Frequently Asked Questions about Camp

Select a question or scroll down to view all questions and answers.

What is Camp Wood?  Camp Wood is a YMCA camp that has been running since 1916. It is accredited by the American Camp Association — a process that has over 300 safety and quality standards to which they must adhere. The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas has held camp there, the first week of June, since 1937. Camp Wood has a one-of-a-kind view, sitting atop the Cottonwood River Valley with the Flint Hills as a backdrop. It is a beautiful facility made up of 868 acres. See more about our beloved Camp Wood here:

Where is Camp Wood?  It is in the beautiful Flint Hills, on Hwy-50 between Newton and Emporia, near a town called Elmdale. Click on this link for a google map.

What is Mega Camp? We hold three separate camp sessions all one week at the same facility. We have the entire camp to ourselves and fill it with 250 Episcopal campers and staff! We offer separate lodging, activities, worship, schedule, and staff for each age group: Elementary (those who have finished grades 3-5), Junior High (those who have finished grades 6-8), and Senior High (those who have finished grades 9-12). You may have heard camp referenced to as: Episcopal Summer Camp, Camp, Mega Camp, Episcopal Summer Mega Camp….it’s all the same thing. 🙂

What will my child be doing each day?

  • Each age-group has their own 90 minutes “program” time in which they learn about the Christian faith and the Episcopal church with the Episcopal Camp Staff.
  • Each age-group has three separate hour-long blocks of “Y-time” (provided by the YMCA staff) and “E-Time” (provided by the Episcopal volunteers) each day features lots of fun activities on camp, such as canoeing, sports, horseback riding, arts & crafts, nature hikes, bicycle trail rides, skateboarding, swimming, water slide, mud slide, fishing, archery, games, the swing or alpine climbing tower (10 and up).
  • Each cabin is assigned a “service project” each day to help keep camp and our meeting spaces tidy, these include sweeping, setting up for a meal, picking up trash, or doing a random act of kindness.
  • The whole group gathers for three meals a day in the dining hall. Each meal starts with a sung grace. We play fun music during breakfast, Lunch is especially fun with “mealtime mockeries,” and most campers love the night we have “forkless spaghetti.”
  • We all have an hour of rest time in our cabins after lunch.
  • We serve a small snack every afternoon.
  • Each age group participates in an hour of worship at some point during the day.
  • Each evening holds a different event for each age-group, including game night, movie night, a talent show, MEGA Eucharist, and a dance or beach party.

You can view a sample schedule here: Camp Schedule 2019 (PDF)

We also plan to have youth and adults blog about camp each day, to help parents know more about what is going on at camp. Click here for the youth blog. There will also be counselors and campers posting on FacebookTwitter and Instagram about what they are doing at camp.

What are swim checks and who has to do one? The swim check allows the Camp Wood aquatic staff to determine a camper’s ability in the water and establish the safest areas in which the camper may swim or boat. Campers will be asked to swim four lengths of the swimming area (50 yards) and tread water for 5 minutes.  Elementary campers will participate in a swim check on Sunday afternoon. Junior High and Senior High students will do a swim check on Monday afternoon if they choose. Camp Wood has a lake with a swimming area, dock, and beach, water slide (“the Jim”), kayaks, canoes, and a mud slide.

Are campers required to do all of the activities?  We ask that campers actively participate in program, worship, and meals. Campers will have choices about the recreational activities each day, so they can pick the option they like the best. We do not allow campers to “hang-out” in their cabin or elsewhere instead of participating in scheduled activities.

What about worship?  Each age group has it’s own Chaplain and will have daily worship services. The worship services are planned for the campers, and campers actively participate in worship. We also have one “Mega Eucharist,” where all age groups and staff gather for worship.

Each morning the entire camp gathers at the pavilion and starts the day with “Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families In the Morning” (page 137 of the Book of Common Prayer). Junior High and Senior close each day with Compline (page 127 of the Book of Common Prayer).

