Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that the summer camp experience can be an exciting, though sometimes confusing, adventure. We're here to help.

Our frequently asked questions section will provide in-depth answers to many of your questions.

The questions are organized in several categories, click as indicated to get more information. If there is something not answered here, please call our main office (262) 248-3600 to be directed to the right person or email us using the button below.

Email the Youth Ministry Team

General Questions

What is the difference between all the camps?

Our summer camps offer four different experiences serving campers entering grades 1-12. Day Camp, Kishwauketoe, Pier 30, and Alpha, and programs run simultaneously. The waterfront, lodge dining area, big field and other activities are shared by each program throughout the week. Senior High and Family Weekend run one time during the summer. 

Day Camp offers unique weekly programming for campers entering 1st-6th grades. Many camp favorites are packed into a condensed daily schedule of age-appropriate programming. Our Bible program and activity offerings change weekly to allow campers to have a blast whether they come for one week or every week! 

Kishwauketoe (Kish) is an introductory overnight camp program for campers entering 2nd-4th grades. Kish campers grow their independence, learn about God together, and soak up tons of play time.  Two-, three-, and five-night options in an intentionally small community create achievable opportunities for campers to have a successful experience, whether they are ready for a couple of nights away or a full week of fun.

Pier 30 is an action-packed classic camp experience for campers entering 4th-9th grades. Pier 30 campers enjoy lots of activity time and high-energy large-group activities. 7th-9th graders dedicate part of their time at camp to honing a skill of their choosing. Pier 30 is a great place for campers to learn about themselves, try something new, and grow in their faith. 

Senior High camp is only offered once a summer. Campers enjoy one-of-a-kind activities, lots of low-key hang-out time, and a deeper dive into Scripture and faith. They disconnect from technology, tackle challenges as a team, building relationships, and process Bible messages that were designed just for them. Senior High camp creates space for campers to connect with God, others, and learn more about who they’re created to be. 

Alpha is for 10th-12th graders who are ready for a little more than the classic camp experience. Campers get a behind-the-scenes look at Covenant Harbor through Alpha. This longer program, rooted in service and discipleship, gives campers a glimpse into what it’s like to work at Covenant Harbor and creates space for them to develop their leadership, deepen their faith, and foster lifelong friendships. 

Family Weekend is a chance to enjoy the 4th of July holiday weekend together away from home at camp. There will be something for every member of the family! Enjoy the classic parts of camp like swimming, making a s’more, or climbing but as a whole family. You’ll have the chance to experience the love of Christ together while relaxing in a community of other families. 

Why are summer camps based on the grade a camper is entering?

Summer is a natural time for campers to begin identifying with what is coming up next, and to help with that transition for your camper, summer programs reflect that transition to a new grade while they are at camp! Programs are offered for the same age range as prior years with the same level of and intention in age-appropriate programming and experiences.

How is “religion” incorporated into the program?

Covenant Harbor is a Christian camp, owned by the Evangelical Covenant Church and exists for the purpose of encouraging individuals in their next step of faith in Jesus Christ. Our primary goal with the campers is to care well for them in order to give them a glimpse of God’s unimaginable love for each of us. This happens uniquely at camp because it’s a fun environment where kids build relationships with staff who are living lives committed to Jesus Christ. The Bible program is structured so Biblical truths are presented in a large group, small groups, and one-on-one times. We incorporate dramas, songs, skits, and games into our large group meetings to make the process of learning about Jesus relevant and impactful. Each truth is presented in an age-appropriate manner. Our goal is not to force or coerce campers to making decisions, but to encourage them to dive deeper into the Bible and listen to how it transforms our lives.

How is your summer staff trained?

Our leadership staff arrives before summer camp starts in order to plan the Bible program and to get the activity areas ready and safe for camper use. Counselors spend many days in training. Areas covered include team building, small group leading, evangelism, age characteristics, daily role expectations, discipline, cabin group dynamics, and severe weather, health and safety procedures, and emergency preparedness. Training is also an important time to build our summer staff community and sense of team. We take staff training very seriously and strive to create a team of summer staff that desire to serve campers with excellence.

We know this has been a tough few year for many campers. We will spend increased time during summer staff training to equip them to come alongside campers and provide extra support for kids mental health while at camp. A designated resource team will focus on caring for, supporting, and equipping our counselors to ensure they are able to provide excellent care for the campers. A large and well-rounded nursing team will help respond to any increased challenges. 

