What To Bring To Camp
This is a general list, meant as a guide for 1 week camps. Your camp director will mail you a more specific list after you register. If you have not heard from your director within one week of the start of your camp, contact your director or the camp office.
Camp provides children a chance to be free from many of the distractions that they experience in daily life, especially from electronic devices. However, we recognize that for some campers their phones are also their only cameras, music players, and alarm clocks. Camp is also an opportunity for campers to gain independence and that phones are not to be used for calling or texting. We expect that use of such devices will be minimized and if these devices become distracting, they will be confiscated. The Camp has Wi-Fi service but it is not intended for camper use. Please note that for some programs, the directors may make this policy stricter and they will communicate this with campers and parents before the start of camp.
In an attempt to create a positive environment, we require that all clothing and swimsuits be modest and appropriate for life in a Christian community. Swimsuits and clothing that is distracting, indecent, or has inappropriate images or slogans will not be allowed. The dress code will be enforced by our directors, counselors and staff. Campers wearing clothing deemed inappropriate will be asked to change.
- 2 water bottles
- 1 bottle of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15
- 1 bottle of bugspray
- sleeping bag or sheets depending on the facilities
- 1 pillow
- toiletries (a plastic pencil box makes a great toiletry kit)
- don't forget lip balm for sunburned or windburned lips, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo
- comb, brush (hair clips or pony tail holders for girls)
- 2 towels
- 1 small flashlight
- 1 good book
- 1 Bible (if applicable)
- stationary and stamps
- 1 small notepad (and a pen)
- a few extra garbage bags (just in case)
- a deck of cards or a very small board game
Don't forget to label everything with your first & last name!
- 1 t-shirt for every day at camp plus 2 extra
- 1 pair of socks for every day at camp plus 2 extra
- 1 pair of shorts for every day at camp plus 1 extra
- 1 pair of jeans, khakis or sweatpants
- 2 swimsuits, 1 coverup (for girls)
- 1 hooded sweatshirt
- 1 windbreaker (with hood)
- 1 to two pairs of PJs (or separate t-shirts for sleeping)
- 1 hat
- 1 pair of flip-flops for the pool and shower
- 1 pair of water sneakers
- 1 pair of sneakers (plus an extra pair just in case)
- 1 gigantic zip-lock bag or a trash bag for dirty or wet clothing
- (Packing hint: place a day's worth of clothing in a large zip-lock bag for easy dressing in the morning)
Frequently Asked Questions
Going to summer camp allows your child to be around positive role models who have a substantial impact on your child’s decision making throughout the year.
Our camp directors and counselors are volunteers. Almost all of them have been campers themselves and want to now ensure that the next generation of campers have the same unforgettable experience that they had. After applying, being selected and approved to serve at camp, all youth camp counselors and directors are cleared through the NYS Dept. of Health, where background checks are completed.
The U.S. Department of Justice found that when youth had role models, such as in a Big Brother/Big Sister program, their chances of initiating drug use dropped by 45.8% and their tendency to lie to their parents dropped by 36.6%.Going to summer camp allows your kids to enjoy the simple things in life.
You would be amazed at how much fun kids can have getting wet and muddy catching crayfish in our creek, or performing in talent shows, even relaxing under a tree with their new best friends. We specialize in simplicity.Going to summer camp allows your child to spread their independent wings.
Every summer we watch a handful of children go from homesick to overflowing in confidence. This is something that every child must face, and Dunkirk Camp & Conference Center makes it easy for your child to score a big win.Going to summer camp allows children to experience nature in a whole new way.
How many days a year do you spend watching a sunrise or sunset? Outdoor experiences enrich a child’s perception of the world and supports healthy child development. At DCC, we do everything in God’s big backyard and our campers discover nature in a fascinating way.Going to summer camp allows your children to develop life-long friendships and memories second to none.
Camp is the place where kids make their very best friends. Free from the social expectations pressuring them at school, camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together—singing, laughing, talking, playing, doing almost everything together.Going to summer camp allows your child to unplug from technology, get outdoors, and get moving.
