WELCOME TO CAMP SOLARIS!
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 Founding Directors
Camp Solaris Site Address: 2349 State Hwy 34B Spur Firth, NE 68358
Camp Solaris Office/Mailing Address: 13440 South 25th St. Roca, NE 68430
Office Phone: (402) 423-8746
Camp Office Hours
Mon – Fri 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mon – Fri 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Please note that during the summer, all calls to Camp Solaris go to our administrative office at Camp Sonshine, as the site directors are often out with the campers during the day. If they are unable to return your call during the day, they will do so in the evening. If no one is available to take your call, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS
Journey & Expedition (5 Night)
Campers entering 5th – 9th grade. Program from Sunday evening to Friday evening.
Solaris Adventures (3 Night)
Campers entering 3rd – 6th grade. Program from Monday morning to Thursday evening.
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:
- Journey & Expedition (5 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.
Stay in your vehicle – During these times, our staff will be fully available to guide and assist you through our drop off process. Please follow the directions of our amazing parking crew and stay in your vehicle. Our staff will make sure all of your paper work is in and health check-in is complete. Then they will escort your camper to their group.
Information verification – During the check-in process, 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 once everyone has arrived.
Transitioning into camp – 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 into camp life.
Expedition & Journey & High School Camp (5 Night Programs) Friday 6:30 p.m.
Solaris Adventures (3 Night Programs) Thursday 6:30 p.m.
Campers will celebrate the week with an end of session celebration complete with a viewing the session video. The whole family is invited to join campers and our staff for this celebration!
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, Crafts, Sports, Water Games, Kayaks, Fishing, Archery Tag, Low and High 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.
Camp Solaris is home to a one-of-a-kind Aerial Park. This 30-foot high challenge course provides a variety of elements for participants of all experiences and abilities, including over a dozen team and individual challenges for our campers to explore and conquer. When it’s time to come down, campers will get to take a leap to the ground using our vertical belay device or take a ride down the zipline.
Water Activities & Swimming
Not only have we built a new Aerial Park, but we have been improving 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! 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 in 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
RED – NO SWIM
YELLOW – May swim but only with a life-jacket
GREEN – 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:
Field Trips to Camp Sonshine
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.
We recognize that kids are different and have different interests. This is why we’ve created Open Choice. 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 available may include: Nerf Wars, Humans vs. Aliens, Pottery Painting, Rocketry, Aerial Park, Team Sports, Water Games/Slides.
Pottery Painting: Campers will get to express their creativity by painting their own designs on pieces of pottery, all while learning how pottery is glazed and what it takes to finish a piece of ceramic art. Campers will be able to take home their masterpiece at the end of the session.
Rocketry: This high-flying activity will have campers soaring to new heights! Campers will have the opportunity to build and launch a variety of rocket types and sizes. At the end of the week, the entire camp gets together to watch everyone’s hand-made rocket take a trip to the sky! All rocket construction is done by the camper, but engine safety and installation are handled by camp staff.
Aerial Park: For those adventurous campers who cannot get enough of the thrill of climbing 30 feet in the air, the Aerial Park will be available during Open Choice! With trained facilitators running the course, campers will have the chance to try as many challenging elements as they choose.
Team Sports: This Open Choice option is for the camper who enjoys friendly competition through a variety of sports! Campers will participate in a variety of activities including fun skill drills and game play. Sports may include but are not limited to: basketball, volleyball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, dodgeball, wiffle ball, kickball, etc.
Water Games/Slides: Sometimes you just want some extra time on the water! Campers have the option to choose more time playing supervised water games, sliding on the inflatable water slides, and/or paddle boating/boarding on the pond.
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. 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
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. Camp Solaris will have fruit available each day as an additional snack for campers.
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 and we 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. Afterwards, 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.
It has always been Camp Sonshine’s policy that campers and group counselors are NOT PERMITTED to bring electronics to camp, which include but not limited to: cell phone, smart watches, handheld gaming devices, laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. Not only are these devices expensive and can be lost or severely damaged in an outdoor camp setting, but their use also interferes with and even undermines a child’s complete camp experience.
We believe that being at camp is an opportunity for your camper to experience a world beyond home. This allows children and youth to develop autonomy, independence, and a stronger sense of self. It allows them to make new friends, take responsibility for themselves and other members of their camp group, problem-solve, and do a bit of maturing. These important developmental milestones cannot be achieved when parents are only a text or phone call away.
For some campers, this is the first setting where they are given the opportunity to make decisions without the input of a parent, while still being in a positive and supportive environment. Being “unplugged” is good for a child’s development. Growing in one’s ability to make decisions, deal with difficulties and navigate peer interactions builds resilience and is a vital piece of growing up and maturing.
