Can my camper attend with a friend?
Yes, each camper can sign up with one friend to be their bunkmate (or day camp buddy).
- Bunkmates should be the same grade or one grade level apart. Read more here.
- Bunkmate requests must be mutual. A requested bunkmate must also have your camper listed.
- Bunkmates need to be same gender, except for traditional Day Camp sessions (non-overnight).
- If one bunkmate signs up first, a spot is not automatically held for the second bunkmate if their parents sign them up later. One family IS able to sign up both bunkmates at the same time, even if they aren’t siblings and don’t live in the same household – click here for information and a video tutorial on how to accomplish this.
Can my camper attend with two friends (a group of three)?
No, campers are not allowed to attend camp with a group of three in the same cabin.
If campers are registered to be in a group of three, we will contact the parents involved to arrange for one of the three campers to be in an adjacent cabin. Click here to read more about this policy.
Can my camper attend with three friends (a group of four)?
No, campers are not allowed to attend camp with a group of four in the same cabin.
If campers are registered to be in a group of four, we will contact the parents involved to arrange for the campers to be paired off in adjacent cabins. This also applies to groups of 5, 6, or 7. Click here to read more about this policy.
Why are Fill-a-Cabin groups allowed?
Briefly, these groups bring a distinct change of approach for our counselors. The field is level because all the children do know each other. The social pressures are present, but because it is one community, the staff can address the existing community (with its positives and negatives) and work to develop it further as the children consider their faith walk and accountability as individuals and as a community that will endure beyond the camp week.
Click here for more information on Fill-a-Cabins.
Fill-a-Cabins & Day Camp Groups
What is a Fill-A-Cabin?
Our fill-a-cabin program allows a group of friends to all be placed in the same cabin (or Day Camp group) for their week at GENEVA.
Fill-a-Cabin registration for Summer 2024 is no longer open, but feel free to contact us if you hope to do a Fill-a-Cabin in the future and have questions about the program.
How to register
Campers must register in the online registration portal. Choose the appropriate camp and register according to the grade your camper will be entering in the fall of 2024.
You are able to create an account in our online registration portal prior to the opening of day of registration. Once you’ve entered your household information, you can click through a sample of our registration process.
If you have an existing account in our online registration portal but have forgotten your password, please reset your password rather than creating a new account under a different email address. Prior to registering your camper(s), please review your household information and make any necessary changes.
What is the Church Partnership program?
Also referred to as Church Promo Codes, some area churches partner with Geneva by covering a portion of the cost for campers to attend summer camp. It is up to the church to determine how their code is distributed each year and who is eligible to use the code. The code needs to be entered during online registration. If you realize after you’ve already completed registration that you forgot to enter the code, you will need to contact your church to be reimbursed.
Punch cards are the best way for campers to make purchases from the camp store. $20, $30 or $40 punch cards can be included in your online registration for Shores, Pines and High School campers. Check out the pricing list for the camp store so you know which punch card will be best for your camper. Your camper’s punch card will be on the back of their nametag.
If you have not purchased a punch card within one week of camp’s start, you are able to do so at check-in on Monday morning.
Can my child attend two different sessions?
Our goal is to accommodate as many families as possible during each summer camp season. For that reason, and to prevent campers from experiencing the same program twice, registration is limited to one session per camper, with a few exceptions:
- Campers eligible for Day Camp and Shores (3rd and 4th graders) may attend one session of each.
- Campers eligible for Shores and Pines (7th graders) may attend one session of each.
- CITs may also attend one of our other high school sessions like Pack & Paddle, Water, Week, Down the Road, or GENEVA Classic.
Does GENEVA offer camp scholarships?
GENEVA does offer camp scholarships – click here to read more.
Where can I find the Summer Camp schedule?
The Summer Camp Schedule and Pricing can be found here.
When will Camp Geneva begin taking registrations for the coming summer?
Summer Camp registration for 2024 will open at staggered start times by program.
- Day Camp (1st-4th grade) will open at 4:00pm.
