Happy New Year! I hope this letter finds you happy and well, and I hope you are as excited as I am to get moving in 2024. It’s going to be a great year.
We began registration for 2024 summer camp Dec. 1, 2023. Please be sure to get the word out to your members and community! Remember that the cost of sending a child to camp is $220 per week. Last summer, we were about 200 campers short of our maximum capacity. That’s 600 better than the previous summer, but we can do better. Let’s make 2024 a full camp.
As usual, every lodge has been granted 10 scholarships, paid for by a grant from the Elks National Foundation. These scholarships were sent to your lodge’s District Director on the Florida Elks Youth Camp Board of Directors. If you’re not sure who your District Director is, please check floridaelks.org/officer/florida-elks-youth-camp-inc-board-of-directors. You may contact your director for any information on the scholarships granted to your lodge or for questions in general related to camp.
Each scholarship provides a free week of camp to one camper, and we hope that you will use them to make an impact on a child or family in your community. Please remember that each lodge can and should send more than 10 campers! If the camper’s family or your charity account can afford it, the cost is $220 per week per camper. If neither the camper’s family nor the lodge has the money, please send them anyway! We’ll find an Elk somewhere to cover the cost. Dates for this summer’s sessions are listed below. There is no cutoff date for registration, but it will be first come, first served. Spots will fill up fast, so don’t wait.
If you have any questions regarding camper registration, please contact our summer camp registrar, Jen Scott. You can reach her at email@example.com or 352-431-8701 (text is GREAT).
Single-week camp sessions for this summer are as follows:
• Week 1 June 9-15
• Week 2 June 16-22
• Week 3 June 23-29
• Week 4 June 30 - July 6
• Week 5 July 7-13
• Week 6 July 14-20
• Week 7* July 21-27
*Military Week: Dependents of veterans and/or active military members attend for free!
As for two-week sessions, we will again be offering three two-week sessions for our oldest campers. These sessions allow for check-in Sunday and checkout 13 days later. These sessions will allow for much more in-depth programming, and these campers will get the chance to participate in activities for which single-week sessions just don’t have time. Currently, these sessions are only available to 12- and 13-year-olds.
Registration for two-week sessions is also available at floridaelks.org/camp/, and with only 42 spots available in each session, they will fill up even faster than our single-week sessions.
Two-week sessions will run:
• Week 2 – Week 3
• Week 4 – Week 5
• Week 6 – Week 7
The cost is simply double that of a single week. So, one-week sessions are $220 and two-week sessions are $440. For lodges wanting to use ENF scholarships for this, it will simply mean using two ENF scholarships instead of one. As always, check with your District Director from the FEYC Board of Directors if you need more information, and if they can’t help, contact Jen Scott.
I’d also ask again that if families have trouble accessing a computer to complete a camper registration, please invite them to the lodge, a local library or their school’s media center. Have a volunteer sit with them and work through the application. As with the rest, if you have questions or concerns, email Jen. She’s incredible at helping the non-tech-savvy navigate the process.
Finally, we will be making a concerted effort this year to get more buses to summer camp. Buses make a huge impact on our summer program for several reasons. First, transportation is the single biggest hurdle in getting kids to camp. Many families simply cannot make the trip to get their kids to Umatilla, Florida. This limits our reach to a very small area around central Florida. When transportation is provided, we can truly cover the whole state. Second, campers coming to camp by bus are three times less likely to be a no-show on the day of check-in. I’m still digging into why this is the case, but in the meantime, it just works. More buses mean less no-shows. Third, buses are the absolute No. 1 way to get families in your local area engaged with your lodge. Think about it. If you sponsor a child to go to camp, the family says, thank you. If they use you for transportation, the family needs to get to know those at the lodge who will be chaperones. They need to come to the lodge, at a minimum, for drop-off and pickup. If you provide a pre-camp meeting for parents, you even get a chance to double it as a membership drive.
If your lodge or district does not currently send buses to summer camp, I would ask that you seriously consider this option. We will provide you with a step-A-to-Z booklet that explains the process by Elks who have been doing it for more than 20 years, and we will provide camp support at every step. So, please help to make a difference this year — consider making your lodge a stop on the way to camp.
As always, thank you for all you do as Elks, and we hope to see you at camp!