1. What is UCLA UniCamp?UCLA UniCamp is the official charity of the students of UCLA. UniCamp serves children from Los Angeles County by providing a week long rustic camping experience unique from other camping programs. Our camp is staffed and programmed by UCLA student volunteers, who train year round to provide the best possible experience for your camper. Founded in 1934, UCLA UniCamp has served over 60,000 campers through 20,000 student volunteers.
2. Is UCLA UniCamp a part of the American Camp Association (ACA)?UCLA UniCamp is an ACA “Accredited Camp”, having met the standard of the American Camp Association from the time the operation opened and every three years since. ACA accredits over 2.400 camps. ACA-Accredited camps meet up to 300 standards for health, safety, and program quality.
3. What is the American Camp Association?The American Camp Association is a community of camps and camp professionals who, for nearly 100 years, have joined together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. ACA is responsible for setting the common practices for the way things are done at camps around the country.
4. What programs does UCLA UniCamp offer?UCLA UniCamp has several different programs to choose from. Our Classic UniCamp experience is based at Camp River Glen in the San Bernardino Mountains and is a 8 day, 7 night resident camp for children ages 10-14. Our Wilderness Adventures in Leadership and Learning (W.A.L.L.) program is for ages 15-17 and features a 4 day, 26 mile hike where campers develop survival and leadership skills. UniCorps is service program for ages 15-17 where campers learn to be role models and work with UniCamp staff while earning community service hour credits for high school. Both W.A.L.L. and UniCorps run concurrently with our classic UniCamp.
5. What makes UCLA UniCamp different from other camps?UCLA UniCamp is special because we are staffed by UCLA Student Volunteers. These students volunteer train over 100 hours during the school year and donate one week of their summer to help enrich the lives of our campers. In addition, we hold a 1:3 ratio of leader to camper ages 10-14, a much higher ratio than most other camps.
6. What camping activities are offered at UCLA UniCamp?During the summer resident camping season, UCLA UniCamp offers kids 10-14 years old such activities as:
…and all the necessary skills for the activities. We try to offer programs that will help children learn self-esteem, promote the value of education and provide the skills necessary to be successful in life.
7. What is needed to ensure that my child is enrolled?You and your child must first, and foremost, agree to the camping experience, commit to going to camp (the child’s role) and to sending your loved one (the parent’s role). Not to “try it and if you don’t like what you see, come home”, but to understand that the experience was designed for the complete week of camp. Once this has been agreed upon, make every effort to sign your child up and complete the necessary forms required for each camper. You can find a button at www.unicamp.org. Ask questions. If your child is coming to camp with an outside agency, make sure you are clear about their requirements and drop-off and pick-up times. Again, ask questions… and get answers.
8. What are the necessary forms and permission slips my child need to have completed prior to camp?
After submitting the application online and making the payment, your child is basically enrolled. UniCamp will contact you if you DO NOT meet the qualifications. You will get a phone call within a week of your registration to confirm. Approximately two weeks before your child’s session you will receive an e-mail and phone call with all the information needed to ensure your child is enrolled and prepared to attend camp. This e-mail will include the date and location of where your child should be dropped off and picked up.
9. What will my child need to bring to camp?Your child will need a sack lunch for the trip to camp, for starters. Your child will be engaging in a lot of activities while at UCLA UniCamp, warranting plenty of clothes in itself. However, the average temperature can range from 40 degrees at night to over 90 degrees during the day. With swimming, recreation period, hiking and such, kids can go through clean clothes quickly, as you know. Please limit your child to two pieces of luggage. The following is a list of items and recommended clothing (included in the count is what your child will wear to camp):
…all packed in a soft “duffel” bag that your child can easily carry and handle. Your child will need a warm sleeping bag as well. We have found that two small bags are much easier to handle for campers than if all the belongings are packed together in one big bag. Please don’t send your child’s belongings packed in a trash bag, large trunk or hard suitcase. These are difficult to pack in the luggage container and difficult for your camper to carry. We recommend that the camper’s name is clearly marked on any item you want returned if lost, particularly on the outside of their luggage.
10. What can my child NOT bring to camp?The following items are not needed at camp and cause enough difficulty that we have prohibited campers from having them for a long list of reasons:
…Any of these items can earn your child an early trip home at your expense! Your help is needed here. Know what your child is bringing to camp!
11. What about damaged and/or lost items at camp?There is no need for your child to bring anything to camp that either of you will regret should it never return. If your child will be able to do without it, don’t send it to camp. UCLA UniCamp is not at the cutting edge of the fashion world. Do NOT send the best clothes, towels, or personal belongings. The truth is, they may not return or they may be damaged. UCLA UniCamp cannot be responsible for any articles not returning with your child. On a similar note, UCLA UniCamp will need to bill you should your child damage camp property. This includes (but not limited to) the practice of graffiti, should your child choose this type of behavior.
