What is different about Camp Carysbrook from other girls camps?
Our small size makes for a tight-knit community where you know each camper and staff member’s name.
At Camp Carysbrook, we believe the opportunity to try new things without fear of failure as well as to develop a strong work ethic and perseverance is critical to the development of young women which is why we offer instruction at five skill levels in all of the 18+ activities (beginner through advanced) at camp.
What sets Camp Carysbrook apart is our dedication to developing independence by empowering campers including designing their own schedule of activities daily. Campers listen to announcements in the Dining Hall after meals and have the opportunity to participate in any activity open that day including as many as they choose during an activity period with the exception of scheduled activities. The only scheduled activity programming at Carysbrook are daily swimming lessons, optional horseback riding lessons, and trips out of camp. For safety purposes, all campers participate in swim lessons. Campers earn points for themselves and their team, work towards mastery of the various skill levels, and ultimately earn charms for their pennant before they leave camp.
This allows campers to practice decision-making, goal-setting, and time management disguised as fun as they customize their schedule daily based on their new and developing interests. As a result of our many years offering this model of activity programming, we have found that girls are more likely to step outside their comfort zone and expand their interests, hobbies, and skills for a formative camp experience and memories to last a lifetime. In contrast to a highly scheduled environment in school and outside of camp, this level of personalization and choice are liberating for campers and result in new levels of engagement and creativity.
What is Camp Carysbrook doing to promote a more diverse and inclusive community for girls?
From the Director and Leadership to the Camp Owners, the management at Camp Carysbrook is committed to recruiting diverse young women as staff and campers who share the company philosophy and mission. As an organization, we commit to cultivating a community that values a physically and emotionally safe environment and pledge to support camper and staff families to achieve the outcomes that are a hallmark of a summer to remember at Camp Carysbrook for girls regardless of racial, social, cultural, religious, or economic background.
To that end, staff will receive diversity and inclusion training including but not limited to racism, sexism, discrimination based on nationality, sexual orientation, ability, or socioeconomic status, as well as training to combat bias and microaggressions in addition to training regarding privilege and allyship. Campers will receive age-appropriate anti-bias education as part of settling in to their cabin to increase understanding of differences and their value to a respectful and civil society and to actively challenge bias, stereotyping and all forms of discrimination in our community.
Camp Carysbrook is working in conjunction with the Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association specifically the BIPOC Staff Recruiting Chair and the BIPOC Scholarship Recruiting Chair to reach more staff and campers of color to achieve our goals to attain better representation of the world we live in outside of camp within our community.
Is my camper eligible to attend Camp Carysbrook for girls? What accomodations are possible to meet the needs of my camper?
It is our goal to partner with parents/guardians to work together to determine if the Camp Carysbrook program will be a positive experience and is suitable for your camper prior to her enrollment. Safe participation in the programming at Camp Carysbrook requires certain physical, mental, emotional, and social health abilities, and you will understand that we are limited as to the types of accommodations we are able to provide by the scope of our program and facilities. As each camper’s ability to participate is unique, decisions to accept a participant are made on an individual basis. As such, we request that parents and caregivers review the “Essential Eligibility Criteria” in the Camp Carysbrook Handbook and contact Erika with any further questions upon enrolling their camper.
Why is Camp Carysbrook requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for campers and staff?
“AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 5 years of age and older who do not have contraindications using a COVID-19 vaccine approved through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Biologics License Application (BLA), recommended by CDC, and appropriate for their age and health status.”
Like the other vaccines we require as a community in a congregate overnight setting, the COVID-19 vaccine provides a trifecta of protection:
- Help protect members of the community from getting COVID-19
- Minimize the spread of the virus to others
- Help protect members of the community from getting sick if infected
“The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended because, for some individuals, becoming infected with COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications (especially those with specific infirmities or co-morbidities who are at high risk). Even those who are not at a high risk of developing complications could spread the disease to friends, family, and others if infected with the virus.” American Camp Association Field Guide
COVID vaccines are safe and effective. The best way for staff to successfully deliver our signature Camp Carysbrook summer to remember experience is to have our campers and staff vaccinated to minimize the impact of this communicable disease and others. If you have a bona fide medical exemption authorized by your pediatrician, please contact Erika in the office.
