Frequently Asked Questions


Q:Address Changes
A:Please remember to notify us or go to your account online and make any address or email changes. We will be communicating by email prior to and during your camper's time at camp and if we don't have your email address listed correctly you will miss out on any special announcements. Likewise with your mailing address. Sometimes we need to communicate with you by "snail mail" and can only do so if we have a correct address for you.

Q:Cabinmate Requests
A:For our REG Junior and Adventure camps, we will try to honor camper requests for cabinmates since campers will not have an activity choice. We cannot guarantee that campers will be together as requested but we will make every effort to accommodate the request.

REG Tween and Teen campers wanting to stay in the same cabin with friends MUST be taking the same morning activity.

RAD campers are placed in cabins with others signed up for the same session.

Q:Camp fees tax deductible?
A:Since Big Lake Youth Camp is an overnight camp, fees associated with it are unfortunately not tax deductible. (See this link for more information)

Q:Camper Age Exceptions
A:To make the Big Lake experience the best we can, we have grouped our camp sessions by age because of the differing physical and emotional levels of each age group. We do have a three month age grace, meaning campers who will be the specified age for the camp within three months of attending camp, can register for camp. Exceptions are occasionally made for campers who are outside the three month age grace period, but are still very near the required age. Any exception requests must be made by email ( or a call to the Gladstone office at (503) 850-3583. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Q:Camper becomes injured or sick?
A:Parents will be notified at the discretion of the medical team. What guides us as we determine when to call is the nature and severity of the illness/injury and our involvement in resolving it. We desire to keep parents aware of our concerns early on so that they will be able to understand our intervention and plan the follow-up accordingly. Minor issues, of course, will be cared for without notifying parents. If a concern is lingering at the conclusion of camp a letter will be sent home with a full disclosure of our intervention and what we feel will be needed in follow-up, if any. If the need arises for transport to a higher level of care, a call will be placed to the parents to notify them accordingly.

Q:Camper Homesickness
A:It is our goal for each camper to have a good time at camp. Homesickness is possible though usually does not become a significant hindrance to a camper’s experience. Out of almost 2000 campers each summer, we average about 6 that need to return home early due to homesickness. It is our policy to try to work through homesickness by keeping campers involved and busy, and usually in this way campers begin to have so much fun that the homesickness fades. If the homesickness persists our village directors may decide to call you to consult about what course of action you would like us to pursue. In most circumstances phoning home to talk with mom or dad does not help, and can actually intensify the feelings. This is one of the reasons we do not allow cell phones. Your camper’s growth toward independence and happiness are of the utmost importance to us, and we always do our best to balance the two.

Q:Camper Mail
A:Please address camper mail as follows:

"Camper Name" - "week of camp"
c/o Big Lake Youth Camp
26435 Big Lake Rd
Sisters, OR 97759

We suggest using USPS or UPS.

Q:Camper Mail (after camper is home)
A:Mail that arrives after a camper has left camp is forwarded to the home address on file.

Q:Camper Store Accounts
A:While at Big Lake your camper will have the opportunity to visit the Big Lake Mall, our camp store which features lots of cool items that will help your camper remember their time at Big Lake! Campers can make purchases at the Big Lake Mall by using a camper store account.
We ask that all store monies be deposited into a camper's store account prior to arriving at camp. While your camper is at camp, deposits to your camper's store account can be made online or by calling the Big Lake camp office at (503) 850-3562. At the end of your camper's stay at Big Lake, any money left in your camper’s store account will be refunded back to the registration. The funds will remain on the account for future use unless you contact our business office and request a refund of any unused funds. You can contact our business office located in Gladstone by emailing or by calling (503) 850-3583.

Q:Campfire Program
A:Typically every evening your child will head down to the campfire bowl with their cabin mates. During campfire your camper will sit back and relax as energetic staff put on a memorable program creatively presenting a character building lesson. Each year campers report this is their favorite part of camp. Campfire begins with the singing of Big Lake favorites, old and new, songs the campers take home with them when the time at camp is over. The night is capped off with a character building play presented by the talented Big Lake staff. Campfire is a fun-filled experience for all campers and will provide great memories of their time at camp. With that being said, we are not sure what campfire will look for our 2021 summer. No matter how we end up running campfire, Big Lake staff will make it a memorable program for your camper.

Q:Counselor Requests
A:Sometimes a return camper will request a certain counselor. Because our counselors are assigned on a random basis, rotating each week, may not have returned to work Big Lake, or may have chosen to pursue a different job calling at camp, it is not possible to honor those requests. This is a perfect opportunity for your camper to get to know someone new!

Q:Drop-off & Pick-up Times
A:You will be receiving an email listing what cabin your camper is in and the drop-off and pick-up times specific for you camper's cabin group. If you have a RAD camper, drop-off will always be 2 - 2:30 p.m. If you cannot find the email we send out by Thursday right before your camper comes to camp, call our camp office at (503) 850-3562.

