Sending your child to camp is a big decision and can be confusing and scary. Below is a list of common questions we get from parents that might help alleviate any anxiety you might have about sending your child to camp and help you make the best decision for you and your camper. 

Q: What should I do if my email or address changes?
A: Please remember to notify us or go to your account online to make any address or email changes. We will be communicating by email prior to and during your camper’s time at camp and if we don’t have your email address listed correctly you will miss out on any special announcements. Likewise with your mailing address. Sometimes we need to communicate with you by “snail mail” and can only do so if we have a correct address for you.

Q: My child is attending camp with a friend and they want to be cabinmates.  Is that possible?    
A: For the 2021 summer, make sure to put cabinmate request names in when you register your camper. We cannot guarantee that campers will be together as requested but we will make every effort to accommodate the request. RAD campers are placed in cabins with others signed up for the same session. 

Q: I’m worried that my child might get homesick.  What do you do in this kind of situation?
A: It is our goal for each camper to have a good time at camp.  Homesickness is possible though usually does not become a significant hindrance to a camper’s experience. Out of almost 2000 campers each summer, we average about 6 that need to return home early due to homesickness. It is our policy to try to work through homesickness by keeping campers involved and busy, and usually in this way campers begin to have so much fun that the homesickness fades. If the homesickness persists our Village Directors may decide to call you to consult about what course of action you would like us to pursue. In most circumstances phoning home to talk with mom or dad does not help, and can actually intensify the feelings. This is one of the reasons we do not allow cell phones. Your camper’s growth toward independence and happiness are of the utmost importance to us, and we always do our best to balance the two.

Q: If my camper is injured or becomes sick, when will I be notified?
A: Parents will be notified at the discretion of the medical team.  What guides us as we determine when to call is the nature and severity of the illness/injury and our involvement in resolving it. We desire to keep parents aware of our concerns early on so that they will be able to understand our intervention and plan the follow-up accordingly.  Minor issues, of course, will be cared for without notifying parents. If a concern is lingering at the conclusion of camp a letter will be sent home with a full disclosure of our intervention and what we feel will be needed in follow-up, if any.  If the need arises for transport to a higher level of care, a call will be placed to the parents to notify them accordingly.

Q: What is your policy on age exceptions?
A: To make the Big Lake experience the best we can, we have grouped our camp sessions by age because of the differing physical and emotional levels of each age group. We do have a three month age grace, meaning campers who will be the specified age for the camp within three months of attending camp, can register for camp. Exceptions for campers who are outside the three month age grace but are still very near the required age are granted on occasion. Any exception requests must be made by email ( or letter to the Gladstone office and will be reviewed by the Camp Director.

Q: Camper Mail 
A: Please address camper mail as follows:
Camper Name
c/o Big Lake Youth Camp
26435 Big Lake Rd
Sisters, OR 97759

We suggest using USPS or UPS.

If your camper is in a RAD camp that happens away from Big Lake please write the name of the camp clearly on the package so that we can get it to them when they return to camp.

Q: Can I add more store money to my child’s store account?
A: Deposits made to the store account for each camper are given to the store on Sunday evening at the beginning of the camp week. If you wish to make additional deposits you may do so by logging on to your UltraCamp Account (the account under which your camper is registered for camp). If you need assistance, please contact camp at (503) 850-3562.

Q: How do we get a DVD of my child’s week at camp?
A: We no longer sell DVDs of the “week in review”. Instead, we email a link to be able to download the videos. You may pre-order a “week in review” video online when you register. The cost for a video is $10 and it will be emailed to the primary email address on your account within a few days after the week of camp ends. If you would like to order a video after your camper has attended camp, please contact our Gladstone office at (503) 850-3583 and we will email you the video once payment has been received. In special circumstances we will provide DVD’s to families without access to email/the interest/etc. To request a DVD be mailed to you please email us at

Q: How do I email my camper?
A: One-way emails are available for purchase in blocks of 5 for $5. You may purchase and send the emails by logging in to your UltraCamp Account (The account under which your camper is registered for camp). The one-way emails can be sent through the “email a camper” link Monday through Thursday each week. Please understand that printing and distributing email is a labor-intensive activity for our staff. We ask that you send no more than one email per day. And while emails are nice, campers are actually more excited about “snail mail!” The emails will be delivered daily, Monday-Friday, to your camper. Email submissions will not be accepted after 12:00 am Friday.

Q: Why does it cost money to send emails to my camper?
A: Big Lake has chosen to follow industry standard by charging $5 for 5 emails.  With an average of over 200 campers a week – the daily volume of emails we receive can be anywhere from 300-500 – thus it is a costly and time consuming process to compensate for the man hours, ink, and paper used to offer this service. Thanks for your understanding!

Q: Do you have scholarships available?  
A: There are limited Campership Scholarships available. Please see our scholarship page for more info.

Q: Are the fees for my child attending Big Lake Youth Camp tax deductible?
A: Since Big Lake Youth Camp is an overnight camp, fees associated with it are unfortunately not tax deductible. (See this link for more information:

Q: What’s camp food like?  
A: Your camper will enjoy three healthy meals each day during camp. Meals served are vegetarian, but do include eggs, cheese and milk. Common meals may include macaroni and cheese, pizza, spaghetti, bean and cheese burritos and the like. Nutritional balance is always considered and special requests for allergies can be accommodated. Please note any food allergies or dietary restrictions when registering for camp, whether it be online or a paper application. Also, please list food allergies and dietary restrictions on your camper’s health history form.

