Frequently Asked Questions
How safe is it, some of the water activities look really scary?
Beach Camp's unique location allows our signature youth challenge activities to be placed over the water thus providing a safe and forgiving landing zone. In addition, we provide buoyant neoprene wetsuits and booties and bright colored rashguards which eliminates much of the risk associated with pool or lake based swim activities. Although in the short run, a safer week could no doubt be spent in coder camp or on the couch playing video games, in the long run, a week spent here overcoming challenges and perceived risks, learning water and boating safety and resourcefulness, and developing an appreciation and respect for the environment and the inherent risks in outdoor adventures, will pay safety dividends lasting a lifetime. Parents can also take comfort in another unique aspect of the Sunset Bay Wharf which is we have a full panoply of dry land activities so there is never any pressure to do anything on the water if the conditions are not optimal for the activity in question. Also, unlike most oceanfront adventure programs, we are only minutes from the entire range of medical resources Seattle has to offer.
Do Participants have to be able to swim?
Yes, but they need not be strong or accomplished swimmers. Wetsuits and lifejackets make it next to impossible to lose a swimmer, and for those who may not so far have exhibited a great interest in swimming, there is no more likely place than here to instill a love for the water. After a week at Beach Camp we frequently hear about there being no more need to force or bribe young people to attend swim lessons or swim team.
What about friends requests?
For most weeks we have a single cabin or cabana per grade group so your kids will automatically be in the same cabin group as their friends from school. In the event a second same age cabin were to be added for a particular week, we promise to pair you with your friends during the check-in process which happens at your car in the Beach Camp parking area.
We see a lot of activities on your website and videos, do the kids do them all each week?
There are over 40 scheduled activities in the Beach Camp program with kids able to do approximately half of the activities in a typical overnight camp week consisting of 2 morning and 2 afternoon cabin group activity sessions, plus individual Campers Choice activities after dinner. Beach and water activities are dependent on wind, tide levels, and water visibility which vary from day to day and week to week. For campers trying to do every Beach Camp activity in a single summer, the best strategy is to attend one odd number week and one even number week due to the tides being on an every other week cycle between daytime highs and lows. Beach Camp scheduled activities include the overwater Cliff Jump, Climbing Wall, Zipline, Blue Mats/Big and Small Green docks, Trapeze Swing, Slackline, Snorkeling, Bubbleheads, Snuba, Zodiacs, Paddelboarding, Sea Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing, Fishing, Crabbing, Intro to Sailing/Capsize drill, Sailing, Skimboarding, Beach Bikes, E-surfers, Marine Bio-Walk, Touch Tank Specimen Gathering, Sand Castle Building, Treasure Hunt, Tug-o-War competition, Ninja Gym, Climbing Gym, Onewheels, Blueroom floorhocky, Greenroom dodgeball, Skateramps, Gold Panning/Creek Walk, Beach Vollyball/Frisbee, Marine Bio Family Feud, Campfire/Smores, Bioluminescent Snorkeling, Helipad Yoga, Art Room/Friendship bracelets, Movie Room, Gong Show, Escape Room, Marine Mammals in our Backyard Presentation, and Friday Color Wars.
What if something new comes out about summer camp danger, will we be able to cancel at the last minute and get a refund?
There's nothing easy about being a parent these days and trying to identify and protect your child from real risks. Although your daily news feed can make it seem like things are getting more dicey for your child everyday. I think we all deep down realize that the opposite is in fact the case. One thing that is certain, however, is that with 8 million kids attending summer camp each year, there are 16 million or more concerned parents and grandparents supplying a ready made demand for clickbait danger stories in the run up to the summer camp season. Subjects from prior years include lice, meningitis, mold, lyme disease, forest fires, smoke from forest fires, e-coli, oil spills, sewage spills, bats, mushrooms, dehydration, chemicals in water bottles, nut contamination, flash floods, insecticides, herbicides, looking at the solar eclipse, flesh eating bacteria, sharks, sunburns, sunscreens, tsunamis, kidnapping, bullying, choking on hotdogs, mosquito borne illness, brown recluse spiders, tetanus, jellyfish, killerbees, redtide, toxic shellfish, bears, cougars, concussions, HCM heart attacks, covid infection, hypoxia from covid masks, etc... None of these risks are made up, all are within the statistical realm of possibility, but none are near the top 10 summer camp injuries, and all need to be put into perspective with respect to the actual chance of harm weighed against the benefits of the summer camp experience. It is easy to have a one in a million zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic chemicals with non-toxic alternatives. But for everything else, best protecting your child has to involve weighing the actual chance of harm against your family’s own personal view on the benefits of summer camp and its impact on childhood growth and development. We cannot make this calculous for you. But if your decision to withdraw is based on anything resembling a logical quantification of the actual risk of some newly identified hazard, we will not question your family’s entirely subjective assessment as to whether you view the benefits of summer camp as sufficient.
Are there any Day Camp programs?
As a service to the community, Beach Camp offers a subsidized Day Camp program for Minnows (Grades 2-3) and Seals (Grades 4-5) only. Day Camp is an introductory short-day program with separate Day Camp activity groups focused more on beach and dryland activities.
Where do the kids stay?
Kids stay in modern cabins and cabanas that accommodate retreat groups and Beach Camp staff in the off season. All have normal indoor plumbing and clean respectable bathrooms, so no traipsing down trails in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks.
Are there a lot of Mosquitoes, last time we stayed on the water my kids got lots of Mosquito bites?
No, we're on saltwater not a lake where Mosquitoes live! You won't even need bug repellent unless unusually sensitive to any kind of bug bite.
Is there anything expensive we need to buy?
No, we supply wetsuits and booties and colored rashguards for the week, so all you need is normal going away from home items which will be listed in your welcome pack email.
What if my child wants to be in the same cabin group as a friend?
As long as your friend is the in the same program and age group, just make sure you sign up for the same week, and we'll take care of the rest at check in.
What is your ratio of staff to participants?
Each cabin or activity group of of 10-12 campers has at lest two camp staff with them at all times.
Can you accommodate special diet requests?
Yes, we provide both vegetarian and gluten free meal options.
What time is pickup and Drop off?
Drop off is at 3pm on Sundays, and pickup is at 11 am on the following Saturday.
What if someone gets homesick?
For those thinking about a week away from home for the first time but unsure if they are completely ready, there is no better place than Beach Camp to ease kids into the sleepover experience. Kids have a keen sense for the remoteness of their location, so being close to the city makes the vibe here totally different from driving hours away and being dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Also, with our close in location it is very easy to come by for a tour in the off season, which goes a long ways toward settling young peoople's minds. With all these things going in your favor, any pangs of homesickness almost always pass quickly.
Is there a store for snacks etc.?
Yes, and you can charge up your store credit account at check-in.
How to be a Jr. instructor/CIT?
Applications are sent out in the Spring to Orcas from last season who expressed interest in the CIT program. CITs are chosen based on space available and prior experience and performance. There are 3 CIT levels, CIT 1 (camp tuition continues to apply), CIT 2 (CITs attend camp free of charge), and CIT 3 (CITs earn a stipend). New Beach Camp Orcas and Summer Law students who demonstrate special ability and maturity may also be eligible for promotion to CIT on subsequent weeks based on their interest and input from staff.