- Shores (3rd-7th grade) will open at 5:00pm.
- Pines (7th-9th grade) will open at 6:00pm.
- High School (10th grade-college fr.) will open at 7:00pm.
Registration will open on January 9th, 2024. Mark your calendars!
How soon should I register?
In recent years, sessions have filled up very quickly (some within the first few hours of registration), so we recommend registering right away.
Summer Staff and Training
How do you train your staff?
Preparing staff for the summer begins almost as soon as the last summer ends! Each year, GENEVA employs a group of interns who help to put together the program for the next summer. Through the planning process, the interns spend a lot of time with GENEVA’s program staff developing in their understanding of mission, methodology, and skills for camp operation.
As we begin the interview process for the next years summer staff, the leadership team are some of the first staff hired, and often the interns are part of this group. Through out the winter and spring, the leadership team members begin working on projects to prepare for the summer.
The entirety of the summer staff arrives at camp almost 2 weeks before the first session of campers. These are intense days of preparation including program planning, community development, learning state licensing regulations, and more. We cover a wide variety of topics including CPR training, Leading Bible study, child protection policies, bully prevention and response, aquatic observation and water safety, challenge course procedures, behavior management policies, archery leadership, food allergies, team building, OSHA safety trainings, leading games, working with to homesick campers, skit writing, worship leading, responding to abuse concerns, prayer, working with children with disabilities, food service training, and craft leading! Typically staff are college students, while others have recently graduated or are just entering college. All have felt God’s call on their life and desire to serve Him by ministering to campers this summer.
How do you find and select summer staff?
Each summer we hire close to 100 college students to serve on staff.
The staff recruiting process begins in October when applications become available and GENEVA staff travels to colleges throughout the Midwest to meet with students interested in working at camp.
As soon as applications start rolling in, interviews begin. Camp Geneva’s program team interviews every applicant because an application is only a partial indicator of a student’s potential for a position. Interviewing for a summer staff position differs from other jobs because it’s a person’s character that will win them a job rather than their ability to sell themselves.
During the interview process, GENEVA also reaches out to references. References could be ministry leaders, academic professional supervisors, or family friends and they provide valuable perspectives on the faith, character, and experience of an applicant. Candidates who rise to the top through these stages are finally screened through state background checks.
After we feel like a candidate is a good fit, they will be placed in a specific role. An applicant’s preference is part of the this, but it’s not only consideration. The hiring team looks at personal gifts, talents, and passions, their personality, past experiences, and where God has impacted them along their journey.
Late Arrivals, Absences, and Early Departures
What is GENEVA’s policy if my camper needs to arrive late?
- GENEVA will only accommodate late arrivals which are health-related or family emergencies. If families anticipate not being able to arrive on time, they will be encouraged to register for a different session.
- We reserve the right to cancel the registrations of children who do not show up and have not notified us by noon on Monday.
- Cancellations will be subject to GENEVA’s cancellation/refund policy.
- Rationale for this policy: Much happens in the first few hours of camp, with implications ranging from personal comfort, to cabin bonding opportunities, to state licensing regulations. For these reasons, regardless of your camper’s comfort or experience level with camp, it’s important that they arrive near the start of the camp session.
What is GENEVA’s policy if my camper has a conflict and needs to leave for a period of time during the camp session?
- GENEVA will only accommodate camper absences which are health related or family emergencies. If families anticipate arrival conflicts or conflicts due to sports or otherwise during the camp session, they will be encouraged to register for a different session.
- We reserve the right to cancel the registrations of children needing absences during the week for reasons other than health or family emergencies. Cancellations will be subject to GENEVA’s cancellation/refund policy. See policy below.
