How do I know which programs my child is eligible to attend?

  1. When you are completing the registration process you will be asked to enter the child’s CURRENT grade level. You will automatically be shown only the programs for which your child is eligible based on that grade level, the one they will FINISH before summer camp. So, for example if a child is in 4th grade during the 2023-2024 school year, they would be able to attend our programs for 3rd – 6th Campers must attend programs within their age group with VERY limited exceptions.

What opportunities does camp provide for my child?

  1. Each day campers have an opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities. Every program has the chance to swim, hike, use the jumping pillows, visit our animals at the petting zoo, eat yummy meals in the dining hall, have a cook-out, and more! There are also activities that are specific to a particular program, i.e., Campolodeon has a slime day and an inflatables carnival, Night Owls have a Glow Dance Party, etc. You can learn more about each session in their description on our website or during the online registration process.
  2. Perhaps even more important are the opportunities for personal growth and development. Campers experience living in community with others, they have the chance to participate in team building activities, shine as leaders, support others, connect with people who might be different than they are, interact with summer camp staff as role models, and build friendships that can last a lifetime. We also have daily times of Bible Study with varying activities for different styles of worship and learning. They get to experience worship with peers their own age that they might not have at their own church.

Will my child need money during the week at camp?

The answer is almost always no. We do not have a camp store or snack shack during the week.  The camp store is open only during check-in and check-out times when you would be with your camper to provide money if you desired to.  The only exception to that is for programs like Zoobilee that take off-site trips where there may be some kind of gift shop where campers could purchase a souvenir. If extra money is an option, it will be indicated on the packing list for that particular program.

How do I contact my child while they are at camp?

  1. We several options for communicating with your child while they are at camp. You can mail them letters to the camp address with their name followed by the program they are attending, and then camp’s mailing address 9677 County Rd 3 Nickerson, NE 68044. There is also an opportunity to leave written letters with a staff member during check-in to be handed out during the week. Lastly, we partner with a company called Bunk1 to offer the option to send your camper emails during the week. These emails are sent to our camp registrar before dinner each day, they are printed, and then given to campers during the evening mealtime. Campers will not be able to reply to those emails unless you pay an extra fee to include a Bunk Reply which would then be scanned to Bunk1 by our registrar and then emailed to you by them.  We do NOT allow campers to have their cell phones during the week. We encourage them to be present in the experiences during the week and disconnect from technology.
  2. In the event of an emergency when you need to speak with your camper in a more immediate way, you can call the camp office at 402-478-4296 and a staff member can work with you to make that happen. If it is outside of business hours you can still call the same number and it will ring to the staff member on call.

What do I need to know about the camp's insurance and medical policies?

The family or individual policy is the primary coverage for accidents and injury.  The camp policy is secondary with a $15,000 maximum benefit.  The health information form must be completed and signed by a parent or legal guardian before admission to the camp.  All medications must be turned in to the camp health officer upon entering the camp and will be dispensed by the health officer.  Medical emergency vehicles are housed 4 miles away at Nickerson and a modern hospital is only 12 miles away in Fremont, NE.

What opportunities do you have for volunteering?

  1. We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities at camp! You can choose which activity would best suit your talents and abilities.  You can visit the Get Involved section of this website to find a list of ways you can serve at camp.  Volunteers during the summer camp season are required to take Safe Gatherings Training and undergo a background check before being able to volunteer.If you wished to volunteer during the week that your child was at camp that is possible but due to American Camp Association guidelines, you would NOT be able to stay in the same sleeping quarters as your child.

Who owns and operates Camp Fontanelle?

  1. Camp Fontanelle is owned by Great Plains Camps Inc. We are affiliated with and supported by the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. There is a Great Plains Camps Board that oversees all the GP Camps in Nebraska and Kansas. However, we are open to ALL denominations and people to allow them to experience and grow with God in all seasons.
  2. Day to day operations of camp are managed by the full-time staff members, which includes our site director Ryan Siver. We also have a Site Council made up of clergy and lay people who participate in the management of camp. You can learn more about our full-time staff members in the About section of this website.

Who will care for my child while they are at camp?

