Getting Ready for Camp
Welcome! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about sending your child to camp. We recommend looking through the Parent Guide shown below. We've divided into important sections that we think is important to the camp experience. See the menu to learn even more about Camp Chi.
Info for First Timers...
For over 90 years, we have been guiding first time campers to find their place in the Chi community. We believe that it is just as important to help first time parents with the adjustment to camp. This section has useful tips and suggestions for ensuring that your child has the best possible first time camp experience.
Prior to camp, we will send your child the Camp Chi Guide for New Campers, which covers everything from a typical day at camp to our camp lingo. This kid-friendly guide provides your camper with all of the information needed to be a pro on the first day of camp.
Make sure to talk about camp with your camper. These positive conversations help build excitement and anticipation. You can visit the Chi website together, watch the Chi promotional DVD, go shopping for camp gear, and label clothes together. Talk about all the great things they will be able to do at camp and about all the new friends he or she will make. Include a quick mention about homesickness.
Reassure your camper that missing home is normal. We suggest discussing strategies on how to cope with these feelings. Encourage your camper to talk with counselors or other staff if they feel sad or upset.
If your child is not used to spending the night away from home, make sure to schedule some sleepovers with friends or relatives prior to camp. These small experiences can make a big difference for kids while adjusting to camp life.
Most importantly, DO NOT tell your camper that you will come to camp and take them home if they are not happy. Many parents tell their campers this with the best of intentions, but it causes huge problems while at camp. First, the statement sends the message to your campers that you don’t believe in their ability to succeed at camp. Secondly, it sets up unrealistic and low expectations about camp. These feelings often leave campers to take the easy way out if they are ever sad at camp instead of working through the issues and gaining independence.
Finally, make sure to avoid telling camp “horror stories.” What is funny to you or an older sibling about camp memories may scare your camper.
Writing to your camper and reconnecting with them helps to put your mind at ease, so write often. Also, your kids are looking forward to hearing from you. For parents camp may seem like a short distance from home, but for kids, camp may as well be to the moon and back. They like having the connection with home life.
We suggest including questions that encourage your camper to write back as well as a reassurance that you will write again soon. Also, feel free to include newspaper comics, magazine clippings or items that can fit in an envelope to make your letter more interesting.
Avoid mentioning that you are miserable without your camper or any sad news. It is okay to say that you miss your camper, but it is important to not make the camper feel guilty that he or she is having such a good time. It is best to save bad news until you can talk to your camper face to face. Unfortunately, there are situations in which it is necessary for your camper to be aware of an issue immediately. In these cases, we expect that you will call camp and relay that information to us. We will decide together the best way to handle the situation while at camp.
In all of these cases we ask you to consider the “two letter rule”. As we said before, if you get a letter with an issue in it, remember that your camper sent that letter days ago and that the issue is already resolved. If you get two letters expressing a concern, please call camp. Not only will this put your mind at ease, but if your camper is not expressing the problem to anyone else, your phone call will help us to provide the best care for your child and address the issue immediately.
If you have been receiving happy letters all summer and all of the sudden you receive one that isn’t sad, but just doesn’t sound quite right, by all means we encourage you to call camp. We are here to be your resource into your child’s world while he or she is at camp. Helping to put your mind at ease and ensure that you are enjoying your child’s time away without worrying is very important to us. We commit to returning your call within 24 hours of receiving it. Please remember that we are out in camp so we may not be accessible all of the time, but you will be hearing from a Camp Chi representative within 24 hours of leaving a message.
We also suggest visiting the Chi website to see photos and news items that are posted daily. We hope that these pictures, newsletters, and your child’s letters will give you a good idea of what your child is doing. Of course, if you need immediate contact with someone, you can call camp and speak to your child’s village leader or a camp director.
What to Bring
Remember that your camper’s belongings will be kept on shelves in the cabin. Many campers find it helpful to have small items, like underwear or socks, packed in large plastic storage bags that can be placed on shelves.
We always ask experienced camp parents for their advice on how to pack their kids for camp. They have shared many ways to ease the process and help with campers’ adjustment. Here’s a few tips:
- Many parents send their campers to camp with pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelopes. This makes it easy for campers to remember who to write and takes the guess work out of writing to all family and friends.
- Campers like to have autograph things with them at camp, including pillow cases, plush dolls, or books. These items are available at the Chi Canteen and serve as memorabilia on the last days of camp.