What COVID-19 prevention measures will be required this summer?
The two main mitigation strategies Camp Carysbrook is employing this summer are vaccinations and PCR testing within 72 hours prior to arrival at camp for campers and staff. All campers and staff are required to be up to date (<12 two doses of Pfizer, 12-17 two doses of Pfizer and a booster after five months, 18+ two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and a booster after five months or one dose of J&J and a booster within two months) against COVID-19 in order to attend Camp Carysbrook in 2022. Refer to previous FAQ for details. We will also utilize the standard mitigation strategies for other communicable diseases such as frequent handwashing, respiratory etiquette, and improved ventilation in our facilities. Should we experience a positive case of COVID-19 or otherwise be advised by the Montgomery County Department of Health, it is likely that other measures such as masking, social distancing, etc. may be employed. We encourage you to read our Covid Response Plan as a guide to answer your questions.
What are some Pro Tips for Camp Carysbrook?
Check out the following Pro Tips we’ve compiled based on conversations we’ve had with new and returning campers and parents/caregivers alike!
Can I customize a session based on my camper’s schedule?
The sessions are constructed to allow some flexibility in the number of weeks a camper is able to spend at camp and we allow building your own session based on a combination of available set sessions. In our experience this creates standard departure dates and maximizes continuity for campers and their summer experience by minimizing the comings and goings of friends.
What is a Wait List?
Once a session is 90% full, administrative staff creates a Wait List where campers interested in a session are held until staff can confirm a space for them in a cabin of their age group or until a spot becomes available. We recommend registering on the Wait List if you are interested in a particular session as people do withdraw up to April 1st. To guarantee a spot in a session, choose a session without a Wait List.
I am having trouble logging into my online account to settle a balance or add funds to my camper’s store account.
A shortcut to your online registration account is:
If you experience difficulties, try deleting your browser history. Google Chrome and Firefox are the recommended browsers. If you are still having trouble, try a desktop computer or please contact CampMinder at 303-444-2267 or by going to “help” in your Camp In Touch account and clicking “Submit a Help Ticket”.
I have still have questions specific to my camper this summer, how can I reach the Director?
The best way to reach Erika Schlichter, the Director is to schedule a time to chat:
Can my camper add riding to the 1 Week Session?
We do not recommend riding in the one week session. There are only ten activity slots in the 1-Week session and 18 activities PLUS trips to choose from which makes getting to riding lessons three of the activity slots difficult. Riding is also a weather-dependent activity which can make it disappointing when lessons are cancelled due to weather. Instead, we do have opportunities to get on a horse while at camp in the 1-Week without the lesson structure as part of our evening program (weather dependent) and we also offer a barn overnight (also weather dependent) to get in just the right amount of time with the horses so campers are ready when they come for longer to add riding when they have more time!
What if your camper gets her period at camp?
Whether it’s herr first period or not, getting your period at camp can seem like a huge wrinkle in your plans for carefree, outdoor summer adventure. But only if you let it!
As an all girls camp, you have never been in better company! You will not be the only one and there are plenty of people you can talk to and ask for help, from your counselor or the nurse to your cabin mates. It can be as private as you would like it to be, but most everyone not only understands but has been there themselves.
Worried about swimming? Talk to the Head of the Dock or your swim instructor. They will be willing to make accommodations for you if necessary. And at the same time, remember, some of the greatest athletes in the world are swimmers AND they are women who do not let their period stop them from doing what they love.
Like most other things at camp, it’s best to know before you go and have a plan you are comfortable with so it doesn’t cramp your style once you arrive. If you do get cramps, the infirmary has OTC medicines like Advil or Pamprin. If you have a medication you would like to bring, just make sure that it is in its original container and bring it to the nurse at check in. Pack some pads or tampons just in case and rest assured that we have more at the camp store and in the health center. When you think about it, getting your period at camp is something all the women at camp have experienced and are here to help and support you.
