Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Packing and Preparing for Camp

  • Do you have a packing list?

    You can find it here!

  • Do you allow technology at Camp?

    Not really! Any electronics with a screen or that can be connected to wifi are not allowed at Camp. You can view what not to bring on our packing list.

  • Does my camper need to bring a sleeping bag?

    Sleeping bags are used on an “overnight” (some bunks choose to spend a night camping in the woods), the Voyager (our 3-day backpacking trip), or in their bed if they prefer a sleeping bag to sheets and a blanket. If your camper prefers a blanket and doesn’t plan on voyaging, don’t worry about bringing one!

  • Can I send packages to my camper if they forget something?

    If your camper left an essential item at home that cannot be purchased in our camp store, you can email us at [email protected] to arrange for a package to be sent to our office and delivered to your camper. Otherwise, we do not accept packages for campers for several reasons, all of which can be found on Page 11 of the Parent & Guardian Handbook

  • What can my camper expect if it is their birthday while at Camp?

    Every camper who has a birthday during the session will have everyone sing them a song over dinner and they will get to enjoy a special cake with their bunk after Evening Activity. We will also arrange a phone call with their family after dinner on their birthday, if they would like. In addition, families are invited to send or drop off packages to be given to their camper on their birthday.

Camp Activities

  • What kind of activities do you offer?

    During every activity period, we have arts and crafts, sports, swimming, performing arts, a unique and quintessentially “Onas” activity, and a limited activity (only a small number of campers can participate that period). Onas activities are wacky and wonderful, ranging from things like leprechaun house building to pretending to be bears. Limited activities are things like archery, canoeing, or our ropes course that can only accommodate smaller groups. But, we offer these activities daily so that every camper can have the opportunity to experience them over the course of the session!

  • Do campers choose their activities or are they assigned?

    Most of our camper activities are by choice. Every day we have four activity periods where campers get to choose which activity they would like to do for that period. Our Evening Activity happens once a day and all of Camp participates together.

  • Do campers have free time?

    Yes! We believe free time is so important for childhood growth and have a few hours of free time built into our schedule every day. During this time, campers are supervised by our staff but have agency in what they would like to do. Examples include playing games in the Texas room, basketball in the Barn, gaga on the Blacktop, swimming in the pool, or just chatting with friends in their bunk.

  • Do campers need to demonstrate their skills before using the pool?

    They do! All campers at Onas who want to use the pool, whether it is during an activity or their free time, need to demonstrate that they can swim on the first day of Camp. Campers swim in the shallow end of the pool with our swim instructors observing, then are placed into a swim group based on their skills so they can access swim lessons while at Camp. If campers wish to use the deep end and our diving board, they must demonstrate that they can tread water for one minute in the deep end.

  • What happens if my camper struggles to or cannot swim?

    Campers who cannot swim can still access the pool if they are willing to wear a life jacket while in the pool. In addition, they will be placed in a group of swimmers similar to their skill level where they can work on their swimming while at Camp through swim lessons once a day. Many of our counselors are certified Lifeguards, and Lifeguards are always present during pool activities/free swim.

  • What is the Voyager?

    The Voyager is an optional 3-day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail and in Worthington State Forest for campers aged 12 and older. Campers can bring their own gear or we can provide some for them! Sign-ups for the Voyager happen while at Camp and we prioritize older campers who have never done it.

  • What is a Dingle?

    A Dingle is a canoe trip on the Delaware River that campers can choose to go on for a day while at Camp. Campers who want to go on a Dingle need to demonstrate their swimming skills on the first day of Camp by treading water for one minute and then either holding their breath for ten seconds or touching the bottom of the pool twice.

  • What kind of ropes course activities do you offer?

    We have a high and low ropes course! The high ropes course has six elements which includes an indoor rock wall, a zip-line, and several fun climbing challenges that are hard to explain in a short sentence. The low ropes course focuses on team building and has challenges that require working together and communicating effectively.

Meals

  • How are meals served at Camp?

    We serve meals family-style with the occasional buffet. Campers eat at assigned tables with counselors and other campers of different ages. After the first week, we mix it up again!

  • What kind of food is there?

    While there is one “main course” at every meal, we also have a cereal bar at every breakfast and a salad and PB&J station at lunch and dinner. Typical main courses for breakfast include things like pancakes, eggs, french toast, bacon, bagels, and more. Some lunch and dinner main courses include lasagna, tacos, chicken tenders, burgers, spaghetti, hoagies, pizza, and more!

  • How do you care for campers with specific dietary needs?

    We serve vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options at all meals. If your camper has other dietary restrictions, please communicate those with us during registration. Or, if it is a new development, as soon as possible so we can plan ahead!

  • How do you take considerations for children with significant food allergies?