Q:Drop-off RAD & REG campers
A:You can drop off all campers at the RAD drop off time since that is the earliest of the two times.

A:One-way emails are available for purchase in blocks of 5 for $5. You may purchase and send the emails by logging in to your account (The account under which your camper is registered for camp). The one-way emails can be sent through the “email a camper” link Monday through Thursday each week. Please understand that printing and distributing email is a labor-intensive activity for our staff. We ask that you send no more than one email per day. And while emails are nice, campers actually are more excited about “snail mail!” The emails will be delivered daily, Monday-Thursday, to your camper. Email submissions will not be accepted after 12:00pm Thursday.

Q:Food Service
A:Campers enjoy three healthy meals each day during camp. Meals served are vegetarian, but do include eggs, cheese and milk. Common meals may include macaroni and cheese, pizza, spaghetti, bean and cheese burritos and the like. Nutritional balance is always considered and special requests for allergies can be accommodated.

Allergy information: Please be advised that food prepared in this facility may contain the following ingredients: milk, eggs, wheat, soybean, peanuts, and tree nuts. We understand many kids have food allergies or may require a special diet. We’re more than happy do our best to accommodate these needs. Please note any food allergies or dietary restrictions when registering for camp AND on the Camper Health Form. Also, please list food allergies and dietary restrictions on your camper’s health history form. We do offer vegan, dairy-free, and gluten free options on a regular basis, but our facility cannot guarantee that there will not be trace amounts of allergens. For additional assistance, please contact our summer camp office at (503) 850-3562 during the camp season, (503) 850-3583 when not during the summer, or by emailing us at:

Q:Having someone other than myself drop-off or pick-up?
A:For drop-off, make sure all the above mentioned forms are completed, and you can have anyone drop off for you. For pick-up, you will need to make sure that the person you send to pick up your camper is listed on their Authorized Pick-Up list on their reservation account. If you have difficulties finding where to do this on your account, you can call our camp office at (503) 850-3562 or email and ask us to add this person to the Authorize Pick-Up list.

Q:Lost & Found
A:Lost and found items are eventually returned to our business office in Gladstone at 19800 Oatfield Road, Gladstone, OR 97027-2546. You can contact our Gladstone office at (503) 850-3583 to see if we have your lost item. The best policy is to simply check to make sure you have picked up ALL of your camper’s belongings when you pick him/her up from Big Lake Youth Camp. All unclaimed items are kept until August and are then donated. BIG LAKE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST ITEMS.

Please make sure to write your camper's name on everything they pack for camp.

Q:Medical Assistance
A:Big Lake has an RN on site and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all medical needs. We also have a physician present at camp. Our nurse cares for the distribution of medications at each meal. It is very important that your camper’s health history form is filled out only within-in one week of your camper attending camp. This is to ensure that our trained medical staff are able to administer any needed medicine or care to your camper. Some examples of common medicines that parents grant permission to use are Tylenol, decongestants and vitamin C.

Q:Multiple Family Registrations
A:Signing up multiple family members from the same household on one account works great. However, if a single account is used to register campers from different households, it can be challenging of making sure the mail and/or email from us arrives at the correct address. If you sign up three children from three families on your account, you will be the person receiving all the mail for all three children.

Q:Multiple Weeks at Camp
A:As long as it is age appropriate for your child, we do accept requests for campers to stay multiple weeks. Big Lake’s program is not designed for multiple weeks, however, because our program repeats each week. It works well for teen campers to pair a week of REG Camp and a week of off-site RAD camp. Unfortunately, for this summer, campers registered for multiple weeks will need to be picked up from Big Lake on Friday and return on the appropriate Sunday to check-in for the next session of camp.

Q:Packing: What NOT to Bring
A:Please do not bring cell phones, iPads, iPods, MP3 players, etc. We like our campers to focus on building relationships with new friends rather than isolating themselves with headphones in the corner. Due to safety and security issues we request that jewelry be left at home. Fireworks, matches, lighters, flames of all kinds, are banned during the summer months. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, knives, utility tools, and weapons of any kind are not allowed.

Q:Packing: What TO bring
A:Sleeping bag, pillow, everyday clothes, underwear, long pants/jeans, sweater/jacket, pajamas, closed toe shoes & socks, flip flops for the shower, modest swimsuit (no 2 pieces), beach towel, shower towel & washcloth, soap, shampoo/conditioner, comb/brush, toothbrush & toothpaste, sunscreen, water bottle, insect repellent, laundry bag, Bible, flashlight, camera. PLEASE WRITE YOUR CAMPER'S NAME ON ALL PACKED ITEMS.

