Frequently Asked Questions
Why send my child to overnight camp? How do I know if my child is ready for overnight camp?
An overnight camp experience can prove to be one of the most significant growth experiences for a child. Living in close quarters with cabin mates and counselors, participating in a wide range of activities and being away from mom and dad gives kids a chance to learn things like respect for others, teamwork, self-confidence and independence. AND they have fun while they learn! We will always strive to send your son/daughter back to you a little better than they came to us.
What if my child gets "homesick"?
One of the most significant elements of the camp experience is learning independence. We know it’s hard (especially for parents) to be apart for 1 week; however, our experience has taught us that kids adjust to camp life much more easily if they don’t hear or see mom & dad while they’re at camp. Especially if a camper is or was homesick, hearing a parent’s voice can intensify sad feelings. Therefore, we do not have campers talk to parents on the phone, and we don’t have parent visiting days until the last day of camp.
We do, however, stay in contact with you while your child is at camp. If any problem arises, we’ll contact you immediately.
And finally, we invite you to call us at any time, just to check and see how your child is doing. We know that sending a child to camp can be more difficult for parents than for the camper! We want to work together with you to make sure your child has the best experience possible! Although Camp RIO is new to the valley, we have a very experienced camp staff who will be drawing from their skills honed in some of the best camps in Texas.
What sets camp RIO apart from other camps?
What really makes camp RIO different is our dedication to teaching skills for life. What is that? It's teaching our campers what it means to be respectful, to show integrity, to be a team player but at the same time learning exactly what it means to be a great leader. We truly believe that we have the makings of something special here and we need your help to grow!
How recent should my child’s physical form be?
All campers must have had a physical exam by a licensed U.S. provider WITHIN 2 YEARS prior to their first day of camp.
What is the staff-to-camper ratio? How old are the staff members?
Our camper to staff ratio is 1:4 for our younger campers and 1:6 for our older campers. All of our counselors must be over 18 years of age and those working with our campers 14 and older are over 20 years of age. All staff have been through the same background check process as any teacher at one of our schools.
Where do our camp staff come from?
Universities all over the Southwest-primarily Texas and Arkansas. Each year, we’ll recruit actively on multiple college campuses.
We aggressively try to hire an ethnically diverse group of counselors. We believe it’s great for kids to see a group of people from various backgrounds who work together, care about each other, live by a high set of standards and values, and pour themselves out for campers. It’s a powerful statement to our campers.
We strive to also reach within our local community, We are very proud of the area in which we are based, and will strive to hire the best staff from the RGV. As we continue to grow over the coming years, we will create summer jobs for our own former campers.
We also are proud to hire camp staff from overseas. We believe that the skills that they possess as well as the culture that they can bring to our camp makes the rigorous recruitment process worthwhile!
In addition to the rigorous application and interview process, all counselors commit to a strict “no alcohol” policy during the summer, even on their time off. It’s part of our counselors’ demonstrated commitment that they’re at camp for our KIDS, first and foremost, and not for some alternative reason-like partying all summer!
What will my child eat?
Our food service department provides three well-balanced meals and one snack each day at camp. Each meal includes several options aside from the main course, with nutritious, fresh food being a focus. Camp can accommodate a variety of dietary needs and restrictions. Please contact our Summer Programs Manager Conor Murray with any questions or concerns you may have.
Where will my child sleep?
Our brand new cabins were designed to be used year round. All of our cabins have A/C and electricity, Sturdy wooden bunk beds and comfortable mattresses will be utilized by all campers with their own bedding from home. Campers stay in age/gender appropriate cabins under the continuous care and supervision of qualified adult counselors.
What should I pack?
Camp is all about having fun outdoors. As such, we strongly recommend that you do not pack clothing items that you would mind if they got dirty or stained. The packing list is posted on this website to help in your preparation. The best way to transport all necessary clothing and gear is in a footlocker (or plastic storage bin), no higher than 14”. Footlockers can easily slide under your child’s lower bunk. A list of contents should be fastened to the inside lid and the camper’s name should be clearly marked on the outside. Please do not forget bedding, including sheets, pillow, blankets and/or a sleeping bag for overnights. Please mark all clothing and equipment with your camper’s name. This will help us return lost items.
What if my child gets sick?
While many times campers come to our infirmary feeling ill because they are overtired or a little homesick, some campers do actually have an illness that must be cared for. Our nursing staff will treat their symptoms and call you only if your camper spends the night in the infirmary, visits repeatedly with the same medical concern, has to visit our local doctor or hospital or if the nurse has a question about your camper’s medical form.
When is drop off and pick up?
Camper Drop-off will be on Sunday between 2-4 pm and Pick up will be Saturday 10-11 am. If you need to request a different drop-off time, please contact our Summer Programs Manager, Conor Murray. Campers riding the bus from San Antonio and Austin will arrive Sunday evening and will return Saturday evening.
Can I send my child a gift?
Although all campers enjoy receiving packages from home, we discourage care packages containing food items as some campers have allergies to certain ingredients and food can attract unwanted insects and animals to the cabins. Any food in packages will be taken away and returned on the closing day of that session. You can also purchase items from the camp store either on opening day or call during the week and we will take care of your request.
Can we visit camp before the summer?
Yes, we have at least one Open House each year. All tours are led by summer and leadership staff. If this day is not convenient for you, please feel free to call our office and set up a private tour with one of our camp staff any day of the week.
What is security like at camp?
Security is extremely important at camp. Our staff are in constant contact with one another, and with the camp office, via hand-held radio. All visitors must stop by our office and be checked in. Anyone visiting camp during the summer also must go through a security check and are given an identifying name tag. Visitors must also be accompanied by camp staff at all times. Our gate is locked all day and overnight and we employ a night watch person during the summer to ensure that no unauthorized people are at camp outside of normal business hours. Any persons not cleared to be at camp are immediately identified, approached, and asked to leave camp.
How do I know that my child will be safe at camp?
Safety is always our top priority at camp. We are actively pursuing accreditation from the American Camp Association- meaning that we are meeting or exceeding more than 300 standards of health safety, and program excellence. Our staff goes through a minimum of one week of staff training and are certified in First Aid and CPR. All of our staff have to pass strict background checks as well as finger-printing prior to working at camp.
What is healthcare like at camp?
We have a nurse on duty at camp every session. Our nurse distributes all medication to campers (over-the-counter or prescription), cares for illness and responds to any emergency situations. In addition, our staff is trained in First Aid and CPR. The closest hospital to camp is less than 5 minutes away as is our camp doctor.