Where is camp located?
Summer at Santa Catalina is held on the campus of Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California. See our Where We Are page for more information.
Is transportation provided from the local airport?
Most of our campers arrive by personal vehicle, but Summer at Santa Catalina staff members will pick up campers at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY). Please note: Airport transportation is provided for campers only upon arrival in Monterey, but they must be picked up in person by a designated adult at the conclusion of the summer session.
Does my camper need to see a doctor before camp?
Yes, every year we are required to have a health form with a doctor’s signature verifying your camper’s health. Your camper must have a complete physical every two years. If she is in the gap year, she may see her physician and have the form updated and signed without doing a complete physical.
What happens if my camper gets sick?
If a camper becomes ill during camp, we have an onsite Health Center staffed by a registered nurse, Monday–Friday from 7:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. If a camper needs medical care outside of the weekday operating hours or medical care that requires additional support, we use Monterey Bay Urgent Care located about two miles from camp or the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) located five miles from camp.
How does my camper do her laundry?
Each 5-week and 3-week camper has an assigned pickup day, and her laundry is collected, cleaned, and returned within a 24-hour period. In the case of small emergencies, we also have machines on site. All camper clothing and linens should be marked with indelible ink or tagged with the camper’s full name. Camp is not a good place for delicate clothing or specialty wear.
What bedding does my camper need?
Each camper needs to bring two sets of twin sheets (flat and fitted), pillowcases, pillows, and blankets/comforter. All camp rooms have regular twin beds with mattress pads. A Target store is approximately 10 minutes from camp, and you can purchase these items there if needed. We do not supply bedding for campers.
Can my camper request a roommate?
Summer at Santa Catalina is an inclusive experience that strives to build a strong integrated community based on broad relationship development. With this in mind, we discourage roommate requests. We hope our campers will be open and offer friendship and support to new and returning campers. If you do have a roommate request, please be aware that although we take it into consideration, it is not always possible to accommodate. Requests must be mutual and submitted with the permissions paperwork.
How's the food?
Bon Appétit Company manages our camp dining room. The food is wholesome and plentiful, and we do our best to provide healthy choices that also appeal to the tastes of our younger campers. Lunch and dinner comes with a choice of two hot dishes and tempting sides, and we also have a well-stocked salad bar with numerous condiments. Breakfast always features cold and hot cereal, egg dishes, fruit yogurt, and something from the griddle. We have fresh whole and sliced fruit at every meal, and our beverage bar is soda-free.
What technology can my camper bring?
We have a camp-wide “no technology” policy. Although we understand the need for many campers to travel with phones, all phones must be checked in with an administrator on Opening Day. Laptops, e-readers, and other mobile devices must be left at home. This means that campers have the opportunity to unplug and interact with one another face to face—without social networking, texting, calling, or Skyping. This policy is strictly enforced as we give campers the opportunity to maximize interpersonal interaction, build lasting friendships, and form strong community bonds.
How can I communicate with my camper while she is at camp? How often can I contact her?
- Email: We have a one-way camp email system available through your camper account called "Bunk Notes." This allows you to email your camper. Emails are batch printed once a day at 11:30 a.m. Bunk Note emails can be sent by anyone who has your camp login information. Your camper will have access to a computer on Sundays. At this time, she may send emails home and read all the wonderful emails that have been accumulating in her inbox. Please note that computer use is limited to email only and monitored by our staff to ensure there is no internet surfing. Camp is a unique opportunity to slow down and unplug.
- Letters: Camp stationery is readily available, and each camper needs only her address book and postage. Letter-writing is an art form, and we encourage campers to write a weekly letter home with all the news. The counselors are always ready to help with this activity.
Can I send a care package?
We encourage you to send lots of letters, but only two packages. Additional packages are distributed on the closing day of each session. Please do not send food in care packages! Campers can come with snacks, but please note that we are nut-free in the dorms. Campers receive two snacks a day and have multiple opportunities to receive additional treats during our evening programs and field trips. Campers love to receive toys, games, clothing, and silly stuff that makes them laugh and shows them you are thinking of them.
