Frequently Asked Questions

What are Camp Hochelaga’s core values?

YWCA Vermont is driven by the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. We carry this mission forward in our culture at Camp Hochelaga by working to create an environment of full inclusion, social safety, and freedom of expression. Camp Hochelaga aims to be a place where any camper, regardless of individual identity labels, is welcomed into social, emotional, and physical safety.

Camp Hochelaga’s activities, social culture, and traditions center on building empowerment, self-confidence, leadership, and friendship.

What sources of expertise is Camp Hochelaga’s team working with to lay plans for a safe 2021 season?

Camp Hochelaga’s team recognizes the unique nature of the summer camp setting and is hard at work laying plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our campers, staff, and larger community throughout the 2021 season.

All plans, protocols, and policies related to safety and health, whether existing or new to camp for next summer, will be reviewed carefully by State of Vermont public health officials and the licensed physician who oversees Camp Hochelaga’s medical care standing orders.

Camp Hochelaga’s team is in close communication with camp directors from across the state and the country, some of whom ran safe and successful overnight and day camp programs during summer 2020. The plans, protocols, and policies Camp Hochelaga continues to operate with, or adds anew for summer 2021, will be specific to Hochelaga’s facilities and programs and will meet or exceed all safety standards established by the Vermont Health Department, Centers for Disease Control, and the American Camp Association.

How will Camp Hochelaga strive to prevent the spread of communicable illness?

As Hochelaga’s team prepares for the 2021 season, we are carefully considering each and every program area, camp activity, and camp building in the context of preventing the spread of illness. We are committed to examining our facilities, daily schedule and the structure of our programs, and adapting as needed to meet or exceed all health and safety standards put forward by the Vermont Department of Health and Centers for Disease control specific to summer camp operations.

We acknowledge that some parts of camp will not look the same as they have in past summers. And we recognize that because many parts of the camp day are primarily held in large, open outdoor spaces, there are many things that can safely stay the same! We are confident that Camp Hochelaga’s facilities, program structures, and community can adapt as needed to prioritize health and safety without losing the magic and spirit that makes Hochelaga such a special and unique place. For a comprehensive look at what we’ve changed for this summer, please check out our COVID-19 Guidebook. For more camper/family specific information, please see our Camper and Family Handbook.

If I’m vaccinated, do the COVID-19 policies still apply to me?

Yes! All of our policies are regardless of vaccination status. This helps prevent sicknesses that look like COVID-19 from spreading. If someone is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, they must go home.

What is Camp Hochelaga’s refund policy?

If, for any reason, your need to cancel your camp registration more than two weeks ahead of the session start date, Camp Hochelaga will refund payments made less the session deposit fee. If you find you need to cancel your camper’s registration within two weeks of the session start date, all payments made will be forfeited.

Robust preparations for a safe, fun-filled 2021 season at Hochelaga are well underway! As our team continues to plan and prepare, the safety of our campers and our community remain our top priority at all times. Acknowledging the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Hochelaga is committed to extending full refunds of all payments made, including deposits, in the unlikely event that we are unable to safely offer in-person camp sessions during summer 2021.

What is the age range of campers at Camp Hochelaga?

We welcome campers between ages 6-17 for residential camp and day camp. We also offer a 5-week Leadership Training program (CIT) for campers finishing 10th grade.

Where can I find camper medical forms, doctor forms, and the Family & Camper Handbook with details on camp drop-off, pick-up, and policies?

In addition to completing online registration, Camp Hochelaga requires the following forms* to be on file for each camper prior to arrival at camp:

  1. Camper Physical Form (signed by a physician within last 12 months)
  2. Copy of Camper Immunization Record
  3. Proof of Health Insurance

*To help us ensure the safety of everyone in our community, you may be asked to complete additional health screening forms and procedures prior to arrival at camp for summer 2021. We are committed to keeping you informed and will share any additional requirements or procedures well ahead of the start of the season.