12. What about the medication my child takes? What should I do about it?UCLA UniCamp has a registered nurse on staff to administer medication. All medication should be turned in to the camp staff prior to your child’s departure. Please do NOT pack medication in your child’s luggage. The nurse will administer medication as prescribed by the doctor’s instructions directly marked on the medication. The nurse cannot administer any over-the-counter medicine without the clearly written instructions of the doctor. Please make sure you clearly list all medication on the health history portion of the online application. If there are any discrepancies with the medication a UniCamp staff member will contact you immediately.
13. How will I get back something my child might leave at camp?Should we find something (clearly marked) left behind, we will make every effort to get it returned. All lost and found items are kept at the UniCamp office and arrangements to pick up these items can be made with your session representative. We only hold lost and found until the end of the camping season. At that time all items that can be donated are donated and all others are discarded. If you have not made arrangements to pick up and lost and found items by the end of the summer, they will not be kept any longer.
14. Where will my child sleep, eat, change clothes, and shower?UCLA UniCamp is equipped with rustic open air cabins for your camper to enjoy. These cabins will be their home for the week and showering facilities are attached to the cabins. Three meals and a snack are served each full day at camp in our central lodge.
15. Will my child need to bring money to camp?Money is not needed at UCLA UniCamp. We do not have a camp store, so there will not be any opportunities for your child to spend the money. For this reason, we advise that you do not send any money with your child.
16. What about fees?It costs $600.00 per camper to attend UCLA UniCamp. A UniCamp Scholarship is available to those families who qualify. Year round fundraising by our volunteers allows us to lower the cost of a week of camp to only $99. This fee is called the “Fair Share Fee” with our belief that a parent/ guardian should be spending at least this much money on a child every week.
17. Can I get a refund?Unless your child is sick and needs to miss out on the camping experience for health reasons, a refund is not possible. This is due to the fact that when your child is signed-up for camp, a specific spot is reserved for them. A bunk in a cabin, programming and craft supplies, and food is bought and expenses need to be paid. No other camper will be able to go to camp should your child not show up on departure day. Not only is this unfair to other children who would have like the opportunity to attend camp, but last minute changes make this practice expensive and difficult. The same holds true if your child is sent home for any reason other than their own health. We talk about this in more detail when asked about discipline later in this FAQ. The bottom line? NO REFUNDS!
18. What qualification does the staff have who are in charge of my child?The leadership staff at UCLA UniCamp is chosen through an extensive interview process. All leadership and counselors are UCLA student volunteers. Leadership for each session is selected by the Program Directors and are trained throughout the school year. The counselors are selected through a thorough application / interview process and are trained over 100 hours during the spring in preparation for their summer participation. Their training includes, but is not limited to, child development, conflict management and programming activities. The full-time professional staff at UCLA UniCamp has over 50 years combined experience in the field and are available throughout the week to support any needs of your camper.
19. What is the camp’s policy on camper discipline?Obviously, this is a concern of both you and UCLA UniCamp personnel. Our staff members are strictly forbidden to:
That being the case, one might ask what we do when a camper demonstrates behavior that is harmful, wrong, out of line, against expressed rules of camp, anti-social, abusive to others, or , in general, bringing negative attention to themselves.
While we will not punish your child, there are consequences for their actions. Generally, we have a “three strikes” policy. The first violation will result in speaking with the leadership of the session. Should the behavior continue or develop a pattern that the staff find disruptive to the quality of the camping experience for others, we will call YOU, the parent, and inform you of the difficulty we are having with your child. This constitutes the second “strike” and we will inform you that if the behavior continues, you will need to make transportation arrangements. The third occurrence or continued unacceptable behavior will result in an early trip home. Your child will be isolated from the other campers and will wait until you have made your arrangements to transport them home. If no transportation is readily available, we will transport your child at an expense to you. This is a relatively expensive trip. Remember, there are no refunds. It is a good idea to make sure your child realizes the financial consequences of their inappropriate actions.
20. Where should my child be in order to catch the bus to UCLA UniCamp?UCLA UniCamp has regional drop-off/pick-up locations. The location, along with the date and time for your drop-off and pick-up will be included in your confirmation e-mail. This information will also be available on our website, www.unicamp.org.
21. Where do I need to be in order to pick-up my child once camp is over?Mom and Dad, Grandmas and Granddads, brothers and sisters…this always has the opportunity for one of those special times in your child’s life that you wish you could hold still. At least one of those Kodak moments that is well worth saving. Make every effort to be there with your biggest smiles and warmest hugs. Don’t be late for this one folks. Ask about when and where and get answers. The pick-up location in most cases will be the same as the location you dropped your child up before their week at camp. If there is any change, you will be notified.
22. Is there a time when I can meet with the camp personnel prior to my child attending camp?Many agencies conduct what is sometimes called a camp rally or a general information session. UCLA UniCamp will do our best to be in attendance, and we try to answer everyone’s questions. Most questions, we hope, are answered on our website and in this document. You can also ask the Head Counselor of your session if and when they will hold their own informational session. It is also possible to ask them if you may attend a training meeting.
