2017 Parent Guide
Camp Solaris Parent Guide
All of your questions about day camp at Camp Sonshine will be answered here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 402.423.8746 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Welcome to Camp Solaris!!
Solaris is the newest addition to the Camp Sonshine experience. From the very beginning, our desire has been to play a role in changing lives through providing experiences that will help in making positive summer camp memories. Camp Sonshine has experienced tremendous success with day camps and we are excited to be able to offer overnight camps with the same level of excellence.
In order to provide you with the best service possible, and to answer any questions that you may have about camp, we have put together this guide. The following pages are filled with valuable information that will enable you and your child to make the most of your experience at Camp Solaris this summer.
Our commitment to your satisfaction extends to all of our planning and preparations for the summer, so we are working long and hard to make this the best program possible. We are dedicated to providing a safe, fun-filled, and rewarding summer camp experience for your child, so he or she will come away with positive, unforgettable “memories that last a lifetime.”
Please know that we are available to discuss your camper’s growth and camp experience at any time. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and any questions you may have.
Again, we thank you for joining the Camp Sonshine family through Camp Solaris and for allowing us to serve you and your family this summer.
Jeff & Trisha Keiser
Camp Sonshine Directors
Camp Solaris Site Address:
2349 State Hwy Spur 34B Firth, NE 68358
Camp Solaris Office/Mailing Address:
13440 South 25th St. Roca, NE 68430
Office Phone: (402) 423-8746
Camp Office Hours
Non-Camp Season (August 7 – May 31)
Mon – Fri 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Camp Season (June 1 – August 6)
Mon – Fri 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Session 1 June 4 – 9 Journey & Expedition
Session 2 June 11 – 16 Journey & Expedition
Session 3 June 19 – 22 Solaris Adventures
Session 4 June 26 – 29 Solaris Adventures
Session 5 June 5 – 7 FRC VBS
Session 6 July 9 – 14 Journey & Expedition
Session 7 July 16 – 21 Journey & Expedition
Session 8 July 23 – 27 9th Inning Baseball
Session 9 July 30 – Aug 3 9th Inning Baseball
NEW PROGRAM NAMES
Journey & Expedition (5 Night)
Campers entering 5th – 9th grade. Arrive Sunday evening between 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Session concludes Friday evening with an End of Session Cookout from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Solaris Adventures (3 Night)
Campers entering 3rd – 6th grade. Arrive Monday morning between 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Session concludes on Thursday evening with a family cookout from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Firth Reform Church VBS (3 Day)
Details and sign-up information available through Firth Living Life Reformed Church.
9th Inning Baseball Camp (4 Night)
Campers entering 3rd – 8th grade. Arrive Sunday evening between 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Session concludes Thursday with a camper baseball game and family cookout 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.
DOWLOAD THE "CAMP SONSHINE GO!" APP
We always want to make sure that your experience with Camp Sonshine is as effortless as possible, but there is so much information to know before you drive on to camp grounds. We’re launching “Camp Sonshine Go!”, an app that will be a hub for information and resources for camp families! Find our app in the Apple Store or Google Play Store!
Here’s what you’ll find in the app:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Parent Guides
- Session Specific News
- Easy access to Contact Information
- Calendar of Camp Events
- Early Pick Up and Swim Level Forms
- Session Videos & Assembly Songs!
Don’t forget to “subscribe” to the sessions your family will be a part of for the quickest news and updates!
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Camp Solaris is located 2 miles south of Firth on State Highway 34B Spur. The address to plug into your mapping device is: 2349 NE-34B Spur, Firth, NE 68358.
Please drop off your camper at the arrival time listed for your specific program:
Expedition & Journey (5 Night Programs)
Sunday 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
9th Inning Baseball Camp (4 Night Programs)
Sunday 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Solaris Adventures (3 Night Programs)
Monday 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
During these times, our staff will be fully available to guide and assist you. Please follow the directions of our amazing parking crew and park your vehicle where indicated. Enter the large Multi-purpose building through the northeast doors and head to the check-in table.
