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Bloomingdale, Michigan

Summer camp is an experience that all children should have the opportunity to experience! It is an opportunity to learn and grow, while having a great time and making memories that last a life time. The camp experience has changed over the years, so getting ready to attend camp is much different now than it used to be.

-What is Summer Camp? Camp is an opportunity for children to take part in a wide variety of activities in a setting that allows them to make choices and decisions as individuals as well as part of a group. Camp activities very greatly depending on the camp you attend. Some camps focus on specific things; i.e. horses, sports, theater, music, and many other focus's. Other camps are more traditional, by offering a wide variety of activities and exposing their campers to many of them. Camp Kidwell offers a variety of activities, such as swimming, horseback riding, archery, canoeing, climbing wall/teambuilding, sports and games, drama, arts and crafts, camp fire, water trampoline, etc. Campers spend time in their cabin groups, working with camp staff to learn new skills and gain valuable knowledge about themselves and those around them.

-What is a good age for kids to attend camp? The answer to this question is different for every family! 4-H Camp Kidwell has programs for children starting at age 4 all the way up to age 16. These programs are both day camp (when campers attend just for day time hours) and resident camp (when campers stay with us at camp for a certain number of days). Deciding when your child is ready depends on the child, their previous experiences and how you feel they will handle the camp experience. Parents know their children best, so using what you know about your children is usually a great way to determine how they will handle camp.

-What qualifications do you need to meet and what is the cost to attend camp? Required qualifications depend on the camp you choose. There are church camps that have affiliations with specific churches, there are YMCA camps, there are Boy and Girl Scout camp, and many others. Most camps have age requirements. Some camps are just for boys or just for girls. It just depends on which camp you choose. The growth of the internet has made it easier to find camps that meet your desires and allow you to find information about what camps have to offer. Some of those camps have specific requirements you have to meet to attend while others are open enrollment and they accept all children. 4-H Camp Kidwell is an open enrollment camp that welcomes all children, ages 4-16. We are affiliated with 4-H, but you do not have to be a 4-Her to attend.
The cost of camp varies greatly depending on the camp you choose as well as the specific program you take part in. Camps at Camp Kidwell vary in price from $205 to $385. I have seen camps that cost as little as $50 to $100 all the way up to $700/$800 per week. The variation in cost depends on the camp and the amenities and activities they offer. The cost can be misleading though, as many camps have discounts and scholarship programs to help with the cost of camp. There are also programs within the community to help defray the cost of attending camp. 4-H Camp Kidwell offers our own discount and scholarship program and fundraising programs, as well working with local churches, CMH and DHS and other community programs/organizations. The best thing to do if the cost of camp is a hurdle is to ask your camp about what options they have to help.

-Do camps welcome children with special needs? Camps handle special needs in a variety of ways. Some camps are specifically set up to welcome special needs camp. These camps can provide special medical care, one on one care and all of the things required of specific special needs. Other camp work with the idea of immersion and welcome children with special needs, but treat each child on case by case basis. If the camp can accommodate the special needs they include the child in their programs. Special needs can vary from physical, emotional and cognitive needs/conditions, to dietary and medical need/conditions. Camp Kidwell welcomes many children every summer with special diets, mild emotional, physical and cognitive special needs. Parents should ask their camp how they accommodate special needs. Most camps work very closely to provide a quality experience for all of their campers. In our case, we usually get all of the information that is needed to provide a safe and fun experience for each child and then lay out a plan for how we can provide them with a great experience!

-How do parent and kids prepare for camp? There are a few really helpful things to help get children AND parents ready for the camp experience. And I say parents because a lot of times, parents have a harder time with camp than the kids do. Having children spend over night time at friends or relatives is a good way to get used to the camp experience. It is also a good thing to talk about concerns that your children might have before camp. It is also to talk about and come up with ways to handle those tough situations that the child is concerned about. I.E; Sending paper and pencil so the camper can write a note home, sending a special stuffed animal or blanket, or having a plan in place for sending mail to your child so they get a reminder from home. Most importantly though, having a positive outlook on camp and reassuring the child that they will have a great time and enjoy themselves. One thing you shouldn't do is tell the camper they can call home whenever they want or will have direct communication with you before you know the camps policy on this. Some camps have pay phones for campers or allow campers to call home, while other do not allow campers to call home unless the camp staff/director says it is okay. If you are concerned about this, ask the camp about their policy and put a plan in place wit your child based on this.

What to bring to camp? The packing list will vary depending on the camp and program you are attending. Most, if not all, camps will send you a list and lots of details about getting ready for camp before you arrive at camp. Important things to remember or ask about.......does my camp provide bedding or do I need to send it? All medicines should be in the store or prescription packaging with dosage information included. Are there special programs my child might be involved in and need special thing for. I.E. horseback riding, special water activities, sports equipment, etc. Does my camp allow for electronic devices? Does my camp allow special food/care packages? And once you have packed everything on the list from your camp and what you think you need, put just a few more clothes in just to be sure.

4-H Camp Kidwell is a youth camp located on Eagle Lake near Bloomingdale, Michigan. Our summer camp program runs from June 23 through August 16. Our address is 39000 1st Ave, Bloomingdale, MI 49026. The camp not only offers summer camp but also a wide variety of other programs, including school programs, facility rentals, community events and so much more. Visit our website, www.campkidwell.org to get details about all of these programs and so much more!

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