First-Time Campers

about-first-time-camper-body-01We know that a parent’s concerns about camp are often very different from their child’s. Your child may want to know if Chen-A-Wanda offers waterskiing and ATVs (we do!), while you may want to know if your child will be eating healthy and often! Therefore, we have dedicated this section to you. In this section, you will find the answers to many of the most frequently asked questions that are posed to us. Many of them may apply to you. Furthermore, if there are any questions you have that you don’t find answers to in this section, please call or email us at any time. We are always available to you, we encourage communication and we look forward to hearing from you. We are keenly aware of the awesome responsibility you have entrusted us with; your kids.

First Day of Camp

The first day at camp is an exciting one. There is a lot going on but we have it handled down to a science. All of our staff is anxiously awaiting for the buses to arrive. The campers come off the bus and are brought directly to their group. All our counselors will assist the campers with any bags they brought with them. As campers arrive and are with their groups, they head for lice checks and when they are cleared, the campers are then brought to their bunks where they can find their beds made and their clothes already put away. Our campers have snack call, are given a tour of the campus and then are off to their first day activities. We end the first day with a campfire and some excellent camp bonding!!!! It’s a day that we all look forward to…

Packing for Camp

CAW is not a uniform camp but we do require that each camper must have 2 Red camp shirts, 4 Gold camp shirts (2 of them with no name on the back). This is all outlined in the official Chen-A-Wanda camp outfitter, The Camp Spot catalog. There are a few ways to purchase the required gear. You can go on line to to view our catalog and order the gear. Every year you will receive a new catalog with the required and suggested packing list or you can visit the Camp Spot showroom in Livingston, NJ.

We usually recommend packing enough for 14 days. We do provide laundry service so there is no need to over pack. The weather always plays a role in what to pack so we suggest packing for warm, chilly and rainy days.

A more detailed packing list is e-mailed out in the Camp Spot catalog to all our campers with plenty of time before the first day! Curling irons and flat irons are not allowed at camp for safety reasons so please do not pack them.

Shipping My Campers Trunk

We have selected a shipping company Camp Trunk Delivery that handles getting your bags to and from camp. About a week prior to camp, you will need to drop off your trunks at your designated bus depot and on the return home, the trunks will be delivered to your home. This service is included in your camp tuition. Camp Trunk Delivery offers door-to-door service on the front end and that would be an extra charge you can consider. Information regarding registering with Camp Trunk Delivery will be sent to you in March. You can find them at

Bus to Camp

Putting your camper on the bus is an exciting and nervous step. They are beginning their journey to a very special summer experience. This experience begins when they say goodbye to you and step on that bus. We can assure you that they are in great hands. On each bus, we have excited and prepared staff that will make the journey with them. New friends are made, old friends are reconnected and the summer begins. We encourage you to follow up on FaceBook as we post minute to minute updates when the buses pull into camp and when they roll out on the way home.

There are specific pickup locations that your child will need to be at on the day of departure, depending on where you live. We provide a safe coach bus that will bring all the campers from your area to CAW. A specific list of drop off locations and times will be added to this section in the very near future as well as being sent to your home. At the end of camp, the campers will be dropped off to you, their loving and awaiting family, at the same location. Specific times will also be provided as we get closer to camp beginning.

Sending Packages

Our campers love to receive a package from home. We have a 1 package NO FOOD policy. Of course there are always exceptions and campers are in need of things that we cannot anticipate (i.e extra underwear, socks etc.) Feel free to always communicate with our office staff about sending those items and we will ensure it gets to the campers.

Visiting Day

Gates open at 9:45am and close at 4:00pm. We serve a buffet lunch for everyone but please feel free to bring anything special that your camper may miss from home. Parents are welcomed to bring care packages including candy, snack foods and beverages for their kids (NO NUTS PLEASE). But kids, remember that all items must be removed from the bunks two days later. If you bring anything made from home and plan to leave with your camper in their bunk, IT MUST HAVE INGREDIENTS POSTED ON THE CONTAINER OR IT MAY NOT STAY INSIDE THE BUNK. We do have some campers that have allergies and contact with Nuts may be extremely dangerous for them.

This is a great day for families to reunite but for many campers, it is not uncommon to have difficulty in saying goodbye. We have qualified and trained staff that will help with any of these difficult moments. We recognize how emotional this day is for some campers and we know that when you see your child having difficulty, it makes your drive home miserable. Please know that your campers bounce back just moments after you leave and we will reach out to you and let you know all is well.


We have laundry service once a week for all campers. It is picked up on Monday mornings from the bunk and delivered back to the bunks on Wednesday. It is very important that all your campers’ clothes are clearly labeled with their full name. This is key to having all your campers clothes be returned home at the end of camp.
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Phone Calls & Emails

One way emails from you are always encouraged. Campers will not have an opportunity to reply to your e-mail. We will deliver to your child along with the daily mail distribution. We encourage you to write letters too because your kids look forward to receiving them.

There are 3 phone calls with your camper per summer (from your camper to you). We schedule the call time from your camper to you by using the “Scheduling Call Sheet” that is located in your parent handbook. This will provide several options to schedule your call at your convenience. The campers will make their calls to you directly from the camp phone lines.

We know how important these calls are to both you and your camper and we will do our best to accommodate your schedules.

I’m HOMESICK — What to do?

It is not uncommon for children to express that they are homesick after hearing their mom, dad or caregiver’s voice during their scheduled phone call. This is normal and we here at CAW are trained and fully prepared on how to handle this situation. We understand that for the new campers being away from mom and dad brings up a lot of feelings and emotions. They are running, playing, making new friends and navigating new experiences. All which are new and can be overwhelming.

Please remember that if this should happen to your child it is important for you to stay positive and encourage him/her that these feelings are normal and once they get back into their camp schedules etc. the feelings of being homesick will go away quickly. Try and refrain from making deals to pick him/her up early. This can undermine the sense that you have full confidence in your child’s ability to cope and manage these very normal feelings.

We are here for you and your child. We will always let you know that your camper is back in the swing of things so you can sleep easy. It is stressful on all but kids tend to move past these moments quickly. Together, we will make this transition easy and positive.


In our on-going commitment to meet the needs of our campers who require medication while at camp as well comply with strict state regulations regarding medication dispensing for summer camps, we work with CampMeds Inc., a pre-packaging medication program founded by a former camp nurse. CampMeds has been servicing the camping industry for the past 13 summers providing the convenient service of dispensing, packaging and shipping medications directly to summer camps.

Electronics Policy

Any electronic device with Internet capability (WiFi, 3G, 4G, LTE, etc…) is not allowed to be in a camper’s possession at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. Even if a device’s Internet capability is disabled, it is not allowed. This includes the following: iPod Touch, iPad, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo DS, or any other gaming, video, or media system (including all laptops, phones, and tablets).

Only mp3 players that have zero Internet capability are allowed at camp.

Supers that will be traveling on the 5-day Virginia & Philly trip and the 5-day Vermont & Boston trip, GC’s that will be traveling on the 5-day Cape Cod trip and the 10-day West Coast trip are allowed to bring their phones for the trips only. Our CIT’s are also allowed to bring phones to camp as they will receive them every Tuesday and on their 4-day trip to Lake George. No other campers may do so.

Allowing children to be away from electronics for these 7 weeks is an important part of Chen-A-Wanda’s camp philosophy. It allows our children the opportunity to communicate with each other and experience the joyfulness of not being tied to a device. Rather experiencing the outdoors and communicating without texting. They are safe and happy without these devices for 7 weeks.