SLUMBER FALLS POLICY & GUIDELINES

Slumber Falls Camp seeks to be a place of grace close to the heart of the church:

– Developing outdoor ministry for youth, adults and families

– Engaging individuals in spiritual renewal and leadership training

– Building a vision of the wider church by enhancing relationships in communities

– Maintaining the spiritual and physical environment

– Creating a place of inclusiveness for Christian community

as a ministry of the South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ.

In an effort to live out our mission, the following policies have been established, and will be administered by the Director of Outdoor Ministry according to guidelines established by the Camp Council and the South Central Conference Board of Directors.  Any questions should be directed to the Director of Outdoor Education.

Camp Safety Rules 

Slumber Falls Camp Life Policies

Values-Based Camp

Slumber Falls Camp seeks to provide safe, fun, creative, and challenging camping opportunities that foster individual and family growth in areas of self-worth, responsibility, self-expression, independence, leadership, environmental awareness, and values. Our mission is to be a place of grace close to the heart of the church, and the mission and our values are the foundation for all that we do here at Slumber Falls Camp. They govern our day-to-day life and are the basis for all rules and requirements established at the camp. It is important all campers and staff strive to teach, practice, and model the values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility each day.

Inclusiveness and Non-Discrimination

Slumber Falls Camp recognizes the myriad of diversity found within creation and seeks to honor and respect this nature in all persons regardless of any label or classification including but not limited to race, age, gender, gender identification, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, belief system, ethnic origin, disability, socioeconomic circumstance, body size, physical appearance, marital status, or military status.  We seek to emulate the diversity of the world in our camps, conferences, and retreats.

As we seek justice and equality for all, we recognize our role in learning, understanding, teaching, and advocacy.  We encourage open, honest interactions so we may grow as a community.

We are committed to the following:

  • Educating and teaching our campers, staff, and volunteers the strength and benefits of diversity
  • Respecting and appreciating differences
  • Encouraging others to find their unique voice
  • Providing equitable and just treatment and opportunities to all
  • Being conscientious of diverse needs in programming, development, and rhetoric, and striving to make our endeavors accessible to all
  • Supporting efforts to bring about greater justice and equality thus modeling the Jesus ethic and practice.
  • Being open to suggestions on how we can improve and enhance our ministries.

Camper Participation

There are a variety of activities available at Slumber Falls Camp, and campers are expected and encouraged to participate in all activities of camp unless medically deemed unsafe or unable. Campers should understand non-participation can be detrimental to the camp and if they refuse to participate in camp activities they could be subject to disciplinary action.

 Grade/Age Requirement Policies

Age requirements are set for camps to address the developmental, spiritual, and psychological needs for the age levels and provide more specific and directed programming.  Age is determined at the start of camp.

 

Springs Alive:                                                     Children completed Kindergarten through 2nd grades*

Streams of Faith:                                              Children completed 3rd through 5th grades

Creeks in Creation:                                          Youth completed 6th and 7th grades

Living Waters:                                                    Youth completed 8th and 9th grades

Roaring Rapids:                                                 Youth completed 10th through 12th grades

Eco Camp:                                                           Children 3rd through 5th grades

Sports Camp:                                                     Children 3rd through 5th grades

Board Game Camp:                                         Youth completed 8th through 11th grades

CIT Camp:                                                            Youth ages 14-17

 

Campers can attend a different group if they are +/- one (1) grade level.

* The minimum camper age is six-years-old.

If the home church and/or parent(s) feel there is a reasonable exception for a camper NOT to attend the grade/age-appropriate camp (i.e. developmental delay or other handicapping condition), a letter should be submitted along with the camp application form stating how this camper’s needs create an exception.  The Director of Outdoor Ministry will review each case individually for approval or denial of the request.  If the request is denied, an explanation will be provided in writing to the parent.

Cabin Friend Requests

We understand coming to camp the first time can be scary, and campers who come to camp with friends from home may want to be in the same cabin together.  Campers are allowed to request one another to be assigned to the same cabin, but a camper can only request one other friend, and for it to be honored, the other individual also has to submit a request in turn.  This is done through the registration system as individual emails to the camp or directors may be overlooked when cabin assignments are being made.

