Have you ever thought about sending your child off to camp in the summer? This weekend I had a chance to check out Camp Ernst during their Summer Camp Open House. Having never attended camp as a child, I was eager to see what the experience would be like and see if it was something I wanted to offer my children.
We started off at Lakeview Lodge, where we signed in and were given a quick overview of the day’s activities. While we were there, we were told that Lakeview Lodge is where campers ages 6-9 stay. Hearing that we had a child in that age range, a volunteer named Michael took us around the Lodge so we could get a feel for it. He first showed us the sleeping quarters (10-12 campers per room; 1 room for boys, 1 for girls) and then took us into the dining area where we had a chance to sample the food that the campers would enjoy. We were pleasantly surprised by the food. It was a cheese tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce, and it was really good (my 7yr old had seconds…shhhhhh.). They also had signs posted with details of typical meals. Some of the meals it listed included waffles & pancakes, salad, pasta dishes, peanut butter & jelly, and various fruits.
From Lakeview Lodge we headed out towards the ropes course where they were letting potential campers get a taste of what they’d experience. At the site campers where being put in rappelling gear and then jumping off a platform. My son opted to pass this time, and after watching for a while we headed down the path to check out additional lodging areas (broken out by age and gender). From there we headed over to a fire pit area were we were able to talk more with camp volunteers while the boys made s’more’s and drank “bug” juice.
Wrapping up the day, we grabbed a ride on a tractor that took us back up to our car. During the ride we had more time to chat with volunteers about Camp Ernst.
Overall I think what impressed me the most (outside of the activities and camp as a whole) was how much the volunteers (all current or former campers) loved Camp Ernst. Time and time again we heard them saying how much the camp experience had impacted their lives, how much they’d learned about themselves and life, how the friendships they’d made during camp lasted much longer than the week they spent together. It wasn’t just camp, and according to one volunteer, “Every year it’s the highlight of my summer. This year I am working 5 weeks and I can’t wait.”
Most of the campers we spoke with had attended Camp Ernst as a camper or leader at least 4 years and one volunteer was heading into her 9th year (she’d started at age 6). To me, this spoke volumes about the camp.
Here’s a look at what a week at Camp Ernst looks like (from the Camp Ernst Web site):
*The following is a sample camp schedule. Times and days may vary slightly by unit.
• Registration and Drop Off at the cabin (Last names beginning with M – Z from 3 pm – 3:30 pm. Last names beginning with A – L from 3:30 pm – 4 pm)
• Orientation with counselors, lifeguards and unit leaders
• Opening Campfire (Skits and Songs)
• Spirit, Mind and Body Ceremony (Candlelight intro to Camp Ernst
Monday through Thursday
• Cabin Clean-up
• Chapel (Non-denominational with a simple, moral message)
• Camp Activities such as archery, boating, waterslide, banana boat, swimming, nature, Fine Arts, etc.
• More camp activities such as Zipline, Giant Swing, Burma Bridge, Climbing Wall, Challenge Course, Crafts, Games, BBs, Gaga, etc.
• Choice Activities (such as basketball tournament, horseback riding, creek hikes, karaoke, etc.)
• Evening Program (such as Capture the Flag, Carnival, Scavenger Hunt, etc.)
• Ranch Camp Rodeo
• Swim Meet
• Track Meet
• Cabin Awards
• Unit Awards
• Closing Campfire (Songs, Memories, Slideshow, Awards)
• Check Out and Pick up at the cabin from 9 am – 9:30 am
For those of you who are not sure if your camper-to-be could do a full week away Camp Ernst is currently accepting enrollment for a 2 night, 3 day weekend camp April 16-18. This is a great way to let them check out the camp experience before committing to a whole week. Additionally, Camp Ernst offers two weekend family camps, one over Memorial Day weekend and one over Labor Day weekend.
7615 Camp Ernst Rd.
Burlington, KY 41005