Campers should bring all of their bags and personal items into the building and place it in the designated space. Campers will move into their sleeping quarters later in the evening as a group.
At the check-in table we will verify your emergency contact information, collect any medications, accept camp store deposits, and answer any questions you may have. Parents wishing to see the sleeping quarters may do so upon request at this time and a staff member will be available to give you a tour of the facilities.
Camp activities will begin promptly after arrival times. We ask for parents to help us with a smooth transition by saying good-bye and encouraging your camper to join into the group activities. Any jitters that you or your camper may have are completely normal and campers who join in activities right away will have no problem transitioning to camp life.
Come hear and see what campers did during the week at the End of Session Cookout. Parents, Grandparents & other family members are invited to join us at the time listed for your specific program:
Expedition & Journey (5 Night Programs)
Friday 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
9th Inning Baseball Camp (4 Night Programs)
Thursday 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Solaris Adventures (3 Night Programs)
Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Campers will have the opportunity to pack their bags and clean their rooms prior to the start of dinner. Towards the end of dinner we will have a brief sharing time and closing program, concluded by showing of the End of Session Video.
Before you leave, please remember to pick-up any leftover medications, visit the lost and found table, and grab any unused snack shack money. All camper belongings will be in the multi-purpose building in a designated space for you to grab on your way out.
* There will also be a closing baseball game for the 9th Inning baseball campers that families are invited to attend and to cheer on their camper. This game is a highlight for many of the campers and will go from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. with dinner to follow.
Campers will have the opportunity to try many different types of activities over the course of the week. Some of the activities that campers will rotate through include: Archery, Off-road Go-karts, Nature Activities, Creative Arts, Sports, Water Games, Kayaks, Fishing, Archery Tag, Low Ropes, and more. All activities are led by trained and experienced camp staff. Activities are merely a tool that we use to help your child grow personally and learn valuable lessons. Everything we do is designed to be fun and adventurous, but it doesn’t stop there. We believe that the lessons learned through well planned activities will impact and stick with campers long after the novelty of a “cool” thrill has worn off.
NEW AERIAL PARK & MORE!
We have finished construction of a brand-new, one-of-a-kind Aerial Park. This 30-foot high challenge course comes with over a dozen team and individual challenges for our campers to explore and conquer. A variety of elements await participants of all experiences and abilities.
Not only have we built a new Aerial Park, we have also dredged the north end of our Camp Solaris pond to create a more user friendly experience for a variety of water activities, as well as a new location for groups to gather in a natural outdoor setting by the water. These and other improvements have been made to allow for a quality experience!
Water Activites & Swimming
Camp Solaris campers and their counselors have always loved the fun and games associated with swimming and water activities. This is always a great time to cool off and spend some time with friends.
Pool Location: Our pool is located at Camp Sonshine, just behind the barn. The pool is surrounded by a gated fence and contains an automatic safety cover to prevent unauthorized access outside of scheduled swim times. The pool is primarily 3½‘ – 4’ in depth with a roped off landing zone for the water slide that reaches 5’.
Swimming Ability: On the camper registration form you were asked to select a swim level that best represents the swimming ability of your child. If you have not done so, please go online to your registration and select a swim level for your camper(s). Swim levels can also be changed by submitting the swim level form on the Camp Sonshine Go! App.
We use this information to guide us as we conduct swimming evaluations with the kids. Any rating system can be objective so it is important to us that our counselors are familiar and comfortable with your child’s swimming ability. We will never move a camper to a higher level without parental approval, but a camper may be moved to a lower level if it is determined to be best for the safety of the child.
ABILITY AREAS ALLOWED
Level 1 – NO SWIM
Level 2 – May swim but only with a life-jacket
Level 3 – May swim unrestricted
Personnel: Camp Sonshine hires a certified lifeguard to monitor all swimming activities and to maintain a safe pool experience for our campers. Group counselors are always present and actively participating in pool activities.
Program Specific Water Activities: Specific water activities and locations will vary by program and by session. Some of the biggest differences are outlined below:
Journey/ Solaris Adventures Campers
Campers will travel to Camp Sonshine once per week to utilize the camp swimming pool and other water inflatables. In addition to this they will have periodic water activities planned at Camp Solaris including paddle boats, kayaks, an inflatable water slide, and other planned water games.
