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Information for First Time Cheerio Parents

Preparing for Camp Cheerio

You've registered your child for Cheerio. Now what? The guide below will help prepare both you and your child for Camp Cheerio and give you a sense of what you have to look forward to. If you have any questions not answered below, please call the camp office at 336-869-0195 (Fall, Winter, Spring) or 336-363-2604 (Summer).

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Optional Extras

campers take pride in their cabinsOnce you have a chosen a session there are some options you may wish to add that will enhance your child's camp experience. These options can be added or changed through your online registration account at anytime up until you have paid your balance in full. Once you have paid in full you will need to contact the office to make changes. Options include:

  • Pre-Order T-Shirts:  Each summer we design a unique Cheerio shirt that is only available in advance. Purchase one with registration and we will have it waiting in your child's cabin when you arrive.
  • Trips:  Out of camp trips generally last a few hours and are led by experienced staff. We offer a canoe trip every session, as well as caving, climbing, and Carowinds trips during 2-week sessions. Click HERE for a full list and descriptions of trips.
  • Stay-over:  This option is available for campers staying at Cheerio for 2 or more consecutive sessions. In between sessions campers will be taken down the mountain to go shopping, eat dinner, and see a movie before returning to camp for the night. You may also pick up your child between sessions if you prefer.
  • Airport Transportation:  We can provide ground transportation to and/or from the airport for children flying to/from Cheerio. This option is only available from Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC, and all flights MUST arrive/depart between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM on the opening/closing day of your child's session.

Paperwork

After your registration has been confirmed there are a few standard forms that must be filled out for all campers. These forms will be mailed to you in mid-February. Campers registering after mid-February will receive these forms within 2 weeks of registration.

  • Camper Health Form:  This will provide our medical staff with your child's medical history and alert them to any potential health concerns such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc. All mediations that your child will be taking at camp INCLUDING over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements MUST be prescribed by a doctor and be listed on the health form. Our Camp Health Hut provides an extensive amount of over the counter medications. A physician MUST sign the health form, and ALL campers must have a routine physical examination within 1 calendar year of their camp session. Please bring the health form with you to camp. Do not mail it ahead of time.
  • Confidential Form:  The information on this form will be shared with your child's counselors to help them better prepare for and understand your child. It is for you to share information about your child's hobbies, life away from camp, and to alert the counselors to any issues that may arise such as bedwetting, sleepwalking, or homesickness. Please be candid, as this information helps us better care for your child.
  • Airport Transportation Form (if applicable):  If we will be picking up your child from the airport this form must be completed and returned to us at least 2 WEEKS prior to your child's session. If your child is under 12 years old you may also be required to fill out an unaccompanied minor form with the airline.

Packing for Camp

campers bring cloths in easy to store trunksAll clothes brought to camp should be comfortable, easy to move in, and ok to get dirty. Please do not bring nice or expensive clothes to camp. We recommend that campers pack in a footlocker, but a large suitcase will also work. Whatever you decide to pack in, please be sure that it is less than 16 inches tall as this will allow it to fit underneath your child's bunk and leave plenty of floor space for everyone to move inside the cabin. All items should be marked with your child's name. This will help us to return any lost and found promptly. The list below includes the minimum number of recommended items for a 1-WEEK SESSION. Please double the amount of clothing for a 2-week session. Stay-over campers will have their laundry done between sessions, but we recommend packing more than the minimum in case of any unforeseen delays. A printer friendly version of the packing list can be found Here

Traveling to Cheerio

Opening Day

The big day has arrived and it's time to head to camp! Directions to Cheerio can be found HERE. Check-in is on Sunday from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. More than likely there will be a line of cars. Rest assured that once we open the gates the line will move very quickly. You are welcome to arrive early and walk around camp, or bring a picnic to enjoy while you wait in the car line, but please do not enter the cabins until 2:00 as the counselors will be busy preparing for your arrival. Here is how the check-in process works once the gates open at 2:00:

  • Move into cabins:  Approximately one week before the start of the session you will receive a postcard with your child's cabin assignment. Go to the cabin first. Our friendly staff will be on the road to direct you to the right spot. When you arrive at the cabin you will be greeted by your child's counselors who will help you move into the cabin and show your child their assigned bed.
  • The Gym:  After getting settled in the cabin, take your child, their health form, and any medications they will be taking at camp to the gym to check-in with our medical staff. All medications, including over the counter medication, vitamins, and supplements, MUST be in their original packaging, and be prescribed by a doctor.

