- Why Should I Send My Child to A Sleepaway Camp?We strongly believe that Camp Akeela is the perfect place for children and adolescents to grow as individuals, to become confident and independent, and to gain a greater sense of accomplishment. Every minute of every day is about learning how to live in a community. Because campers are living at camp, they have made the commitment to become more self-assured and self-reliant. They will learn to ask for help when they need it and to give support when others ask.
- How Long Are Your Camp Sessions?We have two three-and-a-half week sessions. We believe that 24 – 25 days is a perfect length of stay. While it is short enough to alleviate much of campers’ potential anxiety about being away from home, it lets them adjust to the new environment with plenty of time to really thrive and take advantage of all that Camp Akeela has to offer.
- Where Is The Camp Located?Camp Akeela is set on 400 wooded acres in Strafford, Vermont. (Our mailing address is in the adjacent town of Thetford Center, VT.) The camp’s cabins, facilities and program areas are perched on the shores of Miller Pond, a crystal-clear 65 acre lake that the camp shares with just one private home.
Akeela’s location in the lush Connecticut River Valley on the Vermont – New Hampshire border places it only 25 minutes from the charming college town of Hanover, NH. It is also a short trip to endless outdoor adventure opportunities in the Green and White Mountain National Forests. The camp is 2-1/2 hours from Boston and approximately 4-1/2 hours from the New York Metro area.
- Will You Help Me Prepare My Child To Go To Camp This SummerWe will give you lots of suggestions for preparing your child for a great summer at camp, and we do our part too! It starts with the work we do to get to know our campers and their families before they even sign up for camp and continues throughout the year in a variety of ways. We will be in touch by phone and email and will send your child information and fun gifts after he/she has been accepted. We know that for most Akeela campers, knowing what to expect helps them feel less anxious about something new. We share detailed descriptions of a typical day at camp and even lay out exactly how the arrival day plays out. Finally, our campers (and their parents) will have a chance to meet each other and our staff in the spring at our Open House at camp.
- How will my child get to camp?Coach buses will be departing for camp from selected locations. Our staff will be on the buses to help campers feel welcome and safe as they travel to camp. This is also a great opportunity for your child to meet his/her fellow campers before they arrive. If you prefer, you may drop your child off at camp by car. However, we do find that using the camp buses makes the separation easier and the transition into the camp community smoother.
- What kind of contact can I expect to have with the directors?
It is important to us that you know your child is safe and happy at camp. That is why Debbie and Eric and their amazing staff are always available to speak with you should you have any questions or concerns. In addition, we will call you if we have any concerns about your child’s success at camp.
- Can I talk to my child when he/she is at camp?
After your child has had a few days to adjust to camp, a phone call can be scheduled through our parent-only website. Of course, a staff member will be present as campers often do feel sad after calling home. In addition, our campers will send letters home on a regular basis. Nothing beats getting a letter the “old fashioned” way!
- Can I visit camp?
At the end of the camp session, you are invited to come to camp to pick up your child. We will be giving tours, serving lunch and introducing you to our camp staff. We’re sure that your child will love having you meet his/her friends and showing you around his/her new camp home.
- What happens if my child is homesick?
Our staff is well trained to help campers work through feelings of homesickness. The best way to “beat” homesickness is to validate campers’ feelings, while also keeping them engaged and excited about the many opportunities that await them every day at Akeela. Campers who can work through these challenges will feel more confident and will become more resilient as a result.
The first few hours at camp have the potential to be the most difficult. This is why we have our campers’ parents send up their belongings ahead of time. Our staff unpacks each camper, carefully preparing his/her bunk area, so that when campers arrive they are able to immediately jump into activities designed to help them feel comfortable in the Akeela community.
- How do you handle bullying at camp?
Bullying at Camp Akeela is not acceptable. We work very hard to help everyone at camp – including staff, administrators and campers – feel a strong connection to the community. Part of that connection involves respect for themselves, their shared space and each other. If anyone in our community feels that they are not being treated with respect and understanding, we dedicate all of our energies towards effectively resolving that situation.
- How do you teach social skills at Akeela?
