FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have your camp been in operation? What is your affiliation?

Camp Kiilarney has had an positive influence on the lives of children since it was purchased in 1957. Wanting to find a permanent place to hold its existing annual Summer Camp youth program, our Lutheran Campsite Association proposed purchasing the property from Mr. Chisholm. For several summers, the summer camp programs were held on site using tents. Its cabin/bulidings were first erected in 60's, the dining Hall in 1961, the bathhouse in the 1970's and the pavilion in 1990's. It continues to be a place where campers feel at home their very first summer. It is where new experiences can be tried and learned skills improved. Our traditional christian values and goals are reflected in every aspect of camp. From our carefully planned programs, experienced staff , emphasis on faith, safety, achievement, and a christian family atmosphere, Camp Killarney is truly a special place for our campers and their families. Camp Killarney is affliated with the Wisconsin Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELS).
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Is your camp licensed?

Yes! Camp Killarney is a licensed chidren's camp by the State of Michigan and must undergo strict annual state and county inspections. Although, we are not yet a American Camp Association (ACA) accreditated camp, our Camp Director is an ACA certified Director, attends ACA professional training conferences, and follows the standards set forth by the ACA.
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Who will be supervising my children? Who are your staff?

Killarney's summer camp is moslty comprised of teachers, human service and recreation professionals, as well as college students/graduate students who are pursuing degrees in child/recreation-related fields of study. Our camp director has been in the camping profession for almost 20 years. She is a graduate of Michigan State University, a certified camp director from the American Camp Association, a wife, a mother, a former high school advisor/coach, and an active member of her church. In the off peak season, she also enjoys assisting in her church pre-school program.

Staff come from all over the country. Most are from Lutheran Congregations that support Camp Killarney. All adult staff must submit and application and go through a hiring process that includes reference checks, background checks, central registry reviews, and interviews with our Director/Chairman. Jr staff and CITs also go through a hiring/acceptance process. We also conduct staff orientation/training programs that focus on a series of camp and child-related topics, which include: health/safety and security procedures, group management strategies, leadership and team-building, child development, and more. Each staff member receives over 15-20 hours of training before the first day of camp. Select senior staff leaders and our director participate in annual professional development opportunities in the camping field. We have a high staff retention rate creating an experienced staff.

Our staff possess exceptional skills, a commitment to the development of each camper and have sensitivity to their needs. They continually offer a helping hand and give each camper the confidence needed to try activities. They encourage campers to grow, to learn, to trust in their abilities and to believe in themselves. Above all, our staff has the determination and the dedication to make a difference in the lives of children and to help them learn the love of God and the saving grace of Jesus.
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Will I be able to meet the camp staff before the start of camp?

Yes. We will be holding a summer camp open house/orientation in June.Many camp staff will be present and available to meet and speak with parents and campers at this event. At this time, you will also be able to pick up all important camp-related materials. You can also sample activities and take a peek inside our cabins. It is extremely encouraged that campers and their families attend Family Orientation.
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Do you offer transportation?

We assist families who would like to form carpools, but we do not offer a bus service. If you need assistance getting to camp, you may contact the camp director to see if there are other families in your area coming the same session.
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When will I know if my child is enrolled?

Once your deposit is sent in, your registration form will be processed. Please use your cleared check as your receipt. If we are provided with an email address, a staff member will send you a welcome e-mail that your form has been received and let you know the date of open house and check-in. If you prefer a postcard, please designate on your registration form. In June, families may either receive their welcome packet at Camp Open House or after the orientation, by postal or e-mail.
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Does my child need a physical by our doctor? Can my child come to camp if he/she has been ill?

No. you do not need a physical from your doctor. You do need to know dates of immunizations and other medical related information. No. Your child cannot come to camp if he/she has a fever or something contagious/communicable. Please communicate allergies and special needs way in advance of your arrival.
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Can my child attend more than one session?

Yes. You may choose as many sessions as you like, as long as space is available. We have had a wait list. Registering early is the best way to secure a spot, take advantage of discounts and coupons (link), and avoid waitlists. A $50 deposit is the only amount required to secure a spot (some discounts require full payment).
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How are your campers grouped?