Behavior Management Policy

We believe every child has the right to experience Slumber Falls Camp and all it has to offer. We believe in setting limits and explaining the boundaries for all participants. When these boundaries are tested, we use specific procedures to help the camper to continue being a part of camp. Slumber Falls Camp staff receive significant training in these procedures. On the first day of camp our staff will go over the cabin expectations and ground rules of camp life. Campers have the opportunity to ask questions about policies and rules, so everyone is clear about expectations.

Progressive Discipline Procedures We Follow:

  1. Step 1: The camper’s Counselor will speak with the camper and determine whether the camper understands why the behavior is unacceptable and understands what the consequences are for that behavior. The Counselor will restate the desired behavior, with clear consequences given for not following the desired behavior. The removal of a camper from a problem situation to a cool down/reflective period may be a consequence in this first stage. This cool down period gives the camper time to calm down, reflect on the camper’s actions and the staff a chance to discuss with the camper what happened.
  2. Step 2: If the behavior continues, the Counselor will let the camper know this is still unacceptable and will then involve the Camp Director and/or Director of Outdoor Ministry. At this stage, the Director of Outdoor Ministry will contact the parent or guardian of the camper to make them aware of the situation and to ask for cooperation and insight.
  3. Step 3: If the behavior persists, the Camp Director, along with the Director of Outdoor Ministry, will determine if the camper should remain at camp or be sent home. Parents will need to make transportation arrangements, and there are no refunds for campers sent home for behavioral reasons.
  4. Step 4: There are some actions that could warrant immediate removal from camp. These actions include, but are not limited to, smoking or using tobacco products (including vapes), using alcohol or illegal drugs, stealing/theft, or endangering their own safety or the safety of staff or campers.

This discipline policy attempts to let campers know that while they are cared for, certain behaviors are not acceptable in our camp setting. This policy also involves the parents before the problems escalate, and invites them to be a part of the solution.

Hazing

Slumber Falls Camp is dedicated to building healthy Christian communities that value individuals and respects diversity.  We strive to create an ethos where campers can have fun, learn, and develop themselves in an environment free of hazing. While hazing has historically been present in camps and veiled as traditions, rituals, or rites of passage, Slumber Falls Camp has eliminated all forms of hazing and continues to examine all programs to ensure these practices are not part of the camping experience.  Our community values lasting relationships grounded in mutual respect, deep spiritual bonds, and meaningful interactions, not artificial connections created through shared humiliation.

Bullying

Bullying is when one or more people exclude, tease, taunt, gossip, hit, kick, or put down another person with the intent to hurt another or build oneself up by tearing another or others down. Bullying happens when a person or group of people want to have power over anther and use their power to get their way, at the expense of someone else. Bullying can also happen through cyberspace; through the use of emails, text messaging, instant messaging, weblogs, person Web sites and other less direct methods. This type of bullying can also lead to persons being hurt during or between the camp seasons and be especially hurtful when persons are targeted with meanness and exclusion. Bullying is inexcusable at Slumber Falls.

Each camper is expected to treat all other campers with respect, and to help each other achieve the best possible experience. If a camper has difficulty meeting this expectation, parents may be called upon to assist. We work together as a team to ensure campers gain self-confidence, make new friends, and go home with great camp memories. However, if a camper does not correct their behaviors, they may be sent home to ensure the safety of other campers.

Our leadership addresses all incidents of bullying seriously and trains staff to promote communication with their campers so both staff and campers will be comfortable alerting us to any problems during their camp experience. We can’t manage an incident if we don’t know about it.

Dress and Grooming Code

Part of a person’s development and identity development center around appearance and grooming.  While we encourage people to find ways that express themselves outside of camp, we put our emphasis on building an intentional Christian community that fosters deep, spiritual friendships based on the individual and not the clothing or appearance.

Campers’ clothing should reflect good taste and concern for the values and standards of other campers. In addition, campers’ clothing should be comfortable yet functional, allowing them to fully participate in all activities.  Campers may be asked to change if the director or staff deems the attire to be inappropriate for the activity.