When kids take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world—real people, real activities, and real emotions. They realize there’s always plenty to do. As children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move - running, swimming, jumping, hiking, climbing!
A typical day at camp is a bit of an oxymoron. Think of it this way – replace parents with way cool big brothers and sisters, who love hanging out with kids but are also great mentors and role models; throw in tons of fun activities for kids just like yours, and add ice cream socials, tyedye t-shirts, talent shows and campfires at night. Voilà…there’s your typical day at Camp. Actually, we do a whole lot of work so that all kids have to do is be themselves and have fun…pretty cool, huh?
The Daily Schedule
New activities are planned each day! Here is a sample day at one of our youth camps:Wednesday – Young Youth Camp
8 a.m. Breakfast – camp food gone great…bacon & eggs, toast & fresh fruit
8:45 Cabin Inspection – you’ll soon find that cleaning is cool
9:50 Activity Period #1 – Theme Time
10:40 Activity Period #2 – Tye-Dye
11:20 Activity Period #3 – Make Marshmallow Shooters
12:00 p.m. Lunch – tomato soup and grilled cheese with a salad bar, Singing and doing Energizers! (What are Energizers?? After a busy morning and a big meal we like to have a little fun and get moving to our favorite dance tunes!)
1:00 Rest Period – write home to Mom and laugh with your cabin
2:25 Activity Period #4 – Swim
3:10 Snack Bar is open!!
3:40 Activity Period # 5 – Archery, rock wall climbing, hiking… pick what you like to do
4:20 Activity Period #6 – Ropes Course- learn leadership, problem solving and communication skills all while having fun.
5:30 Dinner – baked BBQ chicken, rice, veggies and salad bar
7:00 Talent Show- Be sure to bring your accordion (or whatever) to camp!
9:30 Cabin Time!
10:15pm Lights Out (Lights Out is different at each camp)
Kids get to experience the joys of a sleep-away camp, as the crickets and the frogs sing them to sleep each night. If your family lives in the city, they will particularly love our summer camp cabins because they can see the stars right outside their window, bigger and brighter than ever before.
That would be the Dining Hall, where great food happens.
Camp Food Has Never Been So Fun
What makes our camp food so great? In a word – atmosphere! There’s only one rule when campers step into the Dining Hall – have fun. That’s right, kids now have permission to talk as loud as they want, get as many seconds as their heart desires, and even sing and dance! Summer meals take on a whole new meaning once campers get to jump in the middle of our traditions like The Cook’s Band (a famous and spontaneous dance around the hall), The Rise & Shine (where we give God our glory, glory), Energizers (can you Walk 500 Miles???) and Mail Call (a very big deal during lunch!).
In addition to fun, our food is really good. That’s because it’s all prepared by Anne, our camp chef extraordinaire. Her famous meatloaf, served on the first night of camp, is just one of the summer meals your kids will soon be raving about. Anne’s food is so good that they’ll soon find themselves eating food that they normally don’t eat because it’s so darn good. Other than the main course, there’s so many choices: fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade soup, salad bar, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and other healthy snacks for kids are always available.
Special Food Needs?
Parents, don’t worry – we do our best to accommodate all food preferences that your child might have, whether that be gluten free, vegan, or other food plans. If you have a special food need just e-mail us so that we can put a plan together for your child's summer meals! At registration you will meet with one of our kitchen staff who will put your mind to ease about your child’s special needs.
If your child is a new camper, he or she may be asking, "I have never been to summer camp before… how do I make friends?" What's the number one way to have an awesome time at camp? Making friends! A lot of the time this happens naturally, but sometimes you have to work at it a little. Share with your child some of these ideas from GO PBS:
Get to know your bunkmate
- You and your bunkmate (the camper who sleeps in the bed above, below, or next to yours) will be spending a lot of time together, so make an effort to get to know him or her.
- Be open, be nice, and be thoughtful.
- Tell your bunkmate a little about yourself, and ask questions.
- Try to find things that you have in common.
- Remember: this works for all campers, not just your bunkmate!