As a trip and travel program, Expedition campers will travel to a wide variety of locations for various water activities including Camp Sonshine, nearby state parks, public facilities, other summer camps, waterparks or outfitters. You will receive specific trip information prior to the session your teen attends.
We recognize that kids are different and have different interests. This is why we’ve created Electives. At scheduled times throughout the week, campers will have the opportunity to select their own adventure from a list of pre-planned activities led by various camp staff. Options that will be available include: Airsoft, Culinary Creations, X-Treme Art & Pottery, Rocketry and Aerial Park.
Airsoft Adventures: A supervised environment for campers to safely learn Airsoft skills as they practice their speed and accuracy. Teamwork and communication skills will be strengthened as each squad attempts to successfully complete a variety of challenges and scenarios. Campers may bring equipment from home, but not required. Camp Solaris has equipment for campers to use as needed.
Camp Solaris provided the folowing for Airsoft:
Eye/Face Protection through Face Masks
A Limited Supply Airsoft Guns
Campers in Airsoft are encouraged to bring the following:
A long-sleeved t-shirt and long pants are optional but highly suggested.
Campers may bring their own Airsoft guns from home if desired, but do so at their own risk. All personal equipment is required to have the camper’s name on it and will be subject to approval after undergoing a safety inspection by the camp staff.
Guns with PSI ratings determined to be too strong by the instructors may be used for target activities but not during team play.
All personal equipment must be brought to camp in a black trash bag with the camper’s name printed on a piece of masking tape. Bags must be sealed and checked in with the camp staff immediately upon arrival at camp. All equipment will be locked up when not in use and under the supervision of a camp counselor. There will be no unauthorized access to Airsoft equipment.
Culinary Creations: Campers can try their hand at creating a culinary masterpiece. Cooking challenges and competitions will keep the fun alive in the kitchen as campers enjoy trying special ingredients and creating what could be the beginning of a new secret family recipe.
X-Treme Art & Pottery: Take your art to the extreme as you create a variety of art projects using all sorts of techniques and “canvases”. Campers will get to paint and glaze a ceramic piece to take home with them at the end of the session.
Solaris campers will be traveling off-site at various times throughout the week. Most programs will be heading over to Camp Sonshine to utilize the swimming pool, while the older Teen Adventure campers will be taking additional trips for service projects and excursions to state parks or other activity locations. Regardless of the destination, prior to any camp trip, campers will need to know and follow these safety rules.
Rules for the Road
- All passengers must wear his or her seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in motion and be seated properly in his or her own seat.
- A visual roll call will be taken whenever the vehicle is ready to leave. The vehicle cannot leave its location unless ALL program participants are present and accounted for.
- All trips must be reported to the camp office along with notification of the route taken.
- There will be no activities or actions allowed that could result in distracting the driver or interfering with the safe operation of the vehicle.
- Nothing should be thrown inside the vehicle or outside of the windows. Respect will be shown to other vehicles on the road and participants should not post signs, pictures, or make offensive gestures to other motorists.
- Only specifically approved songs are allowed to be played in camp vehicles. Movies are not to be shown in vehicles unless previously approved by a director and then only as an integral part of the programming.
- Personal bags and/or belongings should be placed underneath the seat or in any available storage space in the back. Personal items are not allowed to block the aisle way or exits.
- The “Four Camp Rules” are to be followed and remain in effect even on an off-site trip.
MEALS & SNACKS
Meals & Snacks
All meals will be provided for your camper throughout the session. We take great care in constructing menu options that not only appeal to the age and interests of our campers, but will provide them with the proper nutrition, and much needed energy, to keep up with the demands of the camp experience. We do our best to present a variety of meal options and an adequate amount at each meal to satisfy even the hungriest appetites.
Allergies & Dietary Restrictions
Due to the large number of campers being served on a weekly basis, Camp Solaris is unable to accommodate specific meal requests or dietary restrictions. If your camper has specific food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary concerns, you may send them with alternative food items for each meal.