cabin photosOnce you have finished in the gym and returned your child to their cabin, you are free to leave. After parents leave the campers will start to make friends with their cabin mates and counselors, as well as learn camp rules and get an introduction to what their time at Cheerio will be like. Their afternoon will also include the following:

  • Swim Test:  All campers will be given a routine swim test to assess their swimming abilities and comfort level in the water. Campers who do not pass the swim test will be required to wear a life jacket in the deep end of the pool, and will be given a different colored swim band to help our lifeguards identify those swimmers that need extra attention. Failing to pass the swim test does NOT prohibit campers from participating in water activities at Cheerio.
  • Activity Sign-ups:  After they have been checked in, campers will sit down one-on-one with their counselor to choose which activities they want to do during their time at camp. From our list of offerings they will choose the 8 activities they want to do, as well as 2 alternates just in case one of their primary choices is unavailable. Every effort will be made to get campers into their top 8 activities. Our schedule rotates, so campers will participate in 4 activities on Monday and Wednesday, and the other 4 on Tuesday and Thursday (M/W/F and T/Th/S during 2-week sessions.) Once they have chosen which activities they want to do campers are assigned to specific activity periods. This lets us keep all classes to a manageable size, and allows us to know where each and every camper is at any point throughout the day. Some activities, including dance, drama, and cheerleading/tumbling, are held every day during 1 week sessions. Choosing these activities will lower the total number of activities in which a camper participates. A full list and descriptions of our activities can be found HERE.
  • Cabin Photo:  Each cabin will have a group picture taken by our camp photographer. Campers will receive a copy of their cabin picture to take home at the end of the session.

Closing Day

Check-out time for all sessions, except for for Session 1 and 5C, is Saturday morning between 8:30 and 10:00. Pickup time for Session 1 and 5C is Friday between 1:00 and 2:30. Please call the camp office if you run into traffic or other issues and will be late. Your child will be waiting for you at their cabin, so go there once you arrive at camp. Take extra care to be sure you have all of your child's belongings before you leave. The most commonly left behind items are shoes, laundry bags, and sleeping bags. Each cabin has a lost and found bucket; please check that for your child's belongings before leaving. Items left behind can be mailed back COD. If your child took medicine while at camp their counselors will have it in the cabin ready to give back to you. You will also receive your child's cabin photo, a Camper Development Form highlighting their experiences at Cheerio, and Tapestry (Instructions) to help your child document their time at camp. Be sure to sign your child out of the cabin before leaving.

A Day at Cheerio

raising the flagEach day at Cheerio is a fun filled adventure. We rise every morning at 7:30, and are back in bed with lights out each night at 10:00. The time between is packed with plenty of games and activities, as well as opportunities for personal growth and bonding with peers. Here is an in-depth look at a typical Cheerio day:

