Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I send my child to Camp Mikell?
Will my child be safe at Mikell?
How should I contact Mikell if there is an emergency?
How can I contact my camper while he/she is at Mikell?
Who will be taking care of my child at Mikell and will she/he be supervised?
What is the difference between a staff member and counselor, and how are they trained?
What will my child do at a typical day at Mikell?
What does my child need to bring to Mikell?
Who are the Deans and what do they do?
What do I need to know about my child riding the bus?
What are the different camps available for my child?
What happens if my child becomes sick, is hurt, or is homesick?
What will my child be able to eat?
When does camp begin and end?
Can my child come to more than one camp?
What is “Outdoor Camp”?
Tell me about each camp session.
What are Camp Mikell’s goals and objectives?


Why should I send my child to Camp Mikell?

Kid Camp 2012

Kid Camp 2012

Interestingly enough, after writing all of the answers to the questions that follow this one, I realized that they didn’t encompass the real reason why I believe you should send your child to Camp Mikell.It really doesn’t have anything to do with our new pool, the candy at canteen, the Cherokee Pageant, or any other activity we have here at Mikell.

And with this said, I know that it is going to be difficult for me to put into words the work of the Holy Spirit, the sense of community, love, and life transforming experiences.

For decades, people have been coming to Mikell. Many of these people have left Mikell for ordained ministry, lay ministry, and with changed views of life and God. Something else that comes to mind is the number of people who have met their future spouse and the life long friendships that are formed here. Why does this happen? I believe that it is because people are known authentically here. People can be themselves, experience love, learn about responsibility in a community, learn acceptance of themselves and others, an experience the love of God. This is powerful stuff.

Mikell takes conscious steps to rapidly and deeply develop community each week. The permanent staff, summer staff, counselors, Deans and their staff and nurse all strive to help the young people here learn to love themselves and each other more deeply.

As the Director, I welcome the campers on that first evening, and for the last two years my little speech has centered on the Great Commandment: To love God with all of who we are; the second commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. I have the campers look around the room and try to find someone there just like them. Of course, there isn’t anyone in the room as special as each of the campers. I try to instill in them that they are truly a gift from God, and if they weren’t here with us, we would all suffer because of it. Each child is special in his or her own way, and each child is charged to step out and share themselve with the group for the week. And you know, for the most part it works.

I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me, the staff, and counselors for a child to come to camp and then get it- the love, the self-assurance, the connection, the Mikell Magic.

Will my child be safe at Mikell?

At Camp Mikell, we take your child’s safety very seriously. We believe that safety not only encompasses your child’s physical safety but also their emotional and spiritual safety as well. We can’t promise that your child will not get hurt or sick, but we take great caution in protecting your child.The summer staff are all trained in Healthcare Provider Level (the same as medics, nurses and doctors) CPR, or Basic Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. This training includes more advanced airway maintenance training as well as training on an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED. Mikell has a state of the art AED on our premises. In addition, the summer staff are trained in Red Cross First Aid. Our staff member who takes the older campers on the Creek Hike is additionally trained in Wilderness First Aid.

The summer staff are trained for possible disaster scenarios, such as a fire or tornado. These procedures are also reviewed by our counselors.

We will have either an RN or Nurse Practioner on site while your child is here. In addition, the Director is a GA licensed paramedic and certified fire fighter. He is a Basic Cardiac Life Support Instructor and personally trains the staff. Rest assured, your child/camper will be in good hands if an emergency arises.

Mikell provides hand sanitizer on each table in the dining hall. In addition, your child is encouraged to maintain personal hygiene during the week.

Your child will be supervised 24/7 while at Mikell. Most of the time, there will be a college-age staff person and high school-age counselor with your camper. At times, such as during our morning staff meetings, the campers will be with a counselor. Know that there is a direct phone line from both girls’ and boys’ hills to our meeting area if a problem were to arise.

Camp Mikell takes pride in our ability to build community each week. We take this very seriously. This means that we welcome each child as an individual and believe that ALL children are gifts from God and children of God- regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or religious background. All who come to Camp Mikell will be loved and cared for.

It is more than our job, it is our ministry.

How should I contact Mikell if there is an emergency?

During the normal business week (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm), someone will normally be in the office. The voice mail will be checked periodically in the evenings during camp sessions.Our office number is 706-886-7515.

After hours and on weekends, please call the director, Ken Struble at 706-491-0280. If he doesn’t answer, leave a message and he will contact you ASAP.