Food From Home: If you need to send specific mealtime foods from home, please notify the office that you’ll be doing so. Be sure to label all containers as to their contents and which meal it needs to be prepared for.
*For specific questions about meals being offered or for a list of ingredients, please contact the office andwe would be glad to assist you in any way we can.
Campers are welcome to bring snack foods from home if desired. We do ask that campers try to avoid bringing any snacks containing peanuts or peanut butter, due to the seriousness of some peanut allergies. Snacks can also be purchased from the camp store as needed. Some snack foods will be provided for groups during special program events.
*Camp Solaris is a PEANUT SENSITIVE FACILITY. This means we make every effort to offer an environment that is safe for individuals with severe peanut allergies, but due to the number of guests utilizing camp throughout the year, we cannot guarantee that Camp Solaris is completely a PEANUT FREE facility.
CAMPER PERSONAL NEEDS & POLICIES
All personal items (clothing, towels, goggles, lunch boxes, sneakers, etc.) should be labeled with your camper’s first and last name in permanent marker. This ensures that personal items will be returned to the proper camper. We strongly suggest the use of these or other types of identification on your camper’s possessions.
SUN & HEAT PROTECTION
We want to make sure your camper is protected from the heat and sun, yet still allowed to have fun outside. We encourage campers to bring a water bottle (with their name on it), apply waterproof sunscreen and wear a hat when possible for protection from the sun. It is important for campers to drink water all day and our staff do their best to make sure that is happening. Sending a nice sturdy water bottle is helpful. You may purchase a Camp Solaris Nalgene at drop-off if you would like.
There will be bugs at camp. Our groups generally stay on paths, but from time to time may go exploring. We recommend that campers wear bug repellant everywhere – even on socks. If your camper has any allergies, please notify our office. We also encourage campers to do daily tick checks in the evening before bed.
For safety and security reasons, campers are NOT permitted to bring guests to camp at any time or for any reason.
Parents sometimes ask if they may visit their camper’s group for a while. While it may sound like a great way to see how your camper interacts with others, we have found that when a parent joins a group two things frequently happen: the group dynamics change and the other campers ask for their parents. In addition, each adult in direct contact with campers must have a background check performed. For this reason, visitors are not allowed to join groups.
If you would like to see your camper during the day, call the office, first. Then, you will be asked to stop in the office to get a visitor’s badge. After, one of our staff members will take you to the location of your camper’s group where you may observe the group from a distance and say a quick hello if you wish.
Camp offers a place for campers to unplug from technology. Therefore, cell phones are not allowed and parents should not expect to call or text their camper. If a camper brings a cell phone, they will be asked to check it in to the office until departure. Campers are responsible for any damage or loss of devices if they choose to bring them to camp.
What to Send
Space is limited so campers are asked to limit packing to one suitcase/duffel bag for the week and a smaller backpack/day bag. Please help your camper pack the following:
- Shorts and T-shirts for the week. You will receive 1 camp T-shirt.
- Underwear and socks for the week. 5 clean sets recommended.
- Pajamas and other sleeping comforts.
- Bath towel
- Personal Toiletries: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, contact containers/solution, shampoo, soap, brush/comb, etc. Please no make-up.
- Prescription medications. For information on sending medications, see the Health Procedures & Medications section.
- A modest swimsuit & beach towel
- A light rain jacket or pull-over sweatshirt. It can get cool some evenings.
- Neon clothing items (optional) for blacklight/glow-in-the-dark games
- Water-shoes (optional)
- Refillable Water bottle
- Sturdy, closed-toe shoes. This is a MUST. Campers will not be able to participate in activities in any type of sandal or flip-flop.
- Sun block and a hat
- Bible, Journal & Pen
- Money for the Camp Store & Snack Shack (Optional)
- Backpack for daily items
- Bedding for a twin mattress, blanket or Sleeping bag.
- Positive Attitude & a Warm Smile
The following items should NOT be brought to camp:
- Do Not Send – Tight fitting shorts such as Spandex may not be worn unless other shorts are over the top of them. Please no “short” shorts.
