Navigators.) Included in the Printable Details is a packing list. In addition to clothing items, some commonly overlooked items are dishes, sleeping bags, flashlights, and rain gear.

  • Please look over the packing list at least 1 week prior to camp.
    • Please help your son/daughter plan what to take, making sure they are bringing an appropriate amount and style of clothing, noting the modesty request.
    • Make sure that luggage and important items have your daughter or son’s full name on them.
    • Campers in a week for ages 12 and up are asked to bring dark pants and a long-sleeved shirt for an evening game. Navigator campers are asked to bring a casual dress outfit for the theme dinner.

What to Bring to Day Camp

Each day, your camper should wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes for active wear and bring a backpack with a swimsuit & towel, water bottle, sunscreen & bug spray, and a change of clothes.

Day Campers will have a designated location to keep their belongings.

LINK: /youth-camps/forms/

Are there PARENT/CHILD CAMPS? FAMILY CAMPS?

We offer a Parent-Child Mini-Week for children ages 7-10 to participate in with a parent or other significant adult of the same gender.

Spruce Lake Retreat also offers a variety of family camps and events throughout the summer.

Link:/youth-camps/forms/

How much SPENDING MONEY should I send to camp?

All meals and standard activities are included in the cost of camp.
Campers will have the opportunity to buy snacks at the Retreat Center Snack Shop or buy both snacks and souvenirs at the Wilderness Camp Trading Post.

Recommended amounts are:

$25-50 per week for overnight Wilderness Camp

$5-10 per week for Day Camp

Leadership
What AFFILIATION/DENOMINATION is Spruce Lake?

Spruce Lake Summer Camp is a Christian camp affiliated with the Franconia Conference of Mennonite Church USA. This group of churches, located primarily north of Philadelphia, accounts for about 30% of our camper population and is the reason we exist. Our mission is to “Point Young People Toward Christ” regardless of denominational background. As a result, we do not spend much time on denominational distinctives. Instead, we focus on sharing God’s love, nurturing appreciation for the Bible, inviting young people to develop a personal walk with Jesus Christ, and helping them understand their call to serve others with the gifts that God has provided them.

What is your CAMPER to COUNSELOR RATIO?

This ratio changes with age but on the average, we generally place seven to nine campers with at least one to two counselors in a tent.  There may be up to ten tent units per gender. Each tent unit is supported by an experienced head counselor whose job it is to be available to and support senior counselors.  We have many other gifted and talented team members in supporting roles who are available to support counselors as needs arise.

  • Discoverer Campers (7-10) range from a 1:4 to a 1:5 ratio. Two counselors for each group of 7-10 campers.
  • Trekker Campers (10-12) range from a 1:6 to a 1:7 ratio with one counselor for 6-9 campers and minimum two assistants per gender.
  • Adventurer Campers (12-14) range from a 1:6 to a 1:7 ratio with one counselor for 6-9 campers and minimum two assistants per gender.
  • Navigators (14-18) range from a 1:6 to 1:8 ratio with one senior counselor for 6-8 campers.
  • Off-site Expeditions (11-18) range from a 1:4 to a 1:6 ratio with two guides for 8-12 campers.
  • Day Camp (5-15) strives for a 1:7 ratio with one counselor per group of campers, grouped by age.

Who are the COUNSELORS/GUIDES?

Most Senior Counselors are at least 18 ½ and at least one year out of high school.  Most Expedition Guides are at least 21.  Occasionally younger persons may hold these positions if they have prior experience and proven maturity. All of our team members profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Most of our counselors and guides are college students, although there are some that leave full-time employment or are employed otherwise as teachers.  Most of our counselors and guides have been campers at Spruce Lake and desire to give back to a ministry that impacted their lives.  Our counselors and guides choose to work at camp because they love young people and the atmosphere.

How are your COUNSELORS TRAINED & SCREENED?

Each summer Spruce Lake employs over 30 team members from ages 16 and older.  A quality team is our number one asset.  We seek to find solid Christian men and women who are living their faith authentically and with integrity, who possess the skills and gifting for the roles they are seeking.