- Rationale for this policy:
- Camper – An absence from camp disrupts and diminishes the child’s experience of camp in several ways. Time away means loss of involvement. Relationships built through common experiences and time spent together in conversation and activity are foundational to the growth opportunity for the week. When the child misses even some of this time, they’ve lost a portion of that common experience and its fruit. Neither are these isolated losses; many aspects of the program build upon the prior activities. Missing activities then leaves gaps in the week’s programmatic progression (for example, songs and skits sets up Bible study which in turn sets up evening worship, or campfire dinner develops increased comfort levels leading to participation in the talent show). The child who has missed activities returns to camp feeling out of the loop, having missed out on the experiences others have had and less comfortable in embracing the coming activities. This all plays into a loss of personal development potential. The multi-day experience away from home provides children with self-confidence and esteem building opportunities as they make their own decisions and make their own way apart from their families. Having touch points with home takes away the child’s sense that they are doing things successfully on their own. A final impact of camp is found in a child’s ability to disengage from the routines of daily life and reset. This is often where the Spiritual impact is found. Just as it often takes adults a couple of days to settle into a vacation, children need to step away from the pressures and concerns of their regular obligations and relationships. In doing so, we are able to become refreshed and more clearly hear the truths of Scripture.
- Bunkmate – we’ve also noted significant ramifications for the bunkmate of campers who are absent, sometimes more than the absent campers themselves. Cabin groups are often set up based on multiple sets of pairs, and it becomes difficult for the remaining camper in the periods where their partner is gone, especially after having been looking forward to this week with their friend for the months leading up to it.
- Cabin community – Social development is one of the significant opportunities of the camp week. As the group gets to know one another and plans events and shares activities, the community loses the valuable gift the absent child adds to the community and vice versa.
- Cabin counselor – Knowing a camper’s relationship with their counselor is a key component of the camp experience, the counselor is put in the difficult position of striving to make up for lost time with the camper who was absent as the counselor tries to fill the camper in on what was missed, and develop a relationship with less opportunities for engagement. In addition, the time spent waiting for the camper to be picked up and returned pulls the counselor from activity leading responsibilities and relational opportunities with other campers.
What is GENEVA’s policy if my camper has to depart early?
- We strongly discourage early departures.
- Rationale for this policy: The end of the camp session is designed to wrap up the week and transition campers back into their daily routines. It is filled with debriefing conversations, picture signing, and other closing activities that are significant in the child’s experience. If you must pick up your child early, please contact the office to discuss the most opportune time.
What is GENEVA’s cancellation policy?
In the event that your child is unable to attend camp, here is our cancellation/refund policy:
- All refunds are subject to a $50.00 cancellation fee.
- The $15.00 processing fee for using a payment plan is non-refundable.
- Refunds will be given if requested at least 14 days before your week of camp.
- If cancellation forms are submitted less than 14 days before your camp session begins, refunds will only be given for medical reasons or a family emergency.
If you need to cancel, you can do so by filling out the cancellation form.
What is your camper to counselor ratio?
- Day Camp – 8 campers/counselor
- Shores – 8-10 campers/counselor for full weeks and 10 campers/1 counselor and a CIT (Counselor-in-Training) during CIT sessions
- Pines – 8-10 campers/counselor
- High School Camps – 8-10 campers/counselor
Campers with Food Allergies
Can Camp Geneva accommodate my camper who has food allergies?
Camp Geneva provides food service through partnership with Creative Dining Services. As food allergies and sensitivities become more common, this relationship offers expertise in nutrition and the ability to navigate many special dietary restrictions with confidence.
When registering, simply indicate the child’s dietary needs on the registration form. From there, the information goes to both our food service director and our camp health officer/nurse.
In the case of severe food allergies, our food service director will contact you approximately 1-2 weeks prior to your child’s arrival to discuss any concerns. He will have the ingredient list for the entire summer’s menu available, as well as applicable substitutions tailored to your child’s needs.
The camp health officer/nurse will also be prepared to respond to any allergen exposure and will have equipped your child’s counselor to work towards exposure prevention.
At the first camp meal, a member of the food service staff will introduce themselves to your child and let them know which foods they may eat from the main menu and which foods have a substitute provided. This staff member will continue to serve as a resource for your child throughout the week, making sure they have a balanced meal with the appropriate options.