- Do Not Send – Large amounts of money. (Snack Shack money should be given to office staff upon arrival.)
- Do Not Send – Valuables such as radios, video games, rings, watches, cell phones, iPods, etc.
- Do Not Send – Chewing gum.
- Do Not Send – Water guns.
- Do Not Send – Animals, even during drop-off and pick-up.
- Do Not Send – Knives or anything else that may be perceived as a danger to others.
- No Notes Please – All communication with the camp should be called in to the office.
- Do Not Send – Trading cards (such as Baseball, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon)
- Campers should never carry daily medications with them (Emergency Medication Only). Parents must bring ALL medications, accompanied by a Drug Authorization Form, to the office.
- Please, NO open-toed shoes, sandals or flip-flops.
HEALTH PROCEDURES & MEDICATIONS
Key leadership staff at Camp Sonshine and Camp Solaris have been trained in CPR and First Aid and will take care of any basic first aid needs of the campers. It is important to remember that the staff members are not doctors and cannot diagnose injuries/illnesses or prescribe/recommend medication. Please notify the office of any medication your camper is presently taking or any condition not specified on the registration form. If your camper is sick or recovering, please keep him or her at home as a protection to the other campers. Any camper having a communicable disease must have a release note sent to the office by a physician.
MEDICATIONS AT CAMP
If your camper will need to take any medications during the camp day, please visit the website to obtain a Drug Authorization Form. This form will need to be signed by your camper’s physician and returned to the office, along with the medicine. For the safety of your camper and the other children at camp, Please DO NOT send any medication to camp with your camper in his or her bag. An adult needs to bring any medication into the office or give it to a director.
EMERGENCY CONTACT PERSON(S)
Please be certain that you have designated someone in the immediate vicinity who will be free to pick up your camper if you are not available. If you have specific instructions in regards to calling you during the day, please call and let us know (i.e. “call father first, he’s easier to reach”, etc.). Please be sure to update us regarding any changes in home, business, or cell phone numbers.
WHAT IF MY CHILD BECOMES ILL DURING CAMP?
If your camper happens to wake up feeling ill or starts to come down with something during the camp day, they will be taken to the first aid station for rest and observation by a camp staff member. If the camper bounces back after a little rest and do not have signs of a contagious condition, they will return to their group and be followed up with periodically. If your child continues to feel ill, or his or her condition worsens, you will be contacted to discuss symptoms, current treatment, and to work together on a plan for further care. The Camp First Aid Station is primarily a short-term treatment center, not one that is equipped to handle full-day nursing care. If your camper continues to worsen and the camp directors feel that going home is the best option for your camper, as well as the other campers, we will call you to pick him or her up.
Parents will be contacted to take campers home for the following reasons:
- Suspected strep throat
- Suspected Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Suspected Chicken Pox, measles or other contagious rashes
- Pediculosis (head lice)
- Skin rashes
- Any injury requiring a doctor’s care
- When the Camp Directors deem it to be in the best interest of the camper.
Major Medical Events
If your camper suffers from a medical emergency or an incident involving loss of consciousness, difficulty in breathing, or uncontrollable bleeding, 9-1-1 will be contacted followed by a call to notify you of the situation.
Our commitment to each parent and camper is to do our best to create a safe and fun experience which naturally requires an effective discipline procedure if a camper is creating a situation that is unsafe for himself/herself or for others. Safety includes both physical safety and emotional safety. If a camper creates a situation where a disciplinary process is necessary, we look to the parent to work with us to help the camper learn what are acceptable limits and boundaries.
All disciplinary efforts are based on these practices. When a camper’s behavior creates a risk for the emotional or physical health and safety of another camper or the staff, the following procedures shall be followed:
- The camper is separated from the problem activity or situation.
- A staff member listens to the camper and discusses the consequences of further misbehavior.
- Repeated misbehavior will be handled by separating the camper from the group and a telephone call or conference with the parent, if necessary.
- The parent, camper and staff agree to a plan that will improve the camper’s behavior, or the camper will face the possibility of termination from camp.