So don’t wonder or worry and let it overshadow your time at camp! We have all been waiting a long time for this summer of fun and we are way too empowered to let anything stop us!
What paperwork is necessary for camp?
After you have registered your camper online, you can access all forms online via your Camp InTouch Account. All paperwork is due no later than May 15th to ensure proper planning for a great camp experience for your camper. For easy access to the Handbook as well as the Health Provider form, click here:
» Camp Carysbrook – Camper Forms
Health Form 2 refers to Health Form 1 but I can’t locate the form.
Health Form 2 is the American Camp Association’s form the medical professional completes at the camper’s physical. Health Form 1 has been integrated into the new CampMinder health system. You can print this form by logging into your CampMinder account and selecting the Print button. If you are still having trouble, please contact the office for assistance.
Is a sports physical an acceptable substitute for the Health Form 2 (provider form)?
The Health Form 2 is specifically crafted for summer camps by the American Camp Association with whom we are accredited. The provider who completed your sports physical should be able to complete the Health Form 2 possibly without another appointment, however Camp Carysbrook requires a current Health Form 2 (within 12 months of her arrival at camp) for the camp-specific, overnight setting endorsed for suitability for your camper by their health provider.
What is the camper drop off schedule?
We are thrilled to offer Express Drop Off again this summer! We believe this procedural change due to COVID-19 restrictions will result in a smoother transition into camp for your camper, better cabin bonding as everyone arrives together and goes to the cabin to pick out their bunks together, and less homesickness as all parents/caregivers leave at the same time allowing campers to quickly make new friends and get the support they need from their counselor/s.
Please check your time slot below:
9AM CIT arrival
10AM GoToGirls arrival
11AM current 1st-3rd grader arrival
11:30AM current 4th-5th grader arrival
12PM current 6th-7th grader arrival
12:30PM current 8th+ grader arrival
Only one masked adult will be permitted to get out of the car at check in.
If you have siblings in different grades, arrive at the earlier time.
Lunch will be served at 1PM
What time should I pick my camper up at the end of her sessison?
Please sign up for a time-slot to pick up your camper at the end of her session by the Friday before her departure! We will do our best to arrange for a smooth transition in the check out process so you can get on the road and hear all the stories of a summer to remember!
I would like my camper to receive letters/postcards while at camp but I am worried about the postal service. What do you recommend?
You are welcome to send letters two weeks in advance of your camper’s session to ensure that the mail arrives while she is at camp. Alternatively, you can write letters and drop them off to Erika or the Office Manager at drop off, clearly marked with the date you would like them delivered. Not everyone receives mail at camp so every other day is the recommended frequency.
What is the daily schedule for Summer Camp?
What should we pack for camp?
Campers will be required to bring several articles of clothing, toiletries, linens, and other necessities clearly labelled with the camper’s name. Break in new shoes before camp! This includes riding boots, rain boots, flip flops! There are also guidelines on what NOT to pack.
Where can I find trunks, laundry bags, etc. needed for summer camp?
If you do not already have some of the equipment like a trunk or “Crazy Creek” camping chair or personalized labels, then http://www.everythingsummercamp.com/camp-carysbrook is a great source. Outdoor shops like LL Bean and REI also carry many items on the packing list as well. And ask friends and neighbors if your camper is just starting out and you just want to borrow and test out the equipment.
Does my camper need special equipment for horseback-riding?
Hard- soled boots and an ASTM approved helmet are required for horseback-riding. For maximum safety, it is best for the camper to bring her own helmet fitted for your camper. You can find quality, reasonably priced helmets and other gear at: http://www.doversaddlery.com
How does the laundry service work?
Campers staying for more than one week will have an opportunity to send out their laundry once a week. It is important to have an extra set of bedding regardless of the session length as this is changed at least once per week for health reasons. Laundry will go out on a weekday morning and will be returned the next day announced at mealtimes. Make sure your laundry bag is sturdy! The laundry is sent out by each camper but all clothing should be clearly marked with the campers name and the laundry bag should not tear easily!
