Camp Horizons FAQ
We are addressing our most commonly asked questions from parents before coming to camp!
Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30-5:00 to answer any of your questions, and tell you more about our programs and philosophy. You can live chat with our staff during regular business hours for any immediate follow up questions as you review the FAQ.
1.) What is Camp Horizons?
Camp Horizons is a co-ed, overnight summer camp for kids ages 6-16, offering one or two-week sessions. From horseback riding to swimming, to outdoor adventure, we offer over 50 activities for campers to choose from depending on their interests. We are not affiliated with any political or religious group and welcome campers from all over the world. Our goal is to create a safe environment where campers can have fun, feel part of a bigger community, and grow in their hard and soft skills, which is why we create programs around our four pillars: safety, community, growth, and fun. Camp Horizons welcomes campers and staff from all other the world, regardless of gender, race, orientation, religious background, or political beliefs. We say “Welcome Home” the minute campers arrive because we want campers to know this is always a place they can come back to.
2.) What do kids do at camp?
Activities: During the day, campers will do four different activities from our seven different activity departments. We offer classes in Aquatics, Equestrian, Outdoors, Performing Arts, Science & Technology, Sports, and Visual Arts. Discover campers, ages 6-8, go around in a small group with a counselor, and do pre-selected activities based on their skill level. Campers 9-16 sign up for these activities before they come to camp, and our oldest campers (ages 12-16) have the option to do offsite adventure trips such as caving, canoeing, and tubing. Each night we have a different evening program, such as Talent Shows, Capture the Flag, and International Night. During a 2-week session, campers will get to choose a new set of activities to do the following week.
Camper Life: Campers are housed in villages corresponding to their age and gender, with counselors living in the cabin with the campers. Cabins eat meals together and spend time in the cabin for morning clean-up, “horizontal time” (rest hour), and before bed. Each village is led by a Head Counselor and each program (Discover/Journey and Explorer) is led by a Program Coordinator. These experienced staff members’ main priority is camper well-being, and they work to promote safety, inclusion, and fun in between activities.
3.) Who works at Camp Horizons?
During the summer, we hire staff from all over the world, usually between the ages of 18-25. Many counselors are former campers, and most are in the education field. For our international staff, we partner with hiring agencies that complete interviews and background checks for the applicant’s home country. All of our staff go through an online application and interview and must pass a local, state, and federal background check before coming to camp. All staff complete intensive staff training prior to the beginning of camp. We are lucky to have a full-time team of directors, customer service representatives, and facilities to continue to create the best programming for all of our campers.
4.) What is the food like?
Camp Horizons strives to offer a variety of food that is kid-friendly and delicious. For breakfast, we will have eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, waffles, and many other delicious foods. We also have a cereal bar and fruit/granola bar at every breakfast. Lunch and dinner are classic favorites such as mac ‘n cheese, hamburgers, pizza, and tacos. Lunch and dinner also always have a deli bar with lunch meats and Sun Butter and jelly, as well as a salad bar with vegetables grown from our own garden.
We can accommodate diets including, but not limited to vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free diets. One of the forms upon registering asks about dietary needs, and each week we share with our kitchen what accommodations need to be made. On opening day, our staff will seek out the campers and staff with dietary differences and discuss with them their plan for meals for that session.
5.) My campers have never been away from home/how do I communicate with them?
We understand that being away from home for the first time can be difficult, so we try and make it as easy as possible for you and your camper. At Check-in, feel free to drop off any pre-written letters to your camper that we will deliver! While we do not allow campers to have cell phones, we do have an email system that allows for daily communication. We think that being unplugged is a great way for our campers to really learn about themselves and their interests! On your Parent Dashboard, there is an option to send your camper emails. We print these off every morning and delivery them to the cabins, and then your camper can respond by writing on that email directly. We take these to our office every afternoon and scan them to your email address. Of course, snail mail is always welcome! Along with the daily emails, we will upload pictures to the Parent Dashboard twice daily to allow you to see what fun we are having here at camp.
6.) How are medications handled?