Where does your staff come from?

All over! Most of our summer staff find out about Covenant Harbor from past and present campers and summer staff, through their church, or at their college or high school. Many of our staff were once Covenant Harbor campers themselves!

How do you hire staff?

We have a fairly rigorous application and hiring process to ensure that only the most qualified staff will serve at Covenant Harbor. Each staff member goes through at least two interviews and provides four references. References fill out extensive forms and are also contacted via phone. If offered a position, summer staff members must agree to strict expectations and also undergo a background check.

Are you accredited?

Yes, we are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). There is a rigorous process in order to be an accredited ACA camp.

In addition to our ACA accreditation and membership, we are also members of 2 other organizations, ACCCCs and CCCA.

ACCCC is the Association of Covenant Camps and Conference Centers. The Evangelical Covenant church has different conferences located throughout the United States, many of which own their own camp like Covenant Harbor. We meet annually, have a governing board, and do a joint mission project each summer. 

CCCA, Christian Camp and Conference Center Association, provides resources for current trends in camping news, and an annual conference and an educational. This is a great organization that helps us stay connected others in the same ministry.

What denomination are you affiliated with?

Owned and operated by the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church since 1947, Covenant Harbor serves summer campers and retreat groups from many different denominations throughout the year.

Registration Information

How do I register for summer camp?

Summer camp registration is all done online. You can review all the information and details about summer camp registration through the button below. This page goes over the steps of registration, the deposits, available discounts, cancellation policies, cabin mate requests and more. If you have any further questions you can contact us at 262-248-3600.

How to register for camp

Can my child move up to the next camp?

Our camps are carefully planned and programmed for each specific age group. Therefore, younger children are not allowed to participate in camps for older campers. In some situations when siblings or friends, in separate age groups, want to attend the same camp, the older camper may attend the younger program. In this case, it is important for the older camper to be aware that some elements of the program may not suit them.

Can I register my child with special needs?

We want as many children as possible to enjoy the full Covenant Harbor camp experience.  However, we are not always able to meet every need – especially those that require one-on-one custom care. Each child and situation is unique, so please contact us according to the information below to discuss how we can best serve you and your child.

Who can I call to ask questions?

For questions regarding your balance due, what program you are registered for, team or cabin mate requests, or any special dietary needs, please contact the Camp Registrar at 262-248-3600 ext. 327.

For questions regarding Day Camp or Kishwauketoe camps, contact Kathryn Spencer, Children’s Ministry Coordinator, at 262-248-3600 ext. 324.

For questions regarding Pier 30, Senior High or Alpha camps, contact Cody Taylor, Youth Ministry Coordinator at (262) 248-3600 ext. 337.

For questions regarding camper care packages, contact our office for more information and we would be glad to assist you.

Register for Summer Camp

Arrival and Departure Information

Pre-Camp Screening and In-Camp Screening

All campers and staff will complete a health screening prior to arrival at Covenant Harbor. As part of the check-in process on the first day of camp, each camper will get a  wellness check.

Where should we go when we arrive?

Check-in for overnight camp programs will happen the afternoon of the first day of camp. More information about check-in will be given to you as the start of camp approaches. After registration, keep an eye on your email for this information about a month before the first day of camp. Drop-off for Day Camp is a drive-thru process each morning.  You will be directed to Day Camp Drop-off when you arrive.

We can’t make it to check-in on time, is that okay?

In order to have a smooth start to the camp week, we prefer all campers to arrive on time. However, if you are absolutely not able to check-in, please call our office in advance to make plans.  Late arrivals for Day Camp should bring their campers to the office and call in advance when possible. If a camper has not arrived by the end of check-in, they will be contacted by our administrative staff immediately following the conclusion of check-in.

We need to pick up our camper early, is that okay?

Early pickups are strongly discouraged and should be considered only in the most extreme circumstances. If absolutely necessary, arrangements must be made in advance with our staff. Early pickups for overnight camp, when allowed, must happen between 7:30am and 8:30pm. If you are looking to pick up your camper early on the last day of camp, this must happen before 12pm. Early pickups for Day Camp, when allowed, need to be confirmed in advance with the staff at drop-off.

What should we pack?

For a detailed list of what to bring to camp, you can take a look at a detailed packing list for Overnight Camp or for Day Camp. Please make note of what NOT to bring.

We recommend labeling your camper’s clothing with iron-on labels.

Camp Life Information

How structured is the day?

