Camp Notre Dame


Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of questions Parents and Campers ask. They have been arranged according to camper groupings and activities.

If you are unable to find an answer to your question from the list, send us an email at

  • How big is Camp Notre Dame? 
    Camp Notre Dame is situated on 120 acres of land near the shores of Lake Erie. We accommodate up to 120 resident campers and 24-36 day campers each week.
  • Is Camp Notre Dame associated with any religious group? 
    The Camp has maintained its affiliation with the Catholic Diocese of Erie but is a separate non-profit entity whose Catholic/Christian mission serves children of all faiths.
  • Can you accommodate campers with food allergies?
    The camp dining hall is a “nut free” zone. Some campers bring their own snacks and these may contain nuts. Parents of children with serious allergies should consult the camp office. Families of campers with allergies are provided a menu in advance and are asked to bring substitutes for foods that contain gluten. Our kitchen staff work in local schools and are familiar with most allergy requests, but it is most important to have these discussions IN ADVANCE of your child’s week at camp.
  • What is the best way to communicate with my child while they are at camp?
    Campers are “unplugged” during their brief stay at camp and there is not an opportunity for phone calls or email. Campers LOVE snail-mail! If you want to send a letter or package, we recommend mailing it the week BEFORE your child attends camp or “secretly” slip it to our office staff on Sunday check-in. We are happy to make sure it is delivered during the week!
  • Can campers have cell phones while at camp?
    Please do not send your child to camp with a cell phone. We encourage campers to build healthy relationships with their bunkmates and experience the wonder of camp with minimal technology.
  • I did not receive a confirmation of attendance from the camp office, what should I do?
    An email confirmation was sent to you, including a “what to bring” list and the required camper health form. If you did not receive, please check your spam folder, or email office@campnotredame and we will re-send. The health form is also available for download here on our website under “brochures and forms”.
  • Are campers required to participate in religious activities?
    Campers are invited to pray before meals and bedtime and attend a Catholic Mass once during the week but are not required to participate.
  • What is the purpose of the "Flag ceremony"? 
    Flag ceremony gives the campers and staff an opportunity to gather as one group before meals and pay respect to our nation’s flag, pray before eating and experience a morning “wake-up” program.
  • What if my child needs medical attention? 
    Camp has a full-time resident nurse on the premises during your child’s week at camp. Our staff is well trained for medical emergencies and we have an excellent relationship with local physicians and hospitals.
  • What if my child gets homesick? 
    Homesickness is a normal part of many of our campers’ first “away-from-home” experiences. Our staff is well trained to deal with homesick children and employ a variety of methods to help them deal with missing “mom and dad.” For more information on what you can do to help alleviate homesickness before you arrive, see the end of this FAQ.
  • Nothing “good” should be sent to camp, we don’t dress up!
  • All belongings must be marked with the camper’s initials or name.
  • Parents have an opportunity to buy T-shirts and other Country Store items by filling out an order form distributed during the week.
  • What will my child need to bring to KIDS KAMP?
    Please make sure that your camper wears sneakers. Open toe shoes or sandals are NOT recommended!