  1. We have amazing summer staff counselors that are the primary caretakers of campers each week. They go through two weeks of training prior to the start of camp each summer. This training includes CPR and First Aid, sessions on ages and stages of child development, dealing with homesickness and behavior issues, safety training for all of our activities, Safe Gatherings Training (which includes a background check), and more. We also have a lead team made of up an activities coordinator, health coordinator, and counselor coordinator. These positions support the counselors and campers throughout the week in various ways. The full-time staff also oversees the summer staff and helps to manage situations as needed.

Where will my child sleep?

  1. Almost all of our campers will sleep in Olson Lodge (this is a fully air-conditioned building) in one of the 5 bunkrooms. Each bunkroom has 8 bunk beds as well as direct access to bathrooms and showers. There will be two counselors in each bunkroom with campers.
  2. There are a limited number of programs, such as Night Owls and Last Campers on Earth, that sleep in our Camping Caves, these are made from giant concrete culverts that have been converted into sleeping quarters. There are bunkbeds along each side of the culverts with a walkway in between.  They are air-conditioned but are also naturally cool because they are partially underground. These campers would use the bathrooms and showers at Freiberg Bathhouse or at the 7:24 Shelter which are both nearby.Some programs also have the option, depending on the weather conditions, to sleep out in tree boats at Fort Jones, or at our Survivor Site.

What if there is bad weather?

  1. The health and safety of our campers is our primary concern. We have storm shelters in both of our lodges and our 7:24 Shelter. Camp has emergency plans in place in the event of severe weather.  We have two large bells on our property that we will ring in the event of severe weather so that all the camp is aware of the situation and can seek safety in the nearest available shelter. We also have walkie-talkies that are distributed to staff in each camper group so that communication can occur immediately and to every group at once.

What will my child be eating at camp? What if my child has allergies or dietary restrictions?

  1. We have a FABULOUS kitchen staff who make delicious meals each day for our campers. Most of the time campers will eat in the dining hall at Riverview Lodge. We strive to provide nutritious food options for campers including a salad bar available at most meals. Camp favorite meals include: Stromboli, chicken and rice, tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, and more! Meals will vary from week to week.You will have the opportunity to make us aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions on the health form you fill out for your camper.  The cooks are happy to provide accommodation for those with allergies and restrictions so that they can have options as close to what the rest of the campers are eating as possible. Making sure to fill out that medical form ahead of time so the staff has time to prepare is extremely important and helpful.

What if my child gets homesick?

  1. Homesickness is a normal part of children being away from home, especially if its for the first time. Our staff take part in training leading up to the start of camp that gives them tools and strategies to help campers deal with homesickness. If those attempts are not successful they can contact a member of the lead team or full-time staff to help with the situation.  In the event that the camper is still struggling we would reach out to the parents and talk with them about other possible ways to help the camper.  In severe cases of homesickness we would then offer the opportunity for the child to speak directly with the parents to discuss options for moving forward. Sometimes the child is just not ready to stay at camp yet and that’s okay!  We hope that they would try again the next summer and find they are successful at staying the whole week.
  2. Sometimes parents also have a similar experience in dealing with their child being away from them for an extended period of time. That’s normal too! Camp staff is happy to chat with you and check-in with your camper to assure you they are safe and having a great time.There are some ways you can help with homesickness before and during camp. Talk with your camper about what types of things they will get to do at camp.  If you have never been to camp before we would encourage you to attend our Open House event in late spring so you and your camper can see where they will be staying and meet some of the staff members.  You can also ask questions!  When writing emails or letters to your camper it helps to stay positive and encourage them in their time at camp. Sharing your hopes for what they would experience at camp is great.  It also helps to avoid listing things they may be missing out on while they are at camp or overly focusing on how much you miss them and how sad you are that they are gone.

I cannot afford the cost of camp. Can my child still attend?

YES!  We never want a child to miss out on camp due to financial reasons. The first thing we would suggest is to check with your local church, if you have one, and ask if they have scholarship money available for camp. Many churches in our area have these programs available.  If you do not have a local church, or if they do not have funds available, we have scholarships available directly through camp.  When you go through the registration process there will be an optional form to fill out to request scholarship. We base our scholarship on financial need so you will be asked to share the reason for the need on the form.  These forms are kept confidential. After you have completed and submitted the form it will be reviewed by a full-time staff member. After reviewing the form, we will communicate with you how much we are able to provide in scholarship funds.