Inappropriate dress includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Any see-through or sheer clothing or clothing with holes or cut-outs in it that reveals undergarments
  • Clothing promoting alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, hate or degrading messages/images, weapons/violence, provocative or sexual messages/images, gang images, or other offensive messages
  • Underclothes exposed or worn as outerwear
  • Clothing that does not fully cover genitalia
  • Closed toed shoes worn for all activities with the exception of pool events and shower house usage. Camps targeted at 8th grade and older are exempt unless activity warrants footwear that provides protection. Older campers must still bring closed toed shoes for some of the daily activities or if they want to wade into the river.
  • See-through swimsuits (when dry or wet) and suits that are not functionally appropriate for the swimming activity or event. Swim bottoms that are held together solely with ties, snaps, or buttons are considered not functional.

In addition to clothing, we encourage proper grooming habits and expect campers of all ages to maintain basic hygiene during their say, including but not limited to, daily showers, daily teeth brushing, hair combing, and wearing clean clothing.

Obscenity

Obscene, profane or vulgar language; written, oral, or expressed by symbols is not tolerated. Being respectful to staff and other campers is important and expected. Any camper who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.

Money/ Offering/ Camp Store

While all activities, snacks, and opportunities are available to all, including afternoon snow cones, some campers may wish to bring money for the trip to and from camp for meals, offering, and the camp store.  The money from offering goes to support the Slumber Falls Camp Scholarships.

Kum Bah Yah, the camp store, has a variety of items for purchase.  Prices can range from a few dollars to $30.  Most t-shirts are in the $10-$15 range. Some of the camps may use a “bank” system or preloaded camp store debit cards.

Personal Property

Slumber Falls Camp, the staff, and volunteers are not responsible for any lost or damaged property.  Please do not bring valuables or sentimental items to camp with you.

Lost and Found

A lost and found table will be located by the checkout table on the last day of every camp. Items that do not have names or were not claimed by campers will be placed on the lost and found table. Parents are encouraged to check the table before leaving camp to look for possible lost or unclaimed items. If parents get home and realize items are missing, please call the camp within one week following the child’s camp as all of the unclaimed items will be repurposed or donated. We will ship these items back to you via United States Postal Service and add the charge to your camper’s account.

Electronics Policy

Cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices that can connect to the internet and communicate outside of the camp ground are prohibited. Outside communication disrupts, distracts, and creates barriers to this experience and diminishes the overall experience for all campers.  To communicate with your camper, see the communications policy.  If there is a question regarding a piece of technology, please contact the camp office for approval.  Devices that violate this policy will be collected and given back at the end of camp.  Campers who intentionally seek to break this policy are subject to disciplinary action and could be removed from camp.

MP3 players and electronics that do not connect to the internet or communicate off the camp grounds are allowed in cabins for those that need a way to decompress or fall asleep.

Driving Policy

As youth age and earn the privilege to operate a vehicle, some campers may be permitted to drive to camp.  Slumber Falls Camp is not responsible for campers’ drive to and from camp, their vehicles, or potential damage that might occur being present on a youth camping facility.  While we strongly encourage youth to find alternative transportation to camp, they are allowed to drive themselves; however, once a camper is on the premises, the car must be unloaded during registration.  A camper is not permitted to be in or hang around vehicles.  Campers are not allowed to drive to offsite activities or leave the premises without permission from the Director of Outdoor Ministry.  Any camper who leaves camp without express permission from the Director of Outdoor Ministry will not be permitted to rejoin the camping program. Their parents will be notified, and the camper will be escorted by two staff members to collect their belongings.

Stealing/Theft

Stealing is a violation of law. A camper who becomes involved in a theft of camp property, another camper’s belongings, or a staff person’s belongings is subject to disciplinary action. Stealing may result in a camper being sent home from camp. The Camp Director or Director of Outdoor ministry will contact the parents/guardian.