Our staff understands that children may misbehave and that the majority of camper misbehavior will be minor or inconsequential. Sometimes a child’s misbehavior may be serious enough to warrant adult intervention.
The following are some examples of serious misbehavior at camp:
- Refusing to follow instructions, directions, or safety rules.
- Disrupting the program process.
- Refusing to participate in program activities without just cause.
- Behavior requiring constant attention from staff.
- Leaving the group without permission.
- Inflicting physical or emotional harm on other children or staff.
- Inappropriate language.
THE FOUR CAMP RULES
The “Four Camp Rules” are a big part of our philosophy at Camp Sonshine, and they help camp to be a safe place – physically and emotionally – for all campers. If your child is new to camp, it may be helpful to familiarize him or her with the camp rules before camp starts.
- No cut-downs…because we want camp to be a place where campers feel accepted and loved. A cut-down is anything that is said or done with the purpose of belittling, intimidating, or attacking another for personal fulfillment and enjoyment.
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself…because we want campers to feel safe physically and to have their personal space respected.
- No whining or complaining…because there are better ways to express opinions and feedback. We want camp to be a positive place, and words should be used in a positive way.
- No talking when someone else is talking…because people are important and what they have to say is too. If someone is saying something important, we all want to listen; and when you say something important, everyone else will listen to you as well.
A NOTE CONCERNING HOMESICKNESS
Our staff are aware that not all campers have attended an overnight camp before and could get homesick. Even those campers who have been away from home could experience this normal emotion while at camp. When this happens, we will continue to include the camper in the fun activities and group interactions, so that he or she can be distracted in a healthy and positive way. We always strive to create a socially safe environment for campers to make friends, and to talk with their counselor at any time about how they are feeling.
There are a few things you can do before camp to assist your camper in making a positive transition into life at camp and away from home. Here are a few suggestions:
- Discuss Homesickness: Encourage your camper that these feelings are completely normal and are a sign that they will miss something from home because they love home.
- Emphasize the Positive: Tell them about all the great things they will do. Encourage them that they have what it takes and that they will be fine. Please be cautious that you don’t emphasize how much you will miss them and that you don’t know how you’ll get along without them.
- No Pick-up Deals: Avoid telling your camper that you will come and pick them up if they are homesick. This is a lose-lose proposition. Either you do come and pick them up, which will rob your camper of a great developmental experience, or you go back on your word and don’t come for them, which would erode the trust you’ve spent years building with your camper. It’s a crummy outcome either way so don’t make any pick-up deals.
- Communication: Send your camper with stationary and preaddressed, stamped envelopes. Campers may communicate home through “snail-mail”. This is a great way for them to let you know how they are doing and also allows them to express their feelings in a healthy way. Camp Solaris has a no phone call policy which prohibits campers from calling home during the week, which is why we encourage writing letters. Parents, however, are free to call the camp office at any time to speak with a camp staff member to discuss how your camper is doing. One phone conversation during the week could slow down or even reverse all the progress a camper has made in regards to overcoming homesickness.
- Trust the Counselors: Hopefully one of the reasons you choose Camp Sonshine’s Camp Solaris program for your family this summer is because of the amazing and nurturing staff Camp Sonshine is known for. Remember that our staff go through extensive training in how to work with children/youth and truly are great at connecting with and building friendships with the campers. Trusting our staff to do what they do best ensures that your son or daughter will have the absolute best camp experience possible.
All fees are due May 1, 2017. Full payment must accompany any registrations that are submitted on or after May 2, 2016. Payments can be made by check, cash, credit card (MasterCard or Visa only), or money order. There is a $25 fee charged for returned checks.
Requests for tuition refunds (excluding the deposit) must be received in writing at the camp office prior to May 31, 2017. No tuition refunds will be granted on or after May 31, 2017.
FEE AMOUNTS & EXPLANATIONS
Realizing that families have different abilities to pay, we’ve instituted a voluntary tiered pricing program. This pricing structure is voluntary, requires no paper work and in no way will affect the experience each child receives.
OVERNIGHT CAMP PROGRAMS PRICING
SEE OUR PRICING STRUCTURE HERE