What is the registration cost? There is a $50 non-refundable deposit required at the time of registration, the remainder is due by May 10. The cost is $450 if you register by April 1, $465 if you register between April 2-May 10, and $480 if you register or pay after May 10.

Checks should be made payable to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and mailed to Karen Schlabach, EDOK Youth Office, 10003 W. 70th Ter., Merriam, KS 66203. Or you can pay with a credit card via PayPal online here.

Is scholarship assistance available? Yes. Your parish is the primary source for scholarships and should be able to help you out.

The intention of diocesan camp scholarship is to support students from Episcopal parishes whose families have low-income to attend camp when they otherwise might not be able to. We ask that all families contribute something to the cost of camp, no matter how small; and that parishes match the funds the diocese provides. We believe a strong sense of pride and ownership is developed if the recipient has contributed to the cost of their involvement.

  • Campers must register by April 1 to be considered for scholarships. Requests received after April 1 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis if funds are available.
  • Preference will be given to Episcopalians active in their parish and/or the diocesan youth program. Your parish priest will be contacted to verify attendance and involvement.
  • Preference will be given to those living at or below the poverty line for the state of Kansas. Scholarship amounts will be based on ALL household income (adjusted gross income from your tax return) and the number of your dependents.
  • Preference may be given to households sending more than one camper to camp.
  • Scholarship grants will be the decision of the 3-member Scholarship Committee. Financial Data and scholarship recipients will be kept confidential.

Scholarships will be awarded after April 1, recipients will be notified no later than May 1.

There is also a $25 scholarship for families sending multiple children to camp. Registrations must be received by April 1 to qualify.

Is Camp Wood only for Episcopalians?  No!! Campers are welcome to invite friends and family. In 2017, we had 16 non-Episcopalian campers attend.

Who is the staff at camp?  Each age group at Mega Camp will have its own dedicated staff including a Camp Director, Program Director, Nurse, Chaplain, and Cabin Counselors. These staff members are volunteers from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Camp staff must be known to their parish for at least six months. All camp staff must complete Safeguarding God’s Children training, diocesan youth event training, pass a criminal background check and sex offender registry check and attend an all-camp-staff training the 24-hours prior to the start of camp. We train our volunteers on being welcoming, acting as good role models, supervision and safety, having a positive attitude, leading small groups, child/adolescent development, dealing with harassment, bullying, and teasing, Christian discipline, and handling crisis  issues.

The YMCA staff at Camp Wood are on hand to provide daily Y-Time activities such as horseback riding and swimming, meals, and support for our Episcopal staff. All YMCA staff are screened by completing detailed applications, a comprehensive interview, three reference checks, criminal background checks and internet searches. YMCA employees complete an extensive child abuse prevention-training program and are mandated to report any suspected abuse. YMCA staff have at least a week of training before we arrive.

What if a camper has never been away from home?  We often have campers who are away from home for the first time (especially in the elementary session).  Our staff is trained to be highly sensitive to the needs of these campers.  We do our best to make camp a safe and loving environment where kids can have fun and grow. We have found that it makes homesickness worse if students call home. We like to try every other avenue to get youth involved in camp before trying the call home.

Camp Wood strives for campers to develop independence and an integral part of this growth process is the extended experience away from home.

What should campers bring to camp?

  • 2 pairs of long pants (jeans) — required for horseback riding and Gold Rush
  • shorts, t-shirts, underwear, socks (extras might be good!) Enough for one week.
  • jacket and/or warm sweatshirt (sometimes the mornings and evenings are cool)
  • rain jacket and/or umbrella
  • swimsuit
  • Laundry bag or trash bag for dirty clothes
  • 2-3 pair of shoes: Rugged shoes, tennis shoes and flip flops for the shower. Hard-soled shoes or boots and socks are required for horseback riding. Flip-flops are not allowed per Camp Wood policy. The terrain is somewhat rough and flip-flops have a tendency to come off or the foot can slide off the side causing injury to the foot or ankle.
  • bedding:  Sleeping bag and/or sheets, blanket, and pillow. (Early June is unpredictable, sometimes it can get very cold at night; sometimes it remains hot. Watch the weather forecast and pack accordingly.)
  • insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • shower towel, washcloth, and beach towel (yes, two towels!)
  • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, non-aerosol deodorant, etc.)