Search and Seizure

The Director of Outdoor Ministry and/or the Camp Director reserves the right to search the property of a staff member or camper’s, either by themselves or with the aid of law enforcement officials, if the camp staff deems the search is necessary to maintain the integrity of the camp’s environment and/or the protection of the other staff or campers. These searches may or may not include the use of specially trained dogs.

Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco Products, and Illegal Paraphernalia 

Possession or consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, vapes, and illegal paraphernalia during any Slumber Falls Camp sponsored event is prohibited.  If a person is suffering from nicotine withdrawal, nicotine patches can be turned into the camp medic and administered by the camp medical staff.  In terms of a minor in withdrawal, a parent letter must accompany the patches and turned in at registration.

Violations of this agreement can be ground for immediate removal from the program, camp, and facilities. This decision rests upon the Director of Outdoor Ministries or a designated person by the DOM.

Slumber Falls is a place of grace. In order to return to camp, the person will be required to meet with the Director of Outdoor Ministry regarding the steps necessary to re-covenant with the camp.

Successful re-covenanting with the Director of Outdoor Ministry and/or the Camp Council will be necessary before the person will be allowed to participate in any future Slumber Falls sponsored camp programs.

 Environment Stewardship

Experiencing the incredible world that God has created gives rise to many plants, animals, geological formations, and natural wonders.  Campers are encouraged to connect to nature and marvel at the vastness and richness here at Slumber Falls Camp.

As steward of the earth and as a practice of ecological justice, we encourage campers to be advocates for the plant, natural resources, and all that is present around us.  Picking up trash, respecting animals and plants, proper waste disposal, and general care of the camp grounds is expected of all campers.  We want to live in harmony with the natural world so that future generations can experience God here at Slumber Falls Camp in this wonderful outdoor setting.

Hazardous Materials

Fireworks, explosives, and flammable or other hazardous materials are prohibited.

Violations of this agreement can be ground for immediate removal from the program, camp, and facilities. This decision rests upon the Director of Outdoor Ministries or a designated person by the DOM.

Slumber Falls is a place of grace. In order to return to camp, the person will be required to meet with the Director of Outdoor Ministry regarding the steps necessary to re-covenant with the camp.

Successful re-covenanting with the Director of Outdoor Ministry and/or the Camp Council will be necessary before the person will be allowed to participate in any future Slumber Falls sponsored camp programs.

Weapons

Firearms, knives, swords, clubs, ammunition or weapons of any sort are prohibited.

Violations of this agreement can be ground for immediate removal from the program, camp, and facilities. This decision rests upon the Director of Outdoor Ministries or a designated person by the DOM.

Slumber Falls is a place of grace. In order to return to camp, the person will be required to meet with the Director of Outdoor Ministry regarding the steps necessary to re-covenant with the camp.

Successful re-covenanting with the Director of Outdoor Ministry and/or the Camp Council will be necessary before the person will be allowed to participate in any future Slumber Falls sponsored camp programs.

Vandalism

Campers involved in vandalism or malicious mischief against the camp property or property of another camper or staff are subject to disciplinary action. Vandalism includes any kind of graffiti on camp walls, beds, bathroom stalls, personal property, etc. The parent/guardian will be contacted immediately. Violation of this policy may result in the camper being sent home from camp. Payment to repair any damage accrued as a result of the vandalism is the responsibility of the camper’s parent/guardian.

Damage to the property includes buildings, vehicles, plants, trees, animals, and anything that resides or lives on the property.

Pets

No pets are allowed without prior approval of the Director of Outdoor Ministry. All pets must be on a leash at the discretion of the Director of Outdoor Ministry. This supersedes all previous pet policies.

Camper Welfare

The first responsibility of each and every staff member is the health and welfare of the campers.  Each staff member is expected to take every step possible to protect the privacy and person of the camper.