    • Bathing suit
    • Towel
    • Small pillow
    • Sunscreen lotion
    • Rain wear
    • Insect repellent
    • Sweatshirt, sweater or jacket
    • Change of clothes (nothing “good”)
    • A favorite stuffed animal or blanket for rest period
    • Any required medication (a nurse is on duty)
  • What NOT to bring to KIDS KAMP?
    • Money
    • Food
    • Canteen
    • Electronic Games
    • Pocket/hunting knives
    • Sports equipment (we furnish what is necessary)
  • Are meals provided?
    Yes, camp provides a cold breakfast (cereal, Danish, etc) and lunch in the dining hall (some lunches might include chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pizza, etc.).
  • Can I drop off my child before 8:00 a.m.
    Unfortunately no. We are not a day-care facility and our staff cannot accommodate early drop-offs.
  • Can I pick up my child before 5:00?
    Yes, but arrangements must be made with the Kids Kamp director as the gates to Kids Kamp are closed from 9:30 to 4:30.
  • Nothing “good” should be sent to camp, we don’t dress up!
  • All belongings must be marked with the camper’s initials or name.
  • Country Store hours: Sunday 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Friday before and after the closing campfire ceremonies.
  • What will my camper need to bring for a week of camping?
    • Sleeping bag and pillow to use for both cabin and woods. A sheet for the bed is suggested.
    • At least two pairs of footwear, but no dress shoes
    • ‘Tough it’ pants
    • Shorts, T-shirts, Long-sleeved sweatshirt or light jacket
    • Swimwear
    • Underwear, Socks
    • Rainwear
    • Two towels
    • Washcloth
    • Soap
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Flashlight
    • Insect repellent
    • Required medication (a nurse is on duty)
    • Pen, stamps, writing paper, envelopes or postcards
    • Camera, if desired.
  • What NOT to bring for a week of camping?
    • Do not send money with your children.
    • All necessary sport and fishing equipment is furnished by the camp.
      Don’t send personal sports items.
    • Be careful of the food you send to camp.
      Light snacks are OK but be sure to send enough to share with his/her 12 cabin mates!
    • Please do not send any of the following items: radio, tape recorder, TV, pocket or hunting knives, canteen, electronic games of any description, guns or bows. Experience has shown us that each is out of place or simply not needed. Inappropriate behavior is unacceptable.
    • No Cell Phones or Pagers. The camp is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Can my child request to bunk with a friend?
    There is space provided on the registration form to request up to four (4) cabin mates. Bunk assignments are made by age and at the discretion of the summer camp director.
  • What kinds of activities have been planned for my camper on a typical day?
    The camp day varies but typically includes wake-up, flag ceremony, breakfast, two morning activities, lunch, camper’s choice activity, snack, two afternoon activities, dinner, and special evening activities.
  • What happens if it rains?
    It never rains at Camp Notre Dame! In the unlikely event that it does, many of our programs are under shelter and our staff is prepared to provide additional "rainy day" activities.
  • What are drop-off and pickup times?
    Camp registration is on Sunday from 2 until 4 PM; this is the drop-off time. Camp closes each week with a campfire on Friday beginning at 7 PM. This is the pickup time. Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend the campfire
  • What will we need need to bring for a parent / child weekend?
    • Sleeping bag and pillow
    • Snacks to share (optional)
    • Warm, comfortable clothes
    • Towels, soap, etc.
    • Appropriate outdoor wear
    • Bug repellant
    • Flashlights (1 per camper)
    • Sneakers or shoes to get soaked
    • Camera, if desired.
  • What NOT to bring to a parent / child weekend?
    • Video games
  • What is the check-in time?
    The camp gates open at 6:00 PM, check-in is 6:00 – 7:00 P.M., and our first parent-child gathering is at 7:00 pm.
  • What is the check-out time?
    The weekend officially ends on Sunday at 11:00 am, but some families check out sooner due to travel, sporting events, etc.
  • Can I check-in early?
    Unfortunately our volunteer staff is not available until Friday evening.
  • Can I check-out early?
    While our program is designed to end on Sunday, we understand it may be necessary for some families to shorten their weekend for a variety of reasons.
  • Can I check-in late?
    If you cannot be at camp by Friday at 7:00 pm, please call the camp office and notify us so that we can appropriately plan Friday activities. Someone will direct you to your evening activity when you arrive.
  • What about Father / Daughter and Mother / Son weekends?
    We now offer a Fall Family Camp weekend for more flexible camping opportunities.

Below is a short essay on homesickness; how to cause it, how to prevent it. This information is provided to assist a parent in preparing themselves and their camper for a brief separation.

  • Is Jenny ready for camp?
    Many parents ask the question, “How do we know if our daughter is really ready to attend overnight camp?” While every child is different, it has been our experience that children are usually ready to attend camp by age 6 or 7, but sometimes not until age 8. Children who have attended Camp Notre Dame’s day camp program have been well introduced to the camping experience and are very prepared for their first overnight experience. Even if your child did not attend day camp, they are probably ready for camp if they have had other “away-from-home” experiences like sleep-overs at a friend’s house, visits to out-of-town relatives or even family vacations where they slept away from home.

  • Choosing the right camp.
    It is important for parents to research the overnight camp that they will be attending. Visiting the camp on Open House day is a must. Families can familiarize themselves with the camp grounds and meet some of the staff. Parents should have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers that will help alleviate any fears that they have about “letting go” for this very important first camping experience.

  • Who is homesick, parent or child or both?
    Having met with and talked to parents for over 20 years, the answer is: parents usually miss their children more than children miss their parents! Six days is a long time for parents to be away from their children and some parents decide that this is just too long. In our experience it is usually the parent’s homesickness that has to be overcome, not the child’s! By the time they are finally ready to “let go,” the child may be too old or develop a case of teenage homesickness, which is the hardest to overcome.

  • Once we decide to send our child to camp, what can we do to help get them ready?
    While on the inside you may be feeling unsure about whether you can go six days without seeing your child, on the outside it is important not to plant seeds of doubt. If you are convinced you can’t last the week without your child, it won’t take much for her/him to feel the same way. Try to keep your comments positive, like “I can’t wait for you to go to camp” or “we’ll miss you, but you’ll be having so much fun!”

    Another get ready strategy is to find out if anyone from your child’s school or family is also going to camp at the same time. Many campers bring a friend who is the same age so they can bunk together. Those kids that don’t are usually pleasantly surprised when they arrive at camp and recognize someone from their school also attending. Having a friend or relative at camp will help ease parents’ minds and make Sunday drop off a little bit easier.

    Another strategy is not to make promises you can’t keep. Parents and children need to be prepared for a lack of communication while their child is away at camp. Camp Notre Dame does not have enough phone lines to accommodate 140 children calling home each week. Don’t promise them that they can call you if they get homesick. You can guarantee your child will be homesick if they think it will get them to a telephone! What you can do is send them mail every day and even send a card or package the Friday before they arrive at camp! This way they will get something from home on Monday and know that you still remember them!

    Ultimately it is your decision to send your child to camp and you know your child best. Hopefully you will be ready when they are and your summer camping experience will be one that is repeated year after year. Your words of support and encouragement go a long way in helping your child experience the wonders of camp and guarantee that they will come home with a great sense of accomplishment!