For the protection of campers and staff, all medications are required to be submitted to our medical staff during camper check-in. No medications in our cabins- with the exception of inhalers and Epipens. Medications are kept under lock and key in our Camper Care Center and are only accessible by authorized personnel. We stock many over-the-counter medications to relieve parents of the responsibility of having to bring common, non-prescription medications. However, if there is a very specific and/or unique over-the-counter medication your child is used to taking, please feel free to bring it. All prescriptions will be followed according to physician’s orders; any deviations from those orders must be approved by a physician. Medical staff maintains a medication log that campers are required to initial when taking medications. All medications are returned to you at the end of the camp session.
7.) What are your vaccine requirements?
All staff and campers are required to be vaccinated with the following:
- Chicken Pox
8.) How do I know my camper is ready for camp?
It is our goal to partner with parents/guardians to work together to determine if Camp Horizons will be a positive experience for your camper prior to their enrollment. Safe participation requires certain physical, mental, emotional, and social health abilities, and staff are not specialized in serving those with special needs including certain mental, emotional, social, or behavioral difficulties. These requirements are not intended to be exclusionary, but to provide a safe and positive environment for all campers and staff. As each camper’s ability to participate is unique, decisions to accept a participant are made on an individual basis. As such, if your camper meets any of the following, you must contact us prior to enrolling:
- Has had any physical health concerns that could impact their time at camp (illnesses, broken bones, mobility issues, recent surgeries, etc.)
- Has had any mental health concerns in the last year, including anxiety, depression, etc.
- Has been diagnosed with any learning or behavioral disabilities (autism, ODD, CD, etc.)
- Is in a self-contained classroom or requires an aid at school
Please use the following criteria, developed according to the American Camp Association recommendations, as a guide to assess your camper’s readiness for camp. A baseline for participation in our programming, without added accommodations, entails the following:
- Can your camper take care of their own personal hygiene? Campers must know how to wash and brush their own hair, shower independently, and care for their own basic needs?
- Are they in good health physically and emotionally?
- Are they able to handle the aspects of summer camp like living independently in a group setting, sharing a cabin with 8-10 other campers?
- Are they able to handle being in loud, busy environments? If not, do they have the tools to express their needs?
- When angry or upset, are they able to keep calm and express their feelings without becoming physical?
- Have they ever spent more than one night away from home?
We want to make sure that we are right for your camper and family and that your camper can participate in our programs. If your camper currently takes any medication for mood or focus, please do not take them off it.
Camp is a big transition for everyone, and we do not want to change anything that could make it more difficult. We expect all campers to abide by our community agreement.
Any camper whose behavior disrupts their cabin or program will be dismissed without refund.
9.) Can I come to see camp?
Of course! We hold several Open Houses throughout the spring, which are open to all potential families and friends. If the dates we list on the website won’t work out for your family, we’re happy to schedule private tours. Please email or call our team with a few dates in mind. To view our current Open House dates, watch our Virtual Open House video, or to learn more about scheduling a tour, click here.
If you can’t make it down to camp, members of our camp team attend camp fairs across Virginia and Maryland. Visiting a camp fair is a great opportunity to meet some of our staff and learn more about camp while staying closer to home. To see if we are coming to a camp fair near you, click here.
We do not encourage visiting while camp is in session simply because it can cause a disruption to the camp experience—not only for your child but for other campers as well. We find that visits can bring on sudden bouts of homesickness in other campers who may be jealous they were not visited or realize they are “missing” something at home. That said, if there is a special circumstance or if you as a parent feel strongly that you would like to come to visit, please contact us directly to discuss.
9. Is there a Camp Store?
Yes! Our camp store is known as Swap Shop, where campers can go each day during free swim. In Swap Shop we sell various snacks, camp apparel, and other fun merchandise! Get the latest Horizons tee or tank, cool off with a Gatorade, and don your new sunglasses! We recommend $40 per week. Swap Shop is also open on Opening and Closing day for larger purchases.
10.) How do I sign up/how much does it cost?
If you are ready to register, hit the “Register Now!” button in the top right corner. This will direct you to create a profile for you and your camper. You can always call our office for help creating a profile, or to enroll over the phone.
Camp costs vary depending on if you attend for 1 or 2 weeks, and if you join a traditional camp or a specialty program. You can learn more about our prices and variety of discounts by visiting our Dates and Fees page, click here.