Screening – Each team member at Spruce Lake Summer Camp is carefully screened.  We require each summer team member to go through the application process annually, even if previously hired.  We review applications, screen at least three confidential references, review employment/education history, and conduct personal interviews.  All potential team members are required to sign a voluntary disclosure statement giving us permission to complete background checks with the Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Registry, Pennsylvania Criminal History, FBI fingerprinting, and Social Security address verification.

Training – All team members are required to attend a summer training event that covers both general subjects and subjects specific to their roles.  Our general training involves sessions on Health and Safety, Risk Management, Age Group Characteristics, Organizational Mission, Supervision and more.  More specific training is offered for persons working with campers, leading expeditions, serving in the kitchen or as a supervisor and so on, depending on the role.

While You Are At Camp
How do I COMMUNICATE with my child while at overnight camp?

Letters and emails are the best way to communicate with campers, and we will faithfully deliver those messages to your daughter or son. Campers will be able to mail letters and postcards, but will not have access to outgoing Phone, Fax, or Email. In the week before your child’s camp begins, we will email you updates and reminders about camp, along with instructions for emailing your child. Emails may be sent using this email form; they will be printed and delivered daily to your camper. We will also email a link for you to see camp pictures.

When is DISMISSAL of camp?

Overnight Wilderness Camp:

Dismissal is Friday at either 3:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Parent-Child Mini-Week, Trekkers, Adventurers and Navigators are dismissed at 6:30, and you are invited to attend the Closing Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Dismissal for Discoverer Mini-Week and Discoverer Weeklong will be at 3:30 p.m. with a Closing Ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

Day Camp:

Standard dismissal time (with the exception of after care) each day for Day Camp is 4 PM.

Pick-up will be at the Day Camp Clubhouse at the Retreat Center.

What is the camper DISMISSAL POLICY?

Only authorized persons will be permitted to pick up a camper from camp. Parents/Guardians will be asked to list the authorized adults who have permission to pick up their child/children.  Campers not riding the bus will remain at their tables with their counselor and wait for an authorized adult to sign them out.  If the person picking up your child is not on the list of authorized persons, they will not be able to leave with your child until we contact you or another emergency contact person for permission.

How do I arrange for EARLY DISMISSAL?

Early Dismissal/Pick-up at unusual times – If your camper needs to be picked up for any reason at a time other than the normal dismissal, we ask that you make arrangements with the office ahead of time.  You or your designated authorized person should come to the office to sign out the camper prior to departing.

How do you handle LOST & FOUND?

We will do our best to return whatever was left at camp to your camper.  Contact our office to provide a description of the item lost, and we will contact you to let you know whether the item has or has not been found.

  • Items with full camper names written or sewn in help us return lost articles with more success.
  • Returns will occur at the cost of the camper family.
  • Items left on the bus or in the luggage truck will be returned to Spruce Lake on the following Friday or Sunday bus run and then kept at Spruce Lake.
  • Our bus can be used to return lost items without cost so long as you contact us and are willing to meet the bus at the scheduled time of arrival.
  • Lost items not claimed before October of the same year, may be redistributed to a thrift store, disposed of, or set aside for future camper use.

Can campers have PHONE CALLS/VISITORS?

Parents/friends are asked not to have direct contact with campers while camp is in session. While we support good parent/camp communications, we do not support direct camper/parent phone calls or direct camper/parent visits. The reasons for this policy are many. They include authority confusion, camper security, homesickness, misunderstandings, and limited phone lines and computers.
Camp is really about the special relationships formed in the camp setting.  This is not to say that we will not allow contact if we or you have special circumstances, but we ask you to trust Spruce Lake with checking on and reporting to you the well-being of your son or daughter.

“Camper Checks” During Camp – We will gladly check in on your son/daughter and let you know how things are going. If you request a camper check for the Wilderness Camp program, our male or female head counselor will speak personally with both your son/daughter and his/her counselor to see how the week is going.  Then, shortly after the next meal, they will give you a call personally and update you!

“Camper Checks” for expeditions are more involved because of reduced and delayed communication, but they are possible.  Our communication with expeditions involves leaving messages and waiting for call-backs.  Trip leaders are instructed to check messages nightly and provide timely call-backs as reception allows.