- This can be hard to do when you're shy, but simply saying "hello" and introducing yourself can be enough to start a friendship rolling.
- Try your best to do this right from the first day, because if too many days go by, it can be harder to introduce yourself.
- Remember: the other campers will be looking for friends too!
Rely on your counselor
- Most camp counselors know that it can be hard for some kids, especially shy ones, to make friends right off the bat.
- Counselors might organize special "let's get to know each other" games in the first few days so kids can break the ice; make sure you play these games, and let your counselor know if you have trouble getting to know other kids.
- Talk to your counselors if you feel that other campers are shutting you out or acting mean to you.
Catch camp spirit
- When you're at camp, try to get into the history and traditions of the place.
- Be loyal to the camp, and enjoy all the special things -- like dances, races, camp songs, camp jokes -- that make your camp what it is.
- This will help you bond to the other kids your age. After all, when people unite in a common spirit, they usually get along and become friends.
Sign up for lots of stuff
- Get involved in all the cool games and activities that your camp has to offer.
- The more you play and interact with other campers, the more chance you'll have of finding someone you really like, and who likes you.
- If your family sends you a care package of food or other goodies, don't keep it all for yourself-spread it around a bit.
- Don't let other kids take advantage of you, but don't be greedy with your things, either.
- You should always be an individual, but part of what makes camp great is that it gives you a chance to be part of a group, too. Be good to the kids in your group, and they'll be good to you.
Be trustworthy and helpful
- Don't just look out for yourself! Be the type of person other campers can trust and rely on to do the right thing.
Let others help you
- Just as you want other campers to rely on you, you should rely on others once in a while.
- If you let someone help you out, the two of you might become friends because of it.
Let your personality shine
- Are you funny? Outgoing? Smart? Good at art or sports? Your personality is what will help you make friends, so don't hide it.
- Try to be confident and positive, but not bragging. Get enthusiastic! Get excited!
If you're going to camp with a friend...
- Consider yourself lucky to be able to share the experience with someone you already know!
- Don't let your friend keep you from becoming close to new people, too.
- Be prepared if your relationship is a little different at camp than it is at home. Sometimes, being in a new environment can put pressure on a friendship. If you have problems, try to work them out like you would any other fight.
Homesickness is a blessing in disguise. We have learned that homesickness is natural and necessary process for your child, enabling them to grow their independent wings. Allowing them to leave the house for a week or two and come to overnight summer camp really is the best gift you could ever give your child. You are welcome to send letters, packages or e-mails that will be printed and handed out at lunch. In fact, we’ve found that you being away from your child is healthy too; it will form a new, more intimate bond that you otherwise wouldn’t have experienced if they had stayed home. Want to talk to another DCC mom that can relate? E-mail us and we’ll connect you right away.
Some valuable advice about how you can help…
Phillips Exeter Academy psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber and the American Camp Association (ACA) suggest the following tips for parents to help their child deal with homesickness at camp:
- Encourage your child's independence throughout the year. Practice separations, such as sleepovers at a friend's house, can simulate the camp environment.
- Involve your child in the process of choosing a camp. The more that the child owns the decision, the more comfortable the child will feel being at camp.
- Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves. Consider role-playing anticipated situations, such as using a flashlight to find the bathroom.
- Reach an agreement ahead of time on calling each other. If your child's camp has a no-phone-calls policy, honor it.
- Send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say "I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a good time at camp."
- Don't bribe. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child's new found confidence and independence.
- Pack a personal item from home, such as a stuffed animal.
- When a "rescue call" comes from the child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective. Avoid the temptation to take the child home early.
- Talk candidly with the camp director to obtain his/her perspective on your child's adjustment.
- Don't feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp. For many children, camp is a first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development.
- Trust your instincts. While most incidents of homesickness will pass in a day or two, Thurber's research shows that approximately seven percent of the cases are severe. If your child is not eating or sleeping because of anxiety or depression, it is time to go home. However, don't make your child feel like a failure if their stay at camp is cut short. Focus on the positive and encourage your child to try camp again next year.