- Camp is all about fun and being goofy. Instead of sending your camper to camp with the same eight white shirts, send them with all colors of shirts. There will be times when campers are put into teams and identified by color or they may have a color themed day.
- Send your camper with at least two pairs of sandals. Sandals that are used to wear during their nightly shower may still be damp in the morning. There is nothing worse than waking up and putting on wet sandals! The second pair can be worn during the day. Shower sandals can even be sandals that you are going to get rid of anyway and be thrown away at the end of the summer.
- Speaking of showers, make sure that your child has some sort of “shower caddy” or “shower bucket” to carry their toiletries from the cabin to the bathhouse.
- Pre-packing Shabbat outfits for younger campers has been found to be quite helpful. Your camper may find dressing for Shabbat a bit daunting should they not normally dress themselves for “fancier” occasions at home. By pre-packing Shabbat outfits, this will make the process fool proof for your camper. For Shabbat, nicer shorts, Capri pants, collared shirts or casual skirts are sufficient.
There are several great resources out there for new campers and parents. These are just a few of the ones that we recommend. If there is a specific question that you do not find the answer to in these resources, feel free to call us and we would be more than happy to address that concern with you.
- The Summer Camp Handbook: Everything You Need to Find, Choose
- Get Ready for Camp – and Skip the Homesickness by Christopher Thurber & Jon Malinowski
- Homesick & Happy - How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow by Michael Thompson
- Creating Advantage in College. Psychology Today, December 2, 2011
- Homesickness – Expert Advice for Parents. Campparents.org.
- It’s Official: Jewish Camp Strengthens Jewish Identity. JTA, March 1, 2011.
- Should I Be Sending My Children to Camp? Huffington Post, June 25, 2012.
- Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient. Psychology Today, February 5, 2012.
- Summer Camp: The Social Supplement for Modern Society. Campparents.org, February 24, 2014.
- The Social and Emotional Long-Term Benefits of Summer Camp. DNAInfo New York. April 8, 2014.
Completing camper forms in a timely manner is one of the most important things parents do prior to sending their children to camp. We use the information on these forms to prepare for your child and ensure that they have the most successful camp experience possible. Camper forms are due by April 1. If you register after April 1, please submit them to us within 10 days of registering. Campers without completed forms will not be able to board the buses for camp in June or July. Do not send these forms, including the medical form, on the bus with your children.
All forms and instructions are available through our CampInTouch system at https://chi.campintouch.com.
Over the years, we have received questions from parents who are concerned about the types of personal information we request on our forms. Some parents are reluctant to share certain information with us because of a concern about confidentiality or stigmatizing their child. After all, camp can be a “fresh start,” and some parents worry that by disclosing personal information, it may create bias against their child. In some cases parents have told us their child has sworn them to secrecy because they are too embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know about things like bed wetting, a tic disorder, ADD, or an IEP they are on at school. We understand and respect those concerns, but emphatically believe that it is better to share the concern with us than to keep it a secret.
When you entrust your child to our care, we want you to think of us as your partner in your child’s well-being. We can keep our end of the partnership only if we have the information to prepare our medical staff and counselors to ensure your child is well cared for and free to have the best summer. There have been times when, because we didn’t know about a particular child’s needs, we could not respond to behavior properly and the child was not able to remain at camp. The better prepared we are before camp, the better we can help your child be successful once they are here. Once you share information with us, our promise is to share it only with the people who will have direct contact with your child. This may be our medical staff, social workers or your child’s village leader and counselors.
We believe that working together is the best chance we have of helping your child have a safe, happy and memorable time at camp. Please call us to discuss anything in greater detail or if you would feel more comfortable talking to us rather than putting it down on paper.
Camp provides a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends. However, if you are coming to camp with a friend, you may both request to be placed in the same cabin. Because we know how important cabin groupings are to a child’s experience, Camp Chi takes the group placement process seriously and it is one of our biggest priorities. The process of making cabin groups is very complex and difficult. We try our best to make sure that everyone will be happy. Please help us consider all campers’ feelings when making requests and understand that friendship requests are not guaranteed. Camp Chi strongly discourages friendship chains (linking multiple friends). Friendship chains will be broken during the grouping process.
Camp Chi has put into place the following policies to help ensure the formation of cohesive cabin groups:
- All requests must be in writing.