Visiting Spruce Lake – If you are visiting Spruce Lake or are a guest at Spruce Lake Retreat, we ask that you not visit with your camper.  If you desire to visit or become acquainted with our Wilderness Camp, please make arrangements with the office.  All visitors are asked to come to the office upon arrival, which is located in the gym in the Wilderness Camp area.  We will provide a VISITOR badge for you to wear until departure.  Visitors who come while the evening Fireside is in session may come directly to the pavilion because we will have the Visitor Sign-In Sheet available there at that time. Please sign-out upon departure.

When do I REGISTER for camp? When does CAMP START?

Overnight Wilderness Camp:

Registration is open Sundays 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. in the Wilderness Camp Pavilion. Buses will arrive by 4:00 p.m. Discoverer Mini-Camp registration will open Wednesday just after 10 a.m.

You should bring:

  • Any special notes or instructions
    • Medications clearly marked in original containers
    • Camper Bank money if not already sent
    • Camper Health Form & Safety Waiver, if not already completed. These are required to participate at camp.

Day Camp:

Standard arrival time (with the exception of before care) each day for Day Camp is 9 AM.

Drop-off and pick-up will be at the Day Camp Clubhouse, located at the Retreat Center.

Health and Emergency
Accident Insurance

Each camper is required to have their own health insurance policy. The camp does not carry any type of accident insurance.

Camper Health Form

This is a significant form needed to ensure your son/daughter’s well-being while at camp.  Along with emergency contact and health related information, it gives your permission to participate, and for medical treatment if necessary.

Incomplete health forms are the main reason for long registration lines. Please be sure to complete your camper’s health form prior to arrival at camp, including all medications that will be taken while at camp. If your camper’s health form is incomplete, you will be asked to step out of the registration line to complete the form at a kiosk.

Emergency Procedures

If you have an emergency and cannot get through to the camp office on the phone, try the appropriate Emergency (Director’s) Cell Phone below:

Day Camp – 570-202-1617

Overnight Wilderness Camp – 215-933-9521

As a last resort, call the Retreat Center at 800-822-7505 or 570-595-7505 – and ask if they would contact the summer camp office by radio.

If there is an emergency at camp, we will do everything in our power to contact the guardians as quickly as reasonably possible.  Please be assured that in the event of a communications breakdown, such as a power outage, regional crisis, or national incident, we are doing everything in our power to care for your child.

Health Care at Camp

A registered nurse (RN) is on the premises at all times while camp is in session.  They are responsible to administer medications, provide care under our standing orders, and inform members of the counseling team of health related issues.  Numerous team members are trained in CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguarding.  Hospital, 911 and clinic services are also available as needed with an approximate 20-minute response time.

Health & Safety on Expeditions

When your son/daughter is on an off-site expedition, the following health care and safety measures are provided:

  • One or both trip guides will be certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.
  • On all trips but custom group trips, a Registered Nurse will screen campers and meet with guides prior to the trip to discuss medical/food issues related to the campers on the trip.
  • At least one cell phone accompanies all trips, providing more immediate contact with camp, 911, local hospitals and clinical services. Each guide will carry a logistical contact sheet with them that includes emergency contact information, local medical care facilities, and logistical contact information. Note that cell reception may not be available in some areas.

Medications at Camp

All medications must be sent in the original container with the original label. This includes vitamins and nutritional supplements, which are treated as medication and dispensed by the nurse. Medications not in original bottles will NOT be administered. In an effort to reduce the number of medications that a child needs to bring, Wilderness Camp stocks many common over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Benadryl, Cough & Cold remedies and more. If you require a specific brand OTC medication, please send your own. We do stock generic Claritin but not Zyrtec or Allegra products.
Medications will be administered according to the instructions indicated on the original bottle ONLY. If your doctor gives you alternate parameters for pill dosing, a doctor’s note must accompany the medication.
Campers with emergency inhalers and/or epi-pens should bring them to camp. Epi-pens and emergency inhalers will be carried by the camper and NOT by the counselor. Please provide a day pack for carrying emergency medications.
All other medications will be kept and administered by the nurse for the safety of all campers.