Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that the summer camp experience can be an exciting, though sometimes confusing, adventure.

Read through these questions and answers to get detailed information on a variety of topics. Our frequently asked questions section will provide in-depth answers to most 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.

For questions about Pier 30 or Alpha and programs, contact Beth Piccard by email or at our main office at (262) 248-3600 extension 329. For questions about Day Camp and Kishwauketoe programs, contact Kathryn Spencer by email or at extension 324.

Summer 2021 Specifics

We are looking forward to summer camp in 2021! Our programs are full of the characteristics and activities that make a camp experience transformative, meaningful and fun. While some aspects of summer camp are different in 2021, our commitment to ministry is not. We continue to remain committed to high standards of health and safety. And will meet and exceed state, local and CDC recommendations.

Based on anticipated COVID-19 conditions and best practices, here is some of what you might expect at Covenant Harbor this summer. However, please remember that guidelines and recommendations may drastically change before summer. Some of these could adjust based on restrictions and guidance of health and local officials.

We will continue to update this page and our camper families with the most current procedures and protocols. Thank you for understanding and working with us.

General Questions

What is the difference between all the camps?

Our summer camps offers four different experiences serving campers entering grades 1-13. Day Camp, Kishwauketoe, Pier 30, and Alpha. Each program takes place at Covenant Harbor at the same time and shares our facilities. The waterfront, lodge dining area, big field and other activities are shared by each program.

Day Camps serve our local community with age-appropriate programming in Day Camp (Grades 1th-9th). Our Day Camps are a great opportunity for campers to experience camp without staying overnight.

Kishwauketoe (Kish) is a smaller camp of approximately 42 campers. Kishwauketoe is intentionally designed for a camper’s first camp experience. The program has a cozy feel, helping campers to feel right at home. Kishwauketoe offers a two night option, a three night option and a week long option for campers who are entering grades 2nd-4th.

Pier 30 is our most uniquely designed summer program. Pier 30 offers a group setting, while still providing the intimate cabin group experience. Pier 30 (Grades 4th-6th) and Pier 30 (Grades 7th – 9th) serves campers with week long camps. Pier 30 (Grades 7-9) have the option to choose a skill to ‘major’ in for the week. Skill time offers a chance for our older campers to branch out and learn new things or practice something familiar.

High school students have two options. Pier 30 (Grades 9th-12th) is a new program that features a more ‘classic camp’ experience for high school students.  Alpha is an opportunity for students 15 and older to get a taste of what it’s like to work on summer staff in longer camp session.

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 introducing people to Jesus Christ. Our primary goal with the campers is to love them, share the gospel with them and encourage them to know God more. We think this happens best in a fun environment where kids build relationships with staff who are living lives committed to Jesus Christ. We also build a Bible program where Biblical truths are presented in large group, small group 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 fun and meaningful. Each truth is presented in an age-appropriate manner. Our goal is not to force campers to agree with us or make campers decide what to believe, but to answer questions the camper has by using text from the Bible and sharing how God has worked in the lives of our staff. 

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.

Where does your staff come from?

All over! Most of our summer staff find out about Covenant Harbor from other people, through their Evangelical Covenant Church, or a former camper or summer staff member at their college or high school.

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

Is there financial help available?

Yes! We have several discounts: Early Registration, Bring-A-Friend, and YMCA member. We also have scholarships available; just contact our Camp Registrar at 262-248-3600 ext. 327 to apply for a scholarship. We don’t want a camper to miss out on camp due to financial reasons!

Early Registration Overnight Camp: Register by March 15 and receive $35 off camp fee.

Pay in full by April 15 and receive a $25 credit to your camper’s canteen account. Not applicable for Alpha.

Bring-A-Friend: Returning campers, bring someone that is new to camp – family member, neighbor, school friend – and each receive $50 off the camp fee. You must both attend the same week of camp, and you must register on the same day. If a camper cancels, the friend will not receive the discount. Available on 5 night camps only.

YMCA Discount: Day Campers who have memberships at the Geneva Lakes YMCA receive $10 off the day camp fee. The camper must be part of the YMCA membership (either a child membership or a family membership).

Early Registration Day Camp: Register by March 15 and receive $10 off camp fee.

Pay in full by April 15 and receive a $10 credit to your camper’s canteen account.

Triple Play Discount: Day Campers save $15 per session when registering for three or more 5-day Day Camp experiences.

Day Camp Discounts only apply to 5-day Day Camps.

We also offer scholarships for people who can not afford the full price of camp. To learn more about scholarships contact the Camp Registrar at 262-248-3600 ext. 327.

Deposits

When registering for a camp session, you must either pay in full or pay a non-refundable deposit. Non-refundable deposits are $150 per overnight camp session and $50 per Day Camp session. The full balance on your registration is due 14 days before the first day of the camp session.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you have to cancel, we must receive written notification. Refunds are given based on when we receive a written notice of cancellation.

