Camp Philosophy

Camp Penn seeks to:

  • Provide a vital experience of Christian community where all people are valued as creations of God.
  • Provide experiences that help develop and nurture lifestyles of caring for the common good.
  • Help campers grow in their relationship with God, with each other, with creation, and with themselves.

Camp Penn is affiliated by tradition and faith to the tenets of the United Methodist Church. It is one of four camps which are part of The Susquehanna Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries program.

 

Open to All

All camps operated by The Susquehanna Conference United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries are open to everyone without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, religious preference or ability. Our outdoor ministry is committed to serving all persons in order to provide a meaningful camp experience.

 

Cabin and Group Assignments:

Camp Penn intentionally sets out to help campers build new friendships and to work with different people. This is one of the goals of the camp experience. Campers are assigned to cabins by grade level and age just prior to arrival by the Dean for that week of camp.

We try our best to accommodate bunkmate requests as long as they are made in advance, and are made mutually with one other camper and are the same grade/age/gender.

Specific concerns about cabin assignments can be e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Parents may also call 800-874-8474 to discuss special situations at least three weeks before the session begins.

 

Meals:

Appealing and nutritious meals are prepared under the careful supervision of our trained culinary staff and satisfy the hearty appetites of campers and staff.  Fresh fruit, cereal, hot breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, meat and vegetables are offered everyday. Meals are served buffet style and provide a variety of healthy and appropriate choices. Vegetarian options are available.

Other special dietary needs should be indicated on the camper Health form and we encourage parents to make contact with the Site Director in order to coordinate supplemental foods as needed.

 

Opening Day and Sign-Out Day:

Opening Day for all weeks of Camp
Registration begins at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday

Opening Day is an exciting time for everyone! When you arrive you will be greeted by a staff member of Camp Penn.  Registration is conducted in the Commons area where you will meet the Dean for the week of camp.  Counselors will assist you with moving into your assigned cabin. Check-in and registration on opening day is between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Arriving between these designated hours will help the Deans, counselors, and staff give you the attention you deserve without disrupting programs.  If you need to schedule a late arrival, please contact Camp Penn, 717-762-2693.

Sign-Out Day for all weeks of Camp
Friday 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

How Sign-Out Day will work:
Parents are required to sign-out their campers with the Cabin Counselor on closing day. 

Parents must give written permission for anyone else to pick up their child. Photo identification will be required to pick up a camper.

 

What to bring to Registration

 In order to complete the registration process you will need to bring the following items with you to the registration line on Check-In Day:

  • Copy of your invoice showing payment in full
  • Your camper’s completed health form (unless you have already mailed it in) and medications: All prescriptions should be in the original container with proper pharmacy labels for each camper attending and accompanied by the signed form.
  • Personal money to be deposited into your camper’s store account.  $20 a week is usually ample for craft and canteen purchases. If your camper would like to purchase one of our larger cost items (hats, t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts), we encourage you to do so when you drop off or pick up your camper. The camp store will be open during those times. We encourage you to put money in the camper store accounts as opposed to letting campers carry around cash at camp.

 

Cancellation/Refund Policy

If a registered camper is unable to attend camp, you must notify the camping office immediately in order to get a refund. Full refunds are given up to two weeks before the start of camp, subject to a $50 processing fee.  Call the Camping Office 1-800-874-8474.

Cancellations within the two weeks prior to the event are only refunded in cases of documented medical concern or death in the family which prohibits attendance.

In order to receive this refund, the camping office must be notified immediately of any accident or illness, followed by a written request with an accompanying doctor’s excuse within one week. No refunds will be made for any reason after the start of the camp event.

 

First Time Campers/Homesickness:

 Parents Can Help:
Parents can help the adjustment of their campers by leaving them on a positive note. Make sure to set your camper up for success by letting them know you expect them to have fun. Help them set some goals for camp (meeting people, learning something new, etc.) before you leave and be enthusiastic about their time at camp.