- Friendship request form is to be submitted no later than April 1.
- Changes or additional friendship requests will not be considered after May 5.
- Negative friendship requests are strongly discouraged. However, if there is a significant situation that we should be aware of, please contact our office to discuss it further.
- Friendship requests of any nature cannot be kept confidential by camp staff.
- Cabin placements will not be released prior to the beginning of the session that the camper is attending.
- Limit choices to 2 friends only. We will recognize only 2 requests.
- Due to the complexities of forming the cabin groupings, we are unable to release the cabin groups prior to the beginning of camp. Please do not call our office requesting this information.
For each child enrolled, the parent (or legal guardian) must provide a current immunization record appropriate for the child’s age and a health form signed by the child’s physician or health department representative prior to the first day of the program. If the physical condition of the child is such that any one or more of the immunizing agents should not be administered, the examining physician, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant responsible for the performance of the health examination shall endorse that fact upon the health examination form. No other exceptions to scheduled immunizations are permitted at JCC Chicago. It is the responsibility of the parent (or legal guardian) to update their file when the health records change.
No camper will be allowed at camp or allowed to board the bus for camp unless the office has received signed and completed medical forms. All campers must have had a physical examination within 12 months from the time they are attending camp. Physical examinations are valid for one year. Returning campers can call our office to use physicals on file if these exams are still valid.
Camp Chi meets the health and safety standards of the State of Wisconsin and the American Camp Association.
Campers MUST have a photocopy of the family’s medical insurance card (front and back) on file at camp. This card provides camp medical staff with vital information needed in an emergency or for off-campus treatment. Campers without proof of medical insurance prior to camp will not be permitted to attend.
We require all campers who take prescriptions, supplements, vitamins and/or over-the-counter medications to enroll in Camper Pharmacy.
Campers who need medication at camp are required to participate in the Campers Pharmacy plan. Medications that are exceptions only include rescue inhalers, Epi Pens, and injectable medication (ie. Growth hormones). The only other exception is if the pharmacy notifies us that they are unable to accept your insurance or fill a particular medication.
Campers Pharmacy will take care of everything. Your camper’s medicine will be packaged in dose packs, clearly labeled with your child’s name and delivered directly to camp prior to your child’s arrival. Campers Pharmacy will manage every step of the process, including insurance payments, dispensing and delivery.
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
- Create an account for your child at www.CampersPharmacy.com. ALL campers will need to create a new account each summer.
- Use Camp Chi’s ID # 953940 when creating your account
- Once you create your CampersPharmacy.com account, please complete your camper's medication profile and select the session s/he is attending. This in addition to the health history and medication policy form you will provide Camp Chi through CampInTouch.
- Upload copies of your health insurance documents and provide a credit card for payment of any fees
- Clear instructions for obtaining prescriptions from your doctor are included on the Campers Pharmacy registration page
Please Note: Campers must also register with Walgreens Pharmacy in addition to registering with Campers Pharmacy in the event your camper requires prescribed medicine at camp.
- There is a $19.99 service fee per camper per session. Late registration fee will result in an additional $30 fee.
- All prescription orders must be received 30 days prior to start of the session. All orders after that will incur an additional $30 charge plus any expedited shipping charges.
Processing and administering medications:
Once you have created a profile for your child and uploaded the necessary paperwork, Campers Pharmacy will take care of everything else. Your camper’s medicine will be packaged in dose packs, clearly labeled with your child’s name and delivered directly to camp prior to your child’s arrival. Campers Pharmacy will manage every step of the process, including insurance payments, dispensing and delivery.
Our camp nurses will keep and administer all medications. According to Wisconsin state law, they will administer in accordance with the prescribing information. For the safety of all campers, no medications, including vitamins, (except for inhalers) are allowed to be kept in the camper cabins or in camper’s possession. Sharing prescription drugs with others will result in expulsion from camp. It is imperative that we know every medication, including over-the-counter medications that your child is taking while at camp.
We need 100% participation:
Families who disregard the Campers Pharmacy process will be assessed a $200 service fee per camper to account for the additional work on our medical staff.
If your child is beginning to take a new medication or has a change to existing medications immediately prior to camp, you must contact Campers Pharmacy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973.512.2949 to order medications. We strongly discourage putting kids on a “medication vacation” while at camp. Camp is not a time to try a new medication or remove a child from a medication. If this is unavoidable, we request that you consult with a camp director or nurse prior to camp and make the medication change at least 6 weeks prior to the start of camp.
