Frequently Asked Questions

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


GENERAL

  • Is there a Parent Handbook?
  • 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?
  • What do I do if my child cannot attend a day of camp or needs to arrive late?
  • 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 #?
Is there a Parent Handbook?

Yes! Our parent handbook contains all of our camp policies, safety procedures, camp contact information, and some fun bonus activities for the campers. You can access the parent handbook here.

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?

Disciplinary Action

Camp Fire is interested in the welfare of all participants. Participants in Camp Fire programs are expected to follow the rules of the program and the direction of the staff. A participant’s failure or inability to follow rules or staff directions may result in disciplinary action.
Disciplinary action may be called for when a participant disrupts program by requiring constant one-on-one attention; inflicts physical or emotional harm on others; abuses staff or is otherwise unable to conform to the rules and guidelines of the Camp Fire program, this includes repeated cell phone usage.

When disciplinary action is called for, staff will notify the parents/caregivers of the situation and discuss a solution. If improvement does not occur, the following steps will be taken:
Camp Fire reserves the right to accelerate the disciplinary process as it sees fit and based on the severity of the incident. Parents/caregivers will be notified any time a child is exhibiting behavior that endangers themselves or others and may be sent home immediately.

  • First incident: Parent/caregiver will be informed of incident by phone or at pick up.
  • Second incident: Parent/caregiver will be called and informed that the participant has been suspended for the rest of the day. Parent/caregiver should make arrangements for the participant to be picked up as soon as possible.
  • Third incident: Parent/caregiver will be called and informed that the participant has been suspended from camp for the rest of the week. Parent/guardian should make arrangements for the participant to be picked up as soon as possible.
  • Fourth incident: Parent/caregiver will be called and informed that the participant has been suspended from camp for the rest of the summer. Parent/guardian should make arrangements for the participant to be picked up as soon as possible.

Registration fees will not be reimbursed for the remainder of a camp session following a participant’s suspension.

If a participant is suspended for the remainder of the school year, they will not be expected to pay any registration fees for weeks they will be unable to attend.

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.

What do I do if my child cannot attend a day of camp or needs to arrive late?

Absences, Late Pick-Up, & Disciplinary Action

  • If the program participant is ill or cannot attend camp for any reason, the Camp Fire Service Center should be notified prior to the program’s drop-off time at 515-274-1501 or by email at campfire@campfireiowa.org.
  • If the program participant is not picked up by the program’s end time, a fee of $15 will be charged. After 15 minutes, if the participant is still at the program an additional fee of $1/minute will be added. The fee will be charged to the camper’s account and paid via the payment method on file.
  • If the program participant is suspended from a program during the course of disciplinary action, program fees will not be reimbursed for that program. If a participant is suspended for the remainder of the season, they will not be expected to pay any camp fees for weeks they do not attend.
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 and Cancellations

  • Cancellation requests must be made via email to campfire@campfireiowa.org.
  • Refunds or camp credit, excluding deposits, will be given upon cancellation with at least 10 business days’ notice.
  • Cancellations made less than 10 business days in advance will not be refunded and fees will not be transferred to another program.
  • If the program participant leaves camp early due to illness or injury, the registration fee may be refunded at a pro-rated rate, or the child may be able to attend a later session. If the program participant leaves camp early or arrives late due to homesickness, behavior issues, or for any other reason, there will be no refund or pro-rated fees.
    • Special circumstances may be considered on a case-by-case basis with documentation of positive COVID-19 test, a family medical issue, death in the family, or other circumstances.
  • Registration fees already paid will not be refunded in order to use another payment method.
  • If Camp Fire finds the need to cancel any program, full refunds will be given.

Payments

  • Payment in full is due a minimum of 10 business days before the program start date. If payment in full has not been received 10 business days prior to the program start date, you authorize Camp Fire to withdraw the remaining balance using the payment method on file plus a $20.00 late fee. This guarantees the participant’s participation in the program.
  • If a payment method is not saved on file, or we are unable to withdraw full payment for any reason, and/or the full registration payment has not been made 5 business days prior to the start of the program the participant’s space in the program will be forfeited.
  • Payments must be made via Camp Brain or by phone at 515-274-1501. If in person payment is needed, please contact our office to make an appointment. Payments cannot be taken in person at the location of the program.
  • We accept cash, check, or credit card. Our programs also qualify for most flex spending accounts.
  • Returned eCheck payments will be assessed a $30 returned check fee. Replacement payment must be made for your camper to participate in current or future Camp Fire programs. Future payments must be made via cash or credit card.
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.