Also, in case of an emergency involving your camper, you will be notified at the earliest possible time. (See “What happens if my child becomes sick, hurt or homesick?” under the “Frequently Asked Questions.”)

How can I contact my camper while he/she is at Mikell?

The mail runs daily to Mikell, except for Sundays and holidays. Our address is: Camper’s Name, Camp Mikell, 237 Camp Mikell Court, Toccoa, GA 30577Also, you may send emails through our partnership with Bunk1. You will receive a card with instructions for this service when you drop your child off at the bus or during registration at Mikell. Emails are printed off daily around 2:00 pm. With this in mind, please do not send any emails after 2:00 pm on the day before camp ends. No emails will be printed or distributed after this time.

This next bit of information can save you on postage. Put a Care Package together before bringing your camper to camp, bring it with you, and then give it to a summer staffer during registration. Write on the package who it is for and what day you would like to have it delivered to your camper. We will take care of the rest.

We do not allow parents to phone their children during camp unless there is an emergency. Cell phones are not allowed during the camp week. Cell phones will be taken up during registration, along with car keys if the camper is old enough to drive, and they will be returned the last morning of camp. This rule is to protect your camper from misuse of camera phones and to allow your camper an experience of independence, which is an essential developmental skill.

Who will be taking care of my child at mikell and will she/he be supervised?

At Camp Mikell, your children will be supervised 24 hours a day by either our summer staff, counselors, or both. The vast majority of the summer staff and counselors grew up at Mikell during their summers. They know what is expected of them. All of the staff and counselors go through a screening process and extensive training and are supervised constantly by the director.If your child becomes sick or injured, the camp nurse will take care of your child in our health center.

If an issue arises in which the staff or counselors do not feel comfortable about a situation or if they need help, the Director is on site and available to assist in any situation.

What is the difference between a staff member and counselor, and how are they trained?

2012-summer-staff

2012 Summer Staff

Our summer staff members are college-age young people who go through over a week of training, are here all summer, and are paid. The summer staff must apply each year by filling out an application, writing essays, providing references and subjecting themselves to background checks through the police department. After this, there is a day-long interview. Once chosen, the summer staff meets for a weekend of introduction and training in the spring each year, and they come to Mikell at least a week before camp starts for training. During this week, sexual misconduct prevention training, appropriate discipline training, emergency procedures, lifeguard training, drivers training for those 21 years old or older, ropes course training, first aid training, and CPR training are all included.

This past summer, all of our staff had previously been campers and counselors. They have history here, and they love this place. They spread the Mikell Magic and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to a place that has given them so much. Our counselors are high school-age young people who are at least rising 10th graders. They volunteer for one camp session. Some of our counselors are at Mikell for more than one session. Many want to be future summer staffers. Counselors are required to send in an application, write an essay, and provide references. Once chosen, each counselor is required to attend one of two training days offered in the spring, either at Mikell or the Cathedral.

Counselors are trained in sexual misconduct prevention training, appropriate discipline training, and emergency procedures are reviewed with them. There is a Counselor Handbook that each one is assigned which they are required to read and comprehend it. In addition, counselors are required to come to Mikell the day before camp starts. During this time, there is additional training that is age-appropriate for the campers who are coming, a brief first aid review is given, each area of the camp is toured and first aid kits and phones are pointed out, and emergency procedures are reviewed again.

Our summer staff and counselors are well trained, and as Mikell’s Director, I believe that they are the best around. The training is an important part of preparation for our summer campers. In addition, the care, concern and love that our counselors and staff give our campers is indeed ministry and what sets Mikell apart for an incredible experience!

What will my child do on a typical day at Camp Mikell?

Let’s review a typical (if there is such a thing) day at Mikell:

  • 7:30 am- Wake up Bell
  • 8:00 am- Breakfast
  • 8:45 am- Campers and Counselors up to the cabins for cabin cleanup. Summer staff, Dean’s staff and nurse have morning meeting
  • 9:30 am- Everyone to the Old Dining Hall for morning singing and then Dean’s program
  • 12:15 pm- Lunch and announcements for afternoon activities
  • 12:45 pm- Up to the cabins for rest period (Counselors and staff rotate for some time off, but campers always supervised)
  • 2:00 pm- Down the hill for 1st Period*
  • 3:00 pm- Second Period*
  • 4:00 pm- Canteen
  • 4:30 pm- 3rd Period*
  • 5:30 pm- Up the hill to change clothes and clean up for supper
  • 6:00 pm- Supper
  • 6:45 pm- Foursquare/Game/Hang out time
  • 7:30 pm- Evening activities begin
  • Snack and Compline/Prayer Time
  • Bedtime (Depends on the age of campers)
Youth Camp 2012

Youth Camp 2012

Afternoon activities: Our afternoon activities vary depending on the age of the camp. Standard activities include nature hikes, playing in the creek, recreation periods (softball, frisbees, field games, and others), arts and crafts, swimming in the pool, and sometimes camp wide activities like the Whacky Wode Wace, Pool Party, Field Day, etc. For our older campers, we offer the Climbing Tower, High Ropes Course, and Creek Hike.