Our Electronics Policy is designed to:
Encourage each child to spend more time in the outdoors
Promote socialization between campers
Remove the divide between “the haves and the have-nots” in each group
Remove the issues associated with the damage to and theft of electronics
Give your children a much needed break from the world of technology
Allow your children to fully embrace and “plug into” the connections they make with other campers as they “unplug” from their electronics
Ensure that your children are not exposed to inappropriate content & material
Ensure that campers cannot post camp photos of other campers on the internet
Ensure that campers are not focusing on uncontrollable situations involving friends at home
Prevent your children from hearing about situations and incidents concerning home and family members before their parents have a chance to communicate with them
Remind yourself why your son/daughter is going to camp. You’ve sent your son or daughter off for a new experience, and for a reason. Having your kids spend time with their fellow campers rather than texting friends back home will ensure a more valuable and memorable camp experience.
Connect the old fashioned way. You may miss hearing your kid’s voice, but nothing beats a letter from your sleep-away camper telling you about new friends and new experiences at camp. And for your kid, nothing beats a letter from home with news of familiar places and people, filled with expressions of love and “We miss you.”
Tech that Works. Send a digital or disposable camera – Campers can capture their memories without the worry of losing an expensive alternative!
Get updates and pictures from our Social Media, the Camp Sonshine Go! App, or sign up for Waldo Photos!
Send us an email – We’ll give it to your camper during the week (works great for overnight campers at Camp Solaris – firstname.lastname@example.org).
Snail Mail – Both paper and pen were new technologies at one point in history. Sometimes the most powerful words of encouragement or comfort come in the form of a handwritten note or letter from mom or dad. Mail your note to the camp office, postmarked four days before the end of your session for timely delivery, and we’ll distribute it to your camper.
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:
- 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.
- Shorts and T-shirts for the week. You will receive 1 camp T-shirt at the end of the week.
- Underwear and socks for the week – 5 clean sets recommended
- Pajamas and other sleeping comforts
- A modest swimsuit & beach towel
- A light rain jacket or pullover sweatshirt. It can get cool some evenings.
- Neon clothing items for blacklight/glow-in-the-dark games (optional)
- Water-shoes (optional)
- Pillow & bedding for a twin mattress, blanket or sleeping bag
- Bath towel & Washcloth
- Personal Toiletries: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, contact containers/solution, shampoo, soap, brush/comb, etc. Please no makeup
Every Day Needs
- Refillable Water Bottle
- Sun block and a hat
- Bible, Journal & Pen
- Backpack for daily items
- Positive Attitude & A Warm Smile
Prescription medications. For information on sending medications, see the Health Procedures & Medications section.
Money for the Camp Store & Snack Shack (optional)
Any and all personal airsoft equipment should be checked in upon arrival and not kept in suitcases or bags. (See Program Details for more details)
DO NOT SEND LIST – The following items should NOT be brought to camp:
Tight fitting shorts such as Spandex may not be worn unless other shorts are over the top of them. Please no “short” shorts
Valuables or Electronics (radios, video games, rings, cell phones, smart watches, iPods, etc.)
Animals, even during drop-off and pick-up.
Knives, weapons or anything else that may be perceived as a danger to others.
Trading cards (such as Baseball, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon)
NO open-toed shoes, sandals or flip-flops.
Medications – Campers should never carry daily medications with them (Emergency Medication Only). Parents must bring ALL medications, accompanied by a Drug Authorization Form to the check in table upon arrival.
Money – Snack Shack money should be given to office staff upon check in
BEFORE CAMP: OVERNIGHT CAMP QUESTIONNAIRE + HEALTH & MEDICATION PROCEDURE
OVERNIGHT CAMP QUESTIONNAIRE
Before your camper’s session of overnight camp, we’d love to get some information about them to best support them at Camp Solaris. Please go to your online portal and fill out the Overnight Camp Questionnaire.
HEALTH & MEDICATION PROCEDURE
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 your camper online portal. 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:
- Fever, Nausea/Diarrhea/Vomiting, Earache, Suspected strep throat, Suspected Conjunctivitis (pink eye), Suspected Chicken Pox, measles or other contagious rashes, Pediculosis (head lice), Scabies, Skin rashes, Any injury requiring a doctor’s care, OR 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.
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT POLICY
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 Solaris, 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 pre-addressed, 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 camper will have the absolute best camp experience possible.
All fees are due May 11. Full payment must accompany any registrations that are submitted on or after May 11. 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. No tuition refunds will be granted on or after May 31.
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 paperwork and in no way will affect the experience each child receives.