Preparing for Camp
We respect the privacy of personal information submitted to us. Information is collected only for the purposes of this ministry, and may be disclosed to staff in the performance of their job duties or to others for statistical purposes only. Participants’ name/address/e-mail address may be shared with his/her program group; and still/video pictures may be used for promotional purposes. We are committed to protecting your information to the best of our ability. We assume your submission of a registration represents your consent for us to collect, use, and disclose your personal information for the purposes listed above.
Summer Camp Cancellation/Refund Policy
If a registered camper is unable to attend camp, notification must be given to the Camping Office immediately in order to obtain a refund. Full refunds are given up to two weeks before the start of the camp session, minus a $50 processing fee. Cancellations within the two weeks prior to the event are only refunded (minus the $50 processing fee) in cases of documented medical concern or death in the family.
To obtain a refund, the Camping Office 717.766.7395 must be notified immediately of any accident or illness, followed within one week by a written request accompanied by a doctor’s excuse. No refunds will be made for any reason after the start of the camp event.
Cell Phone Policy
To closer connect with God, His creation, and those around you we discourage the use of cell phones during summer camp events. Should a cell phone make its way to camp, it will spend the week in the Site Director's office and be returned at the close of the event.
If you have a child who is prone to homesickness while at camp, here are some ideas for writing letters to encourage them to reflect on the fun they are having rather than on what they are missing at home. Even if your camper does not write back (and answer the questions), this will keep their mind on camp and not home.
You can write your letters before camp and label them to be opened each day/night (ie. Camper name + Sunday, Monday, Tuesday … all except last day!) You might give them to the counselor at the beginning of camp to hand out with other camper mail throughout the week, or give them to your camper to open at quiet/bed time.
Offer positive thoughts:
- I bet you are going to have a great time at camp!
- I hope you are making some new friends!
- I pray that you are learning more about God/Jesus/God’s love for you/God’s exciting plan for your life!
- I hope you are enjoying great weather, although camp is fun no matter what the weather!
- Don’t forget – BE AWESOME!
- I bet you enjoyed some yummy foods today!
- Remember God made you special and He loves you very much! (Veggie Tales)
Ask them questions in your letter:
- Are you ready for some fun and adventure this week?
- What fun things did you do today?
- What did you eat today?
- Did you try any new foods?
- What is your favorite camp food or treat?
- Did you go swimming/creek stomping today?
- Did you have a campfire?
- What is your favorite camp song?
- What was your favorite activity today?
- Did you do a craft today? I can’t wait to see it!
- Have you seen any friends from last year?
- Have you made some new friends?
- Did you learn any new games today?
- Did you go for a Polar Bear Swim?
- Did you enjoy some S’mores?
- Did you go for a hike today? What interesting things did you see?
- I wonder what they will serve for breakfast tomorrow morning?
- Isn’t it fun to pick what you eat each day?
- Is your (favorite toy taken to camp) having a great time at camp?
End of week letter:
- I can’t wait to hear about all the fun and adventures you had this week!
- You only have one more sleep!
- We can’t wait to see you tomorrow at (pick-up time)!
- We hope you’ve had a great time at camp!
Offer a prayer:
- I pray that the Lord will bless you and protect you and that He will show you mercy and kindness. May the Lord be good to you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-25)
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity (1 Timothy 4:12)
- I pray that you will grow in God’s love & mercy and grace this week!
- Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power! (Ephesians 6:10)
- I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
- Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you (Isaiah 41:10)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! (but no “I miss you”!!)
- I love you child’s full name (we say this every night in our home!)
- Love you forever!
- All my love …
- I <3 YOU
- I am so blessed to be your Mom/Dad/grandma/friend…
- Love you to the moon and back!
- I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. For always and ever my baby/name you’ll be!! (modified from Love You Forever by Robert Munsch)
Thanks to Sandii Peiffer for sharing these ideas for other parents to consider using.
