Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some common questions regarding our programs and operations. Questions are divided by program area.


GENERAL

  • What should my camper be able to do in order to participate in Camp Fire Iowa programs?
  • What happens in the case of inclement weather?
  • How is discipline handled at Camp Fire?
  • I have a child with Special Needs. Can they attend camp?
  • How are injuries and illnesses handled at camp?
  • What if my child does not want to swim while at Camp Hantesa?
  • Are refunds given if my child cannot attend a week of camp that I have registered for and when is payment due for programs?
  • What are the qualifications of camp counselors/staff?
  • How much money should my child bring for canteen at Camp Hantesa and what is available?
  • Is there a waiting list if a camp is full?
  • How can I learn more about Camp Fire and see where my child will be attending?
  • What should my child NOT bring to Camp Fire?
  • How can I locate things my children have lost at camp?
  • How old does my child need to be to attend camp?
  • Is there any financial assistance available?
  • How can I donate to Camp Fire?
  • What is your adult/child ratio?
  • What if my child is on prescribed medication that needs to be taken during a Camp Fire program?
  • What is Camp Fire’s tax ID #?
What should my camper be able to do in order to participate in Camp Fire Iowa programs?

Your camper(s) must be able to attend to their personal needs, be able to move independently from place to place, and must be capable of effective interactions in group based programs.

What happens in the case of inclement weather?

Camp will be held in inclement weather unless dangerous to participants and staff. Camps have access to shelters and buildings to utilize throughout the program day. All programming is weather dependent, including horse riding, field trips, swimming, and other activities.

How is discipline handled at Camp Fire?

Camp Fire is interested in the welfare of all children. Participants in Camp Fire programs are expected to follow the rules of the program and obey the direction of the staff. A child’s failure or inability to follow rules or obey directions may cause a serious discipline problem. A serious discipline problem may also occur when a child hampers the smooth flow of the Camp Fire program by requiring constant one-on-one attention, inflicts physical or emotional harm on other children or their self, abuses staff, or is otherwise unable to conform to the rules and guidelines of the Camp Fire program.
If a child becomes a serious discipline problem, the staff will notify the parents of the situation and discuss a solution. If improvement does not occur, or a solution cannot be determined, the staff may recommend that a child be dismissed from the program. The staff will discuss the dismissal procedure with the parents, should a serious discipline problem occur. However, acceptance into the program is conditional on the above policy and right to dismiss a child from the program as outlined above. A child exhibiting behaviors that endangers himself/herself or others will have their parents called and will be sent home immediately.

I have a child with Special Needs. Can they attend camp?

Camp Fire is an all-inclusive organization. We accept any child that can maintain an 8 to 1 child to staff ratio and does not require medical needs beyond the capabilities of staff trained in basic First Aid.

How are injuries and illnesses handled at camp?

All of our staff are certified in First Aid and CPR/AED. Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, each situation will be handled on a case by case basis. Campers will be sent home if they are vomiting or have a fever of higher than 100 degrees. Parents/guardians will be notified as soon as possible in the event of an emergency. 

What if my child does not want to swim while at Camp Hantesa?

For Camp Hantesa, swim lessons are part of the camp program. If your child is not swimming, they will need to have a letter from the parent/guardian, or a doctor’s note excusing them from swim lessons. If a camper does not participate in swim lessons, they will not be permitted to participate in free swim that day. 

Are refunds given if my child cannot attend a week of camp that I have registered for and when is payment due for programs?

Refunds, not including the non-refundable deposit, can be given with five business days’ notice prior to the program start date. If no notice, or notice of less than five business days’ prior to a camp session, is not given, refunds will not be given.

A deposit is required at the time of registration and the remaining balance is due 5 business days prior to the start date of the program attending.

What are the qualifications of camp counselors/staff?

All of our summer staff are 18 years of age or older; Site Directors and bus drivers are at least 21 years of age. Counselors  must be able to lead and actively participate in sports/games with children, be able to effectively monitor behavior while using appropriate discipline techniques, and develop age appropriate activities.

How much money should my child bring for canteen at Camp Hantesa and what is available?

For canteen, no products cost more than $1.50 and we only allow children to purchase a maximum of one food item and one drink per day. Fresh fruit is available for children not purchasing items at canteen. Canteen is available daily. Items in Camp Store range from $1 to $20.

Is there a waiting list if a camp is full?

Yes, you can sign up to be on a waiting list through our online registration system by choosing the product you want to register for and clicking the button that says “Add to waitlist”. There is no fee or deposit required to be added to waitlist. Once a spot becomes available, you will receive an email notification and the spot will go to the first family that registers for it.

How can I learn more about Camp Fire and see where my child will be attending?

Camp Hantesa is available for director interviews and tours by appointment by calling 515-432-1417 or emailing hantesa@campfireiowa.org. For specific questions regarding our Ames and Des Moines program, please call the Camp Fire Service Center at 515-274-1501.

What should my child NOT bring to Camp Fire?

Use of electronics and personal items is not allowed at camp. Cell phones can be brought but must be put away unless there is an emergency. Please leave trading cards (Pokeman, Yu-Gi-Oh!) at home. Camp Fire is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

How can I locate things my children have lost at camp?

You can search the Lost and Found at your child’s drop off location or  you can contact the Camp Fire Service Center or Camp Hantesa by phone or email to ask for specific items. Please note that we highly recommend marking all of your camper’s belongings with their full name prior to attending any program. Any lost items not claimed at the end of each summer will be donated to the Goodwill after Labor Day weekend.

How old does my child need to be to attend camp?