Canteen: During Canteen, campers receive their mail, take a break and build community, and have options for a drink and snack. Major brand candy, chips (regular and baked), and trail mix are options. Sometimes, watermelon is offered.

Evening Activities: Evening activities vary with the age group. The Cherokee Pageant takes place each week, as does a bonfire with smores and stories, and Skit/Talent Night. Other evening activities may include themed dances, three-ball soccer, capture the flag, carnival, who can get it there first, night swims and parties in our lit pool, and movie night.

What does my child need to bring to Mikell?

  • Bed linens and a blanket or sleeping bag, and a pillow
  • Towels
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, comb/brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
  • Shoes (closed-toe shoes for hiking/recreation and another pair are recommended)
  • Any medications that your child may take (these will be turned in to the nurse at registration)
  • Enough clothes for the week
  • Bathing suit
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Flashlight
  • Bug spray
  • Sun protection lotion/spray
  • Water bottle
  • A hat is a good idea
  • It is also a good idea to label everything with the camper’s name in permanent ink

MONEY?

A Mikell summer T-shirt, canteen each day, and the camp picture are included in the price for camp. Your camper will not need any money unless he/she would like to buy something in the Store, which is only open the day of registration and the last morning of camp.

If you are dropping off your camper or picking him/her up at camp, you might not want to have the camper bring money. If there are purchases in the Store, you can shop with your camper during registration or when you check your camper out.

Mikell will not be responsible for any money lost by a camper.

Additional Outdoor Camp Packing List

Who are the Deans and what do they do?

The Deans are either priests or Christian educators who volunteer their time and talents for a week at Mikell. They plan a program that is age-appropriate ahead of time, usually with a staff of other volunteers that they have assembled. This program sets the tone for the week and campers address issues at an age-appropriate level.Each spring, the Mikell Director meets with the Deans and we come up with a theme for the summer. Deans can either follow this theme or come up with one of their own. Art activities, skits, small group discussions, videos, talks, etc. are all ways that the deans get their message across.

Even though Mikell is a Christian Camp operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, we are open and inclusive to all denominations and religions. Each summer we have a wide variety of campers from different backgrounds, including the Kids 4 Peace. Kids 4 Peace is a program initiated by the College of Jerusalem. Kid 4 Peace is a group of 12 children and advisors from Jerusalem who unite with 12 children and advisors from the Diocese of Atlanta. The Kids 4 Peace from Jerusalem are comprised of 4 Jewish, 4 Muslim, and 4 Palestinian Christian children.

All are welcome at Mikell!

What do I need to know about my child riding the bus?

Camp Mikell bus

Ready to board the bus to Camp Mikell.

Mikell offers bus service from the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead to Camp Mikell.

Cathedral of St. Philip
2744 Peachtree Rd, NW
Atlanta 30305
404-601-5320

Typically, the bus will leave the Cathedral at 2:00 pm the day camp starts and it will return to the Cathedral between 12:00-12:30 on the day camp ends.

Exceptions

  • There is no bus at the end of Performing Arts Camp
  • The bus after Work Camp will arrive back at the Cathedral around 3:00 pm
  • There is no bus for Mini Camp

You must register your camper to ride the bus through our on-line registration process.

Mikell uses Daniel’s Charters bus service, and we have contracted with them for over two decades. Daniel’s Charters does background checks on all of their drivers, monitors the driver’s skills and records, and all drivers maintain current CDL licensure.

Two Camp Mikell summer staff members also ride the bus to and from the Cathedral. They will assist you with pre-registering your camper, will make sure that they are signed out properly on return, provide safety on the bus trip, and assist you with any questions you might have.

