Frequently Asked Questions

Who manages Outdoor Journeys?
Outdoor Journeys is managed by highly experienced and passionate individuals who thoroughly believe in the impactful power of connecting people with nature. Outdoor Journeys was founded by our CEO Johnny McLaughlin who possesses 30 years experience managing resident camps and community focused programs. Our resident summer camp program is overseen by Summer Camp Director Patrick Walsh, who has accumulated 18 years in the camping industry as a camper, junior staff member, cabin leader, activity leader, Program Coordinator and Assistant Camp Director. They are surrounded by likeminded and experienced individuals who support all aspects of the wide range of programs that Outdoor Journeys currently offers.

Who works at Outdoor Journeys?
Our greatest asset at OJ is our hard-working, knowledgeable staff. As role models for youth, they create a healthy and safe community in which children can grow, learn and explore. Staff are selected for their leadership ability, strength of character, friendly personality, passion for working with children and youth development skills. All staff are CPR and First Aid Certified and have passed federal and state background checks. Because of the strong applicant pool we select from, each staff member has demonstrated skills through work experience, educational experience, talent and motivation.

If you are interested in employment opportunities, please click here.

What if someone is injured or becomes sick while at camp?
Our medical staff are on call 24 hours a day. The local hospital in Big Bear is only 25 minutes away and EMS can be on site in less than 20 minutes.

What type of hiring procedures & background checks are conducted?
All staff are required to pass a rigorous selection process beginning with a mandatory application and multiple interviews by the leadership team. If an applicant interviews successfully, a minimum of two references are contacted and verified. All staff undergo fingerprinting, state background checks, and federal background checks. Our hiring procedures are verified by both county and national organizations to ensure that we are meeting industry standards and verifying who is employed with OJ.

How are staff trained?
Before your child arrives at one of our Camp programs, every Camp staff member has successfully participated in mandatory staff training. During this time, staff are led through a series of interactive workshops that fine-tune their leadership skills and knowledge. The primary workshops that staff attend include: Camp Health, Camper Management & Supervision, Conflict Management & Communication, Emergency Procedures, Leading Camp Activities, Personnel Policies, and Risk Management. Additional training incorporates staff bonding, teamwork, learning about working with today’s youth, leading skits & songs, and learning about specific camp activities.

When is my payment due for camp?
A 20% deposit is required at the time of registration, with the remainder charged to the card on file on June 1st. If registering after June 1st, the total amount will be required at the time of registration. There are payment plan options available, up to 5 installments. These will be found as an option when registering. If you need to make financial arrangements, please contact our Community office at (909)-982-5400. 

What payment methods do you accept?
All major credit cards are accepted for online registrations. If you would like to pay by check please contact our registrar by email at summer@outdoorjourneys.org or call us at (909)-982-5400.

What is your cancelation policy?
If canceling more than two weeks before your chosen session starts:
1) Receive a full refund minus a $75 admin fee
2) Rollover your registration to the following year, minus a $75 admin fee

If canceling within two weeks of your chosen session starting:
1) Receive no refund
2) Rollover 50% of your registration to the following year

What if I want to transfer my registration to a different session?
You are able to transfer your registration to a different session, minus a $50 admin fee

What are the differences between Traditional and Adventure Camps?
Traditional Camps are a typical, week-long cabin group experience. At Camp Nawakwa, we split our Traditional Camp programs into different themed sessions, such as Space & Adventure or Splash Down. For all campers attending these sessions, they have a chance to experience all of our Camp Programs, with the only subtle difference being the theming of each program. For example, during Space & Adventure, our Climbing Wall becomes the Rocket Ship. We encourage campers to bring clothing that represents each theme, such as a Hawaiian shirt for Splash Down (but this is not required).

Adventure Camps are a more rustic experience in which our campers learn to “survive in the wild.” For most of Adventure Camp programs, our campers design and build their own shelters, which they will live in for part of or the whole session. They participate in many of our regular Camp Programs, but we offer additional options such as Orienteering, Survival Skills, and Preparing/Serving their own meals. Please see the packing list for Adventure Camps so you know what additional items to bring.

How do I get my child to camp?
You will drop-off and pick-up your child from Camp Nawakwa.

When is drop off and pick up for Camp Nawakwa?
Parent drop off is between 3-4 pm the first scheduled day and pick up is between 10-11 am on the last scheduled day.

Are bed linens and towels provided (Camp Nawakwa Programs)?
Camp Nawakwa (overnight camps) participants are responsible for bringing their own sleeping bags or bed linens, towels (swim and shower) and personal toiletries. 

How are staff trained?
Before your child arrives at one of our Camp programs, every Camp staff member has successfully participated in mandatory staff training. During this time, staff are led through a series of interactive workshops that fine-tune their leadership skills and knowledge. The primary workshops that staff attend include: Camp Health, Camper Management & Supervision, Conflict Management & Communication, Emergency Procedures, Leading Camp Activities, Personnel Policies, and Risk Management. Additional training incorporates staff bonding, teamwork, learning about working with today’s youth, leading skits & songs, and learning about specific camp activities.

