Residential Camp Life, and Becoming a Camper

There are a few ways people come to Camp, and ‘pay’ their tuition. Some you’re probably familiar with, some may be new concepts to you. Hopefully, at least one is an ‘option’ for you.

Full-Paid Camper: Tuition paid in full for the duration, by scholarship and/or cash, tuition is ‘covered.’ These Campers are at least six, the minimum allowed age for acceptance without a guardian.

Partial-Paid Camper: Tuition paid in part, by scholarship and/or cash, tuition is supplemented with work assignments for the remainder. These Campers are at least 14 (able to ‘work’ in Texas, but are not Staff members.)

Work-Stay Camper: Tuition/’Rent’ is paid entirely through work assignments for the duration without cash or scholarship supplement. These Campers are at least 14 (able to ‘work’ in Texas, but are not Staff members.) In some instances, Work-Stay Campers may accrue enough hours to be paid in cash upon leaving.

Full-Time Staff: Living and working on the grounds for an entire season at a time, around the clock. These Campers are over 18 (able to sign contracts for the season.) There are likely no more than a few dozen Staff members at any given time.

Campers with Guardians: Work-Stay Campers with children of any age can also work for their child’s stay, if their child is under 14 and/or not able to ‘work-stay’ themselves.

Example work assignment placements:

In this example chart, the time is given across the top in 24hr numerals, with the right side of the column being the numbered hour (the left-furthest column is the hour from 2 to 3am.) Dotted blue bars represent ‘shifts,’ which may overlap. This is just a sample, not a set-in-stone reference sheet.

Certain work assignments are part of continuous monitoring of a placement, like the Front Post (entrance and exit to the grounds) or the Infirmary. There are some areas that are not continually monitored, but do require a work detail to clean them regularly, like the Main Gym or Rec House. Some areas require continuous monitoring, but only while they’re open, which is not around the clock.

These work assignments require various levels of physical mobility, and have varying degrees of difficulty to accommodate diverse needs for Staff and working Campers. They also have varying levels of ‘pay,’ accordingly. Because working on-Camp is a particularly strenuous and stressful job, Staff and working Campers should not exceed five hours of work assignment per day, up to 35 hours per week. Staff members, who are considered always ‘on the clock,’ will not have more than seven hours of specific work detail more than five days out of the week (up to 35 hours in a position like lifeguarding or providing healthcare) to prevent burn-out.

Themed Program Weeks

Sunday-Saturday, not available for work supplement except for the children of Work-Stay Guardians.
Pre-set schedule for a pre-determined number of Campers who register specifically to attend this planned program. Campers are grouped, housed, and guided for the program they have come to participate in, and don’t have the same flexibility as other Campers, but do have ‘priority access’ to program areas (pool, gym, barn) during hours reserved for their program.

The independent nature of COH requires that Campers are not under constant ‘supervision’ doing scheduled ‘activities,’ and have ample ‘flexible’ time they control. Weekly, Campers should work with a guardian and/or staff member to build a basic ‘schedule,’ outlining what they’d like to do or accomplish that week, including any work assignments needed to cover tuition. While all program areas (pool has lifeguards, lab as technician, rec house has ref) have some degree of monitoring, they aren’t ‘guided’ areas — A Staff member or working Camper isn’t necessarily going to ‘lead’ them in a group activity as a ‘class,’ the way a teacher would. Campers are expected to bring themselves through their days relatively independently with minimal herding and prodding by Staff and working Campers, unless they are registered for a specific themed program week.

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