Parents' FAQ

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About HoneyRock

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What makes HoneyRock different from other camps?

HoneyRock exists to build Christ's church by developing whole and effective people through transformational outdoor experiences. At HoneyRock, people often grow at an accelerated pace through our experiential learning model and a high level of personal engagement. Through service and discipleship, participants learn to focus on others and not just themselves. HoneyRock is a special place where relationships with God and others grow deeper in an environment free of distractions. HoneyRock is a community that is authentic and supportive, where programs are focused on the development of the whole person. 

Our distinctive impact is summed up in these characteristics: 

  1. A Powerful Learning Environment – This is articulated and embodied in our core values. HoneyRock specializes in temporary community and outdoor context for challenge and connection. 
  2. An Engaging Learning Process – Deep thinking is pressed into practice throughout our camper and student programs. Learning at HoneyRock is experiential and goes through a cycle of truth, experience and reflection. 
  3. Facilitated Holistic Discipleship – On-going discipleship is characterized by challenge, support, and vision. This is exemplified in our 1:1s, our small groups, and personal development plans. 
  4. Leadership Development Progression – Multi-level experiences that challenge participants to the next level of maturity (spiritually, relationally, etc.) Our programs for campers and students follow a progression of Introduction > Immersion > Leading > Replicating.
  5. Global Impact and Respect – HoneyRock is known world-wide as a leader in leadership development in and through camp ministry. 

Read more about our core values and our desired outcomes for every participant. 

Second, our true emphasis is placed on the individual camper and his/her growth in a small group setting. HoneyRock is a decentralized camp and we do almost all of our Bible teaching and activity instruction in small groups. We neither hire a speaker nor do all our teaching in large meetings. We feel campers learn and grow the most in a small group, like a family, where they can receive maximum attention from their counselors, feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts, and be more willing to try new things. Also, we do not serve large groups in the summer. Our mission is to reach every camper and connect with him or her in a real way, providing a unique experience away from home. 

Third, our staff is truly amazing. We have solid Christian leaders with years of professional experience and academic training guiding this ministry. We hire gifted and passionate counselors (most of them from Wheaton College) who have a heart for ministry and deep love for the Lord. After an extensive application process, all counselors go through four weeks of intense training led by HoneyRock’s full-time professional staff and a variety of college professors who are experts in child development and working with young people. Our training model is the best possible preparation for students to become excellent residential camp counselors. During this training period, which is much longer than industry norms, counselors take academic classes related to camp ministry, learn wilderness trip skills, become Red Cross certified in First Aid, CPR and water safety, and learn how to create Bible studies and devotional times applicable to young people. The strength of our camp comes from God being placed first in all that we do, a strong sense of tradition, a mindset focused on safety, and the development of an unbelievably fun environment. Camp is focused on individual attention and building one-on-one relationships. We pull these components together to deliver a camp experience unlike any other. 

Finally, one of the things that makes HoneyRock truly unique is the fact we are owned by a Christian liberal arts college. Wheaton College, one of the leading Christian liberal arts colleges in the country, has owned and operated HoneyRock since 1951. Being a camp that is also a college is unparalleled in Christian camping and offers many great benefits to our campers: Counselors and group leaders are high-quality, Christian college students passionate about working with young people. College professors who teach at HoneyRock each summer assess programs and guide staff in areas of psychology, Christian education, physical education, and Bible and Theology. The professional staff of Wheaton College also coordinates HoneyRock’s health services, risk management, legal, financial, and human resource departments. 

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Is camp safe for my child? 

Yes! We invite you to read more about safety at HoneyRock

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Do you have a doctor or nurse on staff? 

Each summer we hire a full-time certified nurse (R.N.) and a nurse assistant. There is also a doctor on-site at camp all summer long to care for campers. The closest hospital is only 20 minutes away. Additionally, our Adventure Ministry Program Manager is a licensed EMT and lives at camp. 

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Will I be notified if my child gets sick or hurt?

If your child has a minor injury or comes down with a minor illness, we will not notify you. If your child is sick or hurt and needs to see a doctor, go to the hospital, or begin taking a prescription, we will notify you immediately.

If your child is homesick, we generally do not call home unless our typical strategies have not worked for a few days. Often, calling home makes it worse for the camper. 

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What if my child has medications they need to bring to camp?

Your child should plan to stay on his/her prescription medication while at camp. Campers should bring their medications with them when they come to bus check-in or when they are dropped off here at HoneyRock. Medications will be taken and stored by our nursing staff. State laws do not allow campers to have medications or to medicate themselves while at camp. Your child will receive their medication from our nurses, typically at meal times. The nursing staff will follow the specific guidelines on the prescription. We assure you that all medications are kept confidential and campers are never singled out or embarrassed about taking medications. During a wilderness trip counselors or trip leaders will dispense the medications. 

To significantly expedite your bus check-in process, you can have your medical provider fill out the Prescription Medication Form ahead of time. This form is available for download within the Information Packet PDF

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My child has food allergies and needs a special diet. Can camp accommodate this?