Our camp directors and counselors are volunteers. Almost all of them have been campers themselves and want to now ensure that the next generation of campers have the same unforgettable experience that they enjoyed. After applying, being selected and approved to serve at camp, all youth camp counselors and directors are cleared through the NYS Dept. of Health, where background checks are completed.
The key to a great camp is and will always be the quality of the counselors for your kiddos. Obviously, the more counselors we have, the more time we’ll be able to invest in your child. At Dunkirk Camp & Conference Center we keep our staff to counselor ratio low, below what’s required by New York State. We are fortunate that our directors and counselors have been with us for years. Many have been volunteering for over 20 years.
We also have a counselor in training program. This program is designed for youth ages 16-18 that desire to be counselors. The youth attend camp training and then do their fieldwork assisting at our younger youth camps. It is great to see so many youth wanting to bring the fun and joy of camp to others.
- All camp staff have received a significant amount of training before camp. Some topics include physical safety, emergency procedures, health and sanitation, being a role model and positive interactions.
- Camper Orientation- On the first day of camp, all camp rules and procedures are explained to the campers. On Monday a fire drill is held.
- We have girl cabins and boy cabins and members of the opposite sex are not allowed in. If there is an emergency and a director of the opposite sex must enter the cabin another adult must be present.
- Your kids are always in groups with two or more counselors. Counselors are assigned to specific areas and kids to make sure all campers are supervised.
- Many of our staff have CPR and First Aid Certification. The camp nurse is always on the grounds.
Our camp store and snack bar are open to campers each day at times designated by their camp directors. During youth camps the stores operate on a “no-cash” system. Store cards carry over from camp to camp throughout the Summer season The snack bar* includes items such as chips, ice cream, candy, pop & nachos. Most items sell for around a dollar. In the camp store you will find a variety of toiletries, toys and games. T-shirts sell for $10-$15 and sweatshirts $25-40.
Store cards carry over from camp to camp throughout 2013. At the end of the summer any remaining balance will be considered a donation to the camp.
*Pilgrim Camp does not use the snack bar.
The purpose of the Dunkirk Camp & Conference Center and its Outdoor Ministry is to enrich the lives of youth and families in a Christian environment, and to provide a setting and program to enable this. The behavior and deportment of all campers, counselors and camp staff must conform to the rules and regulations outlined in the Camp Manual, Camp Medical Plan, Camp Safety Plan, Camp Fire and Camp Emergency Plan. Inappropriate behavior or infractions of the rules and regulations, which may undermine the Outdoor Ministry programs or camp community as a whole, may cause expulsion from DCC at the person’s expense with no refund of fees.
The following are strictly prohibited:
- Use or possession of alcohol or energy drinks at all youth camps; alcohol is allowed at family camps providing it is in moderation and is consumed and disposed of with discretion.
- Use or possession of fireworks, non-prescription drugs or controlled substances.
- Personal weapons, bows, rifles, shotguns, pistols or similar equipment.
- Deliberate destruction of camp property. The DCC Executive Director must be notified of any damage, malfunctions or other problems immediately.
- Going over the fence along the cliffs.
- Swimming or wading in the lake.
- Going to the beach alone.
- Leaving camp without permission of the Camp Director or DCC Executive Director.
- Smoking in any building or pool area.
- Going into the pool area when it is closed.
- Driving on the lawn to cabins or buildings. All vehicles must be parked in the designated parking area, by the Administration building. Parking along the sides of the roads is prohibited.
- Golf carts may only be driven by licensed drivers, the maximum load is two adults, or one adult with two children.
- Going into cabins occupied by the opposite sex without permission of the Camp Director or DCC Executive Director.
- Cabins and building equipment and furniture must not be moved or rearranged without permission of the DCC Executive Director.
The DCC Executive Director, Camp Manager, Camp Directors and Camp counselors will review camp rules and regulations. Rules and Regulations will be posted in all cabins and major buildings. Rules and regulations will be reviewed with all campers the first day of camp.