  • Flag Raising:  Everyone meets at the flagpole each morning to get the day started. Cabins take turns raising the flag and leading the rest of camp in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Morning Watch:  Cabins will take turns sharing a short story or presentation with a lesson related to one of our core values. Cheerio's values include things such as respect, honesty, faith, enthusiasm, friendship, and humility, just to name a few.
  • Breakfast.  
  • Cabin Clean-up:  Each morning everyone works together to get their cabins in tip-top shape. Campers will each make their bed, and then take turns cleaning the floors, sinks, showers, toilets, and cubbies, sweeping their porch, and picking up trash around the cabin. After activities start the cabins are inspected and graded, with scores being announced at lunch. The highest scorers earn the title Honor Cabin, while the lowest scorers are labeled Dirty Bill (for a boy's cabin) or Dirty L'il (for a girl's cabin) and playfully teased with a traditional camp song.
  • Activity Periods:  There are 4 activity periods each day: 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Campers choose their own activities, but are assigned to do them during a specific period. This lets us keep all classes to a manageable size, and allows us to know where each and every camper is at any point throughout the day. Camper's schedules alternate every other day, allowing them to take a total of 8 activities during their session. Activity periods each last 1 hour, with 15 minutes between each for campers to return to their cabin and change clothes if necessary.
  • Lunch.  
  • Rest Period:  After lunch all campers and counselors head back to their cabins to relax and recharge before the afternoon activities begin. During this quiet time campers can write letters, read, sleep, or do other quiet activities that do not disturb their resting cabin mates. Rest period is also when we distribute any letters, emails, or care packages.
  • Cabin Time:  After the 4th activity period of the day campers will rejoin their counselors and cabin mates to do one final activity as a group. Options for cabin time include the climbing towers, lake slide, hiking, canoeing, or challenging another cabin to a game of kickball, dodgeball, volleyball, or other group games.
  • Dinner.  
  • Evening Program:  Everyone in camp participates in Evening Program, and it's a great way to end the day. Many campers say that it is their favorite thing about Cheerio. Some nights evening program is a game that involves lots of running around being crazy, while other nights it's more calm with cabins presenting skits or costumed counselors hiding around camp waiting to be spotted by the watchful eye of their campers. A full list of evening programs can be found HERE.
  • Store:  At the conclusion of Evening Program cabins will all regroup in the gym and get a snack from the camp store. We're fully stocked with treats like candy, ice cream, and soda, as well as healthier options such as fresh fruit, pretzels, and water. Campers are limited to two items. This is a great time for campers to get together with their cabin mates and unwind at the end of the day. All snacks at the camp store are included in the camp fee.
  • Vespers:  Much like Morning Watch, cabins will take turns presenting Vespers each night. It will be another story or moral lesson to calm everyone down and give them something to reflect on as they head back to their cabins.
  • Cabin Devotions:  After showering and brushing their teeth, campers will all sit down with their counselor for devotions. As a group they will debrief the day, share stories of their experiences, or talk more about some of the values that we hope to instill in all Cheerio campers. For many younger cabins devotions is a simple bedtime story with a lesson behind it, while for the older campers it is a great bonding experience with their new friends and a chance for personal growth.

Special Events at Cheerio

  • making friends at campClosing Ceremony:  The final night of each session is marked by our closing ceremony. Everyone gathers at the lake where our senior counselors speak about the values that we strive to live by at Cheerio. We also use the ceremony to recognize all of our first-time campers, any campers who are aging out and will be too old to return the following summer, everyone who joined the Milestone Club that week, and an honor camper from each cabin who the counselors feel was a great role model for their peers. Following the ceremony we gather in the gym where everyone enjoys a slideshow with highlights of the week, and then takes a few minutes to say goodbye to their friends from other cabins. Slideshows are posted on YouTube after each session for campers and parents to enjoy later. Click HERE to check out some from previous summers. Many of our campers choose to dress up for the final night festivities. This is strictly optional, but you may want to consider packing one nice outfit.
  • Milestone Club:  At Cheerio we have a special club open to anyone who has attended Cheerio for at least 5 summers. One night each session new members are inducted into the club in a secret ceremony.
  • July 4th:  We have a big Independence Day Celebration at Cheerio complete with barbeque, parade, skits, and of course a professional fireworks display. Many campers will bring patriotic clothes or party supplies such as noisemakers, party hats, or glow sticks to mark the occasion. These items are optional.
  • Tillies:  Held only during the 2-week girls session, TILLIES is similar to "secret santa." Everyone will anonymously exchange gifts throughout the first week of camp. Campers attending the 4G session will need to bring 5 small and 1 larger gift. Small gifts should cost only $1-2, with the larger gift being around $10. For TILLIES, gifts are typically things like candy, small toys, card games, face paint, or make-up- basically the types of things you would put in a care package to send your own child.
  • 2C Dance:  One of the evening programs during the 2-week coed session (2C) is a dance, complete with lights, decorations, snacks, hayrides, and a DJ. Some campers may wish to bring a nicer outfit for that night. This is optional. We also have a movie playing in a separate building for any campers who don't wish to dance.