Each program balances the daily schedule so that there is play time, down time, games and sessions, cabin fun and individual rest time. Each age group is considered in planning the day and we allow time for campers to make decisions on how they’ll spend their time which helps build their decision-making skills.

Our outdoor environment will be heavily utilized for as much programming as possible. 

We will continue a 6 day, 5 night structure for most overnight camps this year, with the except of shortened  weeks with only 2-3 night options. Day Camps will continue to be 5 days long with the exception of the shortened 3 day weeks. 

What activities will my camper do?

Covenant Harbor has three main activity areas, the waterfront, the big field, and the adventure center.

The waterfront is a highlight for many campers and includes swimming, the water playground (aqua jumps, slidewalk, aqua launch, and a water mat), rope swing, banana boating, tubing and boat rides.

The big field is another camper favorite and includes the skate park, archery pit, mountain boarding hill, and arts and crafts.

Our adventure center offers the climbing tower, high ropes course, indoor wall and the giant swing.

We make sure that there are age-appropriate options for each program. Our goal is to have programming that grows with your child, so some activities might be saved until they are older. It’s also important to note that some activities do have limits based on age, but there will always be plenty to do!

Campers throughout the week will have the option to participate in these three activity areas. Pier 30 campers will have the opportunity to play on the water playground (or rope swing if they are in 7th-9th grade) once and choose one additional waterfront activity, either banana boating or tubing. Pier 30 campers will also have the opportunity to experience adventure activities. Pier 30 7th-9th grade campers will also have the option to choose from one adventure center activity during their week. Pier 30 campers may have the opportunity to purchase additional boat rides or adventure activities if the schedule allows. Kish campers will have the opportunity to enjoy the water playground, banana boat ride, giant swing and climbing tower once during a 5-night week of camp. Shortened Kish weeks will have fewer but similar option but could fluctuate depending on the weather. 

Other activities include carpetball, gymnasium, bounce castle, playgrounds, sand volleyball, 9 square, and gaga ball.

How is the waterfront run?

All waterfront staff are specially trained and certified  lifeguards. The waterfront staff supervises all waterfront activities including swimming and boating.

At the beginning of the week, campers have the opportunity to take a swim challenge to determine which waterfront activities they can safely participate in. For the swim challenge, campers jump into the water, swim 25 yards without using dog-paddle or backstroke, tread water for 30 seconds and swim another 25 yards. Campers who swim proficiently throughout the challenge are called ‘deep end swimmers’. They are allowed to participate in all boating activities, the water playground and swim in the deep end. Campers can also choose to take the swim challenge with a lifejacket on. If they complete the challenge with a lifejacket, they can participate in all water activities, except for swimming in the deep end. If a camper cannot or chooses not to do the swim challenge, they will be able to play at the beach and in the shallow end.

Life jackets are required on all boats and on the water playground, even for campers who have passed the swim challenge.

When swimming, campers must check in at the buddy board. Each camper has a tag, and must swim with either one or two buddies. Buddy checks are called every 20 minutes, and waterfront staff counts the campers and checks that against the number of campers checked into the buddy board. At the conclusion of a successful buddy check, waterfront staff members rotate posts to stay fresh and alert.

An unsuccessful buddy check, when the number of campers swimming doesn’t match with the number of campers checked in, results in a lost swimmer procedure. Our staff members are well trained in operating this emergency procedure, campers are instructed at the beginning of the week what they should do. Most unsuccessful buddy checks are either tests or the result of a camper not checking out at the buddy board.

Does my camper have to take the swim challenge?

We will not force any camper to take the swim challenge. Our staff will encourage campers to try and will give them the option to take it with a life jacket but will not force them to do something they are not comfortable with. If a camper chooses not take a swim challenge they will only be able to go to the shallow end and will not be allowed to go on any boating activities, swim in the deep end, or use the water playground. A camper may try again later in the week if they choose to.

How is the waterfront supervised?

We have specially trained lifeguards that are all certified to ensure the safest experience possible for your camper. The waterfront staff supervises all waterfront activities including swimming and boating.

Why does my camper need spending money?

Campers have the opportunity to visit the camp store each day.  Depositing spending money allows your camper to make choices without having to keep track of any cash.  The store carries candy (.25-1.50), snacks (.25-2.00), drinks (.50-2.00), souvenirs (.25-25.00) and clothing (5.00-45.00).  Campers are only allowed to go to the store once each day and are limited to $2.00 per day on candy items ($1.50 for Kishwauketoe & Day Camp) and $2.00 per day on whole grain snacks or fruit.  We do not limit water or Gatorade.  

