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Traditional Camp FAQ's

YMCA Camp Cheerio has prepared the following information for parents of campers so you can better understand our philosophy, organization, and procedures. We hope this FAQ page will be helpful to you as you prepare your child for a successful camping experience.

General Information

Camper Health Concerns

Preparing Your Child for Camp

Cabin Life


General Information

What is YMCA Camping?
YMCA Camping provides individuals with creative and educational experiences in democratic living groups in the out-of-doors. Through the use of natural surroundings and under Christian auspices and trained leadership, it seeks to help campers achieve their fullest potential in terms of mental development, physical well-being, social growth, and spiritual awareness.
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What is YMCA Camp Cheerio?
Camp Cheerio was founded in 1960 by the YMCA of Greater High Point. It is named in honor of Edgar Hartley, who was the beloved General Secretary of the YMCA for 32 years. He was a native of England and always used the expression "cheerio" in his departing wish to friends.
Camp Cheerio offers a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere in which a child can have fun, learn skills and make new friends. The camp accommodates 275 campers per session; campers are assigned to one of twenty-four cabins by age and grade level, with two counselors being assigned to each cabin.
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Is Camp Cheerio an accredited camp?
YMCA Camp Cheerio is accredited by the American Camping Association and is inspected and licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health.
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What is Camp Cheerio's religious emphasis?
As a branch of the Young Men's Christian Association, Camp Cheerio is committed to helping our campers grow morally and spiritually. Each day begins with a brief spiritual thought; our Vespers services are held each evening around a campfire, then afterwards each cabin holds its own private devotions prior to lights out.
Grace is sung prior to each meal.
Camp Cheerio is, by its very nature, a Christian oriented camp but does not seek to "convert" a child to a specific religion. In fact, we endeavor to attract a true cross section of life to camp - everyone is welcome without regard to race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.
Our religious emphasis revolves mostly around instilling values (such as respect, responsibility, citizenship, honesty, caring, and faith) and character development, which are enhanced by appropriate passages in the Bible.
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Where do most campers come from?
Camp Cheerio attracts campers from all over the world. Most however, come from North Carolina and surrounding states. The wide diversity of campers and staff creates an environment in which campers can make friends and learn about people from all parts of the country and world.
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Why should my child attend Cheerio?
All children can benefit from a camping experience. Besides learning new skills which are common to a typical resident camp (such as canoeing, riflery, and horseback riding), campers learn valuable life skills as well. Self-confidence, responsibility, sharing, citizenship, self-esteem, and goal-setting are just a few of the qualities we seek to instill and nurture in each camper.
With the large number of resident camps operating today, the obvious question exists. . . What makes Cheerio so special? We at Cheerio truly believe there is no other camp which offers such a comprehensive, yet well-balanced camping program. There is something at Cheerio for everyone to participate in, yet all activities are presented in an atmosphere stressing the importance of having a healthy spirit, mind, and body. Every aspect of Cheerio, whether it be program development, spiritual emphasis, camper safety, food service, or any other camp facet, is implemented with one sole purpose: to positively develop your child(ren).
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What are the drop-off and pick-up times for camp?
Drop-off is on Sunday the first day of your Session, between 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Pick-up is on Saturday, the last day of your Session, between 8:30 am and 10:00 am. For Session 5C ONLY pick-up is on Friday, the last day of the Session, between 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm.

What about transportation to camp?
Camp Cheerio only provides airport shuttles for campers, at a rate of $70 (roundtrip) or $60 (one way) per immediate family. The business office must have flight arrangements at least two weeks prior to the session enrolled, and all flights must arrive at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC (GSO) between 9:30 am and noon on opening day and closing day.
The vast majority of campers arrive via private vehicle.
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How do you get to Camp Cheerio?
Camp Cheerio is located in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, near the town of Sparta in Alleghany County. We are only an hour's drive from Winston-Salem, NC. See a map to Camp Cheerio.

