Summer Communication

Part of a camper’s success at camp is our ability to free them from the burdens, distractions, and limitations of the real world throughout the year. Chestnut Lake Camp is a self-contained environment within which campers can feel safe, connected, happy, and independent. An aspect of that independence is allowing campers to work through the ups and downs of their days and nights at camp while relying on their counselors, other staff, friends, camp support system, and themselves in the absence of the regular involvement of their parents. This is one of the things that makes a sleepaway camp experience so different and also one of the most valuable dimensions of their weeks away from home. Is it hard for the kids? Not so much. In fact, the pace and highlights of a camp day combined with a child’s development of self-confidence and responsibility make the disconnection from home a meaningful part of the summer. Is it hard for the parents? Yes, sometimes it is! 

It is our job at camp to help parents work through and adjust to the lack of regular connections with their children through ongoing and effective communication. We see great value in giving parents a peek into their children’s experiences at camp to understand the value of camp while we also act as a conduit for parents that need to be engaged in supporting their child’s life at Chestnut Lake. In the first summer for a child at camp, this is often more important than in subsequent years. Over time, parents (and campers) quickly adjust and are left to enjoy their independence more and more. It is a high priority for the Chestnut Lake leaders and staff to provide great communication throughout the summer and we are pleased to share some of the keys to success.


  • Consider the best way to reach out to us in the summer, just as we try to choose the best means of communication with you. Review the resources and direction we have provided, and let us guide you to connect to the right person if you are not 100% sure of who to email or call. You will have specific suggestions sent to you in advance of the summer for outreach contacts, but you can always email us at or call our switchboard in the Main Office during the summer at 570-729-1010.
  • Every interaction makes an impression, and we appreciate that communication informs a parent’s sense of confidence in Chestnut Lake. Because of this, we see every communication touchpoint as important.
  • Live conversations are better than emails when it comes to more complex or sensitive issues. Emails can be effective and are best for basics and quick questions/responses, but we will encourage live chats whenever possible.
  • When our leaders and staff share information with parents more personally, we will always try to be straightforward. Transparency is a hallmark of our communications, but we also value confidentiality and discretion. 
  • We like to be fully present when connecting with parents. Sometimes this may delay responding to an email or call until our team has a chance to step away from the action of camp’s daily routine. Our leaders and staff are at camp to be with the campers and engaged in programs, so please understand if it takes up to 24 hours to respond to a non-emergency request or message.
  • We are prepared to receive communications 24 hours, 7 days a week in the summer. Our Main Office hours (listed below) will give parents a chance to speak with a member of our team throughout the day, but we have voicemail boxes and an emergency line to make sure we can be reached for important questions around the clock even after the office is closed or our lines or staff are busy. Our switchboard in the Main Office can be reached at 570-729-1010.


Our staff will be answering calls at 570-729-1010 from Sunday through Friday beginning at 8 AM and ending at 9 PM, and on Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM. After 9 PM each day, an auto-attendant will pick up all calls and a caller will have options to leave a message or be forwarded to our after-hours emergency line. The emergency line is accessible through the main switchboard, and should only be accessed if the concern cannot wait until the following day.


A member of each Campus leadership team (usually the Head Counselor or a member of the Wellness Team) will be calling the parents of first-time campers within that child’s first 48 hours at camp.

Emails will be sent prior to the start of the session to introduce all parents to the Head Counselors and Division Leaders of each Campus/Division. Throughout the session, Head Counselors can be an ideal point-person for outreach by email or phone. They will be able to respond to many concerns, and will always have the ability to connect parents to other resources as needed. Other staff that will support communication with parents regarding camper concerns includes our Directors, Wellness Coaches, and others.


Parents will receive a separate email later to review all of the details of communications that will be shared through the MyCLC and Campanion systems. But here are the basics: Our Communications Team will be uploading and organizing hundreds of photos every day (trying to get shots of each Division at least every other day, ideally) so that parents can have a sense of what our campers are up to. While we strongly discourage parents from over-analyzing these images, we do try our best to present an array of images that parents can enjoy. Video updates – including our weekly Highlight Video – will be made available each week, as well as periodic updates from Division Leaders or Head Counselors (or others) to give even more insight into the campers’ experiences. We also offer an email option (one-way, from parents to campers only) that is accessed through the same system. Emails are printed once daily in our Main Office and delivered like regular mail to campers. You can access all of these functions through MyCLC, or the great mobile app, Campanion. Campanion can be downloaded now in the Apple Store or Google Play.