Camp Mikell Van and Bus Safety Rules and Procedures

When transporting campers, counselors and summer staff in vehicles, they shall all understand and obey the following rules:

  • Everyone in cars, vans, and buses (when applicable) will wear seatbelts. The number of passengers will not exceed the number of seatbelts. This is in compliance with Georgia state law.
  • The number of passengers in a vehicle will not exceed the manufacturer’s seating capacity.
  • Campers will stay in their seats unless using the restroom in a commercial bus.
  • Campers will not throw anything from a vehicle.
  • Campers will keep all hands, feet, and head in the vehicle at all times.
  • Campers will enter and exit all vehicles calmly and orderly as prescribed by the driver or summer staff member.
  • Campers will listen and follow directions from the driver and/or summer staff while riding in a vehicle.
  • Commercial buses will have at least one summer staff member on board while transporting campers, and 15-passenger buses will have an extra member or counselor on board in addition to the driver while transporting campers.

Please advise your child of these rules and check to make sure that they understand them. Thank you.

What are the different camps available for my child?

Rising 1st and 2nd Graders

  • Mini Camp
Kid Camp

Kid Camp 2012

Rising 3rd Graders

  • Kid Camp 1
  • Kid Camp 2

Rising 4th and 5th Graders

  • Kid Camp 1
  • Kid Camp 2
  • Performing Arts Camp

Rising 6th and 7th Graders

  • Junior Camp
  • Performing Arts Camp
  • Outdoor Junior Camp

Rising 8th and 9th Graders

  • Intermediate Camp
  • Performing Arts Camp
  • Outdoor Intermediate Camp
Youth Camp

Youth Camp 2012

Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders

  • Youth Camp
  • Work Camp
  • Outdoor Youth Camp

Just graduated 12th Graders

  • Work Camp

Families

  • Guest Camp and Private Retreats

To learn more about these camp sessions, vist Summer Camp Descriptions

What happens if my child becomes sick, is hurt, or homesick?

If your child becomes sick at camp, she/he will be taken to the nurse. There will be opportunities to see the nurse at each meal and at bedtime. Also, if a child becomes sick any other time, the nurse is on site 24/7 and is available to take care of sick campers. We have a well-stocked infirmary with bed space and have standing orders from a local pediatrician for treatment.If the nurse believes a child needs to see a doctor, we will notify the parents, advise you of the situation, and get your input on the treatment for your child. Also, if your child is sick for more than 24 hours we will contact you. Stephens County has a local hospital and clinic that is within 10 minutes of Mikell. In addition, the ambulance service is notified each spring about Mikell’s operation and location. The director also has a radio that connects directly to the ambulance service, fire department, sheriff’s department and the emergency room.If your child is hurt, an evaluation will be made by the nurse to see if your child needs a trip to the doctor or the emergency room. If an ambulance is needed, one will be called. In any such instance, the parents will be notified. Stephens County Hospital is a level 3 trauma center with a 24 hour-a-day emergency room.

Children do sometimes become homesick, and it happens at all ages. As a matter of fact, a recent study suggests that up to 90% of all children experience homesickness. About 20% of children experience homesickness to the point that it can affect their camp experience. The team of the nurse, counselors, staff and director will do all that we can to deal with the homesickness. Often, after a child is here for awhile and gets involved, the homesickness subsides. Sometimes it does not. If a child reaches the point where we feel that we are not effective in dealing with the situation, we will call a parent and get feedback from you. We will consult with you and plan a course of action for your child.

*There is some very helpful material available to prepare and help you and your child address homesickness. Dr. Christopher Thurber is a leading professional in the camping world. Through study and research, Dr. Thurber has developed material that can assist you and your camper. Dr. Thurber is a board-certified child psychologist, Harvard graduate, father, past camper, current summer camp water front director, and psychologist at Phillips Exeter.

Find out more about Dr. Thurber and his book The Summer Camp Handbook.

Another useful tool for preparing for summer camp and homesickness has been developed by Dr. Thurber for the American Camp Association. It is a combination CD/DVD that is designed to be used by parents and campers to help both prepare for a successful camp experience. Click here to find out more.

What will my child be able to eat?

Mikell has excellent food service! For breakfast, we have a hot meal that includes such items as eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes, hot cereal, a cold cereal bar, an assortment of juices, milk, yogurt, bagels, and water.For lunch, we have such items as hotdogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, punch, water, and our nearly 60 item salad bar.

For supper, we have such items as spaghetti, Mexican food, fried chicken, popcorn chicken, assorted vegetables, punch, water, and that wonderful salad bar.

In addition, there is canteen in the afternoon with an assortment of candy, chips, trail mix, and sometimes watermelon.

