Frequently Asked Questions
Why should my daughter attend one of your Girl Scout camps?
At Camp Hawthorn Hollow and Camp Innisfree our activities and facilities are tools we use to teach the values of courage, confidence, and character. These basic values will help your daughter to be successful as she grows up and in her adult life. Learning activity skills is secondary to developing interpersonal ones. Campers not only swim, boat, hike, and ride horses, they also meet a diverse group of people, make deeper and more positive friendships, unplug from the stress and noise of electronic devices, and learn to appreciate and be proud of who they are and their place in the world. Campers also learn to take responsibility for themselves and to make good choices while in a supportive, caring environment that has the unique ability to shut out the world’s negative influences. The summer camp experience at camps Hawthorn Hollow and Innisfree is so unique and valuable, no child should miss it.
Is my daughter ready for Summer Camp?
Kids thrive on opportunities to develop connections in new situations, with new people, with new friends – even for short periods of time. Adults thrive on opportunities to have their children in safe, trusted environments for short periods of time (half a week, a week, or a couple of weeks). After being away from home, kids and adults alike seem to come back to their familiar routine refreshed and renewed. The following are good questions you should ask yourself to know if you and your daughter are ready for summer camp:
Who are the staff?
Our summer camps are directed by full-time camp directors who have over 25 years of combined youth programming experience. Our summer staff members are carefully selected adults typically ranging from ages 18 to 30. They are hired based on maturity, experience with children, specific skills, and enthusiasm for creating a one-of-a-kind camp experience for your daughter. Your daughter will have two adult counselors assigned to work with her and approximately nine (8-11) other girls. All of the counselors who stay in the cabins are female.
What training does staff receive?
Our staff receive very intensive training for two to three weeks depending on their position. The staff is educated in camp and safety operations as well as how to lead age-appropriate activities.
Staff obtain training certifications needed to run program areas such as the waterfront, swimming, archery, ropes course, and more! At a minimum, each staff member is certified in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR.
How are behavioral problems handled?
Positive reinforcement, assertive role-modeling, and a sense of fair play are key components of the camp experience. Our system for managing behavior is proactive. We create a mutually respectful atmosphere where our campers understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from camp. Rules are necessary in any community, and the disciplinary approach taken is reasonable and well-communicated. Our staff have the training to motivate positive behavior and the resources to get help from supervisors who are professional educators. Counselors understand developmentally appropriate behavior and boundaries. They are equipped to provide natural and logical consequences, where appropriate, to emphasize girls’ ability to develop resilience and decision-making skills. If problems arise that cannot be handled effectively by our staff you will be contacted so we can partner with you to create a behavior plan.
What if my daughter gets sick or hurt?
Our health center is staffed 24 hours by an adult trained in emergency procedures and how to safely distribute medications. She provides caring support for campers who need extra encouragement if homesickness occurs. If your daughter should become ill or hurt and not able to participate in activities we will contact you.
What do they eat at camp?
Three nutritionally balanced meals and at least one snack are provided each day. Additional food is always available for times when girls get hungry between meals. All girls will have the opportunity to cook outdoors (weather permitting). We always encourage girls to try the food that is being served by taking the Girl Scout “three-bite try." We do supply alternative items such as sandwiches, cereal, fruit, salad, rice, and soup, if girls do not like what is being served.
If my daughter needs a special diet, can the appropriate meals be provided?
With the growing awareness of food allergies and dietary restrictions our staff receive ongoing training to accommodate our campers. You are encouraged to call and speak with our camp directors about your daughter’s unique needs. A written plan will be created to ensure that kitchen staff and counselors are aware of what she needs. In most cases, special food can be purchased by camp staff to accommodate your daughter’s needs. If not, we have food storage areas in the dining hall and cabins to accommodate any special food that you may send to camp for her.
Can I talk to my daughter at camp?
Thanks to cell phones, we're so used to being able to connect to our kids immediately that we don't often get the chance to stand back and let them deal with situations on their own. And if you're worrying about it for safety's sake, remember that you are choosing a camp because it is safe and fun with responsible adults in charge. Let your daughter do her thing. With that being said, let us reassure you that it is not our intent to disrupt the need for you and your daughter to connect on a daily basis if this is something that is important to your family ritual. Girls may bring a cell phone to camp and call you when it best fits into her camp schedule and does not disrupt her participation in camp activities. Usually a great time for her to call home is after dinner and before evening activities. Some parents feel that it is not necessary to send their daughter to camp with a cell phone to help promote independence, and this is fine too. We honor the feelings that you have as a parent to make the right choices for you and your daughter.
How do you handle adjustment and separation issues?
Our staff is well trained to help campers work through feelings of homesickness. The best way to "beat" homesickness is to validate campers' feelings, while also keeping them engaged and excited about the many opportunities that await them every day at camp. Campers who can work through these feelings with the support of our staff will emerge from the experience more confident and will become more resilient as a result. The first few hours at camp have the potential to be the most difficult. This is why we devote the first afternoon and evening of camp to helping girls unpack and create their own fun bunk space, learning counselors and other girls’ names, and playing fun games to connect with cabin mates and counselors.
Can girls register with a “buddy” for camp?
If two campers wish to be placed together in the same program as "buddies" they must both meet all program requirements and be registering for the same session and program. You will be able to request placement with a “buddy” during the online registration process or by emailing your request to the camp director. Attempts will be made to honor this request, although it may not be possible to place more than two girls together. Please remember that camp is a time to enjoy old friends but also a time to make new ones.
Is financial assistance available?
We hope that our tiered price structure makes camping affordable for everyone but we never want the cost of camp to stand in the way of girls enjoying a camp experience. The camp experience is just too important to miss. If selecting the subsidized Tier 2 cost is still not possible for your family, an additional financial assistance award may be available if your family qualifies. Please read the instructions for applying for financial assistance and download a financial assistance application.
Have a question? We are here to help. Contact the GSSEM Help Desk and let a registration associate assist you by calling: 1-800-482-6734, option 5 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Desk hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
How do I use my daughter’s product sales earnings to pay for summer camp and ranch camp?
By participating in the product sales programs, girls in GSSEM District and Community Troops not only learn about entrepreneurship and financial literacy, they can also earn program recognitions which they can apply to the cost of camp!
To apply Cashew Cash, Cookie Dough, Camp Credit, and/or Program Credit to the cost of a camp session, include the number that is on the back of the plastic card on the camp registration form or your session confirmation notice if you have already paid a $50.00 deposit and send it to the Finance Department at the Detroit Service Center. These cards cannot be applied to camp fees through online registration.