What happens if my camper has her birthday while at camp?
Birthdays are celebrated at camp with singing and cake chosen by the birthday girl. Her counselor will be sure to make it a special celebration throughout the day.
What is the food like?
Camp Carysbrook’s menus are planned with hungry, growing girls in mind. At mealtime the camp eats together family style. Food is prepared “from scratch’. Fresh fruits and vegetables are offered at most every meal. Salt, sugar and fats are limited. The menus are “camper tested”.
If your camper has any dietary restrictions, please complete the dietary restrictions section in the CampDoc online health profile and contact the Director.
Will my camper be the only new girl?
We have a mix of new and returning campers, and they are assigned throughout the cabins to promote a friendly and welcoming environment. We also have a variety of ways to mix campers up to give them a broad range of potential friendships including meals, teams, and cabin assignments. It is encouraged and promoted to uphold the motto “make new friends, but keep the old.”
What are the counselors like?
The counselors are enthusiastic, talented and caring adults who are carefully selected on the basis of their experience, qualification, education and desire to work with children. Camp Carysbrook staff members are recruited from throughout the United States and around the world.
Will my camper be able to visit camp before enrolling?
Of course! We encourage you to visit camp. Please contact the office to arrange a tour.
Where do campers live?
4 to 7 campers live in rustic-style cabins with 1 to 2 counselors served by a centrally located bathhouse. Each camper has a single bed (bunkbeds) and shared space for personal items. Counselors-in-Training (CIT’s) live in a cabin on their own with their counselor nearby.
Can my camper request to be in a cabin with her friend?
We are happy to accommodate cabin requests; however, we limit the number of friends to a cabin to no more that 1 or 2. We want each child to have a positive experience at camp and do not want new campers to feel isolated. Our cabin assignments are carefully made to promote an accepting and inclusive atmosphere. Cabins are organized based on grade (age).
My camper has never been away from home. What if she gets homesick?
Anxiety about the upcoming camp season is very normal. Talk with your camper about how everyone, even the Director, can get a little nervous even if it isn’t the first time away. Campers who know that this is normal and have a strategy for handling nervousness or homesickness do best.
Great tools include journaling, writing letters, talking to another camper who beat homesickness, and making a list of the fun things she is looking forward to doing when she is at camp. Hearing from family members that they believe the camper can handle this is the best remedy so make sure you are regularly reminding them of that and all the fun things they will be doing. Letters to this effect just reinforce the message. Learning this kind of resilience is a life-changing camper outcome and life lesson to be celebrated! Some parents/caregivers have found the book, Homesick and Happy by renowned child psychologist, Michael Thompson PhD., to be an excellent resource.
First time campers will also meet their Go To Girl, a high school age returning camper, when they arrive at camp to help ease the transition of exploring camp, the activities, routines and making new friends in addition to the cabin staff who are trained to help campers through homesickness.
Most often homesickness develops on day 2 and has resolved itself by day 4 or 5 resulting in a positive and empowering experience for the camper. Please express any concerns about homesickness to your camper’s counselor or the Director. Do NOT discuss an early pickup with your camper as that disempowers them to work through the difficult feelings and emerge with new confidence on the other side. The Director or another staff member will contact you if the homesickness does not resolve itself with these tried and true strategies.
What should I do if I have a confidential concern about my camper?
Your camper’s safety and comfort are very important to the staff. It is paramount that you discuss any and all concerns (anxiety, etc) or habits (bedwetting, sleepwalking, etc.) with the Director to ensure that the staff is equipped to handle any situations that may arise. Rest assured we treat each camper with sensitivity and respect.
What is the counselor to camper ratio?
Our overall ratio is 1:4.
How should my camper’s things be transported?
A footlocker-size container works best for keeping personal belongings together. It will be stored at the bed and used as a dresser. If a footlocker is not available to your camper, a suitcase is a suitable alternative. Linens and bedding are best transported in a duffel bag.
