Opening Day is our favorite day of the year - we love welcoming campers and their families to DeSoto!
We would like to ask you to limit the number of people who get out of the car and enter your daughter’s cabin area on Opening Day. We understand that you may need to bring other children or extra helping hands, and we don’t want to create any hardship there. However, in order to maintain a healthy start, it is important that we limit the number of people mingling on Hut Row or in the Enchanted Forest. Two people may accompany each camper to her cabin area, and one person at a time may go inside the cabin with her.
We are sad not to host a “Meet the Directors” gathering on the lawn of the gym, but Sarah, Phil, and Marsha are looking forward to greeting each car as you enter the camp gates. And yes, there will be thumbprint cookies!
We have assigned drop-off times beteween 8:00 am and 10:00 am on Friday, June 9th and Friday, July 7th. These windows are assigned by camper last name. Please arrive at Camp during your assigned window of time (camp is in the central time zone), and you’ll be greeted at the gates by Camp Staff to tell you exactly where to go and what to do next.
These times have been assigned in order to equally spread out the number of cars arriving each hour. Thank you for sticking to your assigned arrival time so that we can get everyone settled in smoothly and efficiently.
Just inside the gates, camp staff will greet you and welcome you to Camp. They will share your daughter’s cabin assignment and give you step-by-step instructions for the remainder of the process.
Sarah, Phil, & Marsha will also be there to say hello as you drive in - we cannot wait to see you and welcome you to Camp!
Your next stop will be the Medical Tent.
After you’ve been welcomed to Camp, your next stop will be the medical tent. One of our camp medical staff will take your camper’s temperature through a rolled-down window and ask her a few symptom-screening questions to be sure she’s feeling healthy. If your camper isn’t feeling well or has been around someone who was sick, please do not come to Camp on Opening Day. We will be happy to help you arrange for a late arrival. This is an important part of “starting smart,” and we greatly appreciate your help with this.
While your camper is getting her temperature taken, you will also turn in your camper’s medicines. If your camper takes any medication regularly, please have her medicines clearly labeled, in their original packaging, in a ziploc bag (or other disposable container) with her name and grade written on the outside. Please include a note with detailed instructions (dosage amount, times, etc.)
The camp medical staff will be able to converse with you briefly, but we do want to keep cars moving, so coming prepared for this stop will be a big help.
You do not need to bring medicines that she only takes “as needed” such as benadryl, tylenol, or pepto-bismol. Those things are stocked in the Camp Health Center.
You’ll then be directed to a designated luggage drop-off area based on your camper’s cabin assignment.
There will be staff there to help you unload your camper’s trunk and duffel bag and clearly label her stack of belongings.
From there you’ll be directed to a designated parking area. Each camper may have two people get out of the car with her, and one parent will be allowed inside the cabin with each camper at a time.
After you’ve parked, you and your camper will head to a nearby Head-Check station. (It’s a good idea to come to camp with your hair down or in a simple style that can easily be taken down and put back up.)
Once she has been cleared, she can move in to her cabin!
If the head-check staff finds anything they are concerned about, a nurse may be called for a second opinion. If camp medical staff determine that she may have lice or nits, we’ll work with you to make arrangements for her to go to the Lice Place in Birmingham that afternoon for her hair to be thoroughly treated.
Once your camper is all settled in and her bed is made, it will be time for you to say goodbye. This is best done in the cabin or right outside, so that you can leave her in the capable hands of her cabin counselor.
Rest assured, she is in good hands. Her counselor is prepared to help her navigate her feelings and jump right into having fun.
As you make your way towards the Camp exit, you’ll pass Bill Berry, the camp office administrator, stationed in a tent on your way out. You’ll be able to take care of any unfinished business - such as missing forms - with him.
He can also collect anything left in the car that needs to be delivered to your camper, birthday packages that you’d like to leave for her to open on her birthday, or letters you want her to receive during her first rest hour!
This last stop is your chance to tie up any loose ends before you leave.
Sarah, Phil, and Marsha will be so excited to greet you as you drive in the gates. Camp DeSoto is our home, and it is our deepest joy to welcome you, and especially your daughter, to this place we love.
While our hello may be brief this year, we still want the opportunity to address any concerns you might have, from separation jitters to cabin issues. You are welcome to call or email us anytime throughout the month - and especially in those first few days after drop-off.
If you have any questions ahead of time, we’d love to talk you through it. Call the camp office and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Closing Day just might be your favorite day of the year as you reunite with your camper after a month apart!
Camp pick-up is usually between 8 - 10 am on Closing Day. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the gates by Camp Staff who will explain the pick-up process and where to park. Your camper will meet you at her cabin after we dismiss from breakfast, and you can pack up the car together. She’ll have everything packed except her medicines, which you can pick up from the medical tent on your way out of Camp.
Campers who are flying home will be taken to the airport by Camp Staff, who will assist them with baggage check and security. A Camp Staff member will wait with the girls until every camper’s flight has departed. We’ll be in touch with you about the details of your camper’s travel a few days before Camp ends.