Child-Sick Parents:
“Child-sick: parents often lead to homesick campers. It is best not to promise a camper thy can come home if they don’t like camp.

The Staff and Counselors are Trained to Support Homesick Campers:
The counselors and staff are trained to help campers adjust to camp by immediately involving them in goal setting, team building, and fun activities.

We Want to Partner with Parents:
Parental support and encouragement are crucial to the happiness of the child; Wesley Forest has an extremely high success rate of working with campers when parents work with us. Parents will be contacted by camp staff if their child becomes homesick. We will keep the parent up to date on how we are working through the issues. Encouraging comments in letters (‘we know you are working hard to have fun” it is ok to miss home, but we want you to have fun” “we look forward to hearing about your achievements” “have fun at camp because you are not missing out on anything here”) are also helpful in this process. Though homesickness is common in first-time campers, it is usually short-lived due to all the fun people and dynamic activities at Camp Penn!

 

Camper Mail:

There is a large volume of mail that comes to Camp Penn in the summer. We encourage families and friends to write letters and send snail mail. We ask that every mailed item be labeled with the Camper’s name and Cabin name.

Snail Mail and Packages are delivered each day. Mail is picked up by the site director once a day and distributed to the campers at meal time.

All major package delivery companies (UPS – FEDX) service Camp Penn.  We ask that packages not contain food items.

 

Camp Store:

The camp store is open daily after the noon meal for campers. Camp Penn credit cards. postcards, envelopes, postage, t-shirts, sweatshirts and small souvenirs are available. 

Canteen:

Bottled water, soft drinks, healthy snack choices, chips, pretzels, ice cream, and candy are options for campers. Choices are limited and use of the canteen is based on the schedule of each week.   

Crafts:

Traditional crafts are available like gimp and leather.  Spin art, jewelry making and hemp art are a few of the items available to challenge the campers creativity.  Crafts range in price from
10 cents to $5. 

 

Camp Nurse/Medications:

Campers check-in all medicines with the Camp Nurse upon arrival into camp.  Medications are dispensed at meal times by the Camp Nurse.

No medications are allowed in cabins (with the exceptions of inhalers for some campers with asthma, as well as epi-pens). 

Campers who are not feeling well have the opportunity to visit the Camp Nurse after talking to their counselor who will go with them to see the Camp Nurse.  The Camp Nurse is available 24 hours a day for urgent medical situations.

In the event that a camper spends the night in the Health Lodge or there is a serious situation, parents will be called.

Cabin counselors are trained to inspect campers daily for cleanliness, cuts, sunburn, insect bites, etc but teaching your child the importance and methods of prevention is extremely important.

If you are bringing prescription medication please bring them in their original containers.

At the end of the session, leftover prescription medications need to be picked up at the ___________________________.  All unclaimed medications will be thrown away.

 

What to Bring / Packing List

You can download a printed copy of the Camper Packing Checklist HERE and use it while packing with your camper!

All items brought to camp should be labeled with the camper’s full name. It is a great idea to label small things like toothpaste and washcloths as well. Camp provides all the necessary equipment for all activities.

A suggested list of items:
Bible / Journal
Paper and pencil/pin
Pillow
Bedding for a twin-bed mattress or sleeping bag
Blanket
2 changes of clothes per day
Shorts / long pants
Sweatshirt for cool times
Hat / visor
Appropriate sleep wear
Bathing suit
Rain gear
2 pairs of comfortable shoes
Flip-flops / Sandals
Creek-wading shoes
Toiletries
Towels
Small Flashlight
Sunscreen
Insect repellant
Water bottle
Plastic bags for wet clothes
Dirty Clothes bag

 

What to Leave at Home

All electronic gadgetry:
            Radios, mp3 players, cell phones, video game systems, etc.
Candy, snacks or soda
We will make sure you have plenty of food at camp!
All knives and sharp implements.