All forms and the Family & Camper Handbook can be found on our website at https://ywcavt.org/camp-forms-packing-list/

Is there a suggested packing list for camp?

Yes! A list of suggested items to bring to camp can be found on the Camp Hochelaga website at https://ywcavt.org/camp-forms-packing-list/

If your camper is attending camp for more than 1 consecutive session, we suggest doubling the quantities of items listed on the packing list.

How can I view and print my camp invoice?

Camp invoices are available through your online registration account and include camp’s federal tax id number for tax filing purposes.

Can Camp Hochelaga accommodate unique dietary needs or allergies?

Yes. At camp we strive to accommodate the needs of any child that wishes to join us for camp. We will do our best to provide vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options at all meals. Our Head Chefs are highly skilled and qualified to navigate serious food allergies. Please list any dietary restrictions on your camper’s medical form and connect with us if you would like to talk further about a specific or unique need.

Can I visit or call my camper while they are at camp?

Sending a camper to camp for the first time can be a little scary! It is only natural that you would want to connect with them to check in while they are away. At Camp Hochelaga we recognize that this opportunity to check in is important. And we also know that when campers experience the safe and supervised independence of camp they grow confidence, self-esteem, and resilience. In alignment with our work to grow strong, confident, independent young people at camp, we discourage family members from connecting directly with campers by phone or by visit while they are at camp. Camp Hochelaga’s leadership is always happy to check in and give a camper update to a parent or family member over the phone. We value honest transparency and will communicate openly with family members about our observations of a camper’s experience.

Here at Camp Hochelaga we highly encourage letter writing as a way to stay connected. Families are welcome to bring pre-written letters to camp on check-in day, marked for delivery throughout the camper’s stay. There will be a station for letter drop off. We also deliver letters to campers sent by mail. Letters are a great way to stay in touch. If your camper is joining us for the first time, we encourage family members to focus letters on light, happy topics, and to avoid mention of how much you are missing them. Instead talk about how much you love them and how proud you are that they are off on the grand adventure of camp!

In the event of serious illness, accident, prolonged homesickness (two or more days) or other situations warranting discussion with the parents/guardians, the Head of Line, Camp Director, or Nurse will notify parents/guardians promptly.

How many campers stay in each cabin? Are they the same age?

For summer 2021, all cabins will have 4-6 campers, depending on the size of the building. All cabins are arranged by age so campers of the same age stay in cabins together. Each group of campers is mentored and supervised by a cabin counselor.

What is the ratio of campers to staff at Camp Hochelaga?

At Camp Hochelaga, the social, emotional and physical safety of campers is our top priority. Engaged supervision, support and guidance from our camp counselors and larger staff team plays a central role in maintaining safety at all times. In alignment with American Camp Assocation standards, Camp Hochelaga strives to maintain a staff to camper ratio of 1:4 and never operates with a ratio larger than 1:8 during times when campers are in cabins and overnight, and a staff to camper ratio that is never greater than 1:10 during daily activities. Camp counselors sleep near cabins, and counselors are directly engaged with campers during mid-day cabin times, and during meals, activities and transitions. Our camp staff team is trained to build positive mentor-based relationships with campers so they can offer individualized support, maintain a culture free of bullying, and meet the care needs of each camper in their group. Camp Hochelaga maintains these supervision ratios and practices during all off-site trips and changeover weekends.

How old are the staff taking care of my camper and how are they trained?

Camp Hochelaga’s counselors and program staff are all 16 years old or older. All staff under 18 are supervised by a staff member over 18. More than 80% of our summer staff are between the ages of 18 and 25. All of our summer staff participate in an intensive staff training program that focuses on prevention of bullying, caring for the physical, social, and emotional needs of children, working together as a team, and keeping children safe while having a blast supporting them to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things! Our Life Guard staff are American Red Cross Certified and participate in regular in-service training throughout the season.

