Preparing for Camp
- San Bernardino National Forest
- Near Big Bear, CA
- 2.5 hours from San Diego
- 7,200 feet above sea level
- Warm days, cool nights
- Avg. highs 80-85°F
- Avg. lows 45-50°F
- Low humidity
- Closed-toed shoes
- Water bottle
Tips For the school year
Camp is an experience in communal living. There are many great ways to prepare campers before Camp begins. In order for your camper to feel more comfortable in an independent living environment, we recommend practicing and trying the following during the school year:
- Sleepovers with friends
- Tying shoes
- Brushing hair and teeth
- Choosing their outfit and getting dressed
- Putting laundry in a hamper or laundry bag
- Making their bed
We pride ourselves on communication, and we know this is a two-way street. Summer after summer, we see one of the biggest challenges for families sending their camper to camp for the first time is a change in communication media and frequency. Not being able to see, talk to, text or have the regular two-way communication between a parent and child can be challenging. We do our best to make this transition seamless, and there are several things as parents you can do to help prepare for this adjustment.
In the spring, parents receive a Parent Handbook containing all the information about the summer, including how to communicate with Camp and your camper. We also host a New Family Orientation in May for parents and campers to get more familiar with the CMC Staff and our approach. Camp will regularly communicate in the days and weeks leading up to the summer by email with important information.
First-time camper families will get a call from Camp in the first couple days of the session from their unit leader, letting them know how their camper is adjusting.
We post blogs with updates each night and we upload hundreds of photos daily so that you can get a sense of your camper’s experience.
We believe in transparency. If your child is having a hard time adjusting, not feeling well, or struggling in general, we will communicate with you. You know your children best and we love working with parents to best support them at Camp.
Smiling counselors, a welcome sign with their name on it, and a clean cabin are just a few things campers might notice when they arrive at camp. We train our staff to create an instant sense of safety and security for campers upon arrival. Campers can push themselves outside their comfort zones when they inherently feel safe. This allows for genuine personal growth in just a matter of days.
Before campers arrive, our counselors prepare for each individual camper and their unique interests and needs. Staff learn names, faces, favorite activities, and more in preparation for their arrival. Parents, we get this information from you, so please help us by filling out your camp forms on time.
Before camp, we provide forms (released each spring) for you to complete. To make the best experience possible for your camper, please share openly about your camper. We ask a lot of questions, and ask you to be detailed in responding. Knowing about major life events, changes, likes, dislikes, habits, behaviors, etc. will help us best prepare for meeting your camper’s individual needs.
In addition to the daily blogs and photos, we encourage you to be in communication with your camper during their time at camp. Camp Mountain Chai provides a system where you can email your camper, and we print and deliver those messages to them daily. Campers can write back by hand using special, barcoded forms so that you can get a response within 24 hours.
Real mail (or snail mail) is just as important. Everyone loves receiving postcards and letters from loved-ones. You can also send campers with pre-addressed/stamped envelopes to make it easier for them to write home. And even better, try teaching them how to do this before they come to camp!
Our Approach to Electronics
We focus on building community through face-to-face interactions. Campers learn how to navigate social situations while not being constantly connected to a digital/virtual world. In order to better facilitate this relationship building, we prohibit the use of phones, tablets, and other video-playing or communication devices. Appreciating that some campers recharge through their use of technology, we allow some music-playing and e-reading devices while in the cabin. Digital cameras that are not attached to an otherwise prohibited device are also welcome. Full policy details can be found in the Parent Handbook (released each spring).