23. How can I make sure the staff knows everything they should know about my camper?The best way is to complete the UCLA UniCamp section entitled “Helpful Hints about Your Camper”. Look at it in terms of what information you would want to leave with your baby-sitter if you were leaving for a week or so. The more we know, the better we can be at making the camping experience the most positive it can be.
24. Who do I call if we have an emergency and need to contact my child?You will be given an emergency number when you arrive at our drop-off location. This number should only be used in a TRUE emergency. Of course, you are always welcome to call our main office at 310-208-UCLA during normal business hours and our office staff can help assist you.
25. Is there a Nurse on site?Yes. UCLA UniCamp employs a full-time registered nurse during the summer. Additionally, many of our volunteers have training as emergency medical technicians (EMT). Our nurse handles all of the “first aid” requirements as well as the distribution of medications.
26. Should I be concerned about homesickness?We definitely are. We all react differently when we leave home the first couple of times. Some of us don’t want to leave after we’ve planned to for so long. Others don’t want to be at camp before we even get off the bus. Usually, in a very short period of time, we adjust, and camp starts to take a life of its own. Although there are no known cures for homesickness, the staff at UCLA UniCamp has come to recognize the symptoms, and avoid the causes. What we find we can’t control is a condition we have come to call “Campsickness”. This happens when a parent starts showing signs of missing their child who is at camp. Remember, the emergency number is ONLY for true emergencies. Write often, fax letters, and plan something special for when you pick your camper up.
For tips to help combat homesickness please visit the Avoiding Homesickness section under our parent tools.
27. Where is the nearest hospital?Should your child sustain an injury or illness that is more than our full-time registered nurse can handle, we will transport them to either the Redlands Community Hospital (22 miles from camp) or the Loma Linda Community Hospital (25 miles from camp) and notify you immediately.
28. Is my child going to be safe at Camp?Every possible effort is made to insure the safety of your child and their camping experience. As an “Accredited Camp” (meeting the standards of the American Camp Association), UCLA UniCamp is one of the few camps that maintains a better ratio than the recommended 1:8 leader to camper ratio. Our ratio is generally 1:3. All the facilities at UCLA UniCamp are equipped with smoke detectors. The swimming pool, the commercial kitchen facility, and the camp as a whole are inspected by the County of San Bernardino and Department of Environmental Health Services. UCLA UniCamp is also equipped with emergency evacuation vehicles should we need to leave the premises. Although we may only be college students, we understand fully the trust you place in us. We do not take this responsibility lightly, and we appreciate your trust.
29. Can I come and visit UCLA UniCamp?We have found over the years that parents who visit their children during the camp session serve more to disrupt the campers’ experience than to contribute. The resulting effect is that your child will want to go home with you, and rightfully so. We know we make a positive impact on campers, but we can’t come close to the love and adoration of Mom and/or Dad. For these reasons, it is best for everyone if you refrain from visiting. Remember, both you and your child need to agree to the camping experience. However, if you would like to visit our facilities and observe how we run our camp, please contact us and we can make the necessary arrangements.
30. Can I call my child?In the case of a family emergency, absolutely! Should you call to inquire about your child’s well-being, the camp office personnel will be happy to pass along information about what the kids are doing. However, with only two phone lines and as many as 200 people in camp, it is impossible to have kids pulled from activities to answer a phone call. It is also as disruptive as a parent’s visit to let a camper place a call to home.
31. What is the mailing address of UCLA UniCamp?Campers love getting letters, and staff loves seeing the faces of campers receiving notes from loved ones. Mail often and mail early (even BEFORE your child leaves for camp) in order to ensure your child receives the letter while at camp. Mail sent two working days prior to your child’s arrival usually results in mail during the first couple days of camp. Be sure to address camper mail in the following manner:
UCLA UniCamp @ Camp River Glen
Attn: Camper Joe Bruin, Dates of Session
4219 State Highway 38
Angeles Oaks, CA 92305
Your child can send notes home as well. Send stamped and pre-addressed envelopes in your child’s luggage.
32. Can I send my child a letter?Absolutely! Campers love to receive letters from home. Please remember that if you send a letter to camp, keep it positive and focused on the fun they are having at camp. Letters that tend to dwell on hos much the child is missed only makes those campers begin to feel homesick. Remember to be encouraging and tell them you love them.
There are three ways to send letters to your campers:
33. Will my child have a good time at camp?The vast majority of children do, but no camp can guarantee that every child will. If you are a parent, you know that sometimes, even the best laid plans don’t always work out how you hoped. Seven nights and eight days can be taxing, even while vacationing. The best we can do is what we do best. You can help by talking with your child and preparing them for the experience.
34. How can I get more involved?Ask us. Tell us how you think you would like to help. UCLA UniCamp was built and is run by volunteers and donors not unlike the one standing in your shoes. We always appreciate any help offered.
35. How did UniCamp get started, anyway?UCLA UniCamp was started by 11 UCLA students in the depression relief days of 1934. What started as a canned food drive for low-income families in the Sawtelle district soon became a summer camp for the children of these families.