Frequently Asked Questions

Registration

Can we add sessions after we have registered?

Yes. Added sessions or weeks will be billed at the next best rate from your initial enrollment if you registered with at one of the Early Bird discount rates. So, if you first enrolled and paid in full in November and then added a session once the summer began, the new session would be billed at the January 31st price, not the regular summer rate.

Can we switch sessions once we are registered?

Switching sessions is never a problem, providing there is still room in the session request. Contact our office at wendy@holidayrecreation.com. There is no charge for switching from one session to another or one week to another, providing the number of weeks attending remains the same.

Do you offer discounts for siblings?

We offer discounts for every camper through our early bird enrollment plan. There is not an additional discount for siblings.

What is your cancellation policy?

Withdrawal before April 1,  full tuition reimbursed minus $100 per week. Reduction of weeks before April 1, full tuition reimbursed. Withdrawal or reduction of weeks after April 1, half of tuition reimbursed.

How does the early enrollment plan work?

There are three discount levels in our early enrollment plan. Register and pay in full by November 30th for the greatest savings on camp tuition. The second discount is for those who register with a deposit and payment plan by January 31st. The third discount level is for registering with a deposit and payment plan by March 31st. The regular summer rate takes effect on April 1st.

If I have an out-of town relative visiting for just one week, can I sign him/her up for just that week?

Yes. As in most "split session" situations, it may not be ideal for the camper (please see "Can I split a two-week session?"). Let us know the details and we will do our best to make it work for the visiting child.

What if it is our first time at camp and we are not sure if our child will want to go more than one session?

The best practice in this case would be to enroll as early as you can. Then, when you add a session after your initial enrollment it will be billed at the "next best" rate instead of the regular summer rate.

Can I split a two-week session?

Yes, if this is necessary, but it's not ideal for the camper or the camp. Our sessions are designed to run for two weeks. Swimming lessons are planned for ten-day cycles. Canoeing typically only happens once each session for each group. And our Ropes Course program takes two weeks to complete. We allow one-week sessions so that families who count on our services for the entire summer can leave to go on vacation, or spend a week at an overnight camp, and then return to us for the rest of the session. It may be difficult for some campers to join an already formed group half way through a session, or to leave a group a week early. It's difficult for us to accommodate split sessions with regards to transportation and group assignments. It's also a financial burden for the camp as a one-week camper takes up a spot in a group which is often left unfilled in the other week of the session. We may be turning away full session campers to accommodate one-week campers. 

Transportation

Can I choose a different stop for pick-up and drop-off, or different stops on different days?

Yes. We have transportation software that allows great flexibility and enables us to be sure that your camper(s) board the correct bus each morning and afternoon. We print a new bus list for every run. Its best to give us a day's notice, but we can manage with less. To make an afternoon change in the same day, or for a change for the next morning, we'd like to hear from you before 3:00 p.m.'s best to give us a day's notice, but we can manage with less. To make an afternoon change in the same day, or for a change for the next morning, we'd like to hear from you before 3:00 p.m.

Do you have bus monitors?

Yes. A camp staff member (occasionally 2) monitors behavior on the bus, and to be sure that campers are released properly at the appropriate bus stop. Staff members will cross the road with campers whenever campers need to cross. Buses use the same safety/warning lights that they use during the school year. In addition, many of our staff ride our buses to work. They are always on duty  when in the presence of our campers, even when they are not the designated bus counselor.

Do you offer door-to-door pick-ups?

Whenever possible we do offer door-to-door-pick-ups. This usually occurs in our local towns (Mansfield, Willington, Storrs, and Willimantic. If you live out-of-town and are located on an established route, we are happy to stop a bus anywhere it is safe to do so. We try to avoid adding too much time to the overall route by going out of the way on a street we do not need to travel.

Do you provide transportation, and is there an additional cost?

We provide transportation to and from camp throughout most of our service area, with no additional charge. See the Bus Route Descriptions and the list of Traditional Bus Stops in our Transportation area for more details. 1/2 day Kindercampers must have their own transportation provided at 12:30.

How are bus stops determined?

