10 Questions to Ask a Camp Director
(and our answers!)

January 1, 2022

We put together this list of 10 questions you should ask any camp director whose camp you’re considering for you child.

You can print this ’10 Questions to Ask a Camp Director’ PDF for easy reference. Check out our answers to the questions below!

1. What sets your camp apart?

For 36 years we’ve been proud to be a different kind of camp – the only day camp that we know of that does what we do, the way we do it. Our mission is what drives us, and in practice that means our programming is nature-oriented and non-competitive, unplugged and media-free, and our camp days unfold at an unhurried pace. To nurture each child’s individuality, and their connection to themselves, their peers, and the earth, is our guiding intention.

On our beautiful 200 acre campus, magnificent woods, streams, ponds, farmland and fields abound, inviting us to explore. We’re proud to be a family-run camp, offering small-sized, all-gender groups led by exceptionally caring and well-trained staff whom our campers from all backgrounds can see themselves reflected in and represented by. At The Nature Place, campers partake in cooperative games; organic gardening and farm animal care; an American Red Cross swim program; day hikes and outdoor adventures; high ropes challenges; outdoor living skills; cooking; earth art; archery; music and drama; nature exploration; and so much more. We have a five-week-long and a one-week-long program option so we can meet your needs for camp without sacrificing safety during the covid-19 pandemic.

We’re also proud of what we don’t have at our camp: There are no bells, loudspeakers or PA systems; no awards or award ceremonies; competitions or color wars; TV’s, video games, iPads or other digital media devices, movies; pressured daily schedules; crowds to get lost in; nor times when it is OK to bully, exclude or make fun of anyone else.

2. How did your camp handle the COVID-19 pandemic during your summer 2020 and 2021 camp seasons?

For the past two summers camp families have put their trust in us, and through our partnership with them we’ve operated camp successfully and safely during the pandemic. We adopted an ‘all-aboard’ model where all campers are with us for the full season in order to maintain the most static groupings of campers and therefore the least amount of risk. We implemented a robust series of protocols as recommended by both the CDC and our accrediting body the American Camp Association and their medical consultants. You can check out our safety protocols here.

3. How do you plan to handle COVID-19 safety during summer 2022?

We will again be implementing an ‘all-aboard’ session this summer, to keep our groupings static for effective ‘podding’ over the course of the summer. We plan to follow last summer’s safety protocols and are keeping abreast of all updates and guidelines that come out at local, state, and national levels, as well as what are deemed as best practices by the American Camp Association and their medical consultants. We will adjust our protocols as new information and mandates come out. The partnership of our camp families will once again be key to ensuring that everyone is safe at camp this summer. Please do reach out if you would like to discuss our COVID-19 safety protocols further, as we know questions around this have a significant impact on decision-making about camp.

4. Who owns, runs, and operates your camp?

We are family-owned, -run, and -operated! Camp is our life and a huge part of our hearts. The best thing about being family-owned is that we welcome you into our family when you join camp! Check out our leadership team to see who we are. Fun fact: between all members of our leadership team we have 222 years of experience at The Nature Place!

5. How long has your camp been in operation?

2022 will be our 37th summer!

6. How do you train your staff?

Staff Training and who we hire is the key to our ability to provide a safe, nourishing, and joyful summer experience for our campers. Read about how we select our staff, and train them in critical areas over the course of our week-long intensive training.

7. How many campers do you have and how many counselors per group?

This summer we will be capping our enrollment at 250 campers, which makes us one of the smallest camps in our area. We’re proud that there are no crowds to get lost in. Each camper group will have up to 15 campers, with two counselors for the older groups and three for the younger groups.

8. How does your transportation work and how do you ensure safety on the bus?

Families can choose to get to and from camp via car or bus. We offer busing in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Westchester, and parts of New Jersey. Our bus transportation utilizes centralized stops, ensuring as short a ride time as possible, as opposed to door-to-door transportation. Therefore, we adjust our bus routes and stops each summer season, based on our customers’ locations.

Our buses are operated by Chestnut Ridge Transportation. Seatbelts are worn at all times and booster seats are available upon request. We have two bus counselors on every bus, who make sure that everyone is safe and all needs are met during the ride, while also ensuring a fun atmosphere that makes the bus ride an extension of the camp experience, not just a means to an end.

9. Is your camp accredited?

Yes! We’re accredited by the American Camp Association. Check out what that means.

10. How does your program meet the needs of the various ages you serve?

Our campers range in age from 5 to 15, and each age group requires unique programmatic, social, and leadership considerations.

Younger campers thrive with an unhurried schedule that emphasizes time to breathe. We provide age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate programming that allows them to build skills and make tangible accomplishments. Their group counselors create a strong foundation upon which all of this can unfold.

Our middle camper groups enjoy a more active day with added challenging activities, and the addition of overnight camping trips. Making friends and being comfortable with oneself are keystones of programming that are nurtured by counselors and staff.

For older campers, camp is a place where they can return to themselves and feel safe and comfortable enough with their community to be their true selves. They are challenged in a healthy way, where they can test their own limits and set their own boundaries, through increased outdoor adventure and team-building initiatives. Our highly-trained staff are people that these campers respect and can look up to.

We’re always eager to answer any questions prospective families may have. Please reach out to us via our contact form, or give us a call at 845-356-1234.