Camper Frequently Asked Questions
Is my child a good fit for camp?
Campers must be 7-14 years of age at the beginning of the week of camp. Campers should have multiple or severe disabilities, such that they might have difficulty functioning at a camp designed for children without special needs. While we train our staff members and they do a fantastic job, many are high school or college students and may not have experience needed to manage significant behavioral issues (i.e. aggressive behaviors, tantrums). If you are unsure whether your child fits our criteria, you are welcome to complete the contact form on the website to communicate directly with a co-director before applying.
How can I tell if my child is ready for camp?
If your child fits the criteria listed above, he/she may be ready for camp. We often find that parents are more nervous about their child going to camp than campers are. While it is ideal for campers to have some experience sleeping away from home, we sometimes have first-time campers who have never spent the night away from home before. If your child has extreme difficulty going new places or trying new activities, camp may be overwhelming and your child may need more time before being ready to come to camp. If you are unsure, feel free to contact us through the website and we can discuss this further. Also, we may be able to put you in touch with a veteran camper’s parent to discuss your concerns.
My child needs help with diapering/ toileting/ feeding/ bathing. Who will help him/ her at camp?
Each cabin contains 5-7 campers of the same gender and 4-6 staff members. Cabins work as a team to care for campers and are trained to care for all of campers’ needs, including changing diapers, assisting campers with toileting or in the shower, feeding, and participating in activities. When you complete your child’s application, the information you provide about your child’s needs in each area of functioning will help staff members prepare for campers. You will also have an opportunity to talk with co-directors, nurses, cooks, your child’s counselors, and any other relevant staff members when you bring your child for check-in.
What are the facilities like at camp?
Camp ARROW is located at the Camp Tygart facility in Berrien County, Georgia. Campers and counselors sleep in cabins with bunk beds. Campers all sleep on bottom bunks. If your child uses a bed rail, you are welcome to bring this to camp for your child to feel safe. Cabins have restrooms and showers that are handicap accessible. Showers have detachable shower heads and shower chairs. We do not have bathtubs. If your child has never taken a shower before, it might be a good idea to try this some prior to coming to camp if possible. Cabins are air conditioned. Meals and indoor activities are held in our dining hall. The camp also has several playgrounds and a pool with a lift for non-ambulatory campers. All buildings have ramps and are handicap assessible.
Do campers leave the campground for field trips?
Yes. We travel off campus on Wednesday and Thursday during the week of camp. We travel to Valdosta for bowling and lunch at Chick-fil-a. We travel to Thomasville for lunch at McDonald’s and to ride horses at Hands and Hearts for Horses. We use school buses for transportation.
What if my child needs a special diet/ eats pureed food/ has food allergies/ is really picky?
Our cooks prepare delicious kid-friendly food each meal. Juice, water, or Gatorade are available to campers. We do not allow campers to have soda except when we eat out on field trips. We provide fruit for snacks and dessert following many meals. Your child should not bring any food with him/her to camp unless this has been discussed with a co-director prior to camp. Most campers find something they like to eat at each meal. If your child is very picky, we can work with him/her to find something nutritious he/she will eat. If your child eats a gluten-free or some other kind of special diet, we will provide you with the camp menu before camp and you can bring substitutes for items your child is unable to eat. Our kitchen staff is happy to puree food if needed. We cannot guarantee that our facility is nut-free.
What if my child takes medication/ needs tube-feeding?
We have highly-qualified nurses at camp throughout the entire week. At check-in, you will meet our nurses and camp doctor (who is on call during the week and also visits camp to check on campers). You will have an opportunity to discuss any medical needs your child has and how your child takes his/her medication. Nurses administer medication at meals and bedtime, or as needed (i.e. breathing treatments). Nurses provide tube feedings for campers who need them. Please bring your child’s EpiPen if one has been prescribed for allergic reactions or Diastat if prescribed for seizure management. Over-the-counter medications and first aid items are kept on site for nurses to administer to campers if needed. Please be sure that all medications are brought to camp in original bottles with prescription labels.
What if my child has a medical emergency?
We have nurses (including at least one RN) on site at all times and our camp doctor is always on call. We keep an AED and suction machine at camp in case of emergencies. If your child has a seizure or some other kind of medical emergency we will call you and EMS if needed. If your child has a non-contagious medical need during the week of camp (i.e. ear infection) it may be possible for our camp doctor to call in a prescription and we can begin administering it to your child. We will call you to discuss what you would like for us to do if this happens. If your child becomes sick during the week of camp (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, fever, pinkeye) you will be contacted to pick your child up. If your child recovers and is free of symptoms for 24 hours, it may be possible for your child to return to camp and complete the week. This decision will be made by the camp doctor and nurses depending on the specifics of the illness.
What if my child misses me? What if I want to check on my child?
It is very normal for children to feel homesick the first night of camp, especially if it is their first time away from home. Our staff members are trained to help children cope with homesickness. Usually by the second day of camp, campers are so busy they don’t feel homesick anymore. Often, parents are more nervous about camp than kids! If you would like to check on your child, you will be provided with the co-directors’ phone numbers at check-in. You are welcome to text or call to check on your child. The co-director will check with counselors and respond to your call or text. We do not allow parents to communicate directly with counselors because this can interfere with the counselors’ ability to be focused on caring for your child. We prefer that campers not talk to parents on the phone, as this can cause campers to become upset. If your child is so homesick that he/she is not enjoying camp, we will call you to discuss coming to pick your child up. Please follow our Camp ARROW Facebook page to see updates and pictures throughout the week!
What do I need to bring with my child? Will I get everything back?
You will receive a packing list upon your child’s acceptance to camp. We are low-maintenance at camp and want campers to be comfortable! Please do not send new or especially nice clothing, as we have many outdoor or messy activities. Please also label all items of clothing, towels, etc. with your child’s name or initials. Counselors do their best to return all items home with campers. However, sometimes items do get lost. We have laundry facilities at camp in case of soiled sheets or clothing. We will send home dirty clothes and linens but will wash anything that comes into contact with bodily fluids. After camp, if you discover that something is missing, please contact a co-director who will do our best to locate and return it to you.
What equipment do I need to provide for my child?
Please send all equipment your child uses on a daily basis to carry out life functions. This would include wheelchairs, gait trainers, braces, communication devices, and adaptive eating equipment. Please send chargers for power wheelchairs, communication devices, etc. If your child uses a tablet with communication app, he/she will not be allowed to use other apps on the device and devices should not be configured to connect to the internet.
What if my child has limited mobility or uses a wheelchair?
That is fine! We provide training to our staff about safe lifting techniques. We have a lift at the pool to help move children with limited mobility into and out of the pool safely. All of our buildings are handicap accessible. If your child uses a gait trainer or walker for mobility, please bring it to camp. We also have several folding wheelchairs available for campers who may become tired.
What is the cost of camp?
The camper fee is $350 per camper. However, the per-camper cost of running camp is much higher than this fee. Our Board of Trustees works hard throughout the year to raise the funds needed to make camp happen. We ask that parents pay the amount they are able, and we do not turn campers away based on ability to pay. If your child receives additional funding for respite care or activities from an organization such as Easter Seals, they may be able to help pay for camp also.