Casowasco is proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association for over 20 years, most recently based on a reaccreditation visit conducted in summer of 2018. The ACA accreditation process requires camps to demonstrate compliance with almost 200 standards across 8 categories ranging from Site & Food Service to Operational Management to Program Design. ACA standards represent the highest level of safety and excellence in the industry, and Casowasco is committed to continuing to provide the absolute best for our guests and campers.
Additionally, we are permitted annually by the New York State Department of Health and 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 of our waterfront staff carry Lifeguard certification with CPR training, all ropes course leaders are trained to Project Adventure and ACCT standards, and archery/slingshot facilitators are trained by an approved instructor. Likewise, all of our staff receive comprehensive training on leading activities such as sports, games, hikes, arts & crafts, and more so that all participants remain safe.
Our camp Health Director is onsite 24 hours a day when camp is in session, and is the primary person responsible for camper medications, treating minor injuries, and providing care for campers who are not feeling well. The Health Director is typically a Registered Nurse or an EMT (if an EMT, the Health Director will consult daily with an RN). We also have a physician on call for consultation and approval of our medical standing orders. A full-service hospital is within a half-hour drive to provide care in an emergency. Additionally, many of our other staff carry certification in first aid and CPR through recognized national certifying bodies like the American Red Cross.
We have strong relationships with our local police, fire, and EMS services and they 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 emergency.
Campers who need to take medication during their time at camp will get the needed medicine at the designated time from our Health Director. All medications (prescription & over the counter) must be listed on the Standing Orders form and carry a doctor’s signature in addition to parent/guardian approval. Parents/guardians will check in their camper’s medications in the Emmaus Commons during check-in. They will be bagged, labeled, and kept secure in the camp Health Center. Medicines are typically distributed in the dining room at Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and at each building/cabin at the Hour of Sleep (bedtime). Arrangements will be made for medicines that need to be taken outside of these times, or as needed. We work diligently to ensure that campers receive their medications accurately and at the correct time.
Casowasco is blessed with an 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 and volunteers 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.
The average age of our summer staff is 21 years old and most are college students. We maintain strict staff-to-camper ratios in accordance with American Camp Association standards. For campers ages 9+ we maintain a ratio of no more than 1 counselor to 8 campers. For campers ages 6-8 we maintain a ratio of no more than 1 counselor to 6 campers. Non-ratio staff such as lifeguards, program assistants, kitchen assistants, and leadership staff are housed in buildings with campers bringing our overall staff to camper ratio to an average of 1:4 across the site.
Whether you’re an expert or beginner, there’s something here for you! Our qualified staff will encourage you and ensure your safety. There are many options to choose from and all equipment and safety gear is provided unless stated otherwise here or in the confirmation material. Our primary focus is on teaching campers new skills and helping them practice and improve those skills. No prerequisite knowledge is expected or assumed for any of our activities.
To ensure a safe experience at the waterfront, all campers must pass a swim evaluation to take part in most waterfront activities. This includes swimming four lengths (approximately 50 feet per length for a total of 200 feet) of our yellow section (5-6 feet deep), 3 of these must be on their front, 1 of these must be on their back. Campers are encouraged to use whatever stroke they feel most comfortable with. Additionally, campers will need to be able to tread water for 3 minutes. Campers who can complete this without struggle will receive a red tag and have full access to all sections of the waterfront. Campers who are able to complete this with a mild-moderate amount of struggle may receive a yellow tag which grants access to some, but not all sections of the waterfront. Campers who are not strong swimmers or choose not to take the swim evaluation will receive a green tag and have limited, but quality, access to the waterfront activities in shallower sections.
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 are able to accommodate include Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and various Allergies. To alleviate parent concerns around Peanut & Tree Nut allergies, we do not serve ANY nut products in our prepared dishes or as options in the dining room or for snacks. We would be happy to discuss your campers specific needs with you further.
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 outpost site where campers stay in Yurts, do wilderness activities, help prepare some meals and use privies. Potable drinking water is available, and campers have access to a nearby shower house daily. Campers will hike to main site for some activities but may be transported by van or wagon in certain cases. The Highlands is easily accessible to emergency vehicles.
Letters from home are very important, especially for first time campers. Three or more letters per week is not excessive. Camper mail is delivered daily, usually around dinner time. There is also a mailbox outside the Emmaus Commons for campers to place mail to send home. This box is emptied and mailed daily. Please send correspondence to campers as follows:
Camper’s Name / Program
158 Casowasco Drive
Moravia, NY 13118
Remember, it can take several days for a letter to get to camp, so write letters early in the session, even before campers leave home. It is not uncommon to not receive a letter from your child until well into the camp session. Parents are asked not to send packages. If you decide that you need to send your child a package, please contact our office to make arrangements.
Additionally, we provide a service that allows parents to send emails to their kids while at camp! These emails are printed daily and distributed with other mail. Campers may then write a response which is scanned and emailed back. Information on accessing this service will be provided after registration.
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. Information on accessing this service will be provided after registration. Parents are allowed to share this information with other family members. We would ask that you show discretion and limit sharing to ensure security. 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 may not be downloaded and shared.
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 kids 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.)