Staff Expectations

  1. Staffing of all camper cabins requires a minimum of two program staff members per cabin.
  2. A staff member (or other adult) is never to be alone with a camper. Two individuals should always be present. Private conversations can take place in public view.  In situations where a camper is ill, and needs rest or isolation in the Health Center, the medical paid program staff is exempt from the rule “never be alone with a camper.”
  3. Physical punishment or abuse of campers is inappropriate and is grounds for dismissal. A staff member should never hit, kick or strike a camper in any way.
  4. Campers are to be supervised at all times.
  5. Language: Staff members will refrain from the use of profanity and overt or veiled sexual references in the presence of campers.
  6. Discipline and correction: Staff members are crucial in helping campers to have a positive experience at Slumber Falls Camp. It is important to be conscious of how words and actions influence the campers.  Staff members should affirm positive behavior, and correct negative behavior in a constructive way.  It is important to redirect negative energy or actions into positive behavior. Safety comes first so judgment about the harshness of tone may be regulated by the situation at hand.  Any severe behavioral issues should be reported to the Director of Outdoor Ministry.

Camper Interactions:

  1. Appropriate touch should be a response to the camper’s need for comforting, encouragement, or affection. It should not be based on the adult’s emotional need.
  2. Camp staff, volunteers, or employees will not force affection on any child. Physical contact should always be with the child’s consent.
  3. Inappropriate Touch: staff members should never have inappropriate physical interactions with campers. Contact should never be of a sexual or suggestive nature. At no time should a child or youth, even if fully clothed, be touched on or near the breasts, genitals, or buttocks.
  4. Appropriate Touch: It is acceptable to briefly touch a camper on their heads, upper arms, shoulders, and back in an effort to show support.
  5. If an approved adult or approved youth worker shows physical affection toward a child or youth, it must occur with another adult present. An “Approved Adult” is anyone over 18 years of age who has satisfied the requirements of the camp’s protection policy.
  6. A camper’s verbal or nonverbal “no” should always be respected. If a camper pulls away, even with another adult present, respect the child’s wishes at all times.
  7. It is necessary to ask a camper if it’s OK to hug them before giving them a hug. If campers say “no” the staff member must not display offense, but should affirm the camper for expressing their comfort level and take note of their discomfort for future reference.
  8. Back Rub/Massage: Staff members should not give campers back rubs or massages.
  9. Sitting: Staff members should not allow campers to sit on their laps.
  10. Piggy-Back Rides: Staff members should not give campers piggy back or shoulder rides.

Romance and Dating Policy

Staff members should never pursue, engage in, or encourage a romantic or sexual relationship with a camper, volunteers or other staff members. Doing so is grounds for dismissal. Staff should retain a professional emotional distance and focus their energies on providing positive camping experiences for the campers.

Reporting

Anyone observing inappropriate touching or other questionable behavior by any individual toward a minor/camper should immediately begin the process for reporting suspected abuse or neglect.  We will follow the Slumber Falls Camp reporting procedures that are in line with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. 

Health and Wellness

Medication Policy

Medications (prescription and over-the-counter) must be turned in at registration to the camp medic/ health care staff.  All medications must be in the original bottle.  If dosage is different from the bottle, bring a letter from your doctor stating the correct dosage. Our health care staff will make sure all campers receive their proper medications at the proper times.

Parents/Guardians are asked to give any additional instructions or descriptions of special needs when the medications are turned in at Check-In or online with their camper’s registration.  Certain medications, such as inhalers and epi pens, still need to be checked in, however they will be given to the child or counselor to keep with them, per your instructions.

Special Medical Concerns

Each camper’s application was accepted on the condition that the camper is able to fully participate in camp activities. Medical conditions including, but not limited to, fainting spells, diabetes, seizures, physical handicaps, unusual allergies, unusual diet requirements, depression and/or other psychological conditions MAY preclude a child from participating in camp. If your child is impacted by any of these or develops them after registering, you must call and discuss the situation with the director. If your child should develop a communicable illness or be exposed to one just before camp, please call to discuss.

New medications/Medical holidays

Camp is NOT the best time to experiment with new medications or to discontinue daily medications. We strongly discourage this as tt can be very stressful on both campers and staff. If campers take daily medications to assist them in school settings, these medications will only continue to benefit them in a camp environment. If you do have a change in medication before camp starts, please make sure you update your camper’s online medical form found under Forms and Documents, so our staff has the most current information.