Looking for more information about prescription medication at camp. Please read this FAQ.
If you have problems submitting any of your forms, documents, or insurance information, please call the pharmacy directly at 973.512.2949. For any questions about the process, please call the Camp Chi office at 847.763.3551.
Included in your spring bus packet is a letter regarding our affiliation with Walgreens Pharmacy. If our camp physician prescribes medication for your child while at camp, we will use Walgreens Pharmacy to fill the prescription. Please register your child and your insurance information either online or at your local Walgreens according to the instructions in the letter. Registering with Walgreens is in addition to submitting prescriptions to Campers Pharmacy. We appreciate your help with this important matter. We have a very limited supply of prescription medications in the Health Center. If any of these are administered to your camper, a nominal fee will be charged.
No over-the-counter medication is allowed without a physician’s prescription, including vitamins, herbal supplements, ear drops, etc. Similar to prescription medications, all over-the-counter medication must be submitted to Campers Pharmacy prior to camp. For occasional use, the Health Center does have over-the-counter pain medication, cough syrup, ear drops, etc. on hand.
Camp Chi’s Health Center is open 24 hours a day. It is staffed by 7 nurses, 3 health interns and a resident physician. The Health Center is centrally located, air-conditioned and well-equipped. The Health Center keeps on-hand over-the-counter pain medication, cough syrup, ear drops, etc. Emergency medical treatment is available at a nearby hospital. Dental treatment and eye glass repair are available in the Dells area at parents’ expense. We have two nebulizers at camp so campers needing nebulizer treatments do not need to bring their own to camp.
Our nurses distribute medications in a professional manner. There is no stigma associated with getting medications at camp. Your cooperation with medication procedures and having your prescriptions filled through Campers Pharmacy will assist us with this process, provide for camper safety, and ensure correct distribution of medication.
Campers receive excellent medical attention should they requirement treatment, take daily medications or are admitted for an overnight stay. Your child is our first priority. Be confident that our professional medical staff is committed to ensuring the health and safety of your camper. This mean that they will care for and treat your child first and then make every effort to call you.
Parents will be contacted by Health Center staff if:
- Your child has been admitted to and stays overnight in the Health Center.
- Your child is placed on prescription medication.
- Your child’s medication dosage needs to be changed by our doctor.
- Your child has been taken to an offsite physician or emergency room.
- We have questions regarding your child’s health or changes to your child’s health.
Parents will not be contacted by Health Center staff when:
- Your child receives a small cut or scrape.
- Your child receives over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol, Tums, cough drops, etc.
- Your child rests in the Health Center for a short period of time.
Camp Chi can accommodate certain food allergies and dietary restrictions. Special diets are coordinated directly with our Health Center and Camp Kitchen. In order for Camp Chi to adequately prepare for special dietary needs, please call the camp office as soon as possible and before May 1. It is important that we discuss the specifics of each camper's dietary requirements.
Camp Chi's Kitchen regularly stocks Lactaid, soy milk and rice milk. These products are available whenever we serve milk in the dining hall. Additionally, dairy-free meals are available for campers with known and previously communicated dairy allergies.
Also, we can accommodate the special diets associated with Celiac Disease. Campers needing a gluten-free diet will receive menu options that closely mirror what is being served during a particular meal. To help with this effort, families of campers needing gluten-free diets are asked to contact the camp office and at times provide certain food items for their camper to supplement the gluten-free foods stocked in the Camp Kitchen.
Food allergies, particularly nut allergies, are a growing concern across America. To help protect the health of campers and staff, we do not use peanuts, tree nuts or nut oils in the preparation of food in our dining hall or at outdoor cooking. Although Camp Chi is not serving peanut butter, a delicious soy alternative is available. We will not serve items where the label indicates that the food contains peanuts or tree nuts, but we may serve packaged items that state that a product has been produced in a factory or on machinery where nuts may have been present or similar language.
Although serious efforts are being made, Camp Chi cannot guarantee an entirely nut free facility. Nut products and gluten are not always clearly labeled.
Our professional food service staff is available for consultation regarding food allergies starting in June. We will work together to provide healthy and safe options for your campers to confidently enjoy wholesome meals at camp.