If any of these items do make it to camp, they will spend the week in the Site Director’s office, to be returned to you as you leave camp at the end of the week.

Please Note:  Please examine your camper’s selection of clothing which might carry offensive slogans or symbols. In the camp community, these items can result in discord between campers. The goal is to create community where all persons feel welcome and acceptance.

 

As a Parent, What can you Expect for Your Camper?

At Camp Penn we take very seriously our responsibilities to children and youth.

We seek to build and maintain an environment of adventure and calculated risk to provide for our campers the greatest opportunities for personal growth and self confidence and living skill progressions possible. We seek to build a community of trust that operates in a framework of Christian practices. We seek to lift up virtues such as truth, honesty, dependability, cooperation, and care for others and the environment. We seek to provide an opportunity for campers to experience the presence of a creator God, to experience relationship with a wide range of other campers, a variety of ideas, and a cross section of activities designed for enjoyment and skill development. We seek to help nurture campers, motivated by love, into lifestyles of care for the common good.

Camp Penn seeks to provide an environment for children and youth where there is a sense of security, love, encouragement, and genuine concern for others. Camp Penn has embraced the philosophy of recommended practices of the Safe Sanctuaries program for children and youth.

Along these lines, as a parent you can expect:

  • The paid staff are hired after careful recruitment, screening and complete reference and criminal background checks. We are making every possible effort to screen those persons who will work directly with your child. 
  • The volunteer counselors are also are recruited, screened, and complete reference and criminal background checks.
  • We have established and trained the staff in practices of appropriate interpersonal boundaries. We want the staff to be clear about appropriate behaviors. The staff must be attentive to appropriate dress codes, appropriate use of language, and appropriate demonstrations of affection and encouragement. Staff and volunteer counselors are trained to remember they are the adult and it is their responsibility to behave professionally.
  • We have reviewed and re-affirmed our policy that there will be a least two adult staff present at all times during any program event or activity.
  • All staff and many of the Deans have been trained and certified in basic first aid and CPR annually.
  • All staff and volunteers have attended an orientation in which they were informed of policies for the prevention of the abuse of children and youth; appropriate steps to follow for the reporting an incident of abuse of any child (at camp or back home); and details of state law regarding the definitions of child/youth abuse and the requirements of reporting abuse when it is discovered.
  • Camp Penn has a policy that all paid staff and volunteers who work with youth are at least five years older than the oldest child or youth they are responsible to lead or care for. And we have a policy that we have no workers responsible in leading or caring for children/youth who are under the age of eighteen.
  • Camp Penn has established a policy that all counseling sessions and any one-on-one “talks” with children or youth should be conducted with an “open door”. That means at camp an adult can go off to talk with a youth but should stay in sight of others the entire time.

 

Camp’s Expectations of Campers

Every camper comes to camp with a different set of background experiences.

Every camper comes with a set of unique expectations.

Camp Penn operates a program centered on a small group experience. This small group becomes the primary place of trust and opportunity to demonstrate positive Christian community attributes. The camper group does not start out at a place of trust, or even a place function. The group must grow and move toward the goal of establishing a Christian community.

Therefore Camp Penn would hope to expect that campers will participate in the group process.

  • Campers should be willing to follow the lead and direction of the counseling team.
  • Campers will be patient as they build something of true value.
  • Campers need to be willing to work through problems with the guidance of the counseling team.
  • Campers who disengage, band together in cliques that separate/divide the group, and campers who want to “bail out” contribute to the lack of success for the group.
  • Groups will be different at the end of the week than they are on the first night. Groups who work through the process build powerful lifelong friendships and valuable skills in community living.

 

Discipline

Camp Penn desires that every camper have a successful camp experience. Campers need to be able to follow group living guidelines and respond appropriately to counselors and staff for their safety and the well being of the entire camp community.