We want all children be able to experience camp without concern or anxiety about dietary restrictions. If you have any questions, please feel free to call 616.399.3150 or email us.
Campers with Special Needs
I have a child with special needs. Can they go to camp?
At Camp Geneva, we welcome campers with special needs. We recognize that the term special needs has many dimensions including physical, cognitive, and/or emotional needs, so each camper registration will be uniquely considered. At GENEVA campers with special needs are involved in the regular camp programming, so all of our programs are available for you to consider.
When registering your child, you will have the opportunity to indicate if your child has special needs. Then a questionnaire will open that asks detailed questions so we can learn more about your child and assess our ability to accommodate their needs. In some cases, our Coordinator for Campers with Special Needs will call to ask for more information.
Many of the summer staff will have had experience working with children with special needs. This has become a quality we look for when hiring summer staff. These staff are eager for opportunities to have campers with special needs in their group or cabin. Our Coordinator for Campers with Special Needs will work with the counselor, equipping them with skills or strategies for working with their campers, and will serve as a resource for the counselor throughout the week. As opportunity offers and circumstance requires, the Coordinator may also bring in additional staff to come alongside your child.
GENEVA also has student nurses/health officers on site who will oversee the administration of medication and any other medical needs.
In addition, GENEVA does offer a program specifically for middle school and high school boys with high functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome called CONNECT.
Please call our office at 616.399.3150 or email us if you would like more information about GENEVA’s programs.
Does Geneva have a waitlist for Summer Camp?
Yes, if session fills up, you are able to sign your child up for the wait list. Even if your child is registered for a session, you are able to add them to the waitlist for a more preferred session. There is no limit to the number of waitlists your child can added to.
If you add your child to multiple wait lists at separate times, their position on each wait list will reflect the date and time of that specific request.
How will I know if my child is on a waitlist?
When a session is full, your only option in the registration portal will be to add your child to the waitlist. You will receive a confirmation email, showing the sessions your child is on the waitlist for.
How will I know if a spot opens up for my child to attend camp?
If your child is on the waitlist and a spot opens up, we will contact you by email and/or phone.
How do I find out where my child is on the waitlist?
To find out where your child is on the waitlist(s) they are on, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communicating with your camper
How do I send an email to my camper?
To email a camper, please go to our homepage and click on “Email a Camper”. You need to know their cabin number which was given to the person who checked them into the cabin on the first day. For security reasons, we will only give cabin numbers out to parents/guardians who are listed on the camper’s registration.
Emails received by 3pm will be delivered at suppertime the same day. No mail or email will be delivered on the day the campers go home so the latest time to send emails is 3pm on the day before they go home.
Campers do not have access to a computer and will not be able to email you back.
Can I talk to my camper during the week?
We do not provide campers with access to a phone or a computer. If there is an emergency and you need to contact a camper, you may call the GENEVA office at 616.399.3150. If you call after hours, our voice mail will give you an emergency number to call.
Can I visit my camper during the week?
GENEVA does not have visiting periods for friends and relatives since the sessions are short and we cannot have people wandering the grounds during camp sessions for security reasons.
Are there other way to communicate with my camper?
You mail send snail mail (Letters only!) to:
c/o Camp Geneva, Cabin #__ (if you don’t know it, our mail sorting volunteers will look it up)
3995 Lakeshore Dr N
Holland, MI 49424
You may send a fax to 616.399.5180. Be sure to include the camper’s first and last name and cabin number.
Preparing your child for camp
Create positive expectations
While we all understand the incredible personal and spiritual benefits of a camp experience, we at GENEVA also recognize that sometimes both parents and campers are quite anxious in preparing for their week. Here is our advice for giving your child the best opportunity for a positive week:
- Involve your child in the decision to go to camp. Tell them why you think they will enjoy it and let them tell you what they are looking forward to.
- Share your own experiences and memories of attending camp.
