Camp Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! We must have the medical information and emergency contacts before you leave your camper with us. You should have received an email to the email address you used for your registration with directions on how to access the 3 brief online health forms. If you have not received that information please contact the Registrar at 971-340-1608 or Registrar@campfirecolumbia.org.
If online forms are not completed approximately 3 business days prior to the first day of camp you may be asked to complete a paper copy at check in. Please note that an emergency contact is someone other than the campers parent. In an emergency we will call parents first, and if we cannot reach you we will then refer to the emergency contacts you provided. Please have another person with a valid phone number in mind as an emergency contact.
The bus to camp is optional. You can purchase the bus to camp for $25 at registration or add it by contacting the registrar (971-340-1608 or email Registrar@campfirecolumbia.org). Bus times and locations are listed in your session specific family pocket guide. Please note that the registrar is in the office weekdays 9am-5pm and is not be available on weekends. The bus fee is non-refundable.
Everyone rides the bus back from camp and the cost is included in your session fees. If you have to arrange to pick up at camp, you must call the camp office and make special arrangements with the staff prior to the date of pickup. Staff can be reached at the camp office during the camp season at 503-695-6041.
Your best bet to communicate any last minute issues or changes in your campers registration, or after hours and weekends, would be to call the staff at camp at 503-695-6041. Camp Fire Columbia has more than one type of programming for children, and a message left in the wrong voicemail box may not find the camp staff you intended to reach in a timely fashion. Likewise, the Registrar is generally in the office weekdays 9am -5pm and will make every attempt to return calls and emails within 24hrs within that schedule. The Registrar for Namanu can be reached at 971-340-1608.
2019 Family Pocket Guides coming soon!
We encourage families to use the Camp Bus to send their camper to camp. You may register for the Camp Bus during your initial registration or by calling 971-340-1608 at least 24 business hours before the beginning of your camper’s session.
Families may also bring their camper directly to Camp Namanu. Camp drop off time is scheduled based on camper units (e.g. Blue Wing, Robin Hill, Sherwood, etc), and the bus schedule will be finalized in the spring. We have one road in and out of Camp Namanu. Please do your best to arrive at your designated time.
All summer campers ride the bus home from Camp Namanu.
The cancellation policies for Resident Camp, Namanu Ranch and Day Camp are located here.
Sample Packing List
Limit: 1 bag/suitcase (campers attending an extended session may bring an additional bag/ suitcase) 1 small bag/daypack, sleeping bag, pillow.
TIP: Luggage is moved between trucks and trailers so please contain all items in bags rather than tying them together.
Items to Bring (quantities listed are for full sessions; please adjust accordingly for half or extended sessions):
- Sleeping bag
- Long pants (2 or 3)
- Ranch campers will need several pairs of long pants appropriate for riding
- Sweatshirt or jacket (2 or 3)
- T-shirts (5-6)
- Underwear (5-6)
- Shorts (2 or 3)
- Socks (7-8)
- Long-sleeved shirts (4 or 5)
- Warm pajamas
- Lip balm (with SPF)
- 2 Towels: one for swimming, one for shower
- Rain gear (jacket or poncho)
- Small day backpack for overnights in the outdoors
- Shower shoes or flip flops (not for around camp)
- 1 pair of shoes or strap on sandals that can get wet/muddy
- 1 pair of sturdy closed toe shoes to wear everyday (hiking boots, tennis shoes, etc.)
- Water Bottle
Optional items: stationery, pencil/pen, stamps, pre-addressed envelopes, camera (disposable recommended), sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, one favorite stuffed animal, book, cream or roll-on insect repellent (no aerosol or spray cans). Ranch campers may bring riding pants, boots, or a helmet if they choose but Ranch Camp does provide riding boots and helmets for campers to use.
TIP: Mark all belongings with camper’s name and grade in an easily visible location.
TIP: Items should not be new or irreplaceable.
TIP: We do our best to make sure that your camper comes home with the belongings they came with, but please be sure to check the lost and found when you pick up your camper.
Items to leave at home:
- Electronics – we encourage campers to stay engaged with their surroundings and have found that electronics tend to make this more difficult.
- Cell Phones – aside from other electronics, phones (or any quick way to contact home) can actually make a camper feel more homesick. When campers are having trouble with homesickness or other issues, it is best for them to tell their counselor, who can help them to find solutions at camp. If the issue persists, the Camp Director will contact parents.
- Food – the cabins at Camp Namanu are rustic by design. This means that any food could invite unwanted pests into living spaces.
- Namanu is alcohol, tobacco, and drug free – If this is a concern for you, please talk to your camper about our policy prior to camp.