Optional items:

  • pens, pencils, stationery, postcards, and stamps. (Pre-addressed and pre-stamped stationary helps.) Note: The first good opportunity for youth to write home is Monday during rest time (1 pm) which is after the mail is picked up that day. So letters most likely won’t go out until Tuesday.
  • flashlight and extra batteries. (Junior High campers are encouraged to bring a battery powered lantern, their lodging does not have electricity, although they have access to electricity in the restrooms.)
  • fun Items:  Playing cards, board games musical instruments, Frisbee, digital camera, basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, water toys, costumes for the talent show, materials to decorate the cabin, etc.
  • Prayer books and Bibles are available for use, but campers may wish to bring their own if desired.
  • A camp chair or lawn chair
  • some youth like to dress up for the dance on the last night of camp, but this is optional. (High School & Junior High sessions only)

Please note: The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and Camp Wood YMCA are not responsible for items lost or stolen.

What if my child leaves some of their belongings behind at camp? Every attempt will be made to return lost items while your child is at camp. All lost and found articles are shown to the campers during the week. Lost and found items will be displayed outside Hutch Hall during the closing service. After that, it is the parent’s responsibility to retrieve items left at camp. The diocese does not have room to transport or store these items. Upon requests by parents, lost and found items will be shipped to the camper at camper expense. Lost items will be kept for two weeks, after that time they will be donated to a welfare agency.

What happens if a camper gets sick or hurt?  There will be at least three registered nurses on duty at all times and an infirmary where campers can go for assistance. If further care is called for, upon consultation with the camper’s parents, he or she will be taken in to Emporia or Council Grove to the hospital or the doctor.

The Diocese and Camp Wood do not carry accident/sickness insurance on campers. Parents/guardians include their personal health insurance information in the space provided on the Diocesan health form. This information will only be used to facilitate outside medical treatment if required. In the event of serious illness or accident parents will be notified at once. Parents/guardians are responsible for charges incurred for outside medical treatment of their child, including prescriptions, should services be required while in attendance at camp.

The nursing team has general medications available, like ibuprofen, tylenol, and immodium, as well as band-aids and other first-aid supplies. A record will be kept of all medications given to each child, and you may request a copy at the end of the week. You should expect the nurse to notify you during the week if your camper has anything more serious than a small cut/scrape or headache.

What if my camper has medications required daily? For the safety of all campers and staff, all prescriptions and over-the-counter medication brought onto camp MUST be in the original container. All medication will be checked in with the nurse during registration. Each age-group has a certified nurse to serve their group. The nurse will dispense medication at proper times and in the proper amounts.

If the dosage instructions on the medication container do not match the dosage information on the health form you are required to have written orders signed by the prescribing physician starting camper’s name, dosage, and time medication(s) is to be administered.

If you don’t want to send the entire supply of medication, campers can get what’s known as a “school bottle” from the pharmacy which has dosage and administration information. Please put all medications in a zip-loc bag with your child’s full name. Do not pack medication in your camper’s luggage.

Where do campers sleep? In cabins or tents assigned by age and gender, with at least 1 adult present at all times. Bunks with mattresses are supplied, but campers should bring their own bedding and pillow.

How are cabins/tents assigned? Our safe church policy requires that campers of similar age be placed together. We do our best to ensure that campers are in cabins with no one more than 1-year older or younger than them. So, your camper will be in a cabin mostly with people in their same grade in school (thus, it’s very important this field is filled out correctly on the registration form!). All of the tents and cabins have bunk beds so half the people will sleep on the top bunk and half on the bottom bunk. Go here to learn more about Camp Wood lodging and facilities.