If I live locally and my camper is a boarder, can I visit and/or drop off packages?
Although it is natural to want to drop in if you live in or near Monterey, we kindly request that parents refrain from visiting or dropping off packages. We value community-building among our overnight campers, and visits from parents can disrupt this process. These visits can create sadness and exacerbate homesickness for other campers. We ask that parents help us create a fun, supportive experience for all of our campers by adhering to this request.
How does your camp store work?
The camp store is open on opening and closing days of each camp session and on weekdays. Each camper has an account that is billed to a credit card on file. The store carries emergency toiletries, limited items for class use, and a broad selection of Santa Catalina clothing. We do not have food or drink for sale because we provide three meals and two snacks each day. The store gives campers the opportunity to budget and plan for their purchases. We encourage each family to talk realistically with their camper about their expectations for camp store usage.
How can I prepare my camper for camp?
We recommend that your camper be able to sleep away from home with friends or relatives successfully—meaning she does not need to be picked up early due to anxiety or distress. Building toward this as camp gets closer is a great goal to set together! Talk to your camper about being tech-free: Ask if she knows how to write a letter and get excited with her about communicating in this way. Finally, ask her what she is excited about, if she has any questions, and remind her how excited you are for her to have this opportunity! If she is nervous, reassure her that she will have support while at camp and talk through the things she is nervous about. Most of all, we strongly encourage you to keep your anxieties and worries to yourself; your camper may be extremely excited, and if you show your anxiety she may take on that attitude as her own. Check out our parent pointer videos for more tips!
How can I help my camper deal with homesickness?
One of the most important discussions you can have with your camper before she leaves home is the subject of homesickness. Sometimes parents and campers choose Summer at Santa Catalina as the first sleep-away experience. It is often harder for a camper who has never slept away to adjust to two, three, or even five weeks away. Prior to camp, your camper should spend several weekends away from you and other family members. During these times, we suggest that there be no phone calling, texting, or Skyping. This will give you and your camper a chance to experience camp-like conditions. Have an ongoing discussion with your camper about camp and both of your expectations of her time away. The resident camp experience provides an opportunity to figure out how to independently navigate situations as well as rely on others for support and comfort. It will help transition your camper into the summer program and give her the tools to begin camp empowered. Please discuss this in a positive, encouraging way.
It is common for campers to experience homesickness, especially during the first of days at camp. Talk to your camper ahead of time about possible homesickness. Remind her that it is normal. Talk about strategies she can use at camp: writing letters home, journaling, emailing you when she is allowed to email home, sharing her feelings with others, and focusing on the things she is enjoying about camp. We encourage campers to talk with their counselors about these feelings and develop effective coping strategies. She is definitely not alone in this endeavor. This is an opportunity for her to become independent and to develop lifelong skills.
Please do not make any sort of deals with your camper, such as, “If you don’t like it, we will come get you right away.” Assure your camper that you have confidence in her ability to be successful at camp. Please avoid any language that may convey the message that you doubt her ability or that she might not like her camp experience. Homesickness is not pleasant, but when your camper learns to overcome it, she will have an even greater sense of accomplishment and independence.
There are several wonderful websites that you may refer to regarding homesickness: acacamps.org and parenting.com. Please take the following quote to heart: "Camp should not be considered an emotional ordeal or rite of passage that must be endured, but the experience does foster resilience when children show themselves to be capable of coping with and recovering from homesickness at camp." (From "Homesick Campers" by Carleton Kendrick.)
How often do campers attend Mass?
We have a Catholic Mass every Sunday. This is an opportunity for campers from diverse faith traditions to stop and reflect on family, friends, and a peaceful, healthy world. Homilies are geared toward young people and focus on kindness, generosity, and gratitude as the driving principles behind a fulfilling life. This time builds community and allows us to sing joyfully and come together thoughtfully.
Chapel singing takes place for a half-hour on Thursdays, when we practice some of our traditional songs.