All items brought to camp should be labeled with the camper’s full name. It is a great idea to label small things like toothpaste and washcloths as well. Camp provides all the necessary equipment for all activities.
A suggested list of items:
- Bible / Journal
- Paper and pencil/pen
- Bedding for a twin-bed mattress or sleeping bag
- 2 changes of clothes per day
- Shorts / long pants
- Sweatshirt for cool times
- Hat / visor
- Appropriate sleep wear
- Bathing suit
- Rain gear
- 2 pairs of comfortable shoes
- Flip-flops / Sandals
- Creek-wading shoes
- Small Flashlight
- Insect repellant
- Water bottle
- Plastic bags for wet clothes
- Dirty Clothes bag
- All electronic gadgetry:
- Radios, mp3 players, cell phones, video game systems, etc.
- Candy, snacks or soda
We will make sure you have plenty of food at camp!
- All knives and sharp implements.
If any of these items do make it to camp, they will spend the week in the Site Director’s office, to be returned to you as you leave camp at the end of the week.
Please examine your camper’s selection of clothing which might carry offensive slogans or symbols. In the camp community, these items can result in discord between campers. The goal is to create community where all persons feel welcome and acceptance.
Email a Camper
Camp Penn seeks to:
- Provide a vital experience of Christian community where all people are valued as creations of God.
- Provide experiences that help develop and nurture lifestyles of caring for the common good.
- Help campers grow in their relationship with God, with each other, with creation, and with themselves.
Camp Penn is affiliated by tradition and faith to the tenets of the United Methodist Church. It is one of four camps which are part of The Susquehanna Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries program.
All camps operated by The Susquehanna Conference United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries are open to everyone without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, religious preference or ability. Our outdoor ministry is committed to serving all persons in order to provide a meaningful camp experience.
Camp Penn intentionally sets out to help campers build new friendships and to work with different people. This is one of the goals of the camp experience. Campers are assigned to cabins by grade level and age just prior to arrival by the Dean for that week of camp.
We try our best to accommodate bunkmate requests as long as they are made in advance, and are made mutually with one other camper and are the same grade/age/gender.
Specific concerns about cabin assignments can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents may also call 717.766.7395 to discuss special situations at least three weeks before the session begins.
Appealing and nutritious meals are prepared under the careful supervision of our trained culinary staff and satisfy the hearty appetites of campers and staff. Fresh fruit, cereal, hot breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, meat and vegetables are offered everyday. Meals are served buffet style and provide a variety of healthy and appropriate choices. Vegetarian options are available.
Other special dietary needs should be indicated on the camper Health form and we encourage parents to make contact with the Site Director in order to coordinate supplemental foods as needed.
Opening Day for all weeks of Camp
- Registration begins at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday
Opening Day is an exciting time for everyone! When you arrive you will be greeted by a staff member of Camp Penn. Registration is conducted in the Commons area where you will meet the Dean for the week of camp. Counselors will assist you with moving into your assigned cabin. Check-in and registration on opening day is between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Arriving between these designated hours will help the Deans, counselors, and staff give you the attention you deserve without disrupting programs. If you need to schedule a late arrival, please contact Camp Penn, 717-762-2693.
Sign-Out Day for all weeks of Camp
- Friday 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
How Sign-Out Day will work:
Parents are required to sign-out their campers with the Cabin Counselor on closing day.
Parents must give written permission for anyone else to pick up their child. Photo identification will be required to pick up a camper.
In order to complete the registration process you will need to bring the following items with you to the registration line on Check-In Day:
- Copy of your invoice showing payment in full
- Your camper’s completed health form (unless you have already mailed it in) and medications: All prescriptions should be in the original container with proper pharmacy labels for each camper attending and accompanied by the signed for.
