1. How will I know that my daughter is doing well at camp?
A residential camp experience is a big change for most campers AND their parents. There will be times when you will wonder, “what is she doing right now?” You may get to know your mail carrier very well as you await a letter from your camper! We ask our campers to write a letter home at least once a week (on Sundays), but can’t promise it will be as long or as detailed as you may want!
Remember that you may call the ALC Summer Office (207-785-2400) to ask us about how your camper is doing. We will post newsletters, photos, and anecdotes about day-to-day life at camp on our website and social media. We do our best to capture images of as many campers as possible, but the goal is really to give you an overall sense of what’s happening at camp that week. If there are matters of concern, we will be in touch with you. Our goal is to support our families and foster the independent camping experience of our campers.
2. Why so many forms?
We know there are A LOT of forms to complete for your daughter’s summer at camp. But why? The simple answer is that we recognize the awesome responsibility we have to care for your child. The information you share with us helps us with your daughter’s transition into the ALC Summer Family. Even after you submit your forms, please call us at 207-785-2400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any changes.
3. What Camp Clothing does she really need?
We all wear ALC clothing while in camp. ALC aims to build a community that is focused on who we are rather than what we wear (have). Maine Camp Outfitters (MCO) is the provider of our camp clothing. Please remember that although MCO sells many items with ALC logos, the only items that are required to be purchased from them are listed at the TOP of the ALC Packing list. Families are required to buy MCO t-shirts and shorts, but campers can wear plain navy sweatpants or sweatshirts as long as there’s no brand/logo. Laundry is collected by our laundry service once a week and is returned within 24 hours.
4. Why can’t we send a package?
ALC has a no package policy (including no padded envelopes, etc.). Full information about ALC’s No Package Policy is available in your Parent Handbook; parents should share this policy with extended family members and camper’s friends. Follow the ALC Packing List, and you will ensure that your camper will have everything she needs. We have, on hand and free of charge to all campers, any supplies that she may “run out of” (toothpaste, pens, stamps, batteries, etc). Birthdays are an exception to this policy, as explained in our Parent Handbook.
5. May I call my camper?
Our experience has proven that when campers speak to parents on the phone it can disrupt their adjustment to camp. A once steady and happy camper, who then hears her parent’s voice on the phone, may become sad and wistful. Rather, we encourage parents to write to their campers. If your camper is celebrating a birthday during her time at ALC, we do allow a call from home, but ask that this is arranged ahead of time. Can I email my camper? ALC offers email communication for our West Coast and International parents only as long distances can delay mail deliveries. Emails should be sent to email@example.com and include the camper name in the subject line. Emails will be printed and delivered once a day when all other campers receive mail. Thus, no email letters will be delivered on US holidays or Sundays or after noon on each day. International and West Coast campers will be allowed to send one page, scanned letters to parents on outgoing mail days. We encourage International and West Coast families to send traditional letters and postcards as all campers enjoy receiving “real” mail.
6. How do I know if my daughter is trying new activities?
Our campers have a variety of activity choices each day. Campers are presented with three to five activity options each teaching period throughout their day. This allows our campers to pursue and explore their interests. Activity selection rests with each camper, perhaps with encouragement and guidance from their counselor. We encourage campers to try each activity at least once. If it is important to you that your camper participate in a particular ALC activity, we suggest you discuss your desires with your camper prior to her summer at camp. We also hope you will join us in embracing the spirit of discovery that is the foundation of ALC’s Activity program: through this autonomy, campers are empowered to discover more of their own interests and set their own goals. A few caveats to the ALC Activity Program: every ALC camper is required to participate in Red Cross Swimming Lessons; campers who choose to Ride will have set lesson times, grouped by skill; campers may sign up for Out-of-Camp wilderness trips. Selection will be made based on attendance and enthusiasm at Canoeing and Outdoor Explorations.
7. What is the food like at ALC?
A good meal is always important, and more so when campers are away from home and are active all day. ALC is very proud of our chefs and kitchen staff who work seven days a week to provide healthy, hearty, and delicious meals for our campers and staff. Our chefs offer many food options to our entire camp community with carefully crafted menu options for members of our community with special dietary needs. Our campers truly rave about the food at camp! On more than one occasion, our campers have asked our chefs to “please send that recipe to my parents!”
8. What is it like to live in a tent?
ALC Campers and Alumni will tell you that their summers spent in our cozy white platform tents were simply magical. Tents are the “home” for three to five campers (“tented” by grade and age ) and their counselor. Flashlights take the place of electricity and bathrooms and showers are a short walk from each end of the tentline. On sunny days, our campers roll up the tent flaps and enjoy the warm breezes blowing through their summer home. On rainy days, our campers batten down the hatches and feel safe, warm, and dry. Each camper has a camp cot, a shelf, and room for a trunk either beside or under her bed. Together campers help keep their tent tidy and clean.
9. Do you accept tent requests?
Some of our first year campers arrive at ALC with friends from their schools or neighborhoods and wonder if they might live in the same tent. We believe that one of the greatest opportunities of an ALC summer is to establish and explore new friendships and experiences. Thus, we intentionally do not assign first year campers to tents with their friends from home. Regardless of the tent they live in, campers have all day long to interact with friends of all ages: activities, meal times, evening activities, etc. Returning campers are allowed to send letters to the Directors making tent requests.
10. Will my daughter have a happy summer?
As the time draws near for the summer to begin, you may feel nervous and excited. We understand all of these feelings and preparation to “let go.” It all comes down to the most important questions: Will my daughter be happy at ALC? Will she be well cared for while she is at camp? Will someone take an interest and strive to understand her? Our resounding answer is “Yes, we are willing, able, and eager to take on the responsibility of providing your camper with a summer of magic, growth, and exploration.” The most critical part of our mission as professionals and leaders in camp is to care for each camper, and honor the trust you place in us as you share your daughter with the Alford Lake Camp family. Our outstanding staff are committed to helping provide amazing activities, surprises to share, fun built into each and every day!
More topics coming in the weeks ahead: Opening Day & Visiting your camper, and Missing Home, and Staff Training. Remember you can call and ask questions ANY time!