If your camper is traveling prefers, Ship Camps service is available for Carysbrook campers for reduced rates with traditional shipping services like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Simply pack your campers’ duffel bags, trunks, luggage, sporting equipment, and more, and their hassle-free service will collect them directly from your doorstep. Keep up with our real-time tracking, too, all the way to on-time delivery to your camper’s future bunk. Ship campers’ larger luggage items including trunks and duffel bags directly to the camp address to their camper’s attention!
My daughter takes medication; can she keep it in her cabin?
Any medication required by campers or staff, prescription or over-the-counter, is kept in the infirmary in its original container/PillPak and is dispensed by the Health Care Manager before each meal or when necessary. You will have a chance to meet and talk with our Healthcare staff on opening day.
Are parents and caregivers able to visit their campers at camp?
At this time as in 2021, we do not have Visiting Days scheduled as we try to minimize the amount of people coming and going from camp for the safety of your campers. In fact, Camp Carysbrook staff attribute the decrease in homesickness in 2021 to the lack of disruption of the camp experience as a result.
Will my camper be able to choose her activities?
The program is designed to allow the campers a daily choice of activities, giving each individual the opportunity to select daily activities, set goals, and make decisions based on her interest.
How can I contact my camper while she is at camp?
Letters and postcards are particularly special at camp. The mail can take several days so be sure to send your post in advance.
3500 Camp Carysbrook Road
Riner, VA 24149
One-way email is also an option in urgent cases. Send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the subject line make sure to write your camper’s first and last name and cabin if available.
Phone calls and unscheduled visits are discouraged. If you would like to discuss your camper’s progress, please contact the office and a staff member will be happy to help you. Surprisingly the best evidence that your camper is enjoying camp is when you do not hear from her. If you are concerned, please call the office. We will contact you immediately if we have any concerns during her stay.
We regularly post pictures on Facebook so like our page or access it via the website if you would like to follow the happenings while your camper is at camp.
How much should I put in my camper’s store account?
1 week $50
2-4 weeks $75
5-7 weeks $100
The camp store carries basic necessities, Carysbrook clothing and store accounts are also used to bill trips and other activities outside of camp like caving, rock climbing, etc. These trips are optional and a $10 expense will be debited from your store account if your camper participates to offset transportation costs.
What is appropriate banquet attire?
If your camper will be attending a session that includes the very last night of camp, she will be a part of the final banquet. Some campers simply wear their white shorts and white shirt, however many campers dress up in a white sundress or similar to make the occasion more festive. The CITs reveal a decorated and themed sit-down meal and toasts and we say aloha to another summer to remember.
Is there a camp-wide competition? How will I know what team my camper is on?
New campers are randomly assigned to either the GREEN or BROWN team during opening campfire the Sunday night they arrive. As is tradition, your team assignment is for life! Team events involve every camper and every range of abilities. They are friendly competitions and teach important skills like good sportsmanship, trying your best and being a part of a team. Cabin inspection and activity points earned throughout the day are tallied weekly and the winning team is announced at banquet on the last night of camp.
Information on team spirit packages and other merchandise available for purchase in the camp store is available upon arrival. Many people like to purchase a team spirit package unbeknownst to their camper, which is then assembled by our store staff depending team and delivered before the first team meet. So no need to worry about having green/brown clothes and no need to get to the post office. The store will be open during during various free time periods during camp for campers.
What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 at camp?
If your camper does develop a fever of 100.4 F at camp that does not resolve in 24 hours, we will isolate and test your camper. You will be notified if it becomes necessary to pick your camper up prior to the end of her session. We will be working with the Montgomery County Health Department as to when to pivot to to use masks, physical distancing, and cohorts and contact tracing to isolate any exposure. We will inform you as part of our community if there is a diagnosed case at camp.
More details are available in the COVID Response Plan.
What additional items should I be thinking of packing for my camper due to COVID-19 and other health precautions?
We will be asking you to limit the amount of “stuff” you send to camp, as keeping belongings clean and sanitary is easier when there is less. Please take special care when packing cloth items or difficult-to-sanitize items like stuffed animals, pillows, etc.; please limit to one only.
