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FAQ's about DEC Camp

Where can I find an application for camp?
Camper registration will begin January 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM. In the meantime, you can create or update your family account using our online registration system. [leaving DEC website]

What is the cost for a week at camp?
Each week at camp costs $350. Full payment is required when the child is registered for all weeks requested.

May payment be made with a credit card?
Yes, our online registration program accepts all major credit cards, debit cards with a credit card logo and e-checks.

May a child who is 10 years old now but will be 11 in September attend camp this year?
Yes; for Youth Camp, all children must be 11 years old by December 1, 2017. For Teen Week, campers must be 14 years old by December 1, 2017.

Is there a limit on how many campers a sponsor can sponsor?
No; as long as a sponsor is financially able, they may sponsor as many campers as they wish. A sponsor who pays for six campers may send a seventh camper for free.

Is it okay for a child to attend camp at the same time as a friend and share the same cabin?
Yes; however, each child must request the other on his/her application, and both should understand that they could be separated if camp staff have any concerns.

May a child attend Teen Ecology Week (for 14 to 17-year-olds) even if he/she didn't attend the program for 11 to 13-year- olds?
Yes; a camper is not required to attend the youth program to be eligible to attend Teen Ecology Week.

What is the Hunter Education Program?
Campers age 11 and older may participate in the New York State Hunter Education Program depending on what week they attend camp. If a camper wishes to get a hunting license, he/she MUST complete the home study workbook or online course, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass the test. A camper under the age of 12 may not shoot live ammunition but may use laser guns or air rifles. DEC Sportsman Education instructors and NYS environmental conservation officers oversee the Hunter Education Program. Visit the camps Sportsman Education page for more information. This program is optional.

What is Bowhunter Education?
Campers age 11 and older may participate in the NYS Bowhunter Education Course depending on what week they attend camp. If a camper wishes to get a bowhunting license, he/she must also pass the regular Hunter Education Program. However, it is not a prerequisite for this course. Visit the camps Sportsman Education page for more information. This course is optional.

What is Trapper Education?
There is no age requirement for this class. Campers must complete a home study portion of the class before they attend camp. Visit the camps Sportsman Education page for more information. This course is optional.

What is Shooting Sports?
Shooting Sports is offered at Pack Forest to campers age 12 and older. Campers are taught firearm safety, responsibility and marksmanship. DEC Sportsman Education instructors and NYS environmental conservation officers oversee Shooting Sports. Visit the camps Sportsman Education page for more information. This is an optional activity.

Is it a problem when a child needs to leave camp early?
No; the child's parent or guardian should let the camp director know when the child will be picked up to ensure that he/she is ready on time. The parent or guardian must sign out the child at the time of pickup.

Can you accommodate a child who is on medication?
Yes, but all medication must be in its original container and properly marked. Upon arrival, the child's parent or guardian must speak with the health director and hand over medication(s) then. An EMT or a nurse is on staff at all times.

How does a child receive medications at camp?
The health director holds "med calls" at each meal and at bedtime.

Who is responsible for the camper's transportation?
Transportation is the parent/guardian/sponsor's responsibility; we do not provide it.

May a camper's parents provide transportation home for a child other than their own?
Yes, as long as the camp has written authorization from the parent(s) of the other child, granting permission and naming the person who will provide that transportation.

May a child call home if homesick?
Normally no; we try to help the child work through homesickness by encouraging involvement in camp activities. If there is concern that a child might become homesick while at camp, the parent/guardian should talk to the health director during check-in on Sunday. Knowing the parent's/guardian's wishes regarding a child's camp experience will help us if homesickness occurs.

What experience do camp counselors have?
NYSDEC camp counselors have at least two years of college, required NYSDEC training and training in first aid, AED, CPR, 15-passenger van safety and fire extinguisher use. They also have training in working with youth, firearm safety, child abuse reporting, blood borne pathogens, hazard awareness, waterfront safety and preventing sexual harassment. In addition, all camp staff are run through the NYS Sex Offender Registry for a background check.

What food is offered at camp?
Meals consist of wholesome foods prepared by experienced cooks.

Can a child with a food allergy be accommodated?
Yes; the child's parent or guardian should notify our camps program ahead of time to ensure that we have the necessary food(s) on hand for the camper.