Q: My child has special dietary needs.  Who do I contact to discuss this with?
A: We understand many kids have food allergies or may require a special diet. We’re more than happy do our best to accommodate these needs. Please note any food allergies or dietary restrictions when registering for camp, whether it be online or a paper application. Also, please list food allergies and dietary restrictions on your camper’s health history form. For additional assistance, please contact us at

Q: My child lost something at camp.  What do I do?
A: Lost and found items are returned to our business office in Gladstone at 19800 Oatfield Road, Gladstone, OR 97027-2546. You can contact our Gladstone office at (503) 850-3583. Please check to make sure you have picked up ALL of your camper’s belongings when you pick him/her up from Big Lake Youth Camp. Kids frequently have items in plastic bags so you may want to ask them. All unclaimed items are only kept for two weeks following each week of camp. BIG LAKE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST ITEMS.

Q: Mail (after camper is home)
A: Mail that arrives after a camper has left camp is forwarded to the home address on file.

Q: Do you have a doctor or nurse onsite at camp?
A: Big Lake has an RN on site and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all medical needs. We also have a physician present at camp. Our nurse cares for the distribution of medications at each meal. It is very important that your camper’s health history form is filled out and handed in during check-in at camp or at the bus stop. This is to ensure that our trained medical staff are able to administer any needed medicine or care to your camper. Some examples of common medicines that parents grant permission to use are Tylenol, decongestants and vitamin C.

Q: Multiple family registrations
A: Signing up multiple family members from the same household on one account works great. However, if a single account is used to register campers from different households, it can increase the challenge of making sure the mail and/or emails from us arrive at the correct address. If you sign up three children from three families on your account, you will be the person receiving all the mail for all three children.

Q: What should my child avoid packing?
A:  Please do not bring cell phones, IPods, MP3 players, etc. We like our campers to focus on building relationships with new friends rather than isolating themselves with headphones in the corner. Due to safety and security issues we request that jewelry be left at home. Fireworks, matches, lighters, flames of all kinds, are banned during the summer months. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, knives, utility tools, and weapons of any kind are not allowed.

Q: What SHOULD my child pack?
A: Sleeping bag, pillow, everyday clothes, underwear, long pants/jeans (required), sweater/jacket, pajamas, closed toe shoes & socks, flip flops for the shower, modest swimsuit (no bikinis for girls, no speedos for boys), beach towel, shower towel & washcloth, soap, shampoo & conditioner, comb/brush, toothbrush & toothpaste, sunscreen, water bottle, insect repellent, laundry bag, Bible, flashlight, store money (suggest $25-$80), camera (if disposable, please write name on camera).

Q: Tell me about the photo gallery.  
A: Yes, we have a photo gallery! You may view the photo gallery by logging in to your UltraCamp Account (The account under which your camper is registered for camp). If you do not remember your username and password please DO NOT set up a new account. You are only able to view Big Lake photos for the session your child is registered for, so you need to use the account under which your camper is registered. If you experience difficulties please contact our office and someone will assist you. We do try and post photos several times during each week of camp. Our location in the wilderness requires us to use satellite internet connections and we experience frequent uploading and service interruptions. We appreciate your understanding that camp communication is a higher priority than our photo gallery. Please don’t expect any pictures until at least Monday evening, and maybe as late as Tuesday afternoon. We will try to include a wide variety of photos to show you what camp is like. 

At some point (and it may even be the week following your camper’s time at Big Lake) we will upload photos in high resolution for you to purchase and download. If our uploading difficulties continue for very long we will post a message on the photo gallery page.

Q: What does the Big Lake Mall sell?
A: Kids always enjoy picking out items from the store with the help of the friendly staff at the “Big Lake Mall.”  Your campers have the opportunity to buy items that help them remember their fun-filled week at camp. They will find a wide variety of items from water bottles, t-shirts and key chains to books and stuffed animals. Many items have the Big Lake logo printed on them! There are also snack items available for purchase.

Q: If my child doesn’t spend all of their money at the Big Lake Mall, do they get a refund?
A: Any money left in your camper’s store account will be refunded back to the online account your camper was registered under. The funds will remain on the account for future use unless you contact our business office and request a refund onto the credit card that was used to pay or by check. You can contact our business office located in Gladstone by emailing

Q: Can I visit camp?  
A: We appreciate your interest in Big Lake. Unfortunately, for the 2021 summer, our campus will be closed to visitors.

Q: What’s the weather like?
A: Summer days are warm and nights are delightfully cool. Trees provide shade for our camp, nestled right on the shore of Big Lake. The days are usually in the 70s, with nights in the 40s.

Q: Can we bring our pet when we drop off/pick up our camper?
A: We love animals and know you love your pet. However, our policy is no pets allowed on Big Lake Youth Camp’s property. Thank you for understanding.


26435 Big Lake Rd.

Sisters, OR 97759


Best Summer Camp 2021


19800 Oatfield Rd.

Gladstone, Oregon 97027



Copyright © Big Lake Youth Camp 2022 All Rights Reserved