Fluid Consumption

Many campers are not accustomed to being in the heat for long periods of time and judge their water intake based on practices during the school year.  One of the most common and preventable illnesses at camp is mild dehydration, which can cause stomach aches and headaches.  Please talk to your child about carrying their water bottle with them and drinking water every hour.  Campers will be reminded by their counselors, and campers should be reminded that water consumption is even more important when being outdoors.

Bedwetting

If your child regularly or occasionally wets the bed, please call the office to discuss the different options available to make your camper’s time at Slumber Falls Camp as comfortable as possible. We train our staff to be discreet in handling bedwetting. If a camper has an accident, the camper should immediately notify their cabin counselor for assistance. The counselor will have the sheets changed and soiled linens washed without anyone else knowing. Please send a waterproof mattress pad to camp if you know your camper tends to wet the bed.  Failure to provide appropriate protection of the beds could result in replacement costs for a new mattress.

Braces

Should a camper’s braces break or need repair while at camp, we will contact the parents/guardians to determine next steps.

Glasses

Please bring two pairs in case one pair gets damaged or lost.

Shots

If your camper requires shots of any nature while at camp, please contact the office prior to camp to discuss your camper’s needs.  It is recommended campers be vaccinated each year with a flu shot. Even though flu is usually no longer a threat in the summer, it can still linger from time to time.

Skin infections

In the event a camper is diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection, parents will be notified immediately.  Additional information will be distributed in your camper’s closing packet if a skin infection was present in your camper’s cabin.

Sleepwalking/Nightmares

For your camper’s safety, please notify the office in advance if your child has sleepwalking issues. We will make certain the counselor is aware and your child is placed in a bottom bunk. If your child suffers from recurrent nightmares or night terrors, please note that in your health form along with techniques for soothing your child back to sleep. We will share this information discretely with your child’s counselor.

Parent notification

In the event a camper sustains anything more than a minor injury or spends more than four hours in the Health Center, parents will be consulted for care.

Prescription Medication – Our medical professionals call a local Walgreens pharmacy and arrange pick-up of prescription refills or new prescriptions. (see above under “Medication” for existing medications)

Campground Safety and Security

Emergency Contact

If you need to reach your child due to an emergency, please contact the camp at 830-625-2212 to communicate the emergency and plan out next steps.  If you do not get anyone at the main number, text the Director of Outdoor Ministry’s cell phone 817-690-1563.

Visitation Policy

One aspect that contributes to the camp atmosphere is the separation from all the distractions that inundate our world and the ability to focus on creating a fun, safe, and intentional Christian community where campers can explore the weekly theme, develop healthy relationships, and encounter God.  For camps to achieve this, a closed campus is required.

However, there are situations and circumstances where visitors might be present. These arrangements should be made ahead of time to:

  1. Allow staff preparation for the visit.
  2. Protect the general safety of the campers and
  3. Prevent disruption of the camp community.

Arrangements made will include specific time, length of visit, and nature of the visit.

All visitors will need prior approval by the Director of Outdoor Ministry. These visitors will also need to be met at the office and will be required to sign in and out like the program staff. At that time, they will be given an official Slumber Falls Camp visitor nametag to wear while on the camp grounds.

While visitors are allowed, they are not encouraged during the time campers are present.  It is important to know who is on camp property at all times.

Intruders and Strangers

If a staff member sees someone not wearing a nametag or an unknown vehicle, follow this procedure:

  • Get another staff member and ask the intruder who he/she is and what he/she needs. Be pleasant but firm.
  • Write down name/vehicle plate number.
  • Notify the office or the Program Director immediately.

Late Arrival/ Early Departure

In order to build a camp community and secure our camp ground, we encourage all families and churches to arrive and depart at the posted times.  We do recognize that in rare occasions and in emergency situations that alternative times might be needed.  Please contact the camp office to discuss your particular circumstance.  We will try and accommodate all requests; however, resolutions should also be sensitive to the other campers, counselors, and staff members. Non-emergency late arrivals and early departures are discouraged.