Head lice are a growing problem in schools and other programs, such as camps, where people are in close contact to one another. The nature of the lice life cycle can make it very difficult to identify cases of lice, particularly in the early stages. With this in mind, we are implementing the following policies and procedures to reduce the likelihood of a lice outbreak at camp as well as being sensitive to the workload of Camp Chi health staff.
1. Prior to camp, we strongly recommend having your child checked for lice by your pediatrician or a certified lice specialist. This is especially important if your child has had lice or been exposed to lice in the months leading up to camp.
2. Within the first 24 hours of camp, we will employ Lice Unexpected LLC., professional lice and nit removal and treatment service, to do an initial screening of every camper and staff member.
3. If your child is identified as having lice or nits, Lice Unexpected LLC. or Camp Chi health staff will contact you. As the parent, you then will have two choices:
- Option 1: Lice Unexpected LLC. will provide treatment for your camper at your expense. Lice Unexpected LLC charges $250 for treatment regardless of the severity. The treatment includes using the Shepherd Method of Strand by Strand Lice and Nit Removal, treatment with non-toxic products, and a recheck. Treatment may take multiple days. Camp Chi will not incur the cost of treatment nor provide a refund of tuition or fees for any camp activities missed.
- Option 2: Parents can pick up their child within 6 hours of the phone call informing them of the lice and/or nits. Campers may only return to camp once they have been identified as free from lice and nits by a professional lice company. Proof of treatment must be presented upon returning to camp. Camp Chi will not incur the cost of treatment nor provide a refund of tuition or fees for any camp activities missed.
We have created this policy in consultation with medical professionals, lice specialists, and other overnight camps, which all recognize the challenges in identifying and removing lice from camp communities. Our hope is that detecting any suspected lice or nits upon arrival at camp will reduce or eliminate this issue from camp. With the work and effort we are employing at the start of a session, we will no longer be screening campers before they return home.
If you have questions or concerns about lice, please contact Kelly Addison at Lice Unexpected LLC. at 920.382.4056.
No camper will be allowed at camp or allowed to board the bus for camp unless the office has received a signed and completed medical. All campers must have had a physical after September 2016 (physical examinations are good for one year). Returning campers can call our office to use physicals on file if these exams were completed in the last 12 months from the start of camp. Campers must have had the polio series prior to coming to camp. Camp Chi meets the health and safety standards of the State of Wisconsin and the American Camp Association.
Campers MUST have a photocopy of the family’s medical insurance card (front and back) on file at camp. This card provides camp medical staff with vital information needed in an emergency or for off-campus treatment. Campers without proof of medical insurance prior to camp will not be permitted to attend.
We put together packing lists to be a guide for families, but you should adjust items based on the needs of your camper. The Chi Packing list is designed for 10 days of camp, which makes it useful for all of our sessions.
Please be sure that EVERY item your child brings to camp is marked with the camper’s FIRST AND LAST NAME. Belongings can be marked using indelible markers or labels. We recommend purchasing labels through Mabel’s Labels camps.mabelslabels.com or Label Daddy www.labeldaddy.com, which carry a wide variety of sewn, iron-on and sticky labels. Labeling your campers’ belongings helps us return misplaced items to them.
Items on this list will be confiscated and may be returned at the end of camp:
- Alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, etc.*;
- Cell phones;
- Any electronic devices that can connect to the Internet, including computers, iPod Touch, iPads and other tablets, eReaders, portable game systems or other similar equipment;
- Other electronics, including DVD players, televisions, video cameras, walkie-talkies, etc.;
- Flammable materials (cigarettes, matches, fireworks, lighters, butane, incense, candles, etc.) and hot pots;
- Food items, including bottled water and other beverages;
- Knives or weapons of any kind*; and
We see camp as a healthy escape from the instant communication and technology overload that bombards our campers on a daily basis. For many campers (and their parents), separating from cell phones and the internet is challenging. However, we expect parents to fully support our mission to keep these things out of camp and to ensure that Chi remains a wholesome, outdoorsy and safe place for all kids.
*Bringing any of these items will result in immediate expulsion from camp with no refund of tuition or fees.
