A Note to Parents
The Staff and Board of Directors of Birchwood Camp look forward to offering a quality Christian residential camping experience for your child! We realize the great trust you are placing in us. It is our goal to work with you and your family to make the camp experience positive your child and your whole family.
We pride ourselves in offering safe and fun facilities for all our camp programs. Birchwood Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association, which means we follow several hundred best practices for camping programs, and we have been trusted by parents like you since 1961 (read about our history here). We hold to standards that cover issues like proper staff and volunteer screening and adequate training of camp staff, preparing meals in a sanitary way, having a health care manager on duty at all times, sleeping in safe accommodations, and ensuring waterfront safety with certified lifeguards and appropriate supervision.
Parents drop off and pick up their campers from our site in Chugiak (click here for directions). We have a beautiful camp site on 160 acres of beautiful spruce and birch forest. Campers live in cozy log cabins with bunk beds and mattresses and a centralized bathroom/shower house. Each cabin has 2 counselors and up to 10 campers. Campers also spend part of their time in small “family groups” of mixed gender.
Our camp staff is a mix of summer interns and local volunteer counselors, supervised by our on site year-round Camp Director. Each week of camp is led by a volunteer Dean, who works with our Director to put together a great camp session. Our summer interns work with us throughout the summer months; they are young adults passionate about serving and being in ministry. Many of our interns are gaining valuable experience for careers in ministry, education, camping, outdoor ed & more, through their time at camp. Our volunteer counselors are caring role models from the community and from our supporting United Methodist Churches who dedicate a week of their summer to making camp a fun, safe, place for our campers. All our staff, volunteer and paid, are fully screened and background checked before they work with us at Birchwood.
Our camp activities are designed to provide a structured and safe environment for campers to grow in faith and friendship. Our days consist of mostly organized activities with lots of activity, time outside and social interaction. We have a rest hour called FOOFBOB (feet off of floor back on bunk) each day where campers can relax, rest or read. Campers are also given the opportunity to choose some of the activities they want to participate in; we encourage all our campers to try new things and gain new skills.
We have a nurse on site during our camp programs to care for each camper’s health needs and to dispense camper medications. If your child has special medical needs please contact our office prior to registering for camp so that we can determine if we can provide an adequate level of care and qualified staff in order for your camper to have a positive experience at Birchwood. We try our hardest to accommodate every child who wants to come to camp; please contact us if you have concerns or questions.
Check out the Camper Tips Page for a complete list of what your camper should bring to camp. We will also send out an email a couple weeks before camp with a session specific packing list and extra details.
We have a scholarship fund available if your family needs financial assistance. We believe camp is a vital developmental experience for every child, regardless of financial need. Click here for more information about scholarships.
Again, we thank you for trusting us to take care of your children while they are at camp. Please contact our Camp Director if you have any questions or concerns (907.688.2734 or firstname.lastname@example.org). We are here to help!
-The Birchwood Camp Staff
Reaching your Child at Camp
Sending your child a letter is a great way to deepen his or her camp experience. You can send mail in the format below. Remember, it’s a good idea to send mail early to allow plenty of time for it to reach your camper while they are at camp!Birchwood Camp Attn: Camper’s Name
PO Box 670049 Chugiak, AK 99567
You can also send your camper an email while they are at camp through your Birchwood Camp account. Click here for instructions for emailing your camper.
Packing a special memento of home for your camper can help prevent homesickness. Visitation and phone calls by parents during camp can cause homesickness, disrupt the camp program, and take valuable staff time away from campers. In case of an emergency, please call the camp office at 907-688-2734 or the on-call camp cell at 907-887-4676.
Other Important Information
Check-in takes place in the Main Lodge, the last large building on the right with parking in the front. During check-in you will sign your child in with the Camp Director or Dean, complete a short health screening with the camp nurse (and drop off any camper medications), pick up your camp t-shirt, get your camper’s cabin assignment (and drop off their gear) and meet the camp counselors.
Our programs are carefully planned around the stated arrival and departure times. Please do not expect check-in to begin until the stated arrival time. We expect that all campers will be at camp the entire time. Please contact the camp office before camp if your circumstances dictate a different arrival or departure time or if your camper must leave during the camp session (e.g. a doctor’s appointment). Remember that whenever campers leave camp, they need to be signed in and out with the dean by an adult listed on their registration form.
We are an electronics-free community and we practice face-to-face time at camp. Cell phones, smart phone, iPods, e-readers and any other electronic devices should be left at home. Please talk with your child about this before camp, and help us create this important space for the campers to thrive away from their electronics.
If your child has medication that he or she needs to bring to camp, it must be in the original bottle and must be checked in with the nurse at the beginning of camp. The nurse dispenses all medication during camp. For more information, please see the health information page on the registration form.
Check out the American Camp Association’s Healthy Camps Update for ways to keep your child healthy before and during camp!