Opening Day

Opening Day is our favorite day of the year, and we love welcoming campers and their families to DeSoto! This summer in particular, we are really looking forward to seeing girls fill Hut Row and the Enchanted Forest again.

Camp drop-off will be a drive-through process this summer, so that we can start our summer off with a COVID-free community. As you drop your camper off, we want your daughter to feel welcome and excited about the month ahead! We also want you as her parent(s) to feel confident in this wonderful experience you are giving her! We will do all that we can to assure a smooth (and even fun!) drop-off process and make sure that your camper gets settled in with as much care as she would if you could help her move in.

Drop-Off Times

We have assigned drop-off times beteween 8:00 am and 12:00 pm on Friday, June 11th or Friday, July 9th. 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.

First Term Drop-Off

  • 8:00 - 9:00 D - K
  • 9:00 - 10:00 A - C
  • 10:00 - 11:00 S - Z
  • 11:00 - 12:00 L - R

These times have been assigned in order to equally spread out the number of cars arriving each hour, as well as to coordinate with Alpine so that families dropping off at both camps are able to do so easily. Thank you for sticking to your assigned arrival time so that we can get everyone settled in.

Second Term Drop-Off

  • 8:00 - 9:00 E - K
  • 9:00 - 10:00 A - D
  • 10:00 - 11:00 S - Z
  • 11:00 - 12:00 L - R

Station 1: The Front Gates

Just inside the gates, you will be greeted by Sarah, Phil, & Marsha - we cannot wait to see you and welcome you to Camp! We’ll be on the passenger side of the car, so have those windows down and wave hello!

On the driver’s side of your car, camp staff will tell you your daughter’s cabin assignment and give you step-by-step instructions for the remainder of the process. You will also get a “meet her counselors” sheet and a cabin list so that you can learn a little bit about who she’ll be living with for the month!

Your next stop will be luggage drop-off!

Station 2: Luggage Drop-Off

We will send you luggage tags before you come to Camp, and we’ll have extras on hand, too. These will be color-coordinated to your daughter’s cabin area and printed with her name.

You’ll pull up on either side of the Gym lawn, depending on where you are directed. Camp staff will unload your car onto a luggage trailer that will then deliver your camper’s things to her cabin.

You’ll need to make sure that the luggage that is staying at Camp with her is the most easily accessible from the back of your car and tagged clearly so we don’t accidentally grab something that should stay in the car! Our staff will talk with you to make sure we get all of her belongings and they are clearly labeled to go to the right place.

Station 3: Camper Drop-Off

Your next stop will be dropping your camper off! Only the camper will get out of the car at this stop, so you’ll want to have already shared a big goodbye hug before you get to Camp. She’ll probably want to have a backpack with a few things that she can carry with her until her luggage arrives in the cabin.

Once your camper hops out of the car, we’ll have a photographer ready to take a photo of her by the passenger side window. All smiles for her camp adventure!

One of her counselors will be there to greet her and briefly say hello to you. Then you can wave them off as the two of them walk together to her cabin area to get her health check.

(Your camper does not need to have a mask on when she gets out of the car, since the counselor greeting her will be living in her cabin. However, she does need to have a mask on a lanyard around her neck or in her pocket so she can put it on easily before her health check.)

Health Checks

Every camper will get a health check soon after she gets to Camp. She will answer a few questions about how she’s been feeling, have her temperature taken, and have her head checked for lice. Please be sure to bring her to Camp healthy and lice-free!

  • If we determine she has a fever we will take her to the Health Center at Camp to get healthy. When she has been fever-free for 24 hours, she will be cleared to join her cabin.
  • If we determine that she has lice or nits, a camp staff member will take her to The Lice Place in Birmingham to be treated. We will charge your account for the cost of this service.
  • If she has multiple symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 diagnosis (as determined by our Camp medical staff), she will not be able to move into her cabin and will need to go home with you.

We want you to be able to prepare your camper and yourself for these possibilities, especially if this may cause her some anxiety. Please reassure your camper that we all just want her to get cleared to enjoy Camp - if something comes up in her health check, there is nothing to be embarassed about, and there are lots of people who are ready to help her get better!

Her counselor will be with her during this health check, and if anything comes up, the counselor will take her to the health center. You will get word at the last station in the drop-off process whether or not she got the all-clear from her health check. If there is any concern, you will know it and know how we are going to handle it before you drive away! If she has lice or fever, we will discuss with you the best course of action to get her healthy and/or lice free before she moves into her cabin.

We know that Health Checks are not the most fun part of Opening Day. Rest assured that this step will be over quickly, and then your camper can enjoy settling in knowing that her Health Check is behind her and a month of fun is ahead!

Camper Medicines

While your camper is getting her health check, you will be headed to the next station in the drop-off line where you will be able to hand off your camper’s medicines to the Camp doctor and nurses. Please bring her medicines clearly labeled with detailed instructions of dosage amount and time.

Campers who fly to Camp will go to the Health Center right when they arrive to get a health check and hand over any medicines they packed in their luggage. After that, camp staff will help them move in and get settled.

Station 4: Camper Medicines

After you have waved goodbye, you’ll then exit through a back gate to continue taking care of a few more things across the road. Your next stop is the driveway of Stone Cottage (Phil and Marsha’s house).

Once you drive down the driveway, you’ll see a circle drive. If your camper has medicines that you need to drop off or if you have any reason to speak with the camp medical staff, you’ll stay to the right. (Otherwise, you can go left and skip this step.)

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.). You’ll also get a chance to speak with a camp nurse or doctor to explain any additional information or discuss any health concerns we should be aware of.

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.

Station 5: Unfinished Business

From Stone Cottage, you’ll then turn right out of the Hurt’s driveway and go toward the pool. Bill Berry, the camp office administrator, will be stationed in a curb-side tent across from the pool. You’ll be able to take care of any unfinished business - such as missing forms, questions you have about your account, or any other outstanding business concerns - 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 pre-written letters for her to read during her first rest hour!

At that same stop, you’ll find out if your camper has passed her health check. If she is clear, you can know that she is happily moving into her cabin! If anything has come up at her health check (if she had a fever or if they detected lice or nits), we’ll ask you to pull up and hang out in your car in a nearby waiting area while we make a plan.

Once you’ve taken care of everything and your camper’s health check is in the clear, you’ll be all set! You can drive away knowing that she is in good hands.

We made some simple videos to help you visualize the route you’ll take through Camp on Opening Day. Everyone will drive in the front gates of Camp as usual. After the first station, we’ll have two lines to help cars get through Camp more efficiently - the process is the same in both lines. We made two videos so that you can see both routes.

Just use your imagination to picture green staff shirts, helpful smiles, and lots of excitement in the air!

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Keeping In Touch

Sarah, Phil, and Marsha will be so excited to greet you as you drive into Camp! 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.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Closing Day

Closing Day just might be your favorite day of the year as you reunite with your camper after a month apart!

Closing Day operates much like Opening Day in reverse. You will be assigned a pick-up window between 7:30am and 11:30 am. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the gates by Camp Staff who will explain the pick-up process and where to go from there. We are still thinking through these details, and we imagine we’ll have a better idea once we’ve lived through Opening Day. We’ll be sure to communicate clearly with you once we know the best plan of action.

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.

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