Parent FAQs

Bunkmates/Buddies

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.
  • If one bunkmate signs up first, a spot will not be held for the second bunkmate. It is possible for the second bunkmate to be waitlisted.

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 campers to all be placed in the same cabin (or Day Camp group) for their week at GENEVA.

Who can participate?

We allow fill-a-cabins for Shores (3rd-7th grade) and Pines (7th-9th grade) and Day Camp fill-a-groups are allowed for Classic Day Camp and Day Camp Short Sessions. Click here to see which weeks you’re able to do a fill-a-cabin.

Day Camp fill-a-groups need to have 8 members.

Shores fill-a-cabins need to have 10 members, with the exception of July 25-29 (8 members) and August 8-12 (8 members).

Pines fill-a-cabins need to have between 8 and 10 members.

How do I sign up for a fill-a-cabin?

Each group needs a coordinator (a parent of one of the campers) who will sign the group up for a fill-a-cabin code. Fill-a-cabin registration opens on November 30th, 2021 at noon. Registration will happen through a form on our website. We offer a limited number of fill-a-cabin codes per camp session, so it is important that you sign up right away. The Fill-a-Cabin registration form allows a first, second, and third choice for preferred camp sessions. Once the coordinator registers the fill-a-cabin, the code needs to be distributed to the rest of the parents to use when they register for camp. If you plan to register, please click here for additional information on fill-a-cabins.

Does a fill-a-cabin code guarantee a spot at camp for each member?

No, you still need to register for camp – probably right away when registration opens so your session doesn’t fill up. If you do not register quickly enough, it is possible to be wait listed. To complete a fill-a-cabin, there needs to be a minimum of 8 registered campers for Day Camp or Pines, and 10 for Shores.

Need help recruiting campers?

If you have friends who have never been to Camp Geneva before and would like to see the grounds before registering for camp, you can call 616.399.3150 and request a personal tour. We will do our best to be available when it’s most convenient for your family.

Registration

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 2022.

New Users

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.

Returning Users

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.

Punch Cards

Punch cards are the best way for campers to make purchases from the camp store. $15, $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.
    • CITs or high schoolers attending Down the Road may also attend Pack & Paddle or a GENEVA Classic session.

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 2022 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 4th, 2022. 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.

Payment Options

Registration fees can be paid by credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover) or by mailing in a check. Your registration is not finished (we will not hold a spot) until payment is complete.

We also offer payment plans, camp scholarships, and have a church partnership program.

Registration Brochure

Summer brochures are mailed to every family that had a camper at GENEVA in the past 3 summers. Summer brochures are also mailed to most local churches, so if you aren’t on our mailing list, you can probably pick one up at your church. You can also request a brochure by emailing us or calling 616.399.3150.

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 next season’s program. Through this process, these individuals spend a lot of time with GENEVA’s program staff to develop in their understanding of mission, methodology, and necessary skills for camp operation. As we begin the interview process, the leadership team are among the first staff hired, and often the interns are part of this group. Leadership team members have increasing interactions with GENEVA program staff through the winter and spring in preparation for the variety of programs to be offered that summer.

Finally, the entirety of the summer staff arrive on camp almost 2 weeks before the first session of campers. These are intense days of preparation which include investment in program planning, community development, learning state licensing regulations, and more. Topics addressed and skills sharpened include: CPR training, Bible study leadership, child protection policies, bully prevention and response, aquatic observation and water safety, challenge course procedures, discipline policies, age group development characteristics, archery leadership, food allergies, team building, behavior management policies, OSHA safety trainings, leading games, responding to homesickness, drama writing, worship leading, responding to abuse concerns, prayer, working with children with special needs, food service training, craft leading, and so much more! 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 more than 90 college students arrive on site for a summer of serving based in their love for Christ and His children.

The staff recruiting process begins in October as applications become available and GENEVA staff travels to colleges throughout the Midwest meeting with students interested in working at camp.

As soon as applications start rolling in, interviews begin. Camp Geneva’s program team interviews every applicant. Their reasoning for doing so is to give students an interview experience and 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 is a person’s character that will win them a job rather than their ability to sell themselves. The team considers the student’s personal faith and their passion for children.