Yes. Our Food Service Manager can meet virtually any dietary need as long as advanced notice is given. Please give specifics about allergies or dietary needs on your camper’s health form (part of the online registration process). If you would like to speak directly with our food service manager, we can arrange that as well.

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Can we visit our child during camp?

The day before the end of each camp session we have a Family Day when families can come and visit their child at camp. Parents of campers in Service Team and Assistant Counselors can visit their child during any of the Family Days.

We do not allow visits during normal camp time. This is disruptive to our staff, other campers, and the camp program in general. This includes parents who are renting cabins at HoneyRock while their child is in camp.

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Can we talk to our child on the phone while they are at camp?

It is important for your child to fully engage in his/her HoneyRock experience, which means allowing him/her to put some distance between you. Campers that are dependent on calling their parents while at camp are unable to participate in the full HoneyRock experience because they are more focused on what is going on at home than on what they are actually experiencing while at camp. For this reason we do not allow campers to have cell phones.

Campers in all programs (except Service Team and Assistant Counselors) are not allowed time on the phone to make or receive calls. If you wish to communicate with your child, the best way to do so is by writing letters or by sending one-way emails that are available for purchase on the registration portal. We encourage campers to write letters home, and we give them time to write letters. 

If there is an emergency and you need to get in touch with your child, please call 715-479-7474 and the receptionist can help you. If you call after business hours a detailed message will instruct you on how to reach someone. 

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What if my child gets homesick? How can I prepare my child for camp? 

Each summer there are campers who have not been away from home very much and they become homesick. This is totally normal and our staff is trained to identify homesickness and deal with it in a positive way. 

We find that the best way to prevent homesickness is to help prepare your child for camp. Begin by praying with and for your child about his/her camp experience, being sure to include his/her counselors or trip leaders. Set goals for camp with your child such as: make a new friend, achieve a certain activity award, become a Solid Rock Club member, etc. Let your child know how excited you are that s/he is going to have this experience at camp. It is okay for your child to know that you will miss him or her, but be sure to communicate your excitement for your child. Explain what they will be doing, where they will sleep, how the bathrooms work, what is different, what is fun, etc. Also, we encourage campers to spend a night or two (or more) at a friend’s house, or Grandma and Grandpa’s house (without mom or dad) before coming to camp. If a child’s first night away from mom and dad happens at camp, then homesickness is more likely to occur. 

Read more about camp preparation on our Preparing for Camp page. 

That being said, if a child becomes homesick, our staff is highly trained to deal with it effectively. We make sure that homesick campers fully engage in activities. We encourage other campers to befriend them more. Our counselors spend extra time with them. 

In our 60+ years of experience we have found that letting a child call home when they are homesick does not alleviate homesickness, and in fact it really makes things worse. Calling home is a last resort and it typically results in a child requesting to come home and mom or dad picking them up from camp the next morning. 

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What is your staff to camper ratio?

Our typical ratio is 2:8. Occasionally, it is slightly more or slightly less.

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Where will my child sleep and what are the bathrooms like? 

If your child is part of an in-camp program like Residential Camp, Advance Camp, and Assistant Counselors they will stay in a rustic-style log cabin that has electricity (the Village Cabins). Cabins do not have running water or their own bathrooms; instead, we use a centralized bathhouse or, as they are called here at camp, a BIF (Bathroom in the Forest). Each BIF has 10-12 private showers and 10-12 private toilets, sinks, and mirrors. The water is heated as well. Both the girls' and boys' BIFs were newly renovated the summer of 2012.

Service Team stays in dormitory-style rooms with attached bathrooms. 

2:22 participants stay in large canvas tents on wooden platforms while at camp and in camping tents on tarps while on wilderness trips. They are trained to use the outdoors as a restroom in a way that is safe, clean and has a minimal impact on the environment while on wilderness trips, and will share a BIF with Advance Camp while at camp.

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Occasionally, my child wets the bed. Are you able to handle that?

Bedwetting is a fairly common problem at camp, especially for boys. Counselors are trained in how to deal with this issue and keep it private. We encourage you to discuss this issue with your child before he/she comes to camp so that you can let your child know the importance of telling their counselors immediately if they have an accident. 

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How much time do boys and girls spend together at camp?

HoneyRock is a co-ed camp, but the majority of our programming is separated by gender. Obviously, boys and girls are housed separately and have separate bathrooms. Boys and girls will be together at meals and at some activity times. Bible teaching, campouts, and small group activities are all done separately. We don’t have any boy-girl dance nights or formal banquets at HoneyRock.

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I registered online. Can I get back into my account to make changes?

Yes. Though online registration is complete only when payment is made at the end of the online registration process, you can log back into your account at any time to review your registration and to make changes. To make any changes on a completed online registration you must call our Registration Coordinator at 715-479-7474 x301.

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Why is it free to take the bus to camp but $75 to come home?

We know that it is difficult for many families to make a trip to HoneyRock due to finances and time constraints. Therefore, we pay for the trip to HoneyRock for campers who live in or near areas that draw the most campers. 