    We also have an “allergy board” posted in the Dining Hall which is updated with the potential allergens in each meal. If your camper has a dietary restriction, there is a space to tell us about it in the registration form and we will be in touch on how to provide food for your camper if it is something we do not already do.

Bunks

  • How can I request for my camper to be in a bunk with their friend?

    We do not accept bunk requests at Onas. The vast majority of our camp program takes place outside of the bunk, so campers with friends from home can still choose to spend lots of time together. The small portion of time that campers do spend with their bunk is a great opportunity to make new friends and build out their support network at Camp.

  • What are your bunks like?

    We like to call Camp a “home without walls” because, well… our bunks don’t have walls! They are raised platforms with either a shingled or canvas roof with large flaps that can be dropped to form walls if it is raining. Bunks sleep 6-8 campers and 2-4 counselors in bunk beds.

  • What happens during a thunderstorm or other bad weather?

    For 99% of the bad weather at Camp, lowering the flaps on the bunks and securing them is ample protection from the elements. But, if a storm is looking particularly daunting on the weather radar, we will bring all campers into one of our buildings at Camp that has a foundation, walls, and a roof. This is a rare occurrence at Onas, but when it does happen we spend time together playing indoor games and having fun while we wait out the weather. There might be times when we communicate with you regarding the weather, but we typically do not. Here at Camp, no news is good news.

  • My camper is a bit scared of the dark… How dark does it get at night and is there anywhere they can go?

    We totally understand nervousness about the dark, but one of the nice things about living in a home with no walls is that it never gets dark enough that you can’t see. The moon and stars light up the night sky at Camp and if anyone needs to get up in the night, the showerhouses have lights on all night both inside and leading up to them.

  • Are there a lot of bugs at Camp?

    Camp is very much an outdoors place, so we would be lying if we said there were no bugs around. But, mosquitos, spiders, or any other little critters are not much of an issue in our bunks because we do not permit food to be in them. If your camper is feeling particularly anxious about bugs, you can try to gently expose them to outdoor spaces before Camp and look into a pop-up screen if sleeping is a specific concern.

Arrivals & Departures

  • What time is check-in or check-out?

    Check-in is from 2-4pm on the session start date and check-out is from 10am-Noon on the session end date. If you are registered, you will receive emails from us with more detailed information in the week or two leading up to those days!

  • Can my camper arrive a day or two late?

    In short, no. Campers arriving late to Camp impacts both their experience and the experience of other campers at Camp as the first day of Camp is critical for community-building. We understand that every policy has the occasional exception, but exceptions to this one are rare.

  • Can my camper depart early?

    We understand that sometimes circumstances require families to have their camper depart early and are willing to work with families if this is the case. However, campers themselves never like this option because there are many fun traditions they miss at the end of the session, so we do not recommend doing this.

  • Will I get to see my camper’s bunk during check-in?

    On the first day of the session, our counselor staff will take campers to their bunk and help them get settled in without the folks who dropped them off. You’ll get to see it during check-out, but we have found that giving campers the chance to take the first step away from their families will help alleviate homesickness and anxiety on the first day. Campers will have counselors (and new friends!) to help them set up their bed and space, don’t worry!

Health Center

  • Why do you need Doctor’s Orders for everything at Camp?

    Pennsylvania’s laws are some of the most stringent in the country with regards to separating the responsibilities between prescribers, pharmacists, and nurses. In PA, the doctor writes a prescription for the pharmacist to fill the medications, and writes an order to the nurse to give the medications.. (At home, you function as the ‘giver of the medicine’.)

    So, for our nurses to give your child anything they need, we need an order from a Doctor “ordering” the medication, dose, frequency, and reason.

  • Does this mean I need an order for things like Tylenol or Zyrtec?

    The Onas Health Center carries stock medications that have been “ordered” by our reviewing doctor each season. As guardians of your camper, you have the responsibility to verify that your child can receive these medicines should they need them. If you prohibit those medications, your child will not receive them with the exception of benadryl or epinephrine in the case of a life-threatening reaction.

  • Why do we need an order for Over-the-Counter Medication that we get from the Drugstore?

    If our nurses do not have an order to give a specific medication, they cannot give it. If the medicine your child takes is not listed in the Health Form as a medication to accept or refuse, we will need an order from a prescriber telling the nurse to give the medication. 

    We understand that this may make it difficult to continue the routines your child has at home and would like to help make the process easy. We have created a template to use should you prefer to give the pediatricians office or they can use their own. 

    If your camper plans to take anything while at Camp (including over-the-counter medicines,) please read the Parent & Guardian Handbook section about medication requirements. We absolutely cannot deviate from this plan, and would hate to have a camper upset or unwell because of a lack of understanding of our requirements.