Campers must be 5 years old to participate in Camp Fire programs. Each program may have different requirements and will be clearly listed on any informational materials you may receive. Please refer to individual camps on our website or marketing information to see the age requirement, or you may call the Camp Fire Service Center at 515-274-1501

Is there any financial assistance available?

We have a scholarship program called “Camperships” that are available on a financial need basis during our summer programming. You can apply by filling out a Campership Application and providing proof of income. Please contact Lacey Adamson to fill out our application at 515-274-1501 or lacey@campfireiowa.org 

How can I donate to Camp Fire?

Click the “Donate” button on our website, send a check to the Camp Fire Service Center, or bring in a donation in person.

What is your adult/child ratio?

Staff/camper ratios that are based on the recommended ratios set by Camp Fire and the American Camping Association are followed. General recommendations are found below:

– 5 years and younger maintain a 1:6 ratio for day programs and 2:10 ratio for overnights

– 6-8 years old maintain a 1:8 ratio for day programs and 2:12 for overnights

– 9-14 years old maintain a 1:10 ratio for day programs and 2:16 for overnights

– 15-18 years old maintain a 1:12 ratio for day programs and 2:20 for overnights

What if my child is on prescribed medication that needs to be taken during a Camp Fire program?

Medication can be given if it is in the original container with the prescription directions clearly labeled and a signed Health and Consent Form has been received. Camp Fire does not recommend campers be taken off any medication during a summer program that is taken during the school year as your child will typically spend as much, or more, time at camp as they spend at school. However, please consult with your physician to make any short term medical changes for your child. 

What is Camp Fire’s tax ID #?

42-0680459


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – DAY CAMP


  • What type of transportation is provided to take my camper(s) on field trips and/or to their Day Camp sites?
  • Do you have to pay extra for field trips?
  • What type of activities do you do at day camp?
  • What if my child cannot swim?
  • What if my child has food allergies, is a vegetarian, or gluten free?
What type of transportation is provided to take my camper(s) on field trips and/or to their Day Camp sites?

Camp Fire vans and buses are used to transport campers and can vary for each program, depending on the size of the camp/program and how many participants are enrolled. Camp Fire owns a number of 15 passenger vans and buses of various sizes that will are used to transport campers. All vehicles receive a DOT inspection prior to each summer as well as a daily inspection by the driver of the vehicle. For specific transportation questions, please contact the Camp Fire Service Center at 515-274-1501.

Do you have to pay extra for field trips?

Most field trip costs are included in the program fee; however, there are a few field trips that do require an additional fee. These will be expressed in the program brochure, at the time of registration, or by communication from camp staff.

What type of activities do you do at day camp?

Day Camp activities vary greatly for each program and also depend on the theme of the week. They can include arts & crafts, field trips, games, swimming, etc.

What if my child cannot swim?

Campers will need to be able to pass a swim test in order to swim in any water above their shoulders. If they cannot pass the test, they will not be allowed in water above their shoulders at any time. There is an area for every camper to swim in, regardless of their height or swimming abilities.

What if my child has food allergies, is a vegetarian, or gluten free?

Please let Camp Fire know about any allergies. Camp Fire will provide alternatives for food allergies and vegetarians.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – OVERNIGHT CAMP


  • Is there a way for my child to do laundry at resident camp?
  • What will you do if my child becomes home sick?
  • What does my child need to bring to residential camp?
  • What types of activities do you do at resident camp?
  • Can campers request bunk mates?
  • Can I contact my camper while they are at resident camp?
Is there a way for my child to do laundry at resident camp?

Laundry facilities are only available for campers staying multiple, uninterrupted weeks.

What will you do if my child becomes home sick?

The first thing that is important to note is that homesickness is very common for campers attending resident camp. Homesickness can happen with first time and returning campers. All of our counselors are extensively trained on how to deal with homesick campers. It is also important to note that fewer than 1% of all homesick campers return home early. In very rare occurrences do we allow the camper to call home. In most cases, calling home only makes homesickness worse and will only be used as a last resort. Please do not make deals with your child, such as, “If you get homesick, you can call home and I will come and get you.” These type of deals often paint the camper into an emotional corner and are frequently self-fulfilling prophecies.

What does my child need to bring to residential camp?

 A resident camp packing list will be included on your confirmation email and can also be found on our website under the programs tab.

What types of activities do you do at resident camp?

Resident campers participate in a variety of activities such as arts & crafts,  swimming, boating, camp crafts, climbing wall, orienteering, high and low ropes, hiking, photography, newspaper, target sports, team games, and much more.

Can campers request bunk mates?

Yes, but they are not guaranteed. Bunk requests can by added during registration. If you miss this field during registration, please call our office at 515-274-1501 or email campfire@campfireiowa.org.

 

Can I contact my camper while they are at resident camp?

Campers cannot receive phone calls; however they can receive mail or email that will be delivered to them at dinner time daily.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – CLUB

  • Who can I contact about Club Programs?
  • How do I start my own club?
Who can I contact about Club Programs?

Contact Owen Ballard at 515-274-1501 or owen@campfireiowa.org

How do I start my own club?

Contact Owen Ballard at 515-274-1501 or owen@campfireiowa.org



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – STAFF

  • How do I apply for a job with Camp Fire?
  • What are the qualifications of camp counselors/staff?
How do I apply for a job with Camp Fire?

You can apply for a job through our website by going to Employment Opportunities under our “Get Involved” menu item.

What are the qualifications of camp counselors/staff?

All of our summer staff are 18 years of age or older; Site Directors and bus drivers are at least 21 years of age. Counselors  must be able to lead and actively participate in sports/games with children, be able to effectively monitor behavior while using appropriate discipline techniques, and develop age appropriate activities.