Campers also have an opportunity to donate a portion of their spending money to our mission project.  Campers choose how much they’d like to donate, anywhere between $0 and $5.

How much money should I deposit?

We recommend a deposit of $10 to $60, depending on your program (smaller amounts for shorter sessions).  We suggest discussing with your camper and working together to determine what the best amount is for your camper.  Unused funds can be donated to Covenant Harbor or refunded on the last day of camp.

What are the accommodations (cabins) like?

Each cabin varies in design. Kishwauketoe campers will be in the Kishwauketoe Village. Pier 30 and Senior High campers stay in a variety of cabins, each with indoor restrooms. Alpha campers stay with many of our summer staff in the Maple Commons. Campers are housed according to how they fit with their cabin mate requests and by age. We cannot honor specific cabin requests.

What kind of food is served?

Our food service staff serves a balanced menu that kids enjoy. Each meal provides options. In addition to an entree and at least two side dishes, cold cereal is available at breakfast, sun nut butter and jelly sandwiches are available at lunch and dinner and a salad bar is available at dinner. Milk, water and juice are available at every meal.

Meals will be a self-serve buffet line. When possible, dining will also be outdoors. Handwashing stations will be available, and washing is required before meals.

Can I contact my camper?

Campers can receive letters, emails, packages or faxes during the week. Mail is delivered ONCE per day (at or around lunch) so be sure to send communications before noon. Campers do not have access to phones to make or receive calls. When sending letters or packages, consider bringing them to check-in and we will deliver them on whatever day(s) you indicate.

Can I send my camper a care package?

You may send your camper a care package for their week at camp. Make sure to drop those off during check-in so that we can deliver them on whatever day you choose. You may also purchase a pre-built care package from Covenant Harbor that includes fun toys and snacks to be delivered midweek. Covenant Harbor is nut-free, so please be sure care package do not have any items that contain nuts.

Health and Safety

How is Covenant Harbor managing the health and safety of my camper?

Covenant Harbor takes health and safety standards very seriously. They are some of the most important parts of the summer camp experience. Additionally, our health and safety procedures permeate at all levels of camper operations, from staff training to housing and grounds preparations and upkeep, to medical staff and camper protection policies. Operating summer camp in light of the Covid 19 pandemic requires additional levels of precautions to ensure campers and staff stay healthy while on the grounds.

You can read more about how Covenant Harbor is preparing a safe and healthy camp environment for summer 2022 through the button below.

Camper Health and Safety

How will my camper be supervised?

Overnight campers sleep in the cabins with their assigned counselors. Most cabins have a counselor to camper ratio of 1:7-9. Day campers are assigned to teams, most teams are counselor to camper ratio of 1:7-8.

Throughout the day, all campers will be with their counselor or a summer staff member. Safety is a primary concern and we take that responsibility seriously. Most programs have some free time options throughout the day where campers can choose from several activities. Counselors do have a short break each day. During that time, non-counseling staff supervises each cabin either at a whole group activity or stepping in with an individual cabin.

Is there health staff on duty?

Each week of camp, we have an on-site volunteer RN on duty 24 hours per day. The volunteer RN works with our student nurses, who are hired for the entire summer, and is responsible for dispensing all medications.

The Heath Center Staff will contact you if your camper: a) has a fever of over 100.3; b) experiences any vomiting; c) has any injury that requires treatment or evaluation offsite; d) repeatedly contacts us about any injury, illness, or complaint.

Will there be increased sanitization?

High-touch areas of our site and facilities will be sanitized regularly throughout the day. Hand-washing and sanitizer stations are included at key parts of camp for campers to use.

How are dietary needs handled?

A significant number of campers have unique dietary needs that can be easily accommodated. Our main dining facility is completely nut-free, as is our primary camp store. Please notify our registrar by email of any specific camper needs at least 3 weeks in advance so that we may fully accommodate your camper.

Please note that peanuts/tree-nuts or peanuts/tree-nut products are not allowed.

What is Covenant Harbor’s security policy?

Covenant Harbor is a private property, and all members of full time and summer staff are required to wear name tags at all times. Our staff is trained to question any adults without a name tag.

The safety and security of your camper is our top priority at Covenant Harbor. For more information about our accreditation, please visit the American Camp Association (ACA).