Personal sports equipment, vehicles, animals and weapons should be left at home.
Lost and Found:
Camper items left behind will be sorted and then delivered to the downtown office within 5 business days of sessions end. Families will have 3 weeks following each session to retrieve their items, after 3 weeks all items will be donated. Regarding lost and found: contact the Registrar by email registrar@campfirecolumbia. Please include “LOST & FOUND” and the session that your child attended in the subject line. You can also call Camp Namanu’s main line in Sandy, OR: 503-695-6041.
Any remaining items not retrieved from the Lost and Found by October 1st will be donated or disposed of.
Questions about Camp Registration:
Contact Registrar@Campfirecolumbia.org, or call us directly at 971-340-1608.
The Namanu Summer 2018 Financial Aid Application will be available soon after registration opens. The deadline for best consideration of an award is April 1st, 2019. Applications will be accepted after the deadline and throughout the camp season, however funding may be limited after the deadline.
Financial Aid Applications for Summer 2019 programming will be available soon. You may choose to register early with your deposit to hold your spot and submit your Financial Aid request later. There are no guarantees for Financial Aid awards or amounts, and the cancellation policies apply to all registrations after May 15th. Financial Aid awards consider coupons or other discounts in determining the amount of an award.
Before processing your financial aid application, you must be registered for camp and have paid a deposit. If you need assistance please call the Registrar at 971-340-1608. At that point, please complete and return the financial aid application and you will hear from our registrars by May 1st, 2019. This years’ Financial Aid Application will be available shortly after registration opens with a deadline of April 1st, 2019 for best consideration. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed as they come in.
Our staff are trained in how to handle wet sleeping bags at camp in a discreet and respectful manner. All soiled clothing and bedding can be washed and we do our best to ensure that this is done in a timely manner, without other campers’ knowledge.
If you are concerned that your camper may end up with a wet sleeping bag, please indicate on the health history form so that we can be particularly vigilant in our bed checks. You may also want to talk with your camper about what to do in case of an accident. It is best if a camper tells their counselor immediately, and you can reassure your camper that their counselor will keep the information private. Our staff are compassionate and dedicated to keeping campers safe, happy, and healthy during the day… and even in the middle of the night.
Campers enjoy getting mail at camp! However, the Postal Service can take more time than one would think to transport letters out to Namanu. We do not recommend sending letters or packages to your camper by postal services. If you would like to send your camper an encouraging note or picture, please follow these guidelines:
- Turn letters in at check in on Sunday
- Please do not send any food or sweets, as it may attract pests
- If you sneak a gift or a note into your campers’ luggage, please make sure it is labeled with their name, just like any other valued items so it’s found if misplaced.
All letters must have:
- Camper’s Name
- Unit Name
- Session Number
- Day you would like it to be delivered
Please deliver Tuesday
*Please Note: Mail will not be delivered on Sunday or Saturday*
Campers also enjoy writing letters home while they are at camp. For younger campers, it can be helpful to send them with stationery that contains a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. We will do our best to ensure that any mail that we do not think will make it through the US Postal system will be available on the last day of the session to be handed over at pickup.
My camper reads a lot and uses an e-reader (kindle, nook, etc.). Can I send it so that they have enough books?
At Camp Namanu, we encourage campers to engage in games, conversations, or other activities, and electronics are not allowed. There is limited time for reading books, and campers rarely run out of reading materials. If you are concerned that your camper will not have enough to read, they are free to ask their counselor to borrow a book from our library.
My camper listens to music/plays games on their phone before going to bed. Can I send electronics so that they can go to sleep easier?
One of the great benefits of Camp Namanu is the chance to unplug from the many screens that compete for the attention of young folks. If your camper is in the habit of using technology to get to sleep, we advise helping them practice other ways to relax, such as mindfulness activities (deep breathing or counting silently) or reading a book. Our counselors are trained in various bedtime routines, and we do our best to accommodate the needs of all campers. If your camper has trouble going to sleep, please let us know in the health history form and share any tips that have worked in the past.
Items at the store range from $1 key chains to nice, sturdy sweatshirts ($20-$40). While shopping at the camp store can be fun, it is not a mandatory part of camp, and we encourage families to send whatever they are comfortable with.
When bringing money for the store, please deposit it during check-in at our alumni store. At pickup at the end of the camp session unspent store account funds will be made available to you so don’t forget to ask at check-out. Any store funds not retrieved by September 1st will be donated to Campships.