Making friends, developing self-confidence, achieving independence, and treating others with kindness and compassion… these outcomes explicitly drive everything that happens at Camp Akeela. However, we also know that kids come to camp to have fun — not for social skills training! Luckily, camp life provided endless opportunities for real-life, in-the-moment social success. At Akeela, we work on social skills while campers are enjoying a traditional camp program.
A focus on important life skills underlies every activity at camp. For example, campers learning to canoe are working on physical coordination and athletic competence, as well as practicing cooperation and teamwork. What really makes Camp Akeela unique, however, is that this same canoeing activity is carefully customized to support the specific social goals of the campers in that particular group.
Because we know that every camper is different, we choose not to follow one specific social skills curriculum or therapeutic approach. Instead, conversations with parents and professionals throughout the application process allow us to tailor each camper’s experience with specific goals, strategies, coaching techniques and interventions. The end result is that campers take pride in their personal growth and and social success at camp.
- Where will my child sleep?All of our campers live in newly renovated bunks with private bathrooms, hot water and showers. Campers have plenty of space for clothes and other personal items. Each cabin group consists of no more than 9 campers, along with 4 counselors. Two of those counselors travel to activities with the group, ensuring that campers are always with staff members who know their individual needs.
- How do you decide which campers will live in a bunk together?
Along with assuring campers’ physical and emotional safety, and hiring a great camp staff, bunk placement is one of the most important tasks we face as camp directors. At Akeela, the process begins with our extensive camper selection procedures. Demand for our camp is extremely high and each camper acceptance is made with a particular bunk placement in mind. This helps us achieve the right “mix” of campers in each bunk, which maximizes the potential for success for all Akeela campers. Campers are typically grouped by grade level.
- What is your policy on electronics and computers at camp?
Many of our campers tell us that they love video games, computers, movies and/or television. They are often concerned when they hear that we do not allow electronics at camp! (The only exception is a music player without screen content.) We believe that camp is a wonderful opportunity to take a short break from technology. We know that if campers are looking down at screens, they are not having meaningful conversations and making lasting connections with their peers. Camp allows our campers to experience the amazing outdoors within our camp community and beyond. Of course, because so many of our campers have similar interests, favorite video games and movies are often a great conversation starter!
- Will you do my child’s laundry?A professional laundry service will pick up, individually wash, and return your camper’s laundry each week. You will only need to pack enough clothes for about 7 to 10 days.
- What’s the food like?Our food is both “kid-friendly” and healthy. Whenever possible, we use all natural products with low sugar content and no preservatives. We are sensitive to our campers’ dietary differences and will do our best to accommodate the needs of each child. There will always be choices at meals so that campers can learn to try new things while also knowing that they can always find something they like to eat.
- Are camp activities co-ed?Many of our camp activities are co-ed. Camp is a great opportunity for campers to learn how to best get along with peers of the opposite sex. Of course, many activities (and certainly all living arrangements!) are single-sex. We do not have “dances” or other events that have the potential to make campers feel uncomfortable. Instead, boys and girls live, eat and play side by side in a way that feels natural and relaxed.
- Who will provide my child with medical care?We have a staff of Vermont licensed nurses who live at camp and will be responsible for dispensing all medication. In addition, we work with a nearby doctor who sees campers whenever necessary. We also have relationships with a local dentist and orthodontist. In the case of an emergency, we are only 5 miles away from Thetford Center’s emergency response team. In addition, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is only 25 minutes away. Of course, our directors, key staff and many of our staff members are CPR & First Aid certified as well.
- How do I know my child will be safe at camp?It is reassuring for our parents to know that Akeela is on a seldom traveled dirt country road, set back from main roads or cities. At the same time, we are only 5 miles from an emergency response team and 25 minutes from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, Dartmouth’s excellent medical school teaching facility.
- How do we apply?
Apply to Camp Akeela online or call us toll free at 866-680-4744. There is no deposit or commitment required to apply and the initial application takes just a few minutes to submit. Subsequently, we will request additional application information from you, your child and the professionals who are currently involved in your child’s life. Once we have had an opportunity to review your entire application, we will contact you to follow up.