How Cheerio Cares for Your Child

  • Meals:  All meals at Cheerio are served family style, and campers sit with their counselors and cabinmates at tables assigned to their cabin. During their session campers will take a turn to be KP and arrive at the dining hall early to set their cabin's tables. All of our meals are kid friendly, but alternatives like cereal or peanut butter and jelly are always available for picky eaters. Our kitchen is well prepared to accommodate campers with special diets or food allergies. Vegetarian and gluten/dairy free options are readily available, and every effort is made to satisfy other dietary restrictions as needed. Fresh fruit and water are always available between meals should campers get hungry during the day. If your child has any special dietary needs or restrictions that the kitchen staff should know about in advance, please contact Martyn Armstrong in the camp office: 336-869-0195.
  • Homesickness:  It is not uncommon for younger or first time campers to experience minor homesickness during their first night at camp. Our counselors are trained to handle this, and are very good at re-focusing camper's energy into all the fun and exciting things going on at camp. With that guidance many campers are over their homesickness by the end of the first day, and by the end of the week don't want to go home! In those few cases where that isn't enough, campers will receive personalized attention from our head counselors or other leadership staff members. If homesickness is causing a child to refuse to participate in activities, disrupt cabin life, or otherwise negatively impact the experience of other campers we will call you to discuss the situation. We hope to help campers through any homesickness, and we will make every effort to do so. Over the years, very few children have gone home due to homesickness.
  • Medical Needs:  Each week we have 3 nurses and 1 doctor who live on site and provide medical care for our campers and counselors. One of the main roles of our nurses is to dispense the medications campers bring with them to camp. Medications are turned in to the medical staff during check-in and given out at scheduled times throughout each day. At the end of each meal, and after store each night we ring a bell to signal that it's time for medicine. Any camper scheduled to take medicine at that time will go meet our nurses to receive their medication. We take every precaution to avoid sickness and injuries at Cheerio, but our health center is always available for anyone who is hurt or feeling under the weather. The medical staff have at their disposal all of the first-aid supplies and over the counter medications necessary to treat cuts, scrapes, bee stings, splinters, headaches, coughs, stomach aches, or whatever else comes their way. In the event that more serious injuries occur, we are only 30 minutes away from Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. We Will ALWAYS notify you by phone call if your child:
    • spends the night in the health center for any reason
    • is running a fever of 101 degrees or higher
    • is taken off site to receive medical treatment
    • will be started on prescription medication
    The decision of whether or not to call parents about minor bumps and bruises is made on a case-by-case basis by the medical staff in conjunction with camp directors.

Keeping up with Campers

making friends at campAlthough direct contact with campers at Cheerio isn't possible, there are several ways you can keep up with all the fun happening at camp.

  • Parent's Website:  We have a secure section of our website just for parents and family members. Once logged in you can send campers email, read up on current camp news, and see photos of campers in action. Emails to campers are printed out each day and distributed at rest period. The email system is one-way and does not allow campers the chance to send email back. News and photos are updated daily. Our camp photographer works very hard to get photos of as many different campers as possible, but we cannot guarantee that all campers will be pictured online everyday. Stop by the information table in the gym on opening day to get the username and password.
  • Mail/Care Packages:  Some camps don't allow care packages, but at Cheerio we love them! Our only request is that if you're sending food or candy be sure to include enough so that your child can share with their friends. When possible letters and packages are given out at rest period, but on days that they are delivered to camp later than that they are given out at the earliest opportunity.

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  • Please address letters and packages to:
    Camper's Name
    Camper's Cabin
    1430 Camp Cheerio Rd
    Glade Valley, NC 28627
    All packages MUST be mailed to camp; they CANNOT be dropped off on opening day.
  • Phone calls:  We do not allow campers to use phones at camp, but you are more than welcome to call the office (336-363-2604) anytime during their stay to check on them. Because our counselors stay busy teaching activities during the day it may take a little while to track down information on a specific camper. We will do our best to get you an update as quickly as possible.
  • Facebook:  Here you will find highlights of each day, as well as updates on special things happening at camp. Be sure to LIKE our page to keep up with Cheerio yearround!

Cheerio's Leadership Team

Each summer Camp Cheerio employs over 140 counselors and support staff who are led by 6 full-time directors. Michaux, Michelle, Jamie, Martyn, Mitchell and Kate have over 100 years of combined camping experience at Cheerio. On opening days in the summer you will see them either in the gym or out and about camp ensuring that check-in goes smoothly for everyone. During the summer, please call our camp office at 336-363-2604 if you have any concerns. During the off-season they can be contacted in the High Point office (336-869-0195) to answer any questions you have about your child's upcoming camp experience. Click HERE to learn more about each of them.

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