Arriving from the east:
Follow I-40 West through Winston-Salem, then get on Highway 421 North. Follow 421 N until it intersects with I-77. Take I-77 North for approximately nine miles, then take exit #83 (Highway 21 North- Roaring Gap). After about two miles, you will come to a stoplight. Go straight through the stoplight; Highway 21 then becomes a two lane road. Continue on this road for another 17 miles until you come to the top of the mountain. Take a left onto Camp Butler Road, which is just past High Meadows Country Club/Restaurant (you'll see a big sign for Camp Cheerio); follow this road for 1/2 mile, then take a left at the top of the hill onto Camp Cheerio Road. This road dead-ends into camp after a mile and a half.

Arriving from the south:
Take I-77 North, then follow directions above.

Arriving from the north:
The best way to arrive is via the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is only 2 miles from Camp Cheerio. Easy access to the Parkway is available from I-77 South near Fancy Gap, VA. Get off in Roaring Gap at the Highway 21 exit. Head South on 21 for about three miles. Take a right onto Camp Butler Road, just past the Cherry Lane VFD (you'll see a big sign for Camp Cheerio); follow this road for 1/2 mile, then take a left at the top of the hill onto Camp Cheerio Road. This road dead-ends into camp after a mile and a half.
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What is the mailing address at Camp Cheerio?
Campers love mail! You can send mail to your campers at the following address:

Please be certain to include
your camper's cabin name

Camper's name
Cabin name
Camp Cheerio
1430 Camp Cheerio Road
Glade Valley, NC 28627-9731

Camper Health Concerns

Who can attend camp?
Any healthy boy or girl ages 7 - 15. In some cases, children with special medical needs, such as asthma or diabetes may attend camp. If you child has a special medical need, please call the camp office at 336-869-0195 to check on eligiblity.

How are medical needs handled at camp?
Camp Cheerio provides two to three on site nurses during each camp session. In most sessions of camp, an onsite doctor is at camp as well. If a doctor is not at camp, medical care is provided through a local family practice. Any medication brought to camp must be checked in on the first day of camp. Nurses will distribute medication at prescribed times throughout the camp session.

Preparing Your Child for Camp

How can I prevent my child from becoming homesick?
Ask any counselor worth his salt, and he'll tell you that parents make the biggest difference when it comes to preparing a child for a session of camp! We have found the best way to prevent a child from becoming homesick is to have an open dialogue with your child before he comes to camp. For instance:
Campers who want and look forward to the fun of camp will enjoy and benefit from it. Readiness depends on the individual maturity and attitude of the child. A child who is persuaded or misled will probably have a rough time of it at camp. Remember, there is a lot of difference between "getting to go to camp" and being "sent to camp".

What does your child expect from a camping experience?Are all of his expectations realistic? Children sometimes imagine camp as a place where they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Camp, they must realize, is a lot like living at home. There's lots of fun things to do (but only within certain parameters), and along with the fun comes some responsibilities (like cabin clean-up, taking turns, sharing, etc). Parents can help by discussing the new experiences that camp will involve: sleeping and eating with other kids, being in unfamiliar surroundings, and the need for give and take.

Our counselors do a lot to prevent homesickness too! Homesickness usually occurs because a child feels uncomfortable in new surroundings with lots of new faces. This is certainly understandable, and our counselors do a great job of welcoming the campers by getting to know them, their interests, and goals for the camp session. We make them feel at home by giving them a camp tour upon arrival, and allow the children to sign up for their favorite camp activities. Parents will even fill out a confidential form about their children, so the counselors can be alerted to anything that should merit special attention (such as a recent divorce, death in the family, or other unusual circumstances).
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What if my child doesn't want to go to camp?
If your child says he doesn't want to go to camp, he's trying to tell you something......
Listen to your child carefully, then ask open-ended questions to clarify your understanding. Try not to interject any of your thoughts into his answers; let him explain things in his own terms. Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a "yes" or "no". Some good questions to ask might be:
What would be different about living at camp than living at home? What would you miss most if you went to camp? What goals might you set for yourself at camp? Who might help you accomplish them? What new things could you learn at camp that you couldn't learn at home? How would you make friends in a new environment?