- Personal money to be deposited into your camper’s store account. $20 a week is usually ample for craft and canteen purchases. If your camper would like to purchase one of our larger cost items (hats, t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts), we encourage you to do so when you drop off or pick up your camper. The camp store will be open during those times. We encourage you to put money in the camper store accounts as opposed to letting campers carry around cash at camp.
Parents Can Help:
Parents can help the adjustment of their campers by leaving them on a positive note. Make sure to set your camper up for success by letting them know you expect them to have fun. Help them set some goals for camp (meeting people, learning something new, etc.) before you leave and be enthusiastic about their time at camp.
“Child-sick: parents often lead to homesick campers. It is best not to promise a camper thy can come home if they don’t like camp.
The Staff and Counselors are Trained to Support Homesick Campers:
The counselors and staff are trained to help campers adjust to camp by immediately involving them in goal setting, team building, and fun activities.
We Want to Partner with Parents:
Parental support and encouragement are crucial to the happiness of the child; Camp Penn has an extremely high success rate of working with campers when parents work with us. Parents will be contacted by camp staff if their child becomes homesick. We will keep the parent up to date on how we are working through the issues. Encouraging comments in letters (‘we know you are working hard to have fun” it is ok to miss home, but we want you to have fun” “we look forward to hearing about your achievements” “have fun at camp because you are not missing out on anything here”) are also helpful in this process. Though homesickness is common in first-time campers, it is usually short-lived due to all the fun people and dynamic activities at Camp Penn!
The camp store is open daily after the noon meal for campers. Camp Penn credit cards. postcards, envelopes, postage, t-shirts, sweatshirts and small souvenirs are available.
Bottled water, soft drinks, healthy snack choices, chips, pretzels, ice cream, and candy are options for campers. Choices are limited and use of the canteen is based on the schedule of each week
Traditional crafts are available like gimp and leather. Spin art, jewelry making and hemp art are a few of the items available to challenge the campers creativity. Crafts range in price from 10 cents to $5.
Campers check-in all medicines with the Camp Nurse upon arrival into camp. Medications are dispensed at meal times by the Camp Nurse.
No medications are allowed in cabins (with the exceptions of inhalers for some campers with asthma, as well as epi-pens).
Campers who are not feeling well have the opportunity to visit the Camp Nurse after talking to their counselor who will go with them to see the Camp Nurse. The Camp Nurse is available 24 hours a day for urgent medical situations.
In the event that a camper spends the night in the Health Lodge or there is a serious situation, parents will be called.
Cabin counselors are trained to inspect campers daily for cleanliness, cuts, sunburn, insect bites, etc but teaching your child the importance and methods of prevention is extremely important.
If you are bringing prescription medication please bring them in their original containers.
At the end of the session, leftover prescription medications need to be picked up. All unclaimed medications will be thrown away.
At Camp Penn we take very seriously our responsibilities to children and youth.
We seek to build and maintain an environment of adventure and calculated risk to provide for our campers the greatest opportunities for personal growth and self confidence and living skill progressions possible. We seek to build a community of trust that operates in a framework of Christian practices. We seek to lift up virtues such as truth, honesty, dependability, cooperation, and care for others and the environment. We seek to provide an opportunity for campers to experience the presence of a creator God, to experience relationship with a wide range of other campers, a variety of ideas, and a cross section of activities designed for enjoyment and skill development. We seek to help nurture campers, motivated by love, into lifestyles of care for the common good.
Camp Penn seeks to provide an environment for children and youth where there is a sense of security, love, encouragement, and genuine concern for others. Camp Penn has embraced the philosophy of recommended practices of the Safe Sanctuaries program for children and youth.
Along these lines, as a parent you can expect:
- The paid staff are hired after careful recruitment, screening and complete reference and criminal background checks. We are making every possible effort to screen those persons who will work directly with your child.
- The volunteer counselors are also are recruited, screened, and complete reference and criminal background checks.