Campers are grouped according to age and grade level. If you would like your child grouped with a friend, please write his/her friend's name on your child's application. We try to accommodate reasonable requests within similar age groups. Note that all campers are housed in a dormitory style cabin. Groups are intended to help with safety, small group discussions and skits, and shower times. Most acvtivities are chosen by the camper leaving the possibility open for friends to choose the same activity.
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What are your NEW "age level groups"?

Age level groups are the names we give to camper groups who have reached a certain age. Each group would be entitled to certain priveledges or have a slightly different schedule. For example, the youngest campers (up to age 10) would have bunk choices in one section of the cabin and a slightly earlier to bed time than our older campers. Ages 11 and up would bunk in the front section shortly after. Our 8 graders, attending their last year at adventure camp, may have the option to reside in our senior camp tent village (subject to availability). This group would have their own village counselor and their own unique unit. Special morning and evening activities will be available to this Senior group.
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Do you have a Camp Health Officer on staff?

Yes. There is a nurse, certified camp health officer, or first responder on duty 24/7 while camp is in session.
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What happens if we cannot pick up our child at the time designated?

We do not provide an after camp program of care. Please speak with the director directly to talk about any time conflicts. State regulations require us to follow guidelines for campers left at camp without notification. Note: your child cannot be released to anyone not listed as an "authorized" pick up person.
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What is your meal program and what if my child is a "picky" eater?

We provide each camper with 3 full nutrious and satisfying meals and two snacks everyday. Fluids are served anytime. Our menu always has several choices. Breakfast menus always contain cereal. Lunch and Dinner subsitutions are available upon camper request. Please encourage your child to try what is being served. Our menu is reviewed by a certified dietician.
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How do we stay informed about the camp's happenings throughout the summer?

At Family Open House/Orientation, you will receive a welcome packet that will include important forms related to your child's stay at camp. Included will also be a packing list, check-in/check-out times, and general camp information. Additionally, our staff members are available to speak with you personally, and they welcome any questions, feedback or suggestions that you may have. You may visit our webpage any time for forms, a calendar of other events, pictures, blog comments, and contacts. We also have a facebook page. Our director will also send period email messages/newsletters to families throughout the year.
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What should my child bring to camp?

A complete list of items to bring is provided in your camp packet. It is also available on our website here. Please include your child in the packing process. Knowing what is packed, will make his/her responsibility of keeping track of belongings much easier.
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Why can't my child bring their cell phone, laptop, or ipod?

In today's culture we are finding ourselves continually "plugged" in. At camp, it is our policy to "un plug" and focus on building healthy relationships, life skills, and developing trust from other caring adults . Not only are these devies expensive if they are lost or damaged, bringing electronics to camp distracts from these fundamental goals. We ask that you support us in fostering an environment at camp that encourages campers to be stong and independent. This can be difficult to attain while a camper is texting, checking email, or calling home. This may be the only time that they may be in a technology free environment and be able to focus on being a camper 100% of the time. Send your child to summer camp not their phone!
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What does your camp do in the case of extremely hot days or bad weather?

Weather is monitored daily. On inclement weather days, we can go inside or under a covered shelter without any activity interruption. High adventure activities such as swimming(storm) would be postponed. Also, each camper is encouraged to drink water at regular intervals. Campers are to bring their own water bottles. If one is forgot a camper can purchase one from the camp canteen using their store credit. On excessively hot days, high activities are limited. We have water coolers with cups placed throughout the camp. In the event of a storm warning or tornado warning, we have safety procedures in place to keep everyone safe. We have designated buildings used for shelter from weather. Drills are perfomed to practice what to do in the event of an emergency.
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Do campers do the same activities every day?

Campers follow a consistent, well-planned, rotating schedule of activities, which include arts & crafts, Bible class, sports, swimming, and evening mass games. In addition, every Genesis and Adventure camp offers different choice activities. Campers will choose the activities they want for the week. By structuring our day, we can gear our activities to the age level of each group and foster an environment in which campers can enjoy new experiences. A rest time is provided each afternoon.
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Will my child learn to swim?

