Frequently asked questions

Q: Where do you get your summer staff? A: We are blessed to have a high return rate of summer staffers from year to year, usually between 40-50%. Beyond that, many of our summer team come from word of mouth recommendations of past summer staff or have come through the camp program as campers, and come back as summer staff once they are in college. For additional staff, Merriwood recruits at a variety of college campuses including Liberty University, North Greenville University, Piedmont International University, and Gardner-Webb University. Our counselors are required to be college-age. Our application process includes an extensive staff application, personal interviews, reference checks, background checks, and praying for the Lord’s guidance in our decisions. Q: Does Merriwood have a Parent’s Night? A: Merriwood does not have a Parent’s Night. We do not have room to accommodate parents and families of potentially 150 campers each week. Also, many of our campers come from out of town, which would make it difficult for parents to come from afar for an event like this. Q: What contact may I have with my child while they are at camp? A: Parents may send letters or care packages to their child during their camp week through the mail system. Merriwood also has Care Packages available for parents to purchase. Our staff put those packages together and deliver them during mail call at dinner time either Tuesday or Wednesday of the camp week. We do not allow campers to bring cell phones nor do we have a phone available for camper use. If there is an emergency, parents are welcome to call the office or emergency number. If there is a concern with your camper while here, our staff will reach you at the numbers you have listed in their account. Q: What if my child needs medication while at MCC? A: Our college-aged counselors are trained in First Aid and CPR and are prepared to meet the physical needs of their campers. For campers that bring prescription medications, we have a detailed form the parent will fill out online ahead of time (or upon drop-off the first day of camp). This will allow the parent to communicate the medical concern, the type of medication involved, what the medicine is for, the dosage amount, times it should be administered, as well as “as needed” (PRN) medications. The medications are primarily kept in our First Aid Room. The camper’s counselor will chart each time they administer the medication. (Merriwood keeps a supply of “as needed” medicines on hand, such as: bandaids, hydrocortisone creams, pain relief/fever reducers, wraps for sprains, Benadryl, cough drops, etc.) so parents do not need to pack these items. Q: What if my child is allergic to a food item at a meal? A: Merriwood serves several food items at each meal, which most campers can pick and choose from if they dislike something or are allergic to something. For minimal allergies, our kitchen always has cold cut sandwich items (ham/turkey/cheese/bread) available for campers, as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (assuming that is not their allergy). Please make sure all allergies are listed on your child’s medical record form. The counselor will have access to this information. If a camper has major allergies, please contact the camp office several weeks before the camp program and we can go over the tentative menu with you, to talk about special needs, and to plan alternative food items as necessary. We will try to work with the special dietary needs, within reason, but there may be certain needs we cannot fully accommodate. Call the office to discuss your particular situation. Q: Do you allow campers with special needs? A: These days, more and more children have special needs and are being diagnosed with specific disorders. If your child has special needs, please call the office to discuss their needs and for our staff and the guardian to determine together if Merriwood would be a good fit for both your child and our camp. Each need is different and each child diagnosed with something may handle it differently. When you call, we’ll probably discuss with you how the child has done in school (i.e. Is the child mainstreamed in a regular classroom and is the child able to function without additional staff assistance etc.) Our summer staff are college aged and are not fully equipped or necessarily trained to deal with specific special needs. There ARE specific camps designed for kids with special needs. If the parent thinks those camps would be better equipped to handle with the special need, we would recommend that. If we determine together that the child can be accepted into our program, the parents must enroll them knowing that we have the same standards of conduct for their child as we do for other campers. Just because a child has a particular special need, we cannot allow their child to bully another camper, be disrespectful to their counselor, demand extreme time and attention from the counselor, etc. If the child cannot adhere to our rules and stick with our program, (or if the camper’s needs are more demanding than the counselor can reasonably handle, along with the other campers in the cabin) the camper may be dismissed from our program. If the camper is dismissed early from our program (whether on Day 1 or Day 5 of the program), there will not be re-admittance to the program that week, and there are no refunds given or payment pro-rating. Q: What can I do to encourage my child to attend camp and/or keep them from becoming home-sick. A: Parents know their children better than anyone else. Although we’d love every 1st through 12th grader to attend Merriwood, some may not be ready at a young age. However, if a child is consistently stressed about the experience, it may be best to give it one more year before enrolling them. (All payments are non-refundable and non-transferable.) Once a camper is enrolled, we encourage parents to be positive and upbeat about the camp experience and to let the camper know they “expect” their child to stay the entire week. Phrases such as, “I’ll see you at the end of the week!” spoken in a cheery voice, are excellent! Campers that believe their parents, siblings, or pets will “miss them to much” have a tendency to end up worrying about what is back home and may think they need to be home so everyone is happy. Parents are discouraged from telling campers, “Call me if you need to” as there is not a phone available for camper use, and cell phones are not permitted. Parents concerned about their child’s well-being throughout the week may call the office if necessary. Our staff can check on the child and call you back to let you know how they are doing. We appreciate our parents being supportive of our policies. Q: What if my child becomes homesick while at Merriwood? A: Merriwood runs an interactive, structured program that keeps campers involved and active throughout the day. This usually helps to alleviate a child from “missing home” too much. However, if a child is showing signs of homesickness, the counselor will encourage the camper with the events of the day and try to keep them excited about the remainder of the week. If the camper goes gets to the point of crying incessantly or becomes physically sick, the counselor or a staff member will contact the guardian to let them know of the situation. It will be the guardian’s decision as to how they wish to handle the remainder of the week. Please keep in mind that there are no refunds for campers that do not finish out the duration of the program. Q: Does Merriwood lease the facility to other groups during the summer season? A: Since we run two weeks of staff training plus nine weeks of summer camp, we are not available for outside groups to run camps or to lease the camp from late May through mid-August. Groups interested in spring or fall retreats are encouraged to contact the office at 336-766-5151 o


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