- Have your child talk with other children who have attended camp about their experiences and memories.
- Borrow a camp video and let your child see what camp will be like, or watch the highlight video.
Prepare them for the experience
- Visit the camp before their camp week. GENEVA has a Community Open House each Spring that allows prospective campers to see the facilities, meet some of the staff, and lessen their anxiety. If the open house doesn’t work for you, you may call our office 616.399.3150 to schedule a personal tour.
- Practice staying away from home overnight. Allow your child to stay for a weekend with a grandparent or friend where they can get used to another bed and different environment without you present.
- Encourage and prepare your child to take care of themselves by picking out their clothes, making their bed, putting away their dirty clothes, and using their toiletries at home.
- Buy a journal for your child. Write the names of the days at the top of every few pages and begin statements for them to complete such as: My favorite game today was ______. Today in Bible Study I learned ______. A funny thing that happened today was ______. Tomorrow I want to try ______. Reserve pages for them to later insert pictures they need to take of new friends, their counselor, and their cabin.
- Look at the camp schedule ahead of time so your child knows what to expect each day.
- Talk about homesickness and what to do if they feel it. Let your camper know it is natural to feel anxious when they are separated from you, but that moving past it is an important step in growing up and they can overcome it.
- Discuss “what if” scenarios—losing something, feeling afraid, not feeling well, having a conflict with another camper and what they should do if any of these occur, such as talk with their counselor.
- Include your child in packing for camp. Review the packing list and decide what to bring together, talk about what to wear and why you don’t want to bring your expensive items to camp, and have them help pick out clothes. Often children love the packing process and will want to begin packing far before their camp session.
May we tour camp?
Follow up during and after camp
- Send them mail (letters, faxes, or email) during the week, but keep them positive. Don’t tell them how much you miss them and what they are missing, but focus on their experiences, how much fun they must be having, and whether they’ve tried certain activities. You can even encourage them to try specific activities and let them know that you want to hear all about it when they get home.
- Don’t rush your child away from camp when you pick them up. Take time to hear their stories, let them show you some of the places that were important to them, and have them introduce you to some of their favorite people.
- Ask them questions about the fun times they had, the highlights of their week, their favorite songs or games, their achievements, and life in the cabin. Show enthusiasm for what they experienced and express how grateful you are that they could have such a great time. It’s the first step in preparing them for camp next year!
Swimming & Water Safety
On the first day of camp the campers will meet the GENEVA lifeguards to learn the waterfront safety rules and to have their swimming ability assessed. Campers will receive color-coded wristbands to indicate their swimming ability. All campers will have access to the majority of the pool and waterfront, but campers who are not strong swimmers will be required to stay in shallow areas and will not have access to the pool’s current channel.
Whenever campers are swimming in the pool, Lake Michigan or Big Pine Lake they are monitored by lifeguards and additional staff trained as aquatic observers. We also carefully watch weather and wave conditions to ensure we are maintaining a safe waterfront.
We will provide life jackets/PFDs for all activities that require them. If you send one with your camper, we will require them wear it whenever they are swimming.
Summer Camp Photos
Each week we will be posting photos from camp that you can view and purchase. For greater security, we have password protected the camp photos and the password will only be given to camper parents. The password will be included in a mid-week email and in an email at the end of your camper’s session.
Lost and Found
Due to very limited space and the amount of time involved in handling hundreds of lost and found items:
- Parents are encouraged to label everything with the camper’s full name. If the item has the camper’s name on it, we will contact you to pick it up. If the item is not labeled with a name, we will only keep it for one week after it is found, then it will be given to a charitable organization.
- Socks, underwear, and bath towels will not be kept.
- GENEVA is not responsible for items left behind, lost, or stolen.
- We are exclusively using a lost and found form so if your camper left something behind, please complete the form.
- Items with names on them will only be held for 14 days. Any items not claimed after 14 days will be given to a charitable organization.
- If you need an item mailed, we require $10 to cover shipping costs.