Yes! Instructional swim is a choice acitivity. Campers who choose swim lessions can participate in a daily instructional swim program and is taught by our certified lifeguards. Our program, which stresses water safety at all skill levels, enables each camper to progress at his/her own pace. Your child will receive a ribbon for each new swim level achieved. Our swim program has a low camper-to-instructor ratio and a high level of supervision and individualized attention.
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How do you address reluctance to swim?

Our goal is to teach the camper how to be safe in the water, however a camper is never forced to swim if they have a fear of the water. The first step is to help a camper become comfortable with his or her instructor. Once that happens, we focus on water adjustment and skill progression. We have great experience in teaching campers how to swim for the first time and, with our low camper-to-instructor ratio, we also can take intermediate swimmers to higher skill levels.
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My child doesn't know how to swim, does he/she have to swim?

Each child is tested at the start of camp as to their skill level. They will only be allowed to swim at the level.
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How much time is spent indoors vs outdoors?

Campers spend most of their day outdoors. We have indoor/covered facilities to run some of our programs and provide shelter in the event of rain or extreme heat. Most meals are served indoors in our Dining Hall.
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Do you offer a naptime or rest period?

We have scheduled restime each day. Campers are encouraged to rest or sleep during this mid-day rest period. Every activity is designed to be age appropriate, with our heavier activities in the morning and our lighter activities in the afternoon.
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What kind of child would enjoy Genesis Camp?

Geneis Camp is for the child who wants to try sleep away camp for just a few days. It is also a great option for those who have a full summer schedule or who have a limited budget and still want to come to camp. It's a great introduction to our full Adventure camp program. Many campers start out at Genesis camp their first year and try adventure camp the second or third year. Many stay at Genesis until their age level requires them to move up to adventure camp. Our camp is designed to accommodate campers of all skill levels. We familiarize the campers with the activities by introducing them to the fundamentals of each one. Particular activities may be only offered once vs that of Adventure camp where they may be offered two or three times.
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How competitive is Camp?

While competition does take place in Camp, our program mainly promotes and introduces the development of activity/life skills, sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership and self-confidence.
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Will my child be able to try everything at Camp?

Campers can choose to try different camp choices in addition to our whole group programming. Our Adventure camp schedule permits that all the activities we offer during adventure camp are usually offered more than once for those who want to learn more depth of a certain activity.
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What time should I arrive on opening day?

Please arrive at the schuduled time. These time will be given in your camper packet and/or at camp orientation. Is important that you do not expect to register before your scheduled time as camp staff are busy getting ready for your arrival. Typically check-in times are on Sunday afternoon for our teen, genesis, and adventure camps.
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Can I drive up to the cabin to drop off my camper's gear?

No! For the safety of arriving campers and the staff, please park in the designated parking lot and walk your child and his/her gear to their designated check-in area and cabin. A staff member will be available to assist you if you need help. Check-in time is a very busy and exciting time. For safety and fairness, you must register your child first at the check-in table before you can move in your belongings.
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My child has a special diet, can you accommodate it?

Camp Killarney has accomodated special diets. It is essential that you please speak with the director and head cook directly if you have concerns over the menu, one month, prior to your participation in camp. This will give us enough time to consider making menu/staff adjustments before your child arrives.
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Do campers shower everyday?

Campers must shower, at least, every other day. The group counselor is in charge of monitoring shower schedules at our on-site shower facility.
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How are children transported for field trips?

For large field trips , campers are transported by school bus. The bus is driven by a certified bus driver and has been backgrounded check adhering with the same state and camp policies as the rest of the staff. Group counselors are assigned to each field trip group. Small trips during teen camp may involve teens being transported in approved staff vehicles with adult drivers and chaperones.
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What if my child is homesick?

Homesickness is a natural part of separation. Our caring and experienced staff are sensitive to your child's needs. Each counselor has been chosen carefully and trained to help your child through this transition. In the rare instance that your child's homesickness becomes severe and takes away from the overal camp experience the director will contact you personally to discuss solutions for your child.
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Can I write letters or e-mail?