A:Yes, we have a photo gallery! You may view the photo gallery by logging in to your UltraCamp Account (The account under which your camper is registered for camp). If you do not remember your username and password please DO NOT set up a new account, simply contact our business office at (503) 850-3583 and we can reset your information for you. You are only able to view Big Lake photos for the session your child is registered for, so you need to use the account under which your camper is registered. If you experience difficulties please contact our office and someone will assist you. We do try and post photos several times during each week of camp. Our location in the wilderness requires us to use satellite internet connections and we experience frequent uploading and service interruptions. We appreciate your understanding that camp communication is a higher priority than our photo gallery. Please don’t expect any pictures until at least Monday or Tuesday evening, and maybe as late as Tuesday afternoon. We will try to include a wide variety of photos to show you what camp is like. At some point (and it may even be the week following your camper’s time at Big Lake) we will upload photos in high resolution for you to purchase and download. If our uploading difficulties continue for very long we will post a message on the photo gallery page.

Q:Refund Policy
A:Refunds, less a $75 processing fee, will be given until midnight 14 days prior to camp. If cancelation request is made within 14 days prior to camp a, 50% refund will be issued on camp and rental fees.

Q:Required Documents for camp?
A:All campers have to have their Camper Health Form completed, their Camper Photo Release Form completed, the Allergies & Sensitivities Form completed, and for RAD campers, the RAD Transportation and Consent Form.

Q:Visitation Days
A:We appreciate your interest in Big Lake. We would encourage you to allow time when dropping off your camper at camp on Sunday to ask for a camp tour.

Q:Weather at Camp:
A:Summer days are warm and nights are delightfully cool. Trees provide shade for our camp, nestled right on the shore of Big Lake.

Q:Week in Review Digital Video
A:For $10 you may order a "week in review" video featuring highlights from the time your camper was at camp. Online video purchases can be made during the online registration process. This video is a digital copy and will be emailed to you after your camper's stay with us. If you need assistance ordering the online video, or if you would like to add the video after registering your camper, please contact the Big Lake office. Please know that we try hard to include all campers in the video, but your child may not appear in it at all; it is just highlights from that particular session of camp.


Q:Check-In and Pick-Up at Big Lake:
A:Check-in and drop-off times for campers will be emailed out to you. All RAD campers will be asked to arrive from 2 - 2:50 p.m.


Q:Scholarship & Financial Help
A:Big Lake Youth Camp's Campership Fund was established and is maintained by donations from campers, parents, and other interested persons who want to see every child have an opportunity to attend Big Lake Youth Camp. Those who qualify to receive a Campership Scholarship can attend one of our REG/RAD Camps for a discounted price. Scholarship funds are distributed on a first come, first served basis to those who qualify until the fund is used up for the current camping season. To apply for funds, simply register your camper, making sure to check the box "Yes" when asking if you are needing Campership Funds to attend camp. We will asses your need after you fill out some specific financial questions and we receive a recommendation from a pastor or teacher who is aware of your family's need. (You will need to have this person's email address available when filling out your camper's application as you will send the recommendation form directly from the registration page.) We will then notify you if you qualify for scholarship funds.


Q:Can parents visit the Big Lake Mall?
A:Yes, the mall will be open and available to parents on Sundays during check-in, and on Fridays during check-out.

Q:Left-over money
A:Near the end of your camper's stay with us, they are told about a special fund called, Campership. This fund helps children in need of financial assistance attend camp. Campers are asked if they would like to donate any unused store monies to this assistance fund. If you do not wish your camper to donate to this fund, please have a conversation with them, letting them know your desire. This is also a great conversation to have if your child is being sponsored to attend camp and someone else has or will add money to their store account as the donor may want those monies returned.

Q:Store Merchandise
A:Kids always enjoy picking out items from the store. With the help of the friendly staff at the Big Lake Mall, your campers have the opportunity to buy items that help them remember their fun-filled week at camp. They will find a wide variety of items from water bottles, t-shirts and key chains to books and stuffed animals. Many items have the Big Lake logo printed on them! There are also snack items available for purchase.


Q:My camper is riding the chartered bus to camp, what time is drop off/pick up?
A:For our campers riding the bus to camp from Gladstone/Portland, we ask that you arrive no earlier than 1115 a.m. Our check-in process will start at 1130 a.m. Our goal is to have the bus ready to leave by 12 p.m. Please check your email for the drop off location address for your particular week as the location will change for the Sundays around Campmeeting (July 16 & 23).

For our campers riding the bus to camp from Salem, please arrive at Livingstone Adventist Christian School around 1245 p.m. Our bus should arrive around 1 p.m. and our staff will be on the bus, so there will be no one to greet you when you arrive. Please check your email for the school's address.

Pick up times on Friday are estimated to be 3 p.m. for Salem at Livingstone Adventist Christian School and 430 p.m. for Gladstone/Portland. Please check your email for the address of pickup for Gladstone/Portland as it will change for the Fridays around Campmeeting (July 14 & 21).