Most of the health concerns at camp consist of scraped knees and simple headaches. These types of minor issues are treatable within the signed consent of the health form at the end of the week when campers are picked up. We will let you know about these at pick-up on Saturday.
For any serious or persistent health concerns, or those requiring outside medical treatment, you will be notified by phone as soon as possible.
This is my camper’s first time away from home. How should I help prepare them? What do you do if a young person is feeling homesick?
For first-time campers we recommend the following:
- Schedule a sleepover at a friends’ (staying at another family members home doesn’t always have the same feel).
- Talk about what your camper is excited about and what they can do if they start to miss home (write a letter, look at a picture, or talk to a counselor).
- Reassure your camper that everyone at home will be well taken care of and excited to hear all about their time at camp
TIP: When saying goodbye, it is easiest for a child to be the one to walk away, rather than the adult. When you drop your camper off, stand in one place and let them go with a counselor into camp.
TIP: Reading encouraging letters with pictures of family or pets can be helpful for a homesick camper. You may drop these off with camp staff on Sunday.
TIP: Evenings and bedtime can be especially difficult for a camper experiencing homesickness. Be sure to send a favorite book or stuffed animal along with your camper to ensure they are able to sleep!
TIP: If a camper or family is in a time of transition or uncertainty, being away from home can be particularly difficult. If there are any major transitions happening in the family, please let us know ahead of time so that we can give your camper the support they need.
If a camper is experiencing extreme homesickness, it is best for them to try to engage with camp activities. Our counselors are experienced with coaching youth through these feelings, and are given training and support in this topic. There may be situations in which advice from a parent or guardian will help us in guiding a child through a challenge. In these situations either the Resident Camp Director or a staff member who has been working closely with the camper will get in touch using the contacts listed on the health history form.
When registering for a session of camp, there will be an option to request a cabin buddy. In order to honor these requests they must be mutual, and in the same unit and session. A half session and a full session that have some corresponding dates are not the same session and will not be in the same cabin. Please provide only one name for a cabin mate request. Our goal for bunking is to give all campers the best opportunity for success at camp with old and new friends, and so we are unable to accommodate requests for multiple bunk mates.
During the check-in on the first day of the session, we will let you know who is in your cabin.
My camper takes medications. Who do I give them to and how will my camper get them at the right times?
- Medications (other than rescue medications*) are stored, locked, and dispensed under the direct supervision of the Nurse or Health Care Team. We are unable to distribute unmarked medications to the camper.
- Medications will be collected at Check-In. All medications including rescue medications must be turned in and will be carried and administered by our staff.
- All medications must be listed with dosage and time of day given on the Health History form.
- All medications must be in original containers (Rx or OTC) with specific written instructions for use.
- All prescribed medications must have the camper’s name and dosages on the original label.
Bee Sting/Allergic Reactions: If your camper has a known allergy to bee stings, or other severe allergic reactions, the camper must bring an appropriate treatment kit to camp.
History of asthma: If your camper has a history of asthma, you must provide medication for treatment. Even if your camper has not used this medication recently, camp activity (heat, cold water, or dust) can aggravate symptoms and we want to have every tool at our disposal to keep your camper safe.
We strive to make Camp Namanu an inclusive and caring community for all. However, our rugged site can pose challenges for those with physical disabilities. Similarly, we do our best to make accommodations for campers with behavioral/emotional needs. If you have concerns about your camper’s ability to be successful within the constraints of our rustic accommodations, please contact the Resident Camp Director, Steven Joinson.
Camp Namanu strives to provide meals that are healthy and well-balanced. Our kitchen staff are proud of their ability to provide a balanced meal for every child at camp. If the meal is not vegetarian, a vegetarian option is always provided for those who have indicated that preference.
- Vegetarian Choice: Please indicate on the Health History form if your child is a vegetarian.
- Vegan Choice, Food Allergies, and/or Special Dietary Needs: It can become more difficult to meet the needs of campers who require a vegan option or campers with specific food allergies (gluten, peanut, etc.).
Families of children with special dietary needs should contact the Resident Camp Director, Steven Joinson, to discuss their child’s needs and Namanu’s ability to accommodate those needs.
Every camper is an individual, and every camper has the right and opportunity to be authentically themselves while at Camp Namanu. While Camp Namanu has gender assigned cabin arrangements, we welcome campers who are in transition. If you have questions, concerns, or you’d like to discuss your campers’ cabin assignment, please call our Resident Camp Director Steven Joinson. He can be reached September-May at his Camp Fire office #971-340-1601, and June-August at the Camp Namanu office #503-695-6041, or by email at SJoinson@campfirecolumbia.org.