More than 14 days before the first day of camp – Full refund except non-refundable deposit ($150 for overnight camps, $50 for day camps)

Less than 14 days before the first day of camp – No refund. (Deposits may be transferred to another summer program in 2021 or 2022.)

Medical CancellationsMedical cancellations at any time (including for COVID-19 exposure or illness or a related concern), will result in a full refund minus a $50 processing fee. Or, you may transfer your deposit and fees to another summer program in 2021 or 2022.

Overnight Campers – Cancellations (except for medical reasons) involving the bring-a-friend discount will cause the friend to lose that discount.

Special Note: In the event of a full camp cancellation by Covenant Harbor, all registered campers will be eligible to transfer all payments to 2022, receive a full refund, or turn their payments into a donation.

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. Check out our policy.

Cabin Mate Requests

Cabin mates must request one another. Only two cabin mate choices are allowed. If more than three children request each other, they will be separated. Groups of four or more that loop themselves together will be separated.

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 or Alpha Team camps, contact Beth Piccard, Program Director, at (262) 248-3600 ext. 329.

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

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. During your camper’s session we will conduct daily temperature readings as well as verbal well-checks.

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. Drop-off for Day Camp is a drive-thru process.  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 pick ups 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. Early pickups for Day Camp, when allowed, need to be confirmed in advance with the Program Directors 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 Packing List or for Day Camp Packing List. Please make note of what NOT to bring.

Label your camper’s clothing with iron on labels.

Camp Life Information

How will my camper be supervised?

When registration opens on January 5, capacity for all overnight programs (Kishwauketoe, Pier 30 and Alpha) will be lower than previous years. This allows for a lower concentration of people in cabins, at activities and on the grounds.

As summer approaches, if the health crisis eases and state and local officials endorse our approach, the capacity of overnight camp programs may increase. Any increases in overnight program capacities will be implemented only with the approvals of the local health department and our board of directors, along with the guidance from our affiliated camping associations.

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

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. All campers have some free time options throughout the day where they can choose from several activities with a partner. Counselors do have limited time off throughout the week, and during that time, non-counseling staff supervise each cabin in the same ratios mentioned above.

How structured is the day?

Each program balances the daily schedule so that there is play time, down time, games and sessions, as well as 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 – even more than normal this summer. We anticipate most camp activities being available, but possibly in adapted forms, such as in squads or cabin groups rather than larger gatherings.

We have shortened overnight programs, in light of the complexity of operating safely. Weeks have been slightly shortened to various degrees, depending on the week. (Please note that not all weeks begin and end on the same day of the week.) Extra time between programs will allow us to more thoroughly clean and give staff needed time to rest and monitor health.

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 (2 aqua jumps, slide walk and aqua launch and a water mat), banana boating, tubing and boat rides.

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

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

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

How will my camper participate in the various activities?

Campers enjoy activities in a variety of ways throughout the camp experience.

Large group activities like big games, adventure activities, or the waterfront

Small group activities with their cabin (or Day Camp team) that are specifically planned by the counselor for that group of campers.

Individual activities like carpetball, the tree swing, arts and crafts, and more.

And Skill options for our Pier 30 (Grades 7th-9th) campers, in campers participate in pre chosen skill each day at camp.

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 till their older. It’s also important to note that some activities do have limits based on age, but there will always be plenty to do!

Is there an extra charge for the activities?

Most activities are included in the camp fee, with only a few exceptions. There are additional charges for some of the skill options and these are paid as part of registration. Overnight campers receive one free boating activity and one free adventure activity while they are at camp. Pier 30 Only: Additional boating or adventure activities cost $4 and will be taken directly from the camper’s spending account. Purchase of additional activities is dependent on space and availability. Some special crafts may charge a small fee.

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.

Extra activities?

Overnight campers receive one free boating activity and one free adventure activity while they are at camp. Pier 30 Only:  Additional boating or adventure activities cost $4 and will be taken directly from their spending account.  Purchase of additional activities is dependent on space and availability.

What are the accommodations (cabins) like?

Each cabin varies in design. 2021 Kishwauketoe campers will be the very first campers to stay in the brand new, rebuilt Kishwauketoe Village!

Pier 30 campers stay in a variety of cabins, each with indoor restrooms. Campers are housed according to how they fit with their cabin mate requests and by age. We cannot honor specific cabin requests. Generally, the oldest campers each week are housed in the newest housing. 

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, sunnut 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 served to campers by our staff, instead of self-serve buffet. When possible, dining will also be outdoors. New handwashing stations will be available, and washing 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 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.

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 and daily wellness and temperature checks.

Increased Sanitization

High-touch areas of our site and facilities will be sanitized at an increased rate. New hand-washing and sanitizer stations will be added to key areas.

How is the waterfront run?

We have specially trained lifeguard certified waterfront staff. The waterfront staff supervises all waterfront activities including swimming and boating.

At the beginning of the week, campers must take a swim challenge to determine which waterfront activities they can safely participate in. Campers must 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 opt to take the swim challenge with a life-jacket, which allows participation in boating activities and the water playground, but not swimming in the deep end.

All campers are allowed to swim 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.