Also, before bedtime, there will be water and cookies.

The campers are encouraged to drink at least two glasses of water at each meal and water breaks are built in during the day. For camp wide events in the afternoon and evening, water coolers are available. We strive to keep the campers well hydrated.

When does camp begin and end?

Kid Camp 2012

Kid Camp 2012

On the beginning of each start of camp, registration begins at 3:00 pm in the Old Dining Hall. There will be signs, counselors, and summer staff to direct you to the correct building.Please line up on the porch of the Old Dining Hall and when we are ready to begin, promptly at 3:00, we will invite you in. First of all, you will check in with the nurse. There will be two lines to see the nurse. One line will be for those who have medications or need to talk to the nurse and a line for those who don’t. From there you will be directed through the rest of the registration process. After registration, you can take your child up to his/her cabin and unpack them.

Camp “anti-registration” begins at 10:00 am the last day of camp. There will be a table set up on the road next to the Old Dining Hall, weather permitting. Your camper will be in the Old Dining Hall, and after you sign her/him out, he/she will be called out to come and see you. Please do not go into the Old Dining Hall to get them. We require a signature from you in order for us to release your camper.

OUTDOOR CAMPERS
Outdoor Campers will be registered per the directions above for our traditional camps. Outdoor Campers will be picked up at the Blue Ridge Nature Center parking lot on the dirt road by the big field.

Exceptions to the 10:00 check out are Work Camp and Performing Arts Camp. At Work Camp, the camp will end after lunch (12:45) on the last day of camp. At Performing Arts Camp, your camper will be released to you after the performance. Please go through our check-out system before the performance. A table will be located in the lobby. If you do not make the performance, your camper will be transported back to camp and your camper will be checked out there.

Mini-Camp registration begins at 3:00 pm on Friday and ends after lunch on Sunday.

Please be advised that registration starts at 3:00 pm. We will not be able to supervise your child before this time or check your child into camp before this time.

Also, please be prompt in picking your child up after camp. When the session is over, the staff continues to work throughout the day reviewing the week, meeting with the Dean, planning the next camp session, and cleaning the camp before we leave.

Can my child come to more than one camp?

The answer is most definitely yes, and many campers do. For example, your child can come to both Kid Camps, or a Kid Camp and Performing Arts Camp, or Intermediate and Outdoor Intermediate, or Youth and Work camps.The permanent and summer staff take a break between camps, so we will not be able to take care of your child between camp sessions.

What is “Outdoor Camp”?

Outdoor Camp 2011

Outdoor Camp 2011

The Outdoor Camps are a wonderful experience for young people to camp, build community, learn more about nature, hike, and experience the great outdoors.The Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center staff runs the Outdoor Camps, which means that your camper will also have the added benefit of being around people who are knowledgable about our environment and are experienced with and love the outdoors.

During this session, campers will camp, help prepare their own meals, and take a three day/two night trip somewhere in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

While in camp, campers will learn new camping skills, swim in the pool, hike nearby, gain insight into environmental education, have their own skit/talent night, hear stories, and much more. Wonderful community is built each week during this camp.

Additional Outdoor Camp Packing List

Tell me about each session.

Please visit Summer Camp Descriptions for information on all the individual summer camp sessions.

What are Camp Mikell’s goals and objectives?

At Mikell, staff will work to help campers achieve the following goals:

Intermediate Camp 2012

Intermediate Camp 2012

Experience new independence and responsibility
Specific activities – cabin duties, choosing activities, being away from home, camping duties at Outdoor campsOutcomes – Campers will take responsibility during cabin cleanup or Outdoor Camp duties; will be able to handle their own personal hygiene regiment, etc.

Do something they haven’t done before
Specific activities – Skit night, climbing tower, ropes course

Outcomes – Campers will try an activity they haven’t tried before such as one of the adventure activities, participating in a skit or jumping off the diving board.

Practice socialization away from parents or teachers
Specific activities – making friends in cabins, working together, dances

Outcomes – Campers will successfully make new friends on their own and learn to cooperate with their peer group through small group and cabin time.

Spiritual growth which enables them to deal with challenging spiritual and ethical issues
Specific activities – Morning program time, prayer time, and daily ethical issues

Outcomes – Campers will thoughtfully discuss spiritual issues, both those brought forth in structured Christian Education time as well as ethical issues that may arise in a cabin or camp activity.

Staff will use these goals to evaluate camp programs and to regularly check to make sure campers are developing properly.