What role do you play for HFH Summer Camps?
My role at HFH is to recruit the campers. It’s important for the parents to trust the program and the people who their kids are going to spend their summer with. I want them to know that we are here to provide a safe, productive, and positive experience for all the children. A big part of what I do is be present at all the residences throughout the year: connecting with the afterschool and recreation programs, setting up recruitment tables with fun camp-themed items and activities, and be available for the families in case they have any questions or concerns. I want to have effective communication with the families, so that they feel comfortable asking me difficult questions, asking for information, and communicating their concerns. I’m here to help. My overall goal throughout the year with camper recruitment is to show up for the families, get the kids excited about attending, and make this an easy transition as the summer arrives!
What was your experience like going to summer camp growing up?
My experience with summer camp growing up was a great one. I was able to meet kids that were outside of my regular community and learn how to interact, understand, and have fun with them. Counselors were also there to guide me and show me how to learn new skills that I would carry with me throughout life. That’s what we want to do here at HFH—give the kids the same experience and the same tools that I had when I went to summer camp.
Why should kids go to HFH Summer Camps?
Camp Wakonda is a great place for kids to learn, grow, and build a community that understands them. Sometimes, it is difficult for kids to connect with each other. Summer Camps gives them the opportunity to interact with other children who understand their living situations. It is truly a bonding experience. Another great thing is that we have counselors who have experienced similar circumstances and are ready to assist the children with proper guidance and understanding through challenging times.
I also think it is good for kids to get out of NYC and get some fresh air … to be out in the wilderness doing things they don’t normally experience like swimming in a lake, taking free swim lessons, connecting with nature, learning about animals and the environment, trying different foods, and just opening them up to different experiences that daily life in the city doesn’t allow them to have. HFH provides this to them, and the best part is that it’s free for the parents!
Can you walk us through the registration process?
Applying for HFH Summer Camps is very easy! We are now sending out applications through our new Camp Docs Platform, simplifying the process for the parents. They answer a few general questions, give us details on their children’s behavior, eating, and social habits. Two important things we need for a completed application are their child’s most updated immunization forms and their insurance card. An application can be completed in 10 minutes.
What are some of the questions that parents ask you and what do you tell them?
Is it free?
How far is the camp?
HFH Summer Camps are located an hour north of NYC in Harriman State Park.
What are the sleeping arrangements? Are boys and girls separated?
Camp Wakonda is for both boys and girls, but they are separated by cabins. Bathrooms are also separated into two sides: a boys’ section and a girls’ section. The kids usually all come together for meals and big activity days such as the Carnival, Christmas in July, glow parties, and more.
How do you handle if my child is homesick?
It’s normal for kids to be homesick, and we understand that a lot of the time it is their first time being away from their family for multiple days overnight. Just like any other new experience, when you are out of your comfort zone you can feel vulnerable. We have trained counselors who are ready to deal with these situations, and we are here to guide the kids and help them understand these emotions. We also let them know that they can give their parents a call anytime to check in, which may also help them with the transition. This is also an opportunity for them to connect with the other kids, who are dealing with the same emotions.
How do I know that my children are safe?
Camp counselors take Lifeguard, CPR, First Aid, Sexual Abuse, Behavior Management, First Aid Mental Health, Camp Professionalism, and Boundaries trainings. We also give parents a call to assure them that their kids have arrived safely at camp and send them photos and updates throughout their stay. It puts parents at ease to see that their kids are having fun and in good hands.
How to register your child:
Families residing at any of the five HFH family residences can register their kids, ages 7-11, for the following sessions:
- Session 1: July 5 – July 12
- Session 2: July 19 – July 26
- Session 3: August 2 – August 8
To register for HFH Summer Camps, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Loribeth Nunez, Camp Operations Associate, at Lnunez@hfhcamps.org or Tyrone Squire, Camp Administrator, at TSquire@hfhcamps.org.