What kind of food is served at Camp Nawakwa?
Camp Nawakwa offers delicious and nutritious menu options and works diligently to meet the dietary needs and preferences of each child. Three well-balanced meals of tasty, wholesome food are served each day in sufficient quantities for active children and adults. An afternoon snack is also provided. Those who also would like second helpings may have them. Please inform us of any food allergies when you fill out the medical form. If your child has significant food allergies or intolerance, please contact us to discuss their suitability for attending one of our Camp programs.

Can participants bring snacks to camp?
We discourage against campers bringing snacks to camp due to the potential risk of other campers inadvertently consuming these snacks who may have allergies or intolerances.

Do you cater to special dietary needs?
Yes, but only if a camper has a medical condition and requires a special meal, or if a camper is requesting a special meal due to food intolerance(s) or other medical reasons.  Food preferences are accommodated only within reasonable requests.  

What are the sleeping arrangements at Camp Nawakwa?
Children are housed in one of our cabins, with easy access to bathrooms and showers. Girls sleep in their own area, as do boys. Campers must bring their own sleeping bags, pillows etc. Please see the camp packing list

What does my child need to pack for Camp Nawakwa?
The packing list for Traditional Summer Camps is available here. 
The packing list for Adventure Camps is available here.

What age does my child have to be to attend summer camp?
Day Camps: 6-14 years old
Overnight Camps: 8 to 14 years old
Teen Academy: Ages 14 to 17 years
Family Camps: Open to All Ages

How old are your Outdoor Leaders?
The Unit Leaders are at least twenty one and older. Outdoor Leaders are eighteen years and older.

What time do they eat?
Breakfast is scheduled at 8:00 a.m., lunch at 12:30 p.m., and dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Do the campers do their own cooking?
Traditional Overnight campers do not do their own cooking. Adventure Programs have a progressive program in which the campers prepare their own meals under close supervision.

What if my child has food allergies?
Any allergies should be stated on their health history form, and we will make sure to have substitutions for those foods that should be omitted.

What time do campers go to bed?
Resident camp activities for the most part finish at 9:30pm with lights out at 10:00pm.

How many kids go to camp each week?
We will have an average of 120 campers per session. Each cabin will be assigned no more than 16 campers. We maintain a camper to staff ratio of 8:1 in accordance with American Camp Association guidelines.

How far is the lake?
For our campers, the lake is about a 30 minute hike from camp.

Can my child be driven to the lake?
If a camper has any medical problems that will prevent him from a hike to the lake, we do make arrangements to drive them there. This information has to be stated on their health history form. 

Can I send a 7 year old child to camp?
Only if the seven year old child is mature enough and you know that he/she won’t get homesick. If your child becomes homesick and needs to go home, it is your responsibility to pick them up from camp. There will be no refund given.

Can I send a 15 year old to camp?
All of our activities are progressive, so even if your child has attended a traditional camp before and is now over 14 years old, they can still continue to attend camp until the age of 15. Teen Academy is a great next step for campers 14-17 years old. If they get bored and want to go home as a result, it is your responsibility to pick them up from camp. There will be no refund given.

If I send two or more campers, can they all be assigned to the same cabin?
It depends on their age. If the campers are within one year apart and are of same gender we will make every effort to accommodate your request. Make sure you write that request in your registration form.

How do you assign campers to cabins?
We separate campers by gender and age.

Can parents or relatives get in contact with campers?
Parents can call the office and leave messages for campers, bring letters with them to check-in to be given to their camper throughout their stay, or send one-way emails (send to summer@outdoorjourneys.org). We do not allow campers to bring cell phones to camp. For pictures and updates throughout the summer, follow Outdoor Journeys on Facebook and Instagram.

Can my child call me?
Phone calls are only allowed if there is an emergency. If you call us and demand to speak with your child, we will of course allow that, however, if due to that call your child becomes homesick you will have to pick up your child immediately and no refund will be permitted. An important part of the summer camp experience is for our camper’s to learn self-reliance and independence. Having to remove campers from activities to speak with a parent can significantly impact their experience. If you wish to know how your child is doing at camp, please follow Outdoor Journeys on Facebook and Instagram. We make every effort to update parents on their camper’s experience through our social media.

My child takes medication to manage behavioral issues; can they still come to camp?
Yes, they may still attend as long as they are attending main stream education and if their medication manages their behavior. Medication vacations are not permitted while your child is attending camp. If your child is sent to Camp without their appropriate medications, they will not be permitted to attend camp. If at any point it is discovered that they do not have their medication (or enough medication)you will have to pick them up immediately with no refund. If you fail to have your child picked up, then child protective services will be contacted.  

For more information, contact:
Summer Camp Director Patrick Walsh at (909) 251-5020 or patrick@outdoorjourneys.org
CEO Johnny McLaughlin at (909) 600-4072 or johnny@outdoorjourneys.org