Opening & Closing Days

Opening and Closing Days are big days at Camp!

Both are exciting days at Camp, and both require some logistical planning. Read on to find out more about what to expect.

Opening Day

Opening Day is our favorite day of the year, and we love welcoming campers and their families to DeSoto!

The gates will open at 8:00 am on Opening Day (Camp operates on Central Time), and camper drop-off is from 8 - 10 am. We hope you’ll take some time to tour Camp, get to know her counselors, and meet the Directors after you get your camper settled. in. We will ask all parents to leave by 10:15 am when the bell rings for our first Assembly.


You will be welcomed by Camp DeSoto Staff just inside the gates. They will be able to tell you just where to go and what to do next.

You’ll be directed to a specific drop-off location for your camper’s trunk and other belongings. At that point your camper may want to get out of the car and explore her cabin area, greet friends, get her Health Check, and wait nervously for her Cabin assignment! After you drop off her luggage, you’ll be directed to designated parking areas nearby.

Cabin Assignments

Cabin Assignments will be given out when the bell rings at 8:30 am. Your camper will want to gather with the other girls near the Head Counselor’s Cabin - either the Belfry on Hut Row or the Green Mansions in the Enchanted Forest. Several Staff members will emerge from the Head Counselor’s cabin with Cabin lists, and as soon as the bell rings they’ll begin telling girls what cabin they are in. (It’s a good idea for your camper to have a pillow or some small item in her hands so she can run straight to her new cabin to claim the bed she wants!)

Once your daughter finds out her assigned cabin, you can begin delivering her trunk and other items from the drop-off area to her cabin. There will be several strong guys in staff shirts all throughout the cabin area to help you with heavy trunks! Just flag one of them down when you’re ready to move in.

If you arrive after 8:30 am, Camp Staff will greet you just inside the Camp gates with your daughter’s cabin assignment and directions to her cabin. Your daughter’s counselor will be in the cabin waiting to meet you, welcome your daughter, and help her begin feeling safe and comfortable at Camp.

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Health Checks

Every camper needs to complete a health check before her parents leave. A good time for her to do this is after you have unloaded your car, while you wait for cabin assignments to be announced. She can also get checked after she has claimed a bed but before she has moved completley into her cabin.

Your camper just needs to find the Health Check station in her cabin area to have her temperature taken and her head checked for lice. We are very conscientious about this on Opening Day in order to make sure everyone is healthy and ready for community living. If your camper has been sick recently, please let the medical staff know.

Parents should stop by the Health Center to drop off any and all camper medicines with the Camp doctor and nurses.

Campers who fly to Camp will go to the Health Center right when they arrive to get a health check. They they will be given their cabin assignments. Camp staff will help them move all of their luggage in, including any items that were shipped to Camp.

We know that Health Checks are not the most fun part of Opening Day. But they are 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!

What if my camper has lice?

If a camper is suspected to have lice or nits, she will be asked to go to the Health Center for a second check by the Camp Doctor. If the doctor confirms it, you will need to take her out of Camp to be treated and have all the nits removed from her hair before she can move into her cabin.

Of course, the best course of action is to be sure your child is lice-free before you arrive at Camp! If you are concerned about this or if your child has recently had lice, we recommend The Lice Place in Birmingham - their staff will provide a lice check and, if necessary, thorough treatment before you come to Camp.

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Meet the Directors

We - Phil, Marsha, and Sarah - will be on the lawn of the Gym to greet parents, meet new campers, and generally welcome you to Camp! We’ll be serving ice water and thumbprint cookies - a Camp tradition - and we would love to meet you.

Camp is our home, and it is our deepest joy to welcome you, and especially your daughter, to this place we love. We want the opportunity to address any concern you might have, from separation jitters to cabin issues, and we hope you’ll come say hello!

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. We ask that parents arrive at Camp no earlier than 7:45 am (Central Time) so that we can share our last Morning Watch and Breakfast together as a Camp family. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the gates by Camp Staff, and they will direct you to the appropriate place to park.

After you park, you may go directly to your daughter’s cabin and begin loading up her belongings, or many parents like to wait outside the Dining Hall to listen to the girls sing at the end of our breakfast meal. Shortly after 8:00, girls will be dismissed from the Dining Hall to greet their parents!

All campers should be picked up between 8:00 and 10:00 am Central Time.

Campers who are flying home will be taken to the Birmingham 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.

An Important Note About Traffic Flow

Please remember that Camp was not built for this many cars, most especially large SUVs, so we have to be creative. We have done our best to design an efficient traffic flow, and there will be plenty of Camp Staff in green t-shirts to direct traffic and help you know where to go next.

We do ask that any time you get out of your car, you leave it unlocked with the keys in it. In the event of a traffic jam, we’ll be able to carefully move your car out of the way in order to let other vehicles pass.

Thanks for your patience as we try to get 200 family vehicles in and out smoothly!

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