Additionally, we welcome parents to leave messages with the camp office as needed, which we will pass along to campers daily. While it is our preference for kids not to take phone calls during their week of camp, we will never not allow a child to call home should the parent/guardian deem that it is necessary.
To foster independence, minimize homesickness, and provide an uninterrupted experience, we do not permit visitation during the camp session without prior arrangement with the camp office. Parents, families, and friends are welcome to check out the site during check-in and check-out times.
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 $75 deposit). 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 2020 SEASON: Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries is allowing for cancellations with full refunds due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic 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 315-898-2026.***
Summer camp has great value in the life of a child. Genuine community is experienced, ministry to the whole person takes place, relationships are built with God and others, memories and major life commitments are made, and tomorrow’s leaders are developed. UNYAC Camps are also a great value! We are proud to say that all our basic camp programs are priced under the industry average price of $710.00.
Tiered Pricing is intended to recognize the costs related to the camp experience and allow families to select the level of payment most appropriate for their circumstances. Each family may freely choose to participate at the Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 level; and every child will receive the same camp experience regardless of the level chosen.
Tier 1: TRUE COST OF CAMP
For families who are blessed to be able to pay for Tier 1 pricing, this level constitutes more closely to the TRUE cost of camp including the direct cost and all aspects of maintaining facilities in good condition, insurance, util¬ities, etc.
Tier 2: DIRECT COST OF CAMP
Electing to pay the Tier 2 price helps cover the DIRECT cost of a week of summer camp including program costs, food, summer staff and camp administration.
Tier 3: PARTIALLY SUBSIDIZED COST
Every effort is made to keep the cost of camp as affordable as possible. At this level, every camper’s fee is partially SUBSIDIZED by generous dona¬tions to the CRM and individual site scholarship funds.
We will seek to honor cabinmate requests made at least 2 weeks before the camp session begins, provided campers are registered in the same program, ages are not more than 24 months apart, and the request is made by both people. Note that this is optional, and many campers do not make requests. While we seek to honor your wishes, we also value kids making new friends as well.
Each site 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 Site 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 takes place on Sunday afternoon in the Emmaus Commons. In order to make the check-in process as efficient as possible, we split our arriving campers between two arrival times, 3:00pm and 4:00pm. Please check your child’s confirmation material to confirm their check-in time. When you arrive at Casowasco, continue down the road all the way to Wesley Lodge. In front of Wesley Lodge, a staff member will greet you and let you know where your child will be staying for the week. They will then direct you where to park to check in your child. The Check-In line begins on the Fulmer Porch of the Emmaus commons, accessed via stairs on the south side of the building (facing the parking lot). As you line up, there will be two lines, one for last names beginning with A-K and one for last names beginning with M-Z. When you enter the Emmaus Commons, the check-in process will go as follows:
Stop 1: Welcome Table – it is here that your camper will get their one-of-a-kind Casowasco Camper T-Shirt and a sticker nametag so folks can get to know them right away.
Stop 2: Sign-In Table – at your next stop, you will sign your camper in for the week, authorize whether or not Casowasco can give your camper sunscreen during the week, and list any and all approved persons to sign your child out, either at the end of the week or earlier if the need arises. All folks looking to sign out a camper are required to show valid Photo ID.
Stop 3: Business Services Table – thirdly, you’ll go to the Business Services table to take care of any remaining balance for your child’s week at camp, or to ask any questions about previous or future payments. At this table, you can also sign your family up for our Friday Family Dinner, which is $6 for adults, $4 for Children (4-12), and free for children 3 and under.
Stop 4: Medical Services Table – your last stop in the dining room is the medical services table, where we’ll make sure all of your camper’s health paperwork is set, check in any medications your camper will be taking throughout the week, ask a few health screening questions, and talk to you about any concerns you or your camper may have.
Stop 5: Your Child’s Cabin – On your way out of the Emmaus Commons, be sure to stop at the Riggall Gift Shop to make sure your camper is fully outfitted with all of their Casowasco gear for their week at camp and beyond! Then you and your camper can head to their cabin/building. If your camper is staying in Galilee, Bethany, or Wesley, you will be in walking distance to their building. If your camper is staying in Capernaum, Mt. Tabor, or the Highlands, you will need to drive them back up the road to their cabin. Staff will be happy to direct you. Once you arrive at your child’s cabin, you are welcome to help them settle into their bunk, and say your goodbye’s for the week. Once your camper is all set, they’ll join their cabinmates in making leather nametags and playing some get-to- know-you games with their counselors.
Check-Out will take place on Friday Afternoon (Wednesday Afternoon for half-week programs) and will occur at either 3:00pm or 4:00pm (the same time as your child’s check-in). We ask that parents do not plan to arrive before their designated Check-In time if possible, and if it is necessary, that you provide us with advance notice so we can be sure your camper is ready to go and has had a chance to say goodbye to their new friends. You can sign your camper out at the cabin at which you dropped them off, where there will be a member of our Leadership Staff ready to sign them out. You will need official Photo Identification in order to sign out your child. You will also receive at the check-out table any unused medications from the week, a group photo of your camper’s program, information about our Online Parent Survey, and some other goodies. Your camper should already be packed and ready, and it’ll be time for them to tell you all of the adventures they had at camp!