Our leadership team has over 150 years of combined teaching and camp administrative experience. Along with awesome campers and a great staff we have the essential ingredients for a strong camp community. We understand the value of camp and we know how to build and implement a dynamic and diverse program that will leave long lasting memories of a wonderful summer camp experience.
This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions we receive. If your question isn’t listed, please let us know.
Big Oak FAQ
Camp Concepts is educator owned & operated. As a result, we have both the educational and camping experience that makes a Camp Concepts camp unique. We have a leadership team of experienced directors. Each director is a veteran educator, most of whom are still actively teaching. Each director also has extensive camp leadership experience. This particular team of talented and committed leaders has unprecedented teaching and camp administration experience.
Executive Director, Steve Haines, has been teaching for over 20 years and has worked in and directed camps for more than 20 years.
Our other Directors- Kevin Ochs & Steve Bernardini-continue to be active educators as well as innovative camp leaders.
Senior Staff Directors: Debbie Kirk & Tom Rice. are also all current educators. Activity Leaders: Our Activity leaders are usually career teachers. Their role is to lead and facilitate the games and activities throughout the day.
Counselors: Counselors are usually college age or late high school students with a displayed interest in working with kids to serve as a role model, mentor, friend and community builder.
Associate Counselor (AC): An AC is someone in their 3rd year of our leadership training program. They have previously served as a CIT & a JC and are utilized in providing excellent care of our campers. ACs are appointed by directors.
Junior Counselor (JC): 2nd year of young leader training. JCs automatically matriculate up from role of CIT from previous summer.
Counselor In Training (CIT): 1st year of young leader training. Application process on website. Must be 14 yrs. old by the May 1 to qualify.
Yes! Big Oak Day Camp utilizes two local indoor pools for our recreational swim. Our swim time is recreational but younger campers (ages 6-9) may receive small group instructional lessons during that time. Even if swim is not on the schedule for a given day, we encourage campers to bring bathing suits and towels everyday as we have a giant waterslide that is refreshing, wet and fun!
Yes! The cost of lunch is included in the camp tuition. Campers will be given a choice of two hot entrées to select from. In addition, they always have access to fresh fruit, salad bar, deli meat sandwiches, PB & J or the very popular Nutella! We also have fresh baked cookies on almost a daily basis! Our goal is to offer nutritious, kid-friendly options. Campers are free to pack their own lunch. There is always water and lemonade or iced tea available at every meal.
The majority of camp injuries are minor scrapes, bumps and bruises. We plan to have medical personnel on campus from 8:45-3:30 to care for the medical needs of our campers. We will also have access to medical personnel on call. In the event of serious injury, parents will be notified and appropriate decision will be made as to whether camper should be transported to nearest medical facility.
We have explored providing bus service in the past but the cost has been prohibitive. Bus service is an expensive service that, providing enough families requested it, could possibly be added for $150 per week. The bus service usually has a 7-9 mile radius from campus where they will pick up and drop off campers. We would not be permitted to transport campers who are not registered for Kindergarten for the coming start of the next school year.
Yes, as a convenience to families, our general camp program will begin each day at 9:00 a.m. and camper pick up will be at 3:30 p.m. For those who need to drop off or pick up outside of those operating times, we will have an add on service of convenience.
- A.M. Extended care will begin at 7:00 a.m. $60 per week
- P.M. Extended care will be available until 5:30 p.m. $60 per week
- Per occasional day use- for those unexpected times, simply give us a call and the service can be added on an as needed day basis. $20 per day A.M. or $25 per day P.M. We do offer a sibling discount when children from the same family are enrolled for the same AM or PM care service. Please contact Account Services Manager, Linda Schloo, 215-285-2537 for details:
You may select this service at the time of registration or may be added at any time throughout the camp.
You may always call one of the Directors. You can also reach out to Executive Director Steve Haines by phone at 267-261-4098. We will make director phone numbers and the nurse’s phone numbers available prior to camp.
Yes. Whereas we believe our on campus program is awesome, there are times we like to give the campers a different experience or change of scenery by taking them off campus for a field trip. In such cases, campers will be transported by a local bus transportation company. Most times, admissions cost are included in the camp tuition. There may be an occasion where additional money might be needed for things not included such as snacks, arcade games, etc. We will communicate these needs in advance. Off campus transportation is contracted through a local bus transportation company.
Summer camp is also known as “liquid sunshine!” We want to be outdoors as much as possible. We don’t even mind getting a little wet. Fortunately, the Big Oak campus has indoor space that can accessed as safe areas including a beautiful air conditioned gymnasium that can be divided in half and a two story school building. There may be occasion when on a rainy day we treat some or all campers to an unscheduled off campus trip to somewhere such as bowling, The Sports Zone or some other indoor fun destination. These decisions are often made on the day of and therefore notification to all families may not be possible.
We do many of the traditional or usual camp activities: arts & crafts (we call Creations), basketball, volleyball, touch football, soccer, street hockey, Ga-Ga and of course- Stream Stomping! We also have a variety of crazy fun games like Double Whammy Kickball, Jurassic Park, Tchoukball, Bulls Eye, Go For the Hoop and more. With our background as Physical Education teachers and many years of camp administrating experience we have a collection of over 150 games that are fun and have proven to be successful camp games. It is a big reason no two days are ever the same!
We also have many non-sport related games and activities such as dance & movement, nature crafts, wacky science, drama, baking/cooking, team building/team challenge activities, etc.