  • Elementary campers are in the “Jones Village” cabins. There are 8 cabins which sleep 10 total people. There will be approximately 8 campers, at least 1 Episcopal counselor and 1 YMCA counselor. Cabins have electricity, but are not air conditioned. Bathhouses are attached to the cabins. Each cabin has its own bathhouse with 2 private showers and 4 bathroom stalls. Two of the bathhouses double as storm shelters.
  • Junior High campers are in platform tents, rustic red cabin #1, and 1 or 2 “True Blue Village” cabins. The 6 tents and 1 rustic red cabin sleep 10 each; and the True Blue Village cabins sleep 12 each. There will be approximately 8-10 campers, at least 1 Episcopal counselor and 1 YMCA counselor in each tent/cabin. Younger campers are typically assigned to the tents, so 6th and 7th graders will most likely be in a tent. There is no electricity in the tents. They all use the True Blue Village bathhouses which are a short walk. While the tents are a little bit more ‘rustic’ than the rest of the cabins, campers tend to like the ‘party’ atmosphere of the tent area and close proximity of the tents to each other. There’s a fire pit in the middle that is a congregation point for all junior high campers.
  • Senior High campers are in the “True Blue Village” cabins. There are 12 cabins that sleep 12 total people, meaning there will be approximately 10 campers, 1 Episcopal counselor and 1 Episcopal staff member. Cabins have electricity (but no a/c), a front and rear entrance, and large covered patios (bring a lawn chair!). There are separate girls and boys bathhouses with electricity, private showers, and private bathroom stalls. The bathhouses double as storm shelters.

Can campers request cabin assignments? Only first time campers are guaranteed one person as a cabin mate. Campers must be the same gender and in the same grade. Cabin requests should be included on the registration form or e-mailed to the Youth Missioner by the priority registration deadline ( Cabin requests cannot be made at registration the first day of the camp session.

Can campers bring food/snacks?  NO. We ask campers to not bring their own snacks. Campers will be provided three meals (with seconds!) and an afternoon or evening snack each day at camp. It will not be necessary for campers to bring food or drinks. Keeping snacks in the cabins attracts bugs and critters and may be problematic for other campers with allergies.

What if my child has special dietary needs? Camp Wood does their best to provide healthy, well-balanced meals and make accommodations for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-intolerance, nut allergies, dairy allergies, and other medical necessities. Sugar-free Cereal is always served at breakfast and there is always a salad bar at lunch and supper. Especially picky eaters can request a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (made with non-nut butter). If additional food is needed beyond that, it may be checked in with the Nurse just like medication.

What if the weather gets bad? The Sheriff’s office is on alert to notify Camp Wood of any severe weather alerts in the area and there is always a Camp Wood staff member listening to a weather radio. If campers need to take shelter due to severe weather, a warning bell is sounded and campers are taken to the camp’s tornado shelter, which is in the basement of Ritchie Lodge, the newest and largest building on camp. If campers cannot safely make it to Ritchie, there are also shelters in Jones Village, True Blue Village, Calhoun Nurses Cabin, and the Horse Barn.

Can parents visit or call campers during the week? We find that this is disruptive to the camp environment and most often makes homesickness worse. We ask that parents only call or visit in the case of a family emergency. The camp office phone number is 620-273-8641. After 11 pm, in case of emergency, please call the Health Center number: 620-273-8279, this is where you will find the nurse and Episcopal leadership staff or call the Youth Missioner’s cell phone 913-708-5927.

If you have a concern about your child, please call the Youth Missioner and she will be happy to get a report from your child’s camp counselor (or have the counselor call you back). We also plan to have youth and adults blog about camp each day, to help parents know more about what is going on at camp. Click here for the youth blog. There will also be counselors and campers posting on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram about what they are doing at camp.

Can campers bring cell phones to camp? We have found that youth and adults have a better camp experience if they “un-plug” for the week. However, we know that in today’s culture that is unrealistic for some people.

  • We ask Elementary campers to leave cell phones at home or turn them in at registration. We have found homesickness is more likely to occur at the Elementary age and that calling home makes it worse rather than better.
  • Junior High and Senior High youth are allowed to keep their cell phones with them as long as it is not a problem. If it becomes a distraction from planned activities, they will be asked to give up their phone privileges until that night and turn their phone in to an adult.