Parents should ask themselves similar questions. How does your child respond to change? Has he spent the night away from home before (not counting grandparents or other close relatives)? How did he fare? Are YOU ready to part from HIM? Believe it or not, we routinely treat parents who are "child-sick" (missing their children) almost as much as we work with kids who are having difficulty adjusting to camp!
As a parent, you obviously know your child best. Don't disregard your child's opinion about camp. Take everything into consideration when deciding about your child's summer-your wishes for him to learn self-confidence, new skills and independence as well as his wishes to maintain the status quo.
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How is bedwetting treated?
Bedwetting is one of the most potentially embarrassing things that can happen to someone at camp, so it is paramount that parents let us know if the condition exists. Once informed, counselors are careful to use discretion where warranted. The counselor will find some quiet time to speak with the bedwetter in private, to let him know he is aware of the condition and how they will treat it if it occurs. Generally, the child and counselor work out a "secret" signal for the morning to let the counselor know if bedwetting occurred during the night. Then, after all the other kids have trooped off to flag raising, one counselor will remain behind to remove the soiled linen and arrange to have it washed at the staff cabin. The linens are returned before the morning acitivities are over, so no one is the wiser! Of course, we also use as many preventive measures as possible - reduce liquid intake close to bedtime, and remind the child to use the bathroom before going to bed.
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Cabin Life

What are the accommodations like?
All campers in Traditional Camp are housed in modern cabins. Each cabin accommodates between 10 and 16 campers (depending on age; see related paragraph below) and two counselors. Adequate toilet, shower, and sink facilities are provided in each cabin, so there's no need to trot out to the "bath house" in time of need. Beds are bunk-style, with railings on the top bunks; you'll want to bring linens for a single bed. Most cabins are built duplex style - that is to say, two cabins are located under a common roof, with a front porch situated between the two cabins.
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How are cabin assignments made?
Cabin assignments are based on grade and age level; this way, only children of a similar age group are housed together. Camp Cheerio does not designate a particular cabin for a specific age group; instead, cabin assignments are made based on the entire population of camp once a session is fully booked. In other words, based on enrollment for a particular session, we could have one, two, or even three cabins that housed a particular age group. There is a major advantage to booking cabins this way: As a parent, you would not like your child excluded from a session because there was no more room in "the 12-year-old cabin," even though there may be empty beds elsewhere in camp!
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How many campers are assigned to each cabin?
Younger children need more attention and help when compared to older campers, so cabin size depends greatly on the age of the campers. In a typical 7, 8, or 9 year old cabin, there are 9 or 10 campers with two counselors (sometimes a counselor-in-training as well); in a typical 14 or 15 year old cabin, there are 15 or 16 campers with two counselors (and perhaps a C.I.T.). All of our camper-to-counselor ratios meet or exceed standards set by the American Camping Association.
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Can I request a cabinmate for my child?
Yes! Special requests for roommates can be made according to the following policy:

  • Potential cabinmates MUST be of the same grade and age level;
  • Only ONE cabinmate request may be made per camper;
  • The parents of the child you request MUST list your child's name as his/her cabinmate request (mutual request); AND
  • Requests must be made in writing by May 1 of the current camping year (you may list your cabinmate request on the secure online registration form or the back of the camper registration form when enrolling).

It is undesirable to put groups of friends together in a single cabin as it puts other children at a disadvantage. Parents may also advise us of children they do not wish their child to room with.
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What should my child bring to camp?
A complete list of items your child should bring to camp is located on the Parent Information sheet included with your child's application. Since campers get dirty and wet, we recommend children bring old play clothes (they can more easily recognize old clothes as their own); new clothes are best left at home. Anything brought to camp should have your child's name on it. You may sew on or iron on name tapes, or use a laundry marking pen.
Wet feet are no fun at camp - please be sure to send extra shoes and socks!
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What should not be brought to camp?
"Good clothes" and jewelry can easily get ruined or lost and should stay at home. Please do not let your campers bring expensive articles or one-of-a-kind items from home. A short list of items not allowed: firearms, knives, water guns, and electronic devices (Walkman, CD player, Game Boy, Game Gear, TV, stereos, cellular phones, or walkie-talkies, etc.). YMCA Camp Cheerio is not responsible for campers' belongings. Most campers pack their belongings in footlockers.
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