The farther away from camp you live, the more standard our bus stops become. Many campers board the bus as early as 8:00 am, so we choose just a stop or two in each town to reduce travel time. As the buses near camp, we adjust the routes according to enrollment in each individual session. Some buses are full before they enter our local radius and they come straight to camp with no local stops. Towns closer to camp (Mansfield, Storrs, Willington, Willimantic) may have more options for stops, as we can often route incoming buses in a variety of ways. Also, our camp vans offer us more flexibility, sometimes allowing for door-to-door pick-ups.

How are campers transported?

A trusted local bus company provides professional, state licensed school bus drivers. Campers are transported in full-sized yellow school buses. We operate 7-8 buses, transporting campers from most areas within 30 miles of camp. We also own 4 vans, driven by select members of our camp staff who are specially trained and supervised.

What happens if I am late to meet the bus in the afternoon?

Unless you have signed a form giving your camper(s) permission to wait for you alone, the camper will not be left at the bus stop. The bus counselor will wait for 2 minutes, and then call the camp to let us know they are continuing on their route with the camper on board. We will try to reach you, and you will probably be calling us, as well. When we are in communication, we will creatively hook you up with your camper. Sometimes it means your having to drive to the end of the route. More often than not, we can make a connection at a subsequent stop, or have the bus bring the camper back to your location when the route is completed. In the rare case that we have not heard from you by the end of the route, the bus will bring the camper back to camp and we will continue to try to reach you or someone you have indicated as an emergency contact.

Health and Safety

Do you have a Nurse at camp?

Yes, a registered nurse is on duty during the entire camp day. Our nurse will contact you by phone or note in the event that your child is seen for any reason beyond a routine issue. Injured or ill children will need to be transported home or to a doctor's care by parents/guardians except in case of emergency. If for some reason, such as illness, the camp nurse has to leave camp, a certified first-aider will cover for the nurse in her absence. Nurses are not on duty for our Overnight and Up- to-Night programs. There is always a first-aider present.

My child has special health issues. May I meet with the camp nurse before the session begins?

Yes. The camp nurse can meet with you anytime during the camp day, or before or after camp by appointment. She can also plan to be here for appointments the week before camp begins.

My child will need to take medication at camp. How do I get the medication to you?

Medications are delivered to our camp office, or packaged and labeled carefully and handed to your child's bus counselor or van driver. All medications require an Authorization to Administer Medication form signed by a doctor.

Swimming

Do you provide Red Cross Swim Instruction?

Yes. We have  Water Safety Instructors at the pools. This very competent group leads the instruction, while every Group Leader, Counselor and Jr. Counselor assists in the swim instruction.

How deep are the camp pools?

One pool begins at 3 feet and gradually slopes to 5 feet. Most of our campers are able to stand in the shallow end, with their heads out of the water. The deep end of the pool is 9 feet. The second pool is 3 1/2 feet at the shallow end and slopes down to 4 1/2 in the middle.

How do the campers get placed in the correct swim group?

Former campers continue from where they left off last summer, unless parents indicate that there has been further instruction over the winter. There is an opportunity on our registration form for new campers to let us know their current Red Cross Swim Level, if known. Otherwise, all campers are tested by our Water Safety Instructors on the first day of the session.

How is your pool supervised?

During morning lessons, campers are divided into small instructional groups and work with one or two teachers. In addition, there is always a lifeguard in the Guard Chair at both pools. During free swim time, there are at least two certified guards at each pool, one in the chair and the other on the deck. Then there are 6 safety spotters at each pool spaced evenly to ensure that every area of the pool is under constant supervision. Also, many staff play in the water with the campers.

What if my child doesn't know how to swim at all?

That's okay! Our staff watches the campers very closely during the swim tests and anticipates that some campers may have an unrealistic opinion of their abilities. With very young campers, the staff will walk right next to them in the water.

What if my child doesn't want to swim?

If a child is adamant about not swimming, he/she will not be forced to swim. We will contact the parents to discuss the issue. We feel that swimming is a very important life skill, for both safety and enjoyment. That is why we encourage all our campers to participate in swim lessons. As the group's staff is involved in the teaching of these lessons, all campers in the group must be in the pool area, for supervisory reasons.

What if my child is very afraid of the water?

That's what we'll work on! Water adjustment is taught at Level One. For the younger campers we have a wading pool to gain comfort in the water. Campers are always gently encouraged to progress, but never forced.

General

Are you an American Camp Association accredited camp, and what does that mean?