- We have established and trained the staff in practices of appropriate interpersonal boundaries. We want the staff to be clear about appropriate behaviors. The staff must be attentive to appropriate dress codes, appropriate use of language, and appropriate demonstrations of affection and encouragement. Staff and volunteer counselors are trained to remember they are the adult and it is their responsibility to behave professionally.
- We have reviewed and re-affirmed our policy that there will be a least two adult staff present at all times during any program event or activity.
- All staff and many of the Deans have been trained and certified in basic first aid and CPR annually.
- All staff and volunteers have attended an orientation in which they were informed of policies for the prevention of the abuse of children and youth; appropriate steps to follow for the reporting an incident of abuse of any child (at camp or back home); and details of state law regarding the definitions of child/youth abuse and the requirements of reporting abuse when it is discovered.
- Camp Penn has a policy that all paid staff and volunteers who work with youth are at least five years older than the oldest child or youth they are responsible to lead or care for. And we have a policy that we have no workers responsible in leading or caring for children/youth who are under the age of eighteen.
- Camp Penn has established a policy that all counseling sessions and any one-on-one “talks” with children or youth should be conducted with an “open door”. That means at camp an adult can go off to talk with a youth but should stay in sight of others the entire time.
Every camper comes to camp with a different set of background experiences.
Every camper comes with a set of unique expectations.
Camp Penn operates a program centered on a small group experience. This small group becomes the primary place of trust and opportunity to demonstrate positive Christian community attributes. The camper group does not start out at a place of trust, or even a place function. The group must grow and move toward the goal of establishing a Christian community.
Therefore Camp Penn would hope to expect that campers will participate in the group process.
- Campers should be willing to follow the lead and direction of the counseling team.
- Campers will be patient as they build something of true value.
- Campers need to be willing to work through problems with the guidance of the counseling team.
- Campers who disengage, band together in cliques that separate/divide the group, and campers who want to “bail out” contribute to the lack of success for the group.
- Groups will be different at the end of the week than they are on the first night. Groups who work through the process build powerful lifelong friendships and valuable skills in community living.
Camp Penn desires that every camper have a successful camp experience. Campers need to be able to follow group living guidelines and respond appropriately to counselors and staff for their safety and the well being of the entire camp community.
Camp rules are designed to enhance the happiness and safety of all campers. Camp Dean or Site Director will contact parents to let them know if there is any ongoing behavior problem. Campers who do not demonstrate appropriate behavior, in the judgment of the dean or site director, will be sent home from camp. Early dismissal from camp will not warrant the refund of fees.
Camp & Retreat Ministry wants every child to have the opportunity to experience Camp! We do have some financial aid available to make that possible. We generally request a three-way split between the camper family, the local church or faith community and the Camping Program.
You can apply for camperships (form) and find out more information here.
No parent wants their child to be the victim of a bully. We hope that no parent wants their child to be the one doing the bullying. Camp Penn has definitely established practices to help identify, correct, and heal the practice of bullying when it exists in a cabin group, a camp group, or from one group to another. We have affirmed what the experts have said in that it is not limited to one socioeconomic group or even to one family situation. We have found this behavior exhibited in a variety of children/youth for an extreme range of reasons or no reason at all.
We are committed to creating a safe environment at camp where no child should have to fear another child. We are building practices to heal attitudes that produce peer on peer abuse. We have established practices of greater attention to campers during “down time” like flat time, after lights are out, and between activities. This problem is not limited to camp and does not begin at camp. We will work with campers, parents, and staff to build practices that eliminate this behavior. We need parental partners. We encourage you, as parents, to please let us know about any particular bullying concerns you may have for your child or any off-season, camp-related emails, instant messages, or text-messages that may have led to exclusion or meanness towards your child by somebody else in camp. We want to ensure that this problem can be managed by a strong partnership between our camps and your family.