Camp rules are designed to enhance the happiness and safety of all campers. Camp Dean or Site Director will contact parents to let them know if there is any ongoing behavior problem. Campers who do not demonstrate appropriate behavior, in the judgment of the dean or site director, will be sent home from camp. Early dismissal from camp will not warrant the refund of fees.

 

Financial Aid

Camp & Retreat Ministry wants every child to have the opportunity to experience Camp! We do have some financial aid available to make that possible. We generally request a three-way split between the camper family, the local church or faith community and the Camping Program. 

You can apply for camperships (form) and find out more information here.

 

Peer on Peer Abuse/Bullying

No parent wants their child to be the victim of a bully. We hope that no parent wants their child to be the one doing the bullying. Camp Penn has definitely established practices to help identify, correct, and heal the practice of bullying when it exists in a cabin group, a camp group, or from one group to another. We have affirmed what the experts have said in that it is not limited to one socio-economic group or even to one family situation. We have found this behavior exhibited in a variety of children/youth for an extreme range of reasons or no reason at all.

We are committed to creating a safe environment at camp where no child should have to fear another child. We are building practices to heal attitudes that produce peer on peer abuse. We have established practices of greater attention to campers during “down time” like flat time, after lights are out, and between activities. This problem is not limited to camp and does not begin at camp. We will work with campers, parents, and staff to build practices that eliminate this behavior. We need parental partners. We encourage you, as parents, to please let us know about any particular bullying concerns you may have for your child or any off-season, camp-related emails, instant messages, or text-messages that may have led to exclusion or meanness towards your child by somebody else in camp. We want to ensure that this problem can be managed by a strong partnership between our camps and your family.

 

Typical Day at Camp

  7:00 a.m.       Wake-up
  8:00 a.m.       Breakfast
  8:45 a.m.       Camp Clean Up
  9:15 a.m.       Family Group Activities & Bible Study
12:00 p.m.       Lunch
  1:00 p.m.       Flat on Back Time
  2:00 p.m.       Family Group Activities / Camp-wide Activities
  5:00 p.m.       Dinner
  6:00 p.m.       Camp-wide Activities
  8:00 p.m.       Vespers
  9:00 p.m.       Cabin Devotions
10:00 p.m.       Lights Out (Elementary)
11:00 p.m.       Lights Out (Jr. and Sr. High)

 

The #1 Thing Parents Should Know

Camp Penn has long established a policy of partnering with parents for a successful camp experience for their child/youth.

We Partner with You
We want to work together to provide the most positive experience possible. We want to be able to call you to inform you about your camper. We want to ask you if you have any suggestions of how we can work with any situation or need. We want to establish together a plan of action that will lead to success for the camper and the camp.

We want You to Partner with Us
We want you, as the parent, to call us and tell us if you believe your child is having trouble. We want you to allow us to investigate, correct, and solve problems wherever possible. We want to stay in touch with you.

Parental Help and Support at the Beginning Goes a Long Way
We find that letters home written the first night with situations described sometimes only need a little time to heal themselves. Sometimes they need help, support, correction and shared information between counselors, staff and parents. Giving the Camp Penn staff and volunteers the information that is needed to help your child have a great camp experience can go a long way.

Sharing Information with Us
May times we find the problems that surface at camp did not begin at camp. They were brought from home in some fashion. Share information on your health form, with your counselor, with the Get Acquainted Sheet, call the Dean for that week of camp, or call the Site Director to discuss your camper’s information. Good information leads to a successful partnership on both sides.

If you ever have a concern, please contact us! Email is the fastest way to get in touch with us either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We will be back in touch with you.

 

Lost and Found:

Lost and found items are returned to the camper whenever possible.

Please make sure that all of your camper’s items are clearly marked with first and last names.

Lost and found is available for parents to look through on closing day. Any lost and found items that are unclaimed will be held for two weeks and then donated to charity. If items are left, please request their return. If they can be located they will be mailed back to the camper.