Once a candidate has shown their potential through the application and interview process, GENEVA reaches out references. These can vary, from ministry leaders, academic or professional supervisors, to close family friends, references 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.

Once a candidate is deemed a good fit, they must 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.

The selection and placement process is not accomplished solely by GENEVA Staff. Board members, staff alumni, and other friends of GENEVA are in continual prayer for wisdom in hiring the summer staff. Still, the hiring process is not always so systematic. One returning staff member said, “We all have such different ways of getting here, but it’s so evident that God has chosen us.”

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 cancellation fee.
  • Refunds will be given if requested at least 14 days before your week of camp.
  • If cancellations are received 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.

Camper/Counselor Ratio

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 is blessed to provide food service through partnership with Creative Dining Services. As instances of fruit, nut, gluten, dairy, egg and other allergies and sensitivities become more common, this relationship offers expertise in nutrition and the ability to navigate many special dietary restrictions with confidence. The following outlines how it all comes together:

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 help ensure they know which foods they may eat from the main menu and which foods have a substitute provided for them. This staff member will continue to serve as a resource for your child throughout the week, striving to make sure they have a balanced meal with the appropriate options.

It is our desire that 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 800.808.0808 or email us.

2021 Summer Camp Menu

 

Campers with Special Needs

I have a child with special needs. Can they go to camp?

At Camp Geneva, we enthusiastically pursue opportunities to 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. GENEVA’s intent is that campers with special needs be involved in the regular camp programming, meaning all programs are available for your consideration.

When registering your child, you will have the opportunity to indicate if your child has special needs. After you make this indication, you will be directed to a questionnaire that asks detailed questions which allow us to learn more about your child and assess our ability to accommodate their needs. In some cases, our Coordinator for Campers with Special Needs may call to request further information.

Many of the summer staff will have had prior experience working with children with a variety of 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 any 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.

Waiting List

Does GENEVA accept names on a waiting list if the week I want is full?

Yes, if your first choice of session is full, please choose the wait list option for that session.

When we receive your registration, if we are able to get you into your first choice, we will do that and send you an invoice so you can pay.

If your first choice is full but there are openings in your second choice or third choice, we’ll put you into that session. If we put you into your second or third choice, we will also put you on the waiting list for your first choice only if you indicate you want us to when you register.

If we are not able to get you into any of your choices, we will send you an email indicating that you are on the waiting list.

How will I know if I’m put on a waiting list?

If you are placed on a waiting list, you will be notified by email.

If I’m placed on a waiting list, when will I know if openings become available?

If we get a cancellation and you are next on the waiting list, we will contact you. We keep bunkmates together, so if there is only one opening, we will call somebody who registered to come alone, even if your registration was received earlier. If your camper is willing to come alone, let our registrar know so he can note that on your registration. It may increase your chances of getting in.

Can I call GENEVA and find out where I am on the waiting list?

Because of the amount of activity in the waiting list (we are adding and/or removing names daily), we are unable to tell you exactly where you fall on the list.

If I’m placed on a waiting list, what are my chances of getting in?

That’s hard to say because we never know how many cancellations we are going to get. We do have a lot of cancellations and sometimes if we have cabins and staff available and the wait list is long, we can expand capacity. Sometimes we get cancellations just a week before camp begins. Sometimes we even have no-shows at check-in, in which case we may call and offer the spot to someone on the waiting list. So it’s a good idea to keep your calendar open for the session(s) you are on the waiting list.

If I decide I don’t want to take my chances that an opening will occur in the week I want and decide to attend another camp, should I let GENEVA know?

Yes, please email us or call 616.399.3150 so we can remove your name from the list and return your check (if you paid by check).

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:

Camper’s Name
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?

  • Prior to the beginning of summer camp we offer a Community Open House. This would be an ideal opportunity to tour the camp. Our staff will be there to answer any questions you may have.
  • If the open house doesn’t fit your schedule, you may call 616.399.3150 or email to schedule a personal tour.

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!

Other

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 on the green sheet that the counselors hand out on Monday morning and it will also be emailed to camper parents at the end of the child’s camp week.

Lost and Found

Due to 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.
  • 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 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 a $10 check to cover postage.