Yes. We have been ACA accredited since 1987. ACA Accreditation means that our camp cares enough to undergo a thorough (over 300 standards) review of our operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. American Camp Association collaborates with experts from The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth service agencies to assure that current practices at our camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and ACA form a partnership that promotes summers of growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

ACA accreditation helps guide us in providing healthy, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experiences; discovery through experiential education; caring, competent role models; and service to the community and the environment. To visit the American Camp Association website, click on the ACA Logo on any of our camp pages.ACA Logo

Do you accept campers with special needs?

Any camper who is able to participate in a group setting with a 5:1 supervision ratio is welcome. Campers requiring a 1:1 ratio are also welcome if the special needs counselor is provided by the campers' family, an outside agency or if arrangements are made with the camp to provide said counselor. We want to do what is best for each individual camper and recommend that parents of special needs children call us to discuss whether or not our camp is the best setting for their child.

Children and young teens with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Shyness may benefit from participation in our Kids Cooperate program. For more on this go to the Special Programs page under the Activities tab.

How do ACA standards exceed state licensing requirements?

ACA goes beyond basic requirements for health, cleanliness, and food service; and into specific areas of programming, including camp staff from director through counselors, emergency management plans, health care, and management.

Where are you located?

3 miles south of the University of Connecticut on Chaffeeville Road, just off Route 195 in Mansfield Center, CT. 

Where do you find your staff?

We have a remarkable staff return rate of about  90% each year. Most of our staff are “home-grown” – campers who continue on to participate successfully in our 2-year training program, are hired to become Counselors for 2-3 years, and then continue on to become Group Leaders and Specialists. Our new-to-Holiday-Hill staff members are generally college students enrolled in Education, Social Work or Child and Family Studies who come well-referred. Some of our staff members are professionals in the field of education or social work who have their summers free and continue to play an integral role on our leadership team.

What are the ages of your campers?

Our youngest campers are 3 1/2 (4 by 12/31). Our regular camp program runs through campers entering the 8th grade in the fall after camp. Our 9th graders participate in a 4-week counselor training leadership course the Eagle Phase of our NEST Program which must be taken in either sessions 1 and 2, or sessions 3 and 4. Our 10th graders, having successfully completed the Eagle Phase of the program in the previous year, may register to participate in the second phase of the CIT course, the Junior Counselor Phase.

Do we send a lunch with our camper(s)?

Most campers bring their own lunches, which are collected upon arrival and kept refrigerated until noon. A reduced sugar, vitamin enriched fruit punch beverage or milk are provided at lunch time. Afternoon snacks may be packed with lunches and saved for later. Morning snacks, if sent, should be kept separate from the lunch.

Many families decide to participate in our optional lunch program. Campers may choose from a variety of Subway-style sandwiches, along with chips, fruit, cookies, and a granola bar snack. Some campers order camp lunch for the entire session, while others alternate between homemade and camp lunch. There is an additional fee for the lunch program. A separate order form is available at camp or on the website.

Do you provide extended camp hours?

Yes. Parents wishing to drop their children at camp before the regular 9 a.m. starting time or pick them up after the regular 4:00 p.m. close of camp may subscribe to the Extended Camp Program. Cost is $5.00 per morning or afternoon attendance. Call the camp office to make arrangements.

What are your hours of operation?

Our regular camp day runs from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Bus pick-ups begin anywhere from 8:00 am – 8:55 am and drop-offs are between 4:05 pm – 5:00 pm. We do operate on the 4th of July.

What is your camper to staff ratio?

Our Camper to Staff ratio is better than 5:1. For more information about our staff, go to About Our Staff.

Camper Groups

Can a 9th grader who wants to come to camp but is not interested in, or somehow cannot participate in the NEST program, still attend?

If a 9th grader still has the same interests and maturity level as those campers entering the 8th grade, and he/she wants to attend camp in a group made up of mostly 8th graders, but includes some 7th graders, we would welcome the 9th grader in the 8th grade group. We will discuss this issue on an individual basis with parents to be sure that it is the right choice for the

Can I request that my child and a friend (or friends) be placed in the same Middle Division group?

Yes, providing they are entering 4th or 5th grade in the fall after camp and they work well together in the same group. 4th and 5th graders are combined in all of our Middle Division groups. If a 4th grader wishes to be with a 3rd grader, he/she must join the 3rd grader's group, as we don't want the 3rd graders to be in the same group with 5th graders. If a 5th grader wants to be with a 6th grader, the 6th grader needs to drop back from the Older Division into the Middle Division, as we don't want the 5th graders in the same Division with 7th and 8th graders.