What emergency procedures are followed in case of an accident or illness at camp?
All staff on duty carry radios with them, whether at camp or out in the field. The radios link staff to the camp's directors and/or directly to the regional radio system, which can summon help immediately. All off-site trips have been approved by the DEC Camps Administrator and the NYS Department of Health.

Are scholarships available for children whose families require financial assistance?
Most of our campers (70 percent) are sponsored by organizations such as sporting clubs, birds clubs, rod and gun clubs, fishing clubs, civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions), fire departments, etc. Check with your local organizations.

What is the deadline for camp registration?
We accept applications throughout the summer, as long as space remains. Campers are also put on wait lists if their first choices are unavailable. After registration opens up, the beds fill up fast!

Does a child need any spending money at camp?
No; all money and valuables should be left at home.

Are cell phones and other electronic devices allowed at camp?
No; cell phones, digital games, MP3 players and similar items are not allowed at camp and will be confiscated by staff until the camper is leaving for home.

What should a child take to camp?
Once a camper is registered they will receive all the necessary forms and documents, including a packing list and camp handbook.

What are the cabins like?
Cabins are rustic and have bunk beds. Approximately 10 to 12 people sleep in each cabin, including a counselor and possibly a camp volunteer. A general bath house is located within 200 feet of each cabin.

Is laundry service available?
No; however, there is a washer and dryer at each camp that can be used for emergencies and when "accidents" happen.

What is a typical day like at camp?
Each day is a little different. Generally, campers get up at 7:00 AM and have an early bird activity like a polar bear swim or fishing, and then it's off to breakfast. After breakfast, there are activities until lunch. These may include playing environmental games, participating in an environmental lesson, hiking or using sampling equipment to study insects. The morning session is followed by lunch. After lunch, there are more activities, such as hiking, canoeing, archery or field trips. Preparations for an overnight hike or hunter education classes are other possibilities. The afternoon session is followed by dinner. A guest speaker such as a wildlife biologist, forest ranger or conservation officer may visit during the afternoon or evening to talk with campers. In addition, taking a night walk, star gazing, playing games or listening to stories around a campfire might round out the day.

Are refunds offered?
You may cancel your child's summer camp registration up to three weeks (21 calendar days) prior to the day that your child is scheduled to check into camp and receive a refund. To cancel a camp registration, you must call (518) 402-8014 between Monday- Friday 9 AM - 4 PM. It must be done over the phone using this main number; do not call the individual camps. You will get a confirmation of the cancellation via email.

Medical Refunds: refunds requested due to medical illness or injury occurring while at camp will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If your child is unable to attend camp due to a medical reason, you may request a full refund at anytime prior to the start of the camp week they are registered for (not after camp has closed for the season) by providing a doctor's note. The doctor's note must state that the child is unable to participate in camp activities due to a medical excuse. It must be signed and dated by the doctor.

Refunds will not be credited to credit or debit cards. A check will be issued by the NYSDEC. It may take up to 60 days to receive a refund check.

I am a sponsor. Is there a discount if an organization sponsors a certain number of camper?

If you pay to send 6 kids to camp, you are eligible to send a 7th camper for free. The payment for the first 6 campers must be made as one transaction. The 7th camper will use a sponsorship code that the camps Albany administrative staff generates. Do not give the 7th camper the code you created. After the 6 campers have registered online give us a call at 518-402-8014 to receive the free 7th camper code. We will confirm the registrations and provide you with the free code(s). The free 7th camper code is only valid for the year the 6 campers were purchased as a single transaction. We do not refund any cancelled free 7th camper reservations.

What is week 3-Outdoor Adventure Week at Pack Forest?

Week 3-Outdoor Adventure Week at Pack Forest will offer opportunities for youth to hone their outdoor skills in the areas of cast fishing, fly tying and fly fishing, target shooting, safe fire arm handling, tracking, back country camping, archery, outdoor survival skills, plant identification, trapping, bird identification, outdoor photography, canoeing and kayaking. Professionals from the NYSDEC including conservation officers, forest rangers, fishing educators, sportsman educators and biologists will be on hand to assist with some of the classes and to discuss environmental careers. The camper' will have opportunities to learn outdoor skills through hands-on experiences in a safe and fun atmosphere.

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