What is Camp Hochelaga’s bullying policy?

Camp Hochelaga has a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying. Our staff are trained to prevent situations that could lead to bullying and recognize potential bullying so that they can intervene immediately. We work to support any child who voices an experience of bullying to feel safe, strong, and confident. We also work to communicate with the child who may have acted unkindly to understand the impact of their actions and find ways to be supportive and kind to others.

What happens if my camper gets sick while they are at camp?

We have a medical professional on site 24 hours a day at Camp Hochelaga. Our camp Health Team works hard to prevent sickness and injury by making sure campers eat well, stay hydrated, and have fun safely. In the event that your child gets sick or hurt at camp we will care for them in our medical facility, contact you if the injury or illness is anything more than minor, and place a call to emergency services if the severity of the health concern or injury warrants. If your camper is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they will be isolated from others, and cared for in the the Health House until you’re able to pick them up. Day Campers must be picked up within an hour of contact from the Camp Director, and Resident Campers must be picked up within eight hours of contact.

What is Camp Hochelaga’s head lice policy?

We operate by residential camp industry standards which state that no child or person with head lice can remain on site at camp. We will provide a discrete and thorough head check for all campers on check-in day. Campers with evidence of head lice (including live lice or nits) at check-in will be asked to leave camp to complete a treatment and will be welcome to return once entirely free of head lice, as determined by the camp Health Team.

Check the Camp Hochelaga Family & Camper Handbook for resources on lice identification and successful treatment! Camp Hochelaga strongly recommends checking your camper’s head for lice a few days prior to their first day of camp.

How will Camp Hochelaga keep my camper safe on the waterfront?

Waterfront safety is a top priority at camp. Our Red Cross certified waterfront director is on site 24 hours a day and works directly with the lifeguarding team to provide leadership and guidance. All of our lifeguards are Red Cross certified and practice in service training and drills regularly. The majority of Camp Hochelaga’s lifeguards are certified on site by the Camp Director who is a Red Cross certified Lifeguard Instructor. At Camp Hochelaga we divide our waterfront into separate swim zones and require that all campers take a swim test before they may enter the water. We also offer swim lessons free of cost for campers at any swim level.

Who can I contact if I am feeling nervous about camp?

We are always excited to talk about camp with you via phone or email. Please call our email our office anytime to talk with our Camp Director or our Assistant Director. They can answer any questions you might have and provide more information about any aspect of camp.

Camp Hochelaga also has a wonderful Family Ambassador Program to support families who are new to the camp community. The Family Ambassador program connects new families to returning camp families who can offer a direct parent perspective on the camp experience. Contact Camp Hochelaga to join the Ambassador program and connect to a returning camp family near you!

What is the Family Ambassador Program?

Camp Hochelaga’s staff are always happy to answer questions and talk further about camp, but we recognize that it can also be very helpful to connect directly with another camp family. The Family Ambassador Program connects new Hochelaga families with a family in your area who has been coming to camp for a number of years. Once camp makes the initial connection, families are welcome to connect by phone or email to get a direct family perspective on the camp experience.

Can my camper and I come out and see camp before the session starts?

Camp Hochelaga will be posting several tour videos on our website and Facebook page. Stay tuned!

If your family will be new to Hochelaga this summer and you would like to set up a private tour before the start of the camp season, we are more than happy to set up a time for your family to come out to Camp. We do acknowledge that scheduling may be limited. Our team will do their best to accommodate your family’s request. All family tours must be scheduled before the start of the camp season in mid-June. Camp Hochelaga cannot schedule family tours once camp sessions begin for the season. Give us a call to schedule.

If you’re going to camp for more than one week, can you go home between sessions?

In an effort to limit the amount of people at camp, we are requiring people staying for more than one consecutive one-week session to stay at camp for the change-over weekend. Our skilled staff will facilitate fun, engaging activities, and allow time for campers to rest to get ready for the next session!