As a general rule, anything valuable that a camper would be upset if lost, broken, ruined or stolen should not be brought to camp. Camp Chi does not assume responsibility for any lost, broken or stolen items, including these which we discourage bringing:
- Handheld electronic games
- I-Pods (music only) or MP3 players
- Digital or expensive cameras
- Musical instruments (except for guitars)
- Designer clothing
Please do not send your child to camp with money. In the past, we have seen many campers lose or misplace money in their cabins. Camp Chi does not assume any financial responsibility for money brought to camp. Therefore, we have created a system by which campers will not need cash while at camp. Campers wanting to purchase a snack or Chi gear can do so through their canteen account established upon registration for this summer. When campers in 7th-11th grade go on field trips, we provide them with spending money from their special Trip Account.
In an effort to make the departure and arrival to camp as smooth as possible, we have contracted with North Shore Movers to handle our camper’s luggage for those who live in the Chicagoland area. Rather than luggage going to camp with your child, luggage will be picked up at your home two to four days prior to the beginning of your camp session. Your child’s luggage will be at camp and in their village when your camper arrives. Luggage tags will be sent to your home prior to camp. Luggage must be limited to two duffle bags, one sleeping bag and one carry-on bag for the bus ride. Please do not use foot lockers, trunks or luggage with wheels.
Campers from Minnesota and Indianapolis will bring their luggage with them to the bus site. Campers traveling by plane to camp can either ship their luggage to camp or check it through at the airport.
The “Travel to Camp” form in CampInTouch should be filled out with your travel plans for camp, whether they are taking a bus, flight or driving to and/or from camp. If you are taking a bus to camp, this form gives you the opportunity to pick the bus site you prefer. Once you have filled out the form, you can print out your travel information to use as a reference.
Optional bus transportation is available from the Chicago, Minnesota and Indianapolis areas. Campers travel via comfortable, air-conditioned, washroom-equipped coach buses leaving from and returning to a central location near your home. We also occasionally use smaller buses or vans for transportation. You can find details about dates and times of departure and arrival on your Transportation Form. Spaces are limited on the bus. If your child is not currently registered for the bus and you would like to reserve a space, please call the Camp Chi Office immediately at 847.763.3551. We will make every effort to accommodate your needs, but will not be able to make any changes after June 1.
There are different bus sites in the Chicago area. The check-in time for all of these sites is 10:00am and the buses will leave promptly at 10:30am.
- Buffalo Grove High School - Buffalo Grove
- Glenbrook North High School - Northbrook
- Ida Crown Jewish Academy - Skokie
Indianapolis (Session I only)
The check-in time for this site is 8:30am and they will leave promptly at 9:00am. They will arrive to camp by 3:00pm and back home after camp by 4:00pm. (Please contact us if your child is attending Yeladim/Kadima or Session II.)
- Indianapolis JCC – Indianapolis
The check-in time for this site is 9:30am and they will leave promptly at 10:00am.
- Beth El Synagogue – St Louis Park, MN
Snacks for the bus
Please send a lunch without peanut butter or nut products and beverage with your child to be eaten during the trip to camp. Additional snacks will be available when your child arrives at camp, but the first meal that we serve on arrival day is dinner. Camp Chi will provide snacks for campers for the bus rides at the end of the session.
Campers flying to camp should fly into either Chicago O’Hare International or Dane County Airports. If flying into O’Hare please book your arriving flight to land no later than 12pm on arrival day to camp and departing flight to depart no earlier than 3pm on departure day from camp. If you are flying into Dane County, please call the office at 847.763.3551 to coordinate departure and arrival times.
Parents can choose to drop-off or pick-up their child at Camp Chi.
- Drop off on arrival day will take place at our front office between 1:00-1:30pm. One of our staff will meet you and your camper to unload your luggage and take your camper into to camp to meet their counselor. Please be prepared to say your good-bys at the office as families are not allowed into camp at this time. We welcome families to visit camp on our Camp Visitors Day prior to camp.
- Picking up your camper at the end of camp takes place at our front office between 9:00-9:30am. Campers and their luggage will be brought up to the office to meet you at this time.
All buses will arrive to camp around 1:30pm where the campers will be greeted by our camp staff. Campers returning home by bus will come back to the site you selected in the Travel to Camp form through CampInTouch. Campers are expected to arrive at bus sites by 1:30pm.
We will mail you a bus packet 3-4 weeks prior to the start of camp. This packet will include colored luggage tags to use to label your camper’s bags. We use these tags to sort luggage at camp. All luggage will be delivered to your camper’s village by our staff.