7:00 a.m. Wake-up
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 a.m. Camp Clean Up
9:15 a.m. Family Group Activities & Bible Study
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Flat on Back Time
2:00 p.m. Family Group Activities / Camp-wide Activities
5:00 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Camp-wide Activities
8:00 p.m. Vespers
9:00 p.m. Cabin Devotions
10:00 p.m. Lights Out (Elementary)
11:00 p.m. Lights Out (Jr. and Sr. High)
Camp Penn has long established a policy of partnering with parents for a successful camp experience for their child/youth.
We Partner with You
We want to work together to provide the most positive experience possible. We want to be able to call you to inform you about your camper. We want to ask you if you have any suggestions of how we can work with any situation or need. We want to establish together a plan of action that will lead to success for the camper and the camp.
We want You to Partner with Us
We want you, as the parent, to call us and tell us if you believe your child is having trouble. We want you to allow us to investigate, correct, and solve problems wherever possible. We want to stay in touch with you.
Parental Help and Support at the Beginning Goes a Long Way
We find that letters home written the first night with situations described sometimes only need a little time to heal themselves. Sometimes they need help, support, correction and shared information between counselors, staff and parents. Giving the Camp Penn staff and volunteers the information that is needed to help your child have a great camp experience can go a long way.
Sharing Information with Us
May times we find the problems that surface at camp did not begin at camp. They were brought from home in some fashion. Share information on your health form, with your counselor, with the Get Acquainted Sheet, call the Dean for that week of camp, or call the Site Director to discuss your camper’s information. Good information leads to a successful partnership on both sides.
Lost and found items are returned to the camper whenever possible.
Please make sure that all of your camper’s items are clearly marked with first and last names.
Lost and found is available for parents to look through on closing day. Any lost and found items that are unclaimed will be held for two weeks and then donated to charity. If items are left, please request their return. If they can be located they will be mailed back to the camper.
It is estimated that there are 350 Lost and Found items left behind by their owners each summer. Don’t let your luggage add to this avoidable number.
Another way to avoid lost and found items is to send your camper with a small bag to carry their personal items in around camp. A draw string bag or small book bag are popular choices. We also suggest you talk with your camper about making sure they keep track of their items.
Our staff help campers gather their items when leaving any location and are trained to help campers make sure they have everything that was theirs. Please make sure that your camper’s items are ALL clearly marked with their first and last names.
The camp takes photographs and videos of our programs in action. These are used for promotional purposes. If you object to having your child’s picture used in promotional materials, email us at email@example.com indicating your preference.
It is strongly suggested that a GPS or Map Quest is not used for directions to Camp Penn as the directions given are Not accurate. The directions below are a quicker, more direct route to travel.
Using I-81 South exit at Scotland (Exit 20). At the traffic light at the end of the ramp take a left onto Rt. 997 south (Black Gap Road). Follow 997 to the stop light which connects with Rt. 30. At the stop light turn left. Follww Rt. 30 east to Caledonia to the light/junction of 233. Turn right onto 233 south (Rocky Mountain Road.) and follow to the stop sign (a lily pond is directly across the street). Turn left (at this point you are no longer following 233). Follow the road through the village of South Mountain, turning right onto Old Forge Road. The camp is about 4 1/2 miles ahead on the right.
Using Route 15 South – enter Maryland, taking the Emmitsburg/Taneytown Exit (MD Rt. 140). Follow Rt. 140 through Emmitsburg, traveling approximately 13.5 miles to the corner of Old Forge Rd. When you re-enter PA the road becomes PA Rt. 16. There is a stoplight at the corner of Old Forge Rd. and Rt. 16 in Rouzerville. Turn right onto Old Forge Rd. Camp Penn is approximately five miles ahead on your left.
Mailing Address for Campers & Staff
P.O. Box 511
Waynesboro, PA 17268
Phone Number: 717.762.2693
Please leave a message with your name, number, and question. We are committed to calling all back the same business day.
Fax Number: 717.762.0080
This e-mail is checked multiple times a day and is the fastest and easiest way for us to respond to inquires and questions.