Grouping of campers is always a difficult task but one that is obviously very important to the campers. Many come to camp wanting to be grouped with a good friend. We will do our best to accommodate such grouping requests. There are two main grouping solutions:
- Campers placed in groups based on age (not grade level). Whereas we do try to accommodate special grouping requests, we will not guarantee that we can fulfill all requests. We do so by age because we will have a CIT training program. In order to be eligible a camper must be 14 years of age.
- Coed cluster age groups- we have done this in some of our other camps and have found it successful. In this grouping scenario, we have greater flexibility to group friends together as well as maintain number balance within groups.
Final grouping decisions will be made in mid-May, once the bulk of the registrations have been received.
Grouping requests- We do our best to honor grouping requests. In most cases, this is not a problem. However, please recognize the need to camp to be a social learning situation and sometimes groups may be at capacity or a different set of dynamics that need to be considered. It is also important for parents to realize that sometimes, what may seem like a source of comfort (to be with a friend) may actually be a social inhibitor. We find kids to be far more resilient than adults often give them credit for. Sometimes letting kids expand their social horizon and network ends up being a life-enriching, life-changing growth opportunity.
PA state laws permit students at the age of 14 to work. In order to do so, they must obtain a working permit from their local public school district in which they live. We do have a legitimate LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM for those beginning at age 14. In order to qualify, the interested CIT must apply for this position by January 15th of the year they intend to work. Because the working paper process requires time, it is necessary to require all interested CITs must turn 14 years old by MAY 15th of the year they will work. (applications are available on our web site) Direct all CIT or employment questions to Executive Director Steve Haines or email at CampConcepts@comcast.net
COUNSELOR IN TRAINING– this is the first year of a 2-year training program. The primary focus of the first year is for the CIT to be in a primarily observation role watching and learning from their assigned group leadership. The CIT will also be given various tasks and duties to perform that are essential the workings of our camp. CITs will be given direct and honest feedback throughout their summer of work. Although CITs do not receive compensation in the first year, for practical leadership training purposes we treat all CITs as employees and as such, require them to sign a contract and observe all the same employee regulations as any other staff member including arriving to work on time and for the duration of the camp season.
The second year the CIT automatically matriculates up to the role of JUNIOR COUNSELOR (JC). With one year of experience under their belt, the JC will be given a bit more leadership responsibility as they continue to develop and refine their leadership skills and techniques. JCs will also have duties and responsibilities related to the smooth operations of camp. Like all other employees, JCs are expected to observe all employee regulations and expectations including being at work on time and for the duration of the camp season. The JC year completes our two-year participation guarantee of the training program. JCs are compensated $400 for their summer work.
The third year is called ASSOCIATE COUNSELOR. Those who wish to be considered for an AC position must submit this request in writing (email or letter) by January 10th of the year they will enter their 3rd year of training.
The AC is someone we now feel is ready to take on the sole responsibility for running and counseling of a group. This individual will continue to work closely with our campers and staff leaders and they will also be the one who fills in for counselors if they are out of work. The AC may also have other duties and responsibilities necessary for the smooth operations of camp business. Like all other employees, they are expected to arrive on time for work and be available for the duration of the summer camp employment season.
For those who successfully complete their AC year, the camp admin team will consider all graduating ACs for a counselor position for the following summer. Formal application to be a counselor is NOT necessary for graduating ACs. However, a simple email or written letter stating the interest to be considered for an open counselor position will be expected by January 10th of the year they want to work. An AC is compensated $600 for their summer work and receive personal letters of recommendation and review.
Camp Concepts always seeks those who are qualified, energetic and passionate about working with children. We hire those studying to become teachers as well as professionals in the field. As the camp grows, so will employment opportunities. The structure we have utilized for many years, and one that has made our programs so successful, is one that utilizes and combines experience with leadership development training. In our camp, we have many experienced teaching and camp veterans who have proven to be strong leaders. Most often, these individuals are either in an admin supervisory role or are one of our ACTIVITY LEADERS (those who directly facilitate games and activities). An Activity Leader has proven their ability to facilitate large group activities, a love and understanding for camper behavior and who are proven role models and decision makers. Activity Leaders may also be “specialists” which means they have a specific area of interest or certification such as: arts & crafts, dance, archery, tennis, drama, adventure activities, etc.
COUNSELORS- Counselors are those who have demonstrated a passion for working with kids. Some of our counselors may have gone through our 3-year leadership development program or may have been hired because of a personal recommendation or from prior experience in working with kids. Counselors are dynamic personalities who understand that they are to be actively engaged with the campers in all activities. They are the cheerleader, encourager, big brother/sister, corrector, psychologist, psychiatrist, best friend, etc. They serve in many different capacities but do each role with the sole purpose of being there for their campers. Counselors are among the most important of all roles in camp. Our counselors tend to be those who are late in high school or college/university age students. More than their age, we seek those who are dynamic and trustworthy personalities who will positively impact the lives of our campers.
Complete the online registration and payment process. For your convenience, additional payments may be made online (credit card or eCheck) or by personal check.
Payable to: Camp Concepts
Business mail: P.O. Box 304, Jamison, Pa. 18929.
Yes! Registering one or more children for Big Oak Day Camp (and who attend at least 5 full days in our Little Buds age division) will receive a $20 per week sibling discount to the second, and each child after. All discounts are applied to your account internally. Contact our Account Services Manager, Linda Schloo, for details: 215-285-2537 or Accounts@CampConcepts.org
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