- Chicago area families will receive an email from North Shore Van Lines approximately 14 days prior to departure with details of your luggage pick up. Luggage will be picked up at your home within 5 days of departure.
Outside the Chicago area
- Campers from communities outside the Chicago area who are taking the Chicago buses should bring their luggage to their bus site on the date of their departure.
- Campers from the Twin Cities and Indianapolis should bring their luggage to the bus site on the date of their departure.
Luggage for campers driving or flying to camp:
- Campers driving to camp will be greeted by camp staff who will take their luggage directly to their cabins for them.
- Campers traveling by plane to camp can either ship their luggage to camp or check it through at the airport.
Luggage must be limited to 2 duffels, 1 sleeping bag, and 1 carry-on bag. No trunks, footlockers or suitcases, please. We also recommend avoiding wheels so nothing will be broken in transportation.
Communicating with Campers
News from home is very important to campers. We want to make it as easy as possible for parents to “send mail” to their campers. Therefore, we allow parents to mail and email their campers. Campers receive mail and emails every day except Saturday.
Letters from home mean a great deal to campers. Please keep your letters general and newsy to help campers from feeling homesick after reading them. Send mail through the US Postal Service to the following address:
JCC Camp Chi
Village Name and Gender
P.O. Box 104
Lake Delton, WI 53940
Your campers are required to write home at least twice each week. We bring campers’ letters to the post office every day. Please keep in mind that mail delivery may be slow given that the Lake Delton Post Office is a small town operation.
All camp families have access to Chi’s one-way email system through CampInTouch at no additional cost. The system allows camp to retrieve, sort and print email very quickly so we can distribute it to your camper during regular, daily mail call. Emails are printed once each day, first thing in the morning. This convenience is only available to camp families; campers will not be able to respond via email just through snail mail. As a traditional camp, we value the growth that occurs when campers can’t rely on direct communication with their parents when making decisions.
Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please limit your emails to one per day per camper.
Sometimes letters just aren’t enough and you need to talk to someone at camp with questions or concerns. We suggest that you begin with your child’s Village Leader by calling 847.763.3551. Camp Chi’s voicemail system provides you with their direct extensions as well as the Camp Directors and Health Center. If you leave a message, you will receive a return phone call within 24 hours unless the staff member is out of camp on a trip, in which case you will be notified.
Parents may telephone us at any time. Office hours are from 9:00am to 9:00pm (Central Time) Sunday through Thursday; 9:00am-5:00pm (Central Time) on Friday and 10:00am-8:00pm on Shabbat. If a phone call is an emergency, the Camp Directors will be sought immediately. For after-hour emergencies that cannot wait until morning, Camp Directors or a Manager on Duty are available 24 hours a day. Please call the main office at 847.763.3551 and follow the emergency call instructions.
Parents are not permitted to call campers unless it is the camper’s birthday or the call has been approved by the Camp Directors. Parental phone calls often interfere with camper adjustment, increase the likelihood of homesickness and disrupt scheduled activities.
Camp Chi uses your CampInTouch account (https://chi.campintouch.com) as the primary communication platform during the summer. This where we communicate important information you need to know about camp, post our daily summer news updates and weekly Village Leader letters. In addition you will be able to view all photos through this platform. Please be sure to be checking your CampInTouch account regularly during the summer for the most up to date information on your campers’ summer experience.
Camp Chi’s package policy is meant to balance the needs and wishes of parents, campers and camp staff with safety and feasibility of distribution. We need to control what is entering camp and the amount of packages that we receive on a daily basis, but we understand that it is fun for parents to send things to their campers while they are away. Although most camps in the U.S. have gone to a policy which forbids the receipt of packages by campers, we allow families to send care packages by following these guidelines:
- Campers may receive envelopes not larger than 12”x15” and 1” thick.
- Envelopes larger than 12”x15”x1” and all boxes are not permitted.
- Food cannot be sent to campers.
- Additional packages can be purchased from the Camp Chi Canteen or one of our approved vendors.
Why the size limits?
We have limited the size of packages to 12" X 15" X 1" but have not limited the quantity of them. This way, we are allowing unlimited communication with campers and parents wishes to send care packages while still monitoring and maintaining the safety of our camp community. Please note we no longer allow boxes to be sent to camp. Any boxes sent will be returned to the sender.
Why can’t campers receive food?