We believe that Family Day is one of the most important parts of your child’s experience at camp, so we strongly encourage parents to come. We charge $75 for the bus trip home to motivate parents to come to Family Day and pick up their child. The fee of $75 is the real cost HoneyRock pays per camper to bus them home. 

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What activities are available for my child and how does he/she sign up for them?

Once at camp, participants in our in-camp programs can sign up for the following activities: Archery, Riflery, Canoeing, Sailing, Kayaking, Swimming, Wilderness Skills, Crafts, Mountain Biking, and Climbing. 

Horsemanship, Ceramics and Waterskiing are also available for an extra fee if you select it during registration prior to your child’s arrival at camp. Please choose only one of these activities. 

Cabin groups also participate in various activities together. They may go on a horseback ride, go waterskiing, or spend some time on a low-ropes challenge course. 

Participants in wilderness trips may utilize the high and low ropes courses, or go sea kayaking, rock climbing, rafting, canoeing, or backpacking. 

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Can you explain the activity area progression and awards system?

All of the activity areas have skill achievement levels. This helps campers set goals and develop the discipline of working toward reaching them. It also helps campers develop specific skill abilities that will hopefully last a lifetime. Below is the general philosophical make-up of each achievement level. The campers can potentially, with hard work and diligence, achieve the basic and intermediate levels in one camp session. To complete intermediate and masters level will most likely require them to return the following summer. On Family Day, we have an awards ceremony to honor campers who have achieved basic, intermediate, and masters levels in activity areas. 

Basic: 

  • Introduction to the foundational skills of the activity 
  • Basic knowledge and nomenclature
  • Safety principles and procedures 
  • Time needed to achieve: 2-3 activity periods 
  • Any instructor can pass the camper on this level
  • Camper receives a certificate at the awards ceremony and a “B” – Basic sticker 

Intermediate: 

  • Shows strong proficiency in the activity 
  • Tests for solid understanding and ability of the activity including mechanics, techniques, and general maintenance of equipment 
  • Time needed to achieve: 4-7 activity periods 
  • Activity area supervisor must pass the camper on this level 
  • Camper receives a certificate at the awards ceremony and an “I” – Intermediate sticker 

Masters: 

  • Expert in ability—reaching highest level of skill demonstration 
  • Ability to repair common problems with equipment 
  • Ability to teach another in basic level skills 
  • In tripping-related areas, a 3-5 day trip using this skill is required 
  • Time needed to achieve: 5-10 activity periods 
  • Activity area supervisor must pass the camper on this level with comprehensive test coming from the SLS director 
  • Camper receives a wood-burned plaque, or similarly significant award, name is mounted in activity area, and an “M” – Masters sticker is given at the awards ceremony.

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Is your camp certified?

HoneyRock is registered with the state of Wisconsin and passes inspection each year in order to operate. HoneyRock is also a member of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. Although not a member, HoneyRock meets or exceeds most of the guidelines set by the American Camp Association.

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What denomination is HoneyRock?

HoneyRock is not part of one church denomination. Wheaton College, the organization that owns and operates HoneyRock, is a non-denominational, evangelical Christian organization. For further reading: Wheaton College's Statement of Faith

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My child is Catholic; will s/he be able to go to mass?

Each Sunday, we hold a worship service at HoneyRock for campers, students, and staff. This service is Christian and evangelical, but is non-denominational and ecumenical in the songs, activities, teaching, and prayers. 

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What is Family Day and how can I make it a great experience?
Is there anything that I shouldn’t bring or do at Family Day?

Family Day is the best way to maximize your investment in HoneyRock. It will allow you to experience firsthand what your child has been experiencing while at camp. It is also a great opportunity to connect with other HoneyRock families and make new friends! Visit our Family Day page for more details. 

  • Please do NOT bring your dog to Family Day. We do not allow dogs at HoneyRock, and we ask you to respect that policy. 
  • HoneyRock is a place apart and we ask people not to use their cell phones in the main areas of camp. While we understand that your work may require you to be accessible by cell phone, please take advantage of this opportunity to unplug a little and fully engage in the HoneyRock experience. You will miss out if you spend the day on your cell phone.

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Is there a dress code at HoneyRock?

At HoneyRock, we believe that it is important to represent ourselves in a way that honors Christ. Our staff adheres to a modest dress code in order to set an example for our campers. We do not permit female staff or campers to wear spaghetti-strap tank tops, mini-skirts, or short shorts. (Shorts should not have less than a 3-inch inseam, and should be around fingertip level when a camper is standing.) We also do not allow female staff or campers to wear two-piece swimsuits that expose the midriff. At no time should undergarments of male or female staff or campers be showing, and we ask that staff and campers not wear t-shirts with inappropriate slogans or innuendo.

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What is HoneyRock's protocol for dealing with outbreaks such as Swine Flu?

As you may know, HoneyRock is owned and operated by Wheaton College. Our Health Center and Risk Management procedures are all guided by Wheaton College. Visit the College's Student Health Services.

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