We recognize that parents will value the chance to connect more personally to their child during their time at camp, and have designed a system for communication that can be effective for parents while still allowing the campers to stay on track at camp. Please review these guidelines:

  • First Session campers will call home two (2) times per session with each call lasting approximately 8-10 minutes. There can be an additional call on a camper’s birthday (unless it’s best to combine a birthday call with a standard scheduled call). Second Session campers will call home one (1) time per session, with the additional allowance of a birthday call. Full Summer campers will have three (3) calls, in addition to seeing families on Visiting Day. If a camper is not being visited by family on Visiting Day, we will arrange a Visiting Day call (or Zoom/FaceTime call) as a substitute.
  • By June 15th you will be able to access the scheduling function in your MyCLC account to set up your calls. 
  • As we have maintained in the past, there will be no calls during the first week of the session.
  • We will send special guidance to families with regard to camper/parent calls in advance. We stress that calls are both a wonderful opportunity for campers and parents to connect, and sometimes challenging, too. Campers may leave a call with renewed or new feelings of missing home, parents may finish calls feeling that there are concerns that have been raised, and as with any communication between parents and children, there can be gaps or questions that are unanswered. Please try to lower your expectations for these calls and treat them as a chance to share love and support (above all else). Too many questions, probing deeply into concerns, or a lack of enthusiasm can cause challenges.
  • A camper/parent call is not mandatory. If you, as a parent (in discussions with our camp leaders) feel that eliminating or rescheduling a call may be better for your child, we’re open to that. 


We do our best to ensure our campers write at least TWO TIMES each week. We feel that it is important for parents/guardians to hear from their children while at camp, even if the letters are relatively brief. Camp will be providing postcards for writing home throughout the session. Campers may write as many additional letters as they want to – to grandparents, siblings, friends, etc. Writing home should encourage families to write to their campers on a regular basis. Campers truly enjoy getting letters from home! Many parents/guardians send a letter that arrives at camp even before their child arrives for the session. The address to use for mail for campers while they are at camp is as follows:

  • [Camper’s Name] – [Division], Chestnut Lake Camp, PO Box 369, Beach Lake, PA 18405

When writing, please be supportive. Letters from a parent/guardian describing to their child how much fun a summer trip has been, or how great everything is at home, or telling a child that you will pick them up from camp if they are unhappy, will certainly not help the camper’s experience. It’s great for a child to be aware of what’s happening at home, but especially for a younger child, hearing how sad you may be that the child is away can cause homesickness to intensify. Your kind and thoughtful words of encouragement can make a tremendous difference in your child’s camp experience. We find it helpful to send pre-addressed (and stamped) envelopes or postcards with their child. Parents may also want to review how to address an envelope with their children to ensure their letters make it home.

Please remember that we are a “NO PACKAGE” camp. If your child is missing something or you feel there’s an important item to provide to them while they are at camp, please be in touch with us. We have many items on hand, we can procure all sorts of materials for campers on our own, or we can help coordinate a special mailing. Other than Birthday packages, no other packages should be sent without explicit approval. In those cases when one of our Directors, Head Counselors, Division Leaders, or Wellness Coaches has authorized a package to be sent, use the following address:

  • [Staff Member’s Name], Chestnut Lake Camp, 326 Trails End Road, Beach Lake, PA 18405


By June 15th we will send all families (First/Second/Full/Discovery Camp) a table tent that outlines many of these topics regarding communication in the summer, including directions for accessing MyCLC and Campanion and some of the key phone numbers and contacts for parents throughout the summer. The table tent can be left on your kitchen counter or desk throughout the summer as a handy reference. The contents of the table tent will also be shared on MyCLC as a PDF document. 


Want to access the rest of the Chestnut Essentials? Just click here to review the full series.