Can campers receive mail? Yes! Because of the incredibly large volume of mail we receive, it takes a very long time to sort and distribute the mail and packages we receive. Mail is distributed during lunch or rest time the day after it arrives at Camp Wood. Campers who receive a package or 3 letters on the same day get to kiss the stuffed fish in the dining hall at supper time.

Address US mail, FedEx, or UPS with:

Camper’s Name & Session (High School, Junior High or Elementary, include their cabin if you know it)
Episcopal Summer Camp
Camp Wood YMCA
1101 Camp Wood Rd.
Elmdale, KS 66850

Please ship or mail items early. It takes a minimum of 3 days for mail to reach camp. Due to the expense, we cannot guarantee that mail which arrives after Friday will be delivered to your child(ren).

You may drop off letters and packages for your child at check-in with the day of delivery clearly indicated on the outside of the letter or package.

Please don’t go overboard with care packages. Your camper does not need a care package every day — it creates a divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” in a cabin and can make campers not receiving packages have a negative camp experience. Remember, food cannot be kept in the cabins, so please don’t send full-size packages of chips or large bags of candy. Any food not consumed immediately will be confiscated and can be claimed during check-out. 

Are arrangements available for campers with special needs?  Yes!  If your camper has certain needs such as dietary requirements, wheelchair access, sign language interpreters, etc., please let the Youth Missioner know and arrangements can be made. We want everyone to feel welcome, and will do everything possible to make sure this happens!

When do campers arrive?  All campers arrive no earlier than 2:30 PM and no later than 3:30 PM on the first day of camp. Please do not arrive early as staff will be in meetings until then. Please do not arrive late as you will miss important orientation information. 

Check in will be at Ritchie Lodge, the largest building on camp. Please leave your personal belongings in the car for check-in, then grab it after you have your cabin assignment.  

When you check-in there will be three stations:

  1. Check-in & Payment: turn in cell phones, make final payments, let us know how you will be getting home at the end of the week (we need to know there’s a plan for this!)
  2. Nurse & Medications: Please have your medications ready to turn in. If you have not yet turned in your insurance card copy, please give it to the nurse.
  3. T-Shirt & Cabin assignment: Pick up your camp t-shirt and get your cabin assignment.

*Please note: Comfortable shoes are recommended for all visitors. Pets are not permitted at Camp Wood, they must be left at home (even during drop-off and pick-up times). All visitors are asked to depart by 3:30 pm Sunday so we can get our camp sessions started.

When do campers depart? There is a closing service at 10:30 AM in Ritchie Dining Hall for all campers and parents. We will have a slide show for the week, campers to talk about their experience, singing, and an official blessing and dismissal.

Parents can pick campers up no earlier than 11:00 AM on the last day of the camp session at Ritchie and no later than 11:30 AM. Camper’s belongings will be waiting for easy-pick-up on the ball field in front of Ritchie. Please make sure you get ALL of your campers belongings as the Diocese does not have room for transportation or storage of lost and found items.

After the closing service, all campers must check-out with camp staff before they can leave. Please do not arrive late as Camp Wood closes on Saturday afternoons and we need to vacate the premises. 

*Please note: Comfortable shoes are recommended for all visitors. Pets are not permitted at Camp Wood, they must be left at home (even during drop-off and pick-up times).

Need to make a payment for camp? We accept payment via PayPal AND you may pay in installments. You can use this form to make a payment of any amount, or pay for multiple campers at once: 

You can also make checks payable to “Episcopal Diocese of Kansas” with “Camp” in the memo line and mail them to: EDOK Youth Office, 10003 W. 70th Ter., Merriam, KS 66203.

What is the refund policy? No refunds can be issued after May 16, 2019, for any reason. A paid registration can be transferred to a new camper after that date.

If you have any other questions, contact Karen Schlabach, Youth Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 913-708-5927 or

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