Can I request that my child and a friend (or friends) be placed in the same Older Division group?

Yes, provided they are in the same grade or nearly the same, and they work well together in the same group. If campers are in a different grade it gets a little more complicated. The Older Division is made up of campers entering grades 6 through 9 in the fall after camp. We generally keep 6th graders together as a group for their first season in the Older Division. If a 6th grader wants to be with a 5th grader, he/she drops back into the Middle Division, as we don't want the 5th graders with the Older Division campers. 7th and 8th graders can easily be in the same group. Our 9th graders are enrolled in a completely separate program (NEST Eagle Phase) so 8th graders cannot be with 9th graders, except in the case of 9th graders taking the NEST program in the 2nd half of the summer who join the 8th grade group for the first half of the summer. (We will occasionally make exceptions and allow 9th who are not interested in the NEST program to join the 8th group in the regular camp program. However, each camper is considered on an individual basis and parents need to speak with the director before enrolling a 9th grader in the regular camp program.)

Can I request that my child and a friend (or friends) be placed in the same Younger Division group?

Yes, providing they are in the same grade and they work well together in the same group. If campers are in a different grade it gets a little more complicated. The Younger Division is made up of campers in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We can place mature Kindergartners with a 1st-grade group or a younger 1st grader with the Kindergarten group. 1st and 2nd graders can be together, and 2nd and 3rd graders can be together. If a 3rd grader wants to be with a 4th grader, the 4th grader must drop down from the Middle Division to be with the 3rd-grade group in the Younger Division. This is due to the fact that 4th and 5th graders are grouped together in the Middle division, and we don't want 3rd graders in the same group with 5th graders.

How are children placed into groups?

We group campers into co-ed groups according to the grade they are entering in the fall. We honor grouping requests whenever possible (see Grouping Requests Question). Our groups are as follows, with the grade being the one the child is entering in the fall:

Younger Division - Kindercamp through grade 3
Sparrows – Campers entering pre-school or kindergarten
Bluebirds – Campers entering 1st grade
Larks – Campers entering 1st or 2nd grade (mostly 2nd graders)
Cardinals – Campers entering 2nd or 3rd grade (mostly 3rd graders)
Orioles – Campers entering 3rd grade 

Middle Division - Grades 4-5
Bluejays, Osprey, and Owls - Mixed groups of fourth and fifth graders.

Older Division - Grades 6-9
Ravens – Campers entering 6th grade
Falcons – Campers entering 7th grade
Hawks – Campers entering 8th grade
Eagles (also known as NEST) – Campers entering 9th (sometimes 10th) grade – this is our Counselor Training/Leadership program.

Gift of Camp

How are contributions made?

All donor checks must be made payable to the ACA with "Lloyd and Gwen Duff Memorial Fund" in the lower left- hand corner. Contributions may be sent directly to ACA or may be collected by the Campership Administrator at Holiday Hill and forwarded. ACA will credit the program's account, complete a donor acknowledgment letter for each gift, and notify the Campership Administrator of the gift.

How does someone apply for a Campership?

Complete a Campership Financial Assistance Application form and submit it along with the required information and documents.

Who may contribute to the fund?

Under the terms of ACA's Camper Scholarship Program, Holiday Hill may solicit contributions from parents, businesses, organizations, or foundations.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes. The Gift of Camp Financial Assistance Program is made possible by our participation as an accredited camp in the American Camp Association's Camper Scholarship Program. By partnering with the American Camp Association (ACA), a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, Holiday Hill can offer tax advantages to donors and open our program to more children who might otherwise never experience camp.

May I make a donation with a credit card?

Yes. Follow this link to the American Camp Association's Camper Scholarship Donation form. Be sure to indicate "Mansfield's Holiday Hill Day Camp" when prompted for the camp name to which your donation should be applied. Back to Top

What are the program's guidelines and eligibility standards?

The program guidelines and standards for eligibility are explained in the following associated document: Program Guidelines and Eligibility Standards

What is Holiday Hill's Gift of Camp Financial Assistance Program?

This program is an opportunity to give directly to many children who will benefit from the Holiday Hill camp experience but whose families may not otherwise be able to afford camp.

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