Future Families’ FAQ

My child returned from her first 4 weeks of SLC having found a home away from home!

– SLC Parent

Future Families’ FAQ

Got questions? Get answers! If your question isn’t answered here or you’d like even more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone — 845-265-3616. We’re glad to help!

May we tour camp?

Yes! The ideal way to experience camp is while campers are here, so we encourage you to register for a guided tour during the summer. The best visits of all happen on our Rookie Day, when your child can stay to try camp for a whole day with of programming.

We also offer tours in spring and fall, and visits with our leadership over the winter.

What happens on rainy days?

SLC is such a magical place that it never rains. Well, okay. Maybe sometimes…

In light rain, we often continue with our normal program. In heavy rain, there is plenty of indoor space (unit lodges, our 10,000 square foot indoor gym, Alumni Hall, the Little Playhouse, Shmerler Building) for any type of indoor activity. Campers say that a rainy day at SLC is more fun than a sunny day anywhere else!

How often do siblings see one another?

If they are in the same unit, siblings will see each other several times every day. If they are in different units in the same division (Mainside or Teenside), they will see each other a couple of times a day. If they are in separate divisions, they will see each other a couple of times a week Siblings are always welcome to spend time together during Shabbat Walk on Saturdays immediately following services.

Can we request a camper be bunked with a friend?

Yes. You can send in a group request form. We ensure that your camper will be grouped with at least one request. If necessary, you can also request that your child not be grouped with someone specific. Negative requests, such as this, take precedence over requests to be with friends. For more information about our approach to grouping, click here.

Please note that the requests shape a camper group, but not necessarily your child’s cabin assignment.

Will my child be with all new campers?

Will your child attend Get Your Feet Wet, our first-time camper program? In that case, yes: everyone in the group will be a new camper. The whole group will share the first-timer experience together.

Will your child attend a either one of our 4-week session, or 8-week session? Then, no. We balance groups to include both new and returning campers so that everyone gets to know new people. Then we rearrange groups and counselor assignments for Session 2 to create more new friendships.

How will I communicate with my camper during camp?

Surprise Lake Camp offers a variety of ways for parents to stay in touch with campers during the summer. Click here to learn all about Summer Communications.

How do you handle homesickness?

Homesickness is natural and does occur in most new campers. We are experts at handling it. Staff is trained during orientation, and members of our camper care team — who function as camp guidance counselors — provide a friendly ear anytime and professional care if needed.

Parents are our partners in this effort. Each May we present a seminar on “Sending A Child To Camp For The First Time” at the New Family Orientation at camp. This program will help you get your child — and you — ready for separation and includes helpful tips on preventing/dealing with homesickness. Please contact us for a copy of the handout for this presentation.

What about Lyme Disease?

Ticks are a fact of life in the Northeast. Staff and campers get Lyme Disease Prevention Orientations upon arrival in camp. Staff check the campers for ticks and remind the campers to check themselves daily. Upon returning to camp from an outing in the woods, everyone is required to shower. If anyone finds a tick, the Health Center removes it immediately and then monitors that person for Lyme Disease symptoms.

Should I sign up for one or two sessions?

The longer a child stays at camp, the deeper and more meaningful their camp experience. Generally we suggest one session for kids under age 10; consider two for kids ages 10+. But if your child balks at two sessions, don’t force it. Want to discuss what’s right for your child with one of the camp directors? We’re happy to advise; please be in touch.

Often (but not always), Session 1 happy campers can add on Session 2 if they get here and want to stay–and if space is available. Some units do fill up and take waiting lists, so please chat with us before you count on Session 2 availability.

What should my camper pack for camp?

The most important things to pack for camp are energy, flexibility, and a readiness for adventure! Beyond that, your camper will need some stuff. Click here to learn all about Packing for Camp.

How are campers transported to and from camp?

Surprise Lake Camp is conveniently located in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley — an easy drive from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Campers arrive by bus, car, and plane. Click here to learn more about SLC’s transportation options.

Is tipping allowed?

Following the recommendations of the American Camp Association, Surprise Lake Camp has a strict no-tipping policy. This reduces stress and costs for families while providing a fairer work environment for our staff, many of whom work behind the scenes to give each child a great experience. If you would like to recognize your child’s counselor(s), please consider a tax-deductible gift to the SLC Scholarship Fund in their honor. SLC will send a letter to the staff member(s) advising them of your thoughtfulness.

Additional questions?

Please call 845 265 3616, or email Abbe, our Assistant Camp Director, and we will be happy to help you!

Have More Questions?

Our year-round staff is happy to help. Just give us a call at 845-265-3616!