It is estimated that there are 350 Lost and Found items left behind by their owners each summer. Don’t let your luggage add to this avoidable number.

Another way to avoid lost and found items is to send your camper with a small bag to carry their personal items in around camp. A draw string bag or small book bag are popular choices. We also suggest you talk with your camper about making sure they keep track of their items.

Our staff help campers gather their items when leaving any location and are trained to help campers make sure they have everything that was theirs. Please make sure that your camper’s items are ALL clearly marked with their first and last names.

 

Promotional Photos and Videos

The camp takes photographs and videos of our programs in action. These are used for promotional purposes. If you object to having your child’s picture used in promotional materials, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. indicating your preference.

 

Directions to Camp

It is strongly suggested that a GPS or Map Quest is not used for directions to Camp Penn as the directions given are Not accurate.  The directions below are a quicker, more direct route to travel.
Using I-81 South exit at Scotland (Exit 20). At the traffic light at the end of the ramp take a left onto Rt. 997 south (Black Gap Road). Follow 997 to the stop light which connects with Rt. 30. At the stop light turn left. Follww Rt. 30 east to Caledonia to the light/junction of  233. Turn right onto 233 south (Rocky Mountain Road.) and follow to the stop sign (a lily pond is directly across the street). Turn left (at this point you are no longer following 233). Follow the road through the village of South Mountain, turning right onto Old Forge Road. The camp is about 4 1/2 miles ahead on the right.

USING ROUTE 15 SOUTH – enter Maryland, taking the Emmitsburg/Taneytown Exit (MD Rt. 140). Follow Rt. 140 through Emmitsburg, traveling approximately 13.5 miles to the corner of Old Forge Rd. When you re-enter PA the road becomes PA Rt. 16. There is a stoplight at the corner of Old Forge Rd. and Rt. 16 in Rouzerville. Turn right onto Old Forge Rd. Camp Penn is approximately five miles ahead on your left.

 

Camps Contact Information

Mailing Address for Campers and Staff
            Camp Penn
            P.O. Box 511
            Waynesboro, PA 17268

Phone Number:  717-762-2693

Please leave a message with your name, number, and question. We are committed to calling all back the same business day.

Fax Number:  717-762-0080

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This E-mail is checked multiple times a day and is the fastest and easiest way for us to respond to inquires and questions.

 

History:

Camp Penn and the surrounding area is rich in history.  The Michaux's explored the area several time on trips to the colonies in the 1700's.  Hughes Brothers developed the mountain during the heyday of the iron ore industry from the 1820's through the start of the Civil War.  The name "Old Forge" still remains the handle for which the area is known today.  The next century the area where the camp's Dining Hall is located provided camping opportunities for Waynesboro's YMCA.
 
In 1933, the country was deep in the woes of the “Great Depression”.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised the “New Deal”, which was a plan aimed at the economic slump of the nation.  Within the plan was the “Civilian Conservation Corps”.  This program gave young men of that time a sense of worth, needed financial support, and a military lifestyle that would prove beneficial for those who would later serve in World War II.  Without the men of Company #307 S-70-PA would not have been built and Camp Penn might not exist today.

In 1942, as W.W. II escalated, the CCC camps ended.  The forestry department used the site through the wars years.

The United Brethren Church rented the site in 1946.  The Chapel was built and completed by the start of that summer’s camping season.  The building was funded in part with a sizable contribution made by Mr. W. Oscar Knaub in Memory of his daughter, Hilda.

On November 16, 1946 the United Brethren Church merged with the Evangelical Church to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church, (E.U.B.).  Summer camping was held for as many as 300 campers with staff.

In April 23, 1968, The Methodist Church merged with the E. U. B. Church to form the United Methodist Church.

Although the site has not varied much from its original physical design, Camp Penn continues today to provide a place that many call "home".   Programs and events support the spiritual growth and current needs of all who attend camp.  We look forward to the future and providing a place for retreats, weddings and summer camp.