We want your camper’s transition to and from camp to be simple and smooth. We want parent’s to feel informed and comfortable when dropping off their summer camper at Casowasco. Feel free to call our office with additional questions specific to your family that may not be addressed here.
Health and Safety of Your Camper
Casowasco is permitted annually by the New York State Department of Health, inspected prior to the summer season, and at least once during the summer season. Records of these inspections are kept on file with the Cayuga County Department of Health.
Providing qualified, trained, and certified staff for our activities is very important to us. All our waterfront staff carry Lifeguard certification which includes First Aid and CPR certifications. All ropes course leaders are trained to Project Adventure and ACCT standards. Likewise, all our staff receive comprehensive training prior to the start of summer on leading campers and all camp activities.
Casowasco is accredited by the American Camp Association and adheres to the 200+ standards they have set for summer camp and year-round retreat facilities.
Casowasco has a strong relationship with our local police, fire, and EMS services who conduct routine visits and assessments of the property. All emergency services are notified in writing of the dates of our summer camp season and stand by to provide excellent response and care in case of an emergency.
Campers who need to take medication during their time at Casowasco will get the needed medicine at the designated time established by the parent and Health Coordinator during check-in. All medications (prescription & over the counter) must be listed on the ‘Recommendations By Licensed Medical Personnel’, Form 2 and must carry a doctor’s signature in addition to parent/guardian approval. Parents/guardians will check in their camper’s medications with the Health Coordinator during check-in. Medicines are typically distributed at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.
What to Pack
Please remember at camp we choose function over fashion. Please do not send campers to camp with items of value or that which would create problems if ruined. Campers and living spaces can and do get wet/dirty from time to time.
What to Leave at Home
We truly enjoy welcoming campers each week during the summer. However, there are a few items that should be left at home. If they are found on your camper, these items will be confiscated at minimum, or you could be called to bring your camper home prematurely at its most severe. To avoid these consequences please be sure to leave the following items at home:
Modest Clothing and Swimsuits
We ask that all clothing brought to camp is in harmony with the Christian community we strive to create each week for all campers. Please pack clothes free of mottos, sayings, or advertisements that might conflict with the creation of that Christian community. All clothing should completely cover undergarments and fit properly during all kinds of activity. Tank top straps should be at least 1-inch wide for both males and females and all shirts should be long enough to cover the wearer’s mid-section.
Swim trunks are required for males. One-piece swimsuits or tankinis that fully cover the midsection and bottom are required for females.
Casowasco is blessed with amazing staff! We seek applicants for our seasonal staff who have experience with children, personal and spiritual maturity, and an aptitude for building healthy relationships within the camp setting. All staff go through an extensive screening process before being hired, including application, interview, reference checks, and state and federal background checks. Additionally, staff are provided with two full weeks of training and orientation prior to the start of the camp season.
Small Group Camping
Casowasco follows a pattern set within a small group camping structure. This means that campers are placed in groups of 12 – 16 campers within their age group. Each group has 2 counselors that lead the group throughout the week. These groups participate in their daily routine together including activities, mealtimes, bible studies and worship. This small group camping structure has been found to help campers building relationships with God and with each other in a comfortable and Christian guided way.
Special Dietary Needs and Allergies
Always one of the most important parts of camp, we provide quality food and plenty of it! Healthy and delicious home-style meals are prepared daily and usually served family style. We seek to meet special dietary needs, provided we receive advance notice. Typical needs we accommodate include vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and various allergies. There is a section on our health forms inquiring about allergies your camper may encounter at camp. We accommodate as the health forms dictate. However, if you have additional concerns or questions, we would be happy to discuss those specifics with you.
Our accommodations for campers are very diverse and include hotel style rooms, dormitory style rooms, lodge style rooms, and traditional camp cabins. Campers will be assigned to their specific building or cabin by program, and each space is kept maintained, clean, and comfortable. Counselors and other staff will always be housed in the same buildings with campers to ensure adequate supervision. Bathrooms are in or adjacent to each lodging area.
The Highlands at Casowasco is our primitive camping outpost site where campers stay in Yurts, participate in more wilderness-based activities, help prepare and clean up after meals and use privies. Potable drinking water is available and campers have access to a nearby shower house daily. Highlands is an unbeatable and unique experience for any camper. If the need arises, Highlands is easily accessible to emergency vehicles.
Letters from home are so precious, especially for first time campers. Camper mail is delivered daily. There is also a mailbox outside the Emmaus Commons for campers to place mail to send home.
Please send correspondence to campers as follows:
Camper Name / Program Name
158 Casowasco Drive
Moravia, NY 13118
It can take several days for a letter to get to camp, so write letters early in the session, even before campers leave home. Remember, it is not uncommon to not receive a letter from your child until well into the camp session. If you would like mail from your camper while they are away, we recommend providing stationary and stamped, pre-addressed envelopes for your camper to send letters home.
Packages are a fun addition to any experience away from home. If you would like to send a package to your camper please do not send it with any food, candy or drink items. Please consider the small group that your camper is lodging with as well. Fun items to include in a care package could be party favors, small games, bubbles, sunglasses, glow items or hats. If food, drink or candy is included in the package, it will be taken, stored and returned to the camper/parent at check-out.