A few items required to pack include: personal size bottle of sanitizer, disinfectant wipes for personal use, toiletry bag to store personal items like toothbrushes and hairbrushes to eliminate contact with others on shelving, a nylon (not mesh) laundry bag, more info to follow.
What does after Taps or bedtime look like at Camp Carysbrook?
After Evening Program, campers have at least 30 minutes to get ready for bed. Lights are out and Taps is played at 9:30pm and all is quiet on cabin row. Junior campers (1st-5th grade) settle in with a story read aloud by a counselor or senior camper. Intermediate campers (6th-8th grade) may read quietly on their own with a flashlight until 10pm. Senior campers (9th-11th grade) can either read quietly on their own with a flashlight or work on banquet with the CITs until 11pm.
Even if your camper typically has trouble getting to sleep at home, don’t assume she will at camp! Campers are usually ready for bed after a full day of fresh air and activities by 9:30pm. If you have any concerns about bedtime routines or anything else, please contact the Director.
How and when will I be contacted while my camper is at camp?
In accordance with the Camp Carysbrook Handbook and the Acknowledgement of the Camper Code of Conduct, you will be contacted by phone directly in the case of an emergency by the Camp Carysbrook Healthcare Manager or the Director. If you are not able to be reached, or in the case of a non-urgent matter, you may receive a text or email. You can always find the latest information on weather and special events at camp on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. The Director also sends out session-specific emails for general news and information regarding pickup and dropoff. Parents/Caregivers are given a print out of their camper’s health log during their stay at camp upon signing out their camper at pickup.
My camper attended the 1 week session last summer, can she attend for 1 week again this summer?
The 1 week session is an Introduction to Camp for New Campers and is restricted to new campers only. It is intended to be an “introduction” to camp for campers and parents who have some concerns about spending time away from home. After successful completion of this intro to camp, campers are ready for a longer stay and the benefits and outcomes achieved through a more significant period of time in the camp environment. Campers who stay for 2+ weeks find that they have more time to invest in stronger friendships with fellow campers and staff and more time to explore the activities, routines and traditions of Carysbrook. The 1-week session overlaps with the 3 and 7 week sessions so that there is a healthy mix of new and returning campers.
How can I order a PCR/molecular test for pre-arrival within 72 hours of my camper’s arrival at camp?
In order to proactively identify infected campers and staff who may be contagious as soon as possible so that measures can be taken to prevent further spread, Camp Carysbrook will require a negative PCR/molecular test within 72 hours prior to arriving at camp. Your local CVS or Walgreens, etc. will administer these tests for free however we encourage you to book an appointment in advance so that the results are received prior to check in.
For your convenience, a list of molecular/PCR home tests including the Lucira molecular test can be found in the 2022 Covid Response Plan. It can be purchased online, has a 98% PCR quality molecular accuracy, offers results in 30 minutes, is easy to use, and has an app for reporting results. You should be able file a claim for the expense with your insurance for reimbursement. Your negative results according to the manufacturer instructions should be uploaded to your CampMinder profile within 72 hours prior to arriving at camp. A picture of the test device will not be sufficient. This testing must be completed by all campers and staff regardless of vaccination status.
If you prefer getting your test from your physician or another testing site, please just make sure that they can ensure results within the 72 hours prior to arrival at camp as this will be a zero tolerance condition to checking your camper in at camp again this summer.
What if my camper had COVID and I didn’t know it? What if she tests positive in the pre-arrival test?
If a camper or staff member has had a confirmed or suspected positive case of COVID-19 within 90 days of their arrival date, be sure to consult with her physician and have her tested at least two weeks prior to her arrival at camp. The COVID-19 virus can show a positive in tests up to three months after an active infection. A camper with a positive in the pre-camp PCR/molecualr test will NOT be permitted into camp without this additional test result.
Evidence of the prior positive result at check in demonstrates a result of an earlier infection and the camper is no longer contagious. Remember, often children present asymptomatic when infected, so to ensure a smooth check in and amazing summer for your camper, please take this recommended precaution.