Mail is a fun part of our day! We highly encourage all families to pre-write letters to their child and we will deliver them during our daily mail call. Mon-Fri mail boxes will be provided at check-in for your letters. Keep letters general as to not suggest that they are missing out on things while they are gone while asking positive questions about their experience. Please refrain from sending a letter with bad news of a pet or relatives illness/death or other sensitive matters. Camp is a unique time for a child to learn independence and be able to try things in a different and safe environment. E-mail can be accepted on a limited basis (please speak with the director).

Mail can also be sent to Camp Killarney, 1200 Chisholm Rd, Onsted, MI 49265
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Telephones/Voicemail

There are no telephones available for camper use, so please do not suggest to your child that this is an option. If there is an emergency or illness, we will conctact you.

We do have a voicemail for parents. If you have a question for the director, please call 517-467-7603. Please leave a voice mail and a member of our Leadership team will return your call. This office is monitored periodically between 9:00am and 8:00pm. If you have an emergency and cannot wait for a return call, please call our campground business office at 517-467-4511.
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Can my child bring cash or snacks? What is store credit?

No, we do not permit cash or snacks to be brought into camp (special diets discussed with the director is theexception). Because camp is in a natural setting, bringing snacks to camp can create an environment that attracts unwanted insects or critters. This can be uncomfortable for all campers. Cash can be easily misplaced, so we offer campers the option of Store Credit. At check-in parents can leave any amount up to $10.00 as credit in our camp canteen. Items in our canteen range in price from 25cents to $2.00 and include candy, chips, water, and drinks. Campers have the canteen time once daily (weather and time permitting). Store credit is not refundable, however, you may use any remaining balance after check-out. Please tell your child they have store credit and hand the group counselor their credit coupon.
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If my child wets the bed, can s/he still attend camp?

Yes. Our staff is trained to deal with bedwetting discreetly. Please notify the camp health officer and your child's counselor at check in and on the camper information form. Our staff will work with your child in the same preventative manner that is used at home (using the restroom before bed, avoiding liquids after a certain hour, or using "Good Nights/Underjams" that you have provided). Campers should be instructed to ask their counselor for help and every effort will be made to prevent bedwetting. Please encourage your child to choose a lower bunk for ease in getting up during the night. If one is not available, a counselor will assist you in making a switch. While we do have washing facilities available off site, we suggest parents consider sending extra pajamas and sleeping bag if you believe your child may experience bedwetting while at camp.
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What is family camp?

Family camp is our weekend program that includes the entire family. Parents and Grandparents are encouraged to attend. Meals are provided for all registered participants. Scheduled activities and swimming are available for children, including a kids club that allows parents some time to discover camp on their own. Enjoy camp at your own pace choosing to attend the programs that interest you and your family. Opportunities for family events (like family fear factor or family olympics) are scheduled each family camp weekend. Choose to start your day with a, pastor lead, adult and/or children's bible devotion on Saturday. Many families choose to attend family camp on the weekend and then send their children to one of our other camps during the week. Others, bring young children who are not quite ready for summer camp. Teens enjoy some fellowship with other teens. At any age, family camp is a great time for all.
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What other programs does your camp offer?

Currently, our summer camp/ program office offers Family camps, Teen camp, Genesis mini camp, and two Adventure camps between June-August. During the school year our program expands to offer outdoor education, rental groups, and school field trips offerring a range of educational and recreational choices and meal plans. If you are a teacher, group leader or coach and would like to schedule a field trip, please contact the Director directly.

Special Events inlcude an annual Family Fall Fest each October. This program is a low cost family program with many free activities, hay rides, food and more. It also offers a mid-season opportunity to visit with camp staff from the summer. We also host a Memorial Day Chicken BBQ, Archery Camp out, Church weekends/picnics, and Labor Day Pig Roast. A separate campground is also available for families to camp between May and October. See the Campground, Programs, or special events part of the web site for more information.
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