We take LOTS of photos during a week of camp! These will typically be shared online through a secure portal to which parents will have access, managed by a company that we partner with called Bunk1. Information on accessing this service will be provided once you have completed your camper’s registration as well as through this link. Parents are allowed to share this information with other family members. For the safety of all our staff and campers, all photos posted through this portal or on social media are owned and copyrighted by Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center and can only be accessed by camper families through this portal. We would ask that you show discretion and limit sharing to ensure the security of all campers.
Cell Phone Policy
We respectfully ask that all cell phones be left at home. Cell phones brought to camp will be collected and kept in the office for the duration of the program.
Casowasco seeks to provide an intentional place apart from daily life for campers to experience intentional Christian community. Part of what helps provide this experience is unplugging from the stress, anxiety, and distractions that can come through cell phones and the internet.
It is our practice to contact parents with any important information that may come up during their child’s week of camp (medical needs, behavioral issues, emotional struggles, etc.)
To foster independence, minimize homesickness, and provide an uninterrupted experience, we do not permit visitation during the camp session. Parents, families, and friends are welcome to check out the site during check-in and check-out times as well as Open House. Families are also invited to schedule a tour prior to the summer session starting to become more familiar with the site.
Full refunds are issued only in the case of documented medical concern or death in the family, which prohibits attendance. Cancellations prior to 3 WEEKS before start of session are eligible for partial refund (minus a minimum $75 deposit, 10% deposit for camps totaling more than $750). Full balance is due for any cancellation within 3 WEEKS of start of session, except for documented cases mentioned above. There are no refunds once the camp session starts. There is no fee adjustment for late arrival or early departure.
***AMENDMENT FOR 2022 SEASON: Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries is allowing for cancellations with full refunds due to COVID-19 positive tests up until two (2) calendar days prior to the start of the registered session. Cancellations for all other reasons are subject to our standard refund policy listed above. If you have questions about this policy, please contact us at 315-364-8756 ext. 2151.***
Camperships (aka Scholarships)
Every effort at Casowasco is made to keep all fees as affordable as possible. As a not-for-profit organization, it is our primary goal to serve our guests and not to profit from them. This is true for our summer programs as well.
If your family needs assistance attending any Casowasco sponsored program, including summer camp, please call or email to inquire about our campership program. We ask that a campership application be completed by the applicant, as well as a sponsoring agency (typically your church/minister) and returned to us for consideration. We ask all attendees to pay a portion of their fee, typically a third, the sponsoring agency will pay a portion of the fee and our campership funds will pay the final third of the fee.
Cabin Mate Requests
We will seek to honor cabinmate requests made at least 3 weeks before the camp session begins, provided campers are registered in the same program, camper ages are not more than 12 months apart, and the request is made by both parties. Casowasco does not guarantee any bunkmate request, but we do work to match bunkmate requests that fit the parameters listed above.
All campers will have the opportunity to take a swim test before participating in any waterfront activities. The swim test includes swimming a set distance as well as treading water. The demonstrated swimming ability of the camper will determine the section of the waterfront they are able to swim in. If a camper desires to swim in a section above their swim level, lifejackets will be available.
As camp professionals we have a tremendous amount of experience dealing with homesick campers. In most instances, homesickness resolves itself in the first 24-48 hours. If for some reason, your camper is experiencing an extreme case of homesickness during their stay at Casowasco, please understand that we will call the parent/guardian to determine the best course of action for your camper. Please note, there are no refunds given for campers that leave camp early due to homesickness.
Casowasco reserves the right to send campers home for inappropriate behavior at the parent(s) expense and without refund. The safety and security of all our campers and staff is always our highest priority. It is our greatest desire to help accommodate campers through whatever challenges they may face but may choose to send campers home for any/all behaviors that are harmful physically, emotionally, or spiritually to self/others, or detracts from the overall camp experience for others. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by the Casowasco Director.
We respect the privacy of personal information submitted to us. Information is collected only for the purposes of the ministry and may be disclosed to staff in the performance of their job duties or to others for statistical purposes only. We are committed to protecting your information to the best of our ability. We assume your submission of a registration represents your consent for us to collect, use and disclose your personal information for the purposes listed above.
Check-in for all summer programs is the first Sunday of the program from 1:30PM – 3:30PM. All Lakeside and Highlands campers will check-in on the Lakeside. Caregivers can follow signage and staff directions to get to check-in.
Items needed for check-in:
Once check-in is complete parents can drive with their camper to their camper’s lodging location for the week. These locations include: Bethany Lodge, Galilee Lodge, Capernum Lodge, Mt Tabor or Highlands.
Check-out each week is the last Friday of your camper’s program from 3:30PM – 5:00PM. Follow all signage and staff directions to pick up your camper and all of their belongings. If your camper came with medications or rescue medicines, please remember to pick those up before you leave.
The gift shop will be open and this is a great time to pick up a Casowasco souvenir or spend down any remaining camp store balances.
Camp Store/Gift Shop
The camp store is a newer program area for all Casowasco campers. The camp store allows campers to have a bit of down time during their busy day. Basic food, candy, snacks and drinks are available in the camp store. Parents are encouraged to deposit money into their camper’s store accounts during registration online. Payments can be made in person at check-in if needed.
There are no refunds given with remaining camp store funds. However, funds can carry over to any additional programs the camper is registered for later in the summer. Campers can also spend down their camp store balances in the gift shop during check-out. Unspent camp store funds are donated to the Casowasco Campership fund for the following summer.