Packages cannot contain food for a variety of reasons. While at camp, your child is living in the woods. Having snacks or candy attracts critters into cabins. No one likes living with mice, which inevitably show up once food is present in cabins. It is a trying task for our counselors to have to confiscate food that is sent in packages. Also, we have noticed over the years that the presence of food causes disagreements between those who have and those who don’t. To avoid these arguments, we provide Canteen times, snacks and plenty of special treats. Most importantly, with the prevalence of so many food allergies, sending food to your child may put other campers at risk of an allergic reaction. We want to keep all campers safe.
What are the approved vendors for additional packages?
- Chi Canteen: Packages can be ordered at http://gear.campchi.com or by calling Teri Chamlin at 847.763.3677.
- Sealed with a Kiss: www.eswak.com or 800.888.7925
- Camp Pacs: www.camppacs.com or 800.248.2267
What if there is something that my child needs but won’t fit in an envelope?
We want to help parents in any way we can. If there is something that your child needs at camp (i.e. medication, replacement eye glasses, summer reading books for school), please contact one of the camp directors or your child’s village leader before sending it. We can give you instructions for making sure that limited necessity items can be delivered to your camper. Please keep in mind that campers can purchase many necessity and toiletry items at the Chi Canteen.
Approximately 80% of our communication with families comes through email or via our website – www.campchi.com. We must have a valid email address for each family of registered campers. This is the only way to guarantee that you receive important announcements and updates from us. Also, please add email@example.com to your address book or safe list to ensure that our emails will not be blocked as spam. If you are not certain that we have a correct email address for your family, please call our office at 847.763.3551.
Both JCC Chicago and Camp Chi use a system called Emma to send emails to large numbers of people or groups. By having campers at Camp Chi, your family is part of the JCC community, and will receive emails from both Camp Chi and JCC Chicago. It is important that you do not “opt out” of receiving Camp Chi emails. Opting out of these emails will prevent you from receiving important information regarding Camp Chi programs, updates and news. If you have opted out, please email Elizabeth Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Important Details
Camp Chi can arrange for your child to receive Bar/Bat Mitzvah “coaching” from our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutors for three 30-minute periods per four-week camp session. Each camper is responsible for meeting the tutor during the assigned time. Whenever possible, these coaching sessions will occur during rest hour or other free periods. This service is available for an additional fee to campers with B’nai Mitzot occurring prior to November 1st. Forms to sign up for this service are available in CampInTouch.
It is an old Camp Chi tradition to celebrate each camper’s birthday with a cake (provided by camp), singing and a cabin party. If you would like to phone your child on his or her birthday, please do so by arranging a time in advance with the camp office at 847.763.3551. Please do not send money for a special party. If you would like to do something special for the cabin, please contact Teri Chamlin at the Chi Canteen at 847.763.3677. Please do not expect phone calls from campers on family members’ birthdays.
The Camp Chi Canteen is a full service camp store. Campers visit the Canteen 3-4 times each week depending on their age. Each camper has a canteen account that is established upon camp registration. Campers withdraw from this account to pay for Canteen items, including snacks, Chi Gear (sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, etc.), games and necessity items (stamps, stationery, shampoo, etc.). Chi’s Canteen Coordinator, Teri Chamlin, closely monitors each camper’s account and will contact you if your child’s account is running low.
Please note: If less than $5 remains in your account, the money will be automatically donated to the Camp Chi Scholarship Fund.
During each four-week session, campers will have their laundry cleaned three times. For campers staying for shorter sessions, their laundry will be done one time. A professional laundry service washes, dries and folds the contents of each camper’s clearly marked laundry bag and returns clothes a few days later. Each camper will receive a specially colored Chi laundry bag to use this summer. The minimal charge for this laundry bag will be charged to the camper’s canteen account. Our hope is that this color coded system will decrease incidences of missing laundry. To further avoid missing items, it is imperative that ALL clothing be marked with camper’s FIRST and LAST NAME. Camp Chi is not responsible for lost clothing or other articles.
Campers have a tendency to misplace belongings while at camp. Staff make every attempt to help campers locate lost and misplaced items. Parents can help this process by labeling ALL items brought to camp with camper’s FIRST and LAST NAME. Camp Chi does not assume liability for loss of or damage to personal items.
After Labor Day, all Lost & Found items which are labeled with a camper’s name will be available at the Chi Office. Any items with no name label will be donated in Wisconsin and labeled items that are not picked up from by October will be donated to local charities.