You will have many questions and we hope that this page will answer most of them regarding sending your child away for a week. We take the care, safety and happiness of your child very seriously. If you have any questions beyond what you see here, please don't hesitate to reach out to either, Stacie Koerth at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathleen Cole at email@example.com.
Where is Bandera, Texas?
Bandera is about an hour northwest of San Antonio.
From San Antonio: 70 Miles
From Dallas: 311 miles
From Austin: 118 miles
From Houston: 245 miles
From Brownsville: 322 miles
How much does it cost to send my child to camp for a week?
For the 2021 camping season, it is $400 per child. The only extra money that you might want to send will be money for your child to purchase snacks at the canteen. Items cost roughly $1 and children are not allowed to purchase more than 2 items at a time.
Wait, $400 can't be right!? How is that possible when other sleep away camps are $1,000+ a week?
We keep the cost low by being primarily staffed by volunteers. Even our nurses volunteer a week of their vacation to be at camp! The $400 covers the cost of everything--food, activities, and housing!
My congregation pays for my child to attend camp. Do I still need to register them?
Yes! You will come to the payment page of the Registration and there will be a place for a "Coupon". Contact either Stacie Koerth or Kathleen Cole (see top of page for email addresses) for the coupon code.
Does that dollar amount reflect the amount of services, classes and fun my child will receive?
Absolutely not! We don't offer fancy things like scuba diving classes, glass blowing, boating, and horseback riding, but we offer classes and experiences that are memorable and have kids coming back year after year. A sample list of classes can be found on the "About Us" page.
Address and Phone Number
Can I send my child a card or care package?
Of course! However, do not mail your child anything after the Wednesday of their camp. It is unlikely they will receive it before Saturday.
The address should look like this:
c/o Camp Sionito
7754 State Hwy. 16 N.
Bandera, TX 78003
Is there a phone number I can call in case of an emergency?
Pickup and Drop Off (for every camp)
Drop Off is no earlier than 1pm on Sunday.
Pick Up is no later than Noon on Saturday.
May I send my child early? A member of my congregation is on staff and is arriving on Saturday night before camp.
No, staff will be in meetings and trainings. There will be no one to properly watch your child at all times. This is a time for staff to get to know one another and bond before the campers arrive.
We are going to Reunion on Sunday. May my whole family come and stay at Sionito on Saturday when it's time for my child to finish up camp?
No, insurance liability does not allow us to have people on the grounds when camp staff is off. They get very few days off during the summer and the days between camps and reunions are their only days off work.
What does my child need to bring to camp?
Click HERE for the list.
Do you have medical personnel on staff 24/7?
Yes, we require that our camp "nurse" be either a Registered Nurse, Doctor or EMT/Paramedic.
Will that person be able to dispense medication?
Yes, all medications are kept in the nurse's cabin and dispensed on schedule. All prescriptions MUST be in their original bottle.
May my child keep his/her medication in the cabin and take it when they need it? I trust them with it.
No, State law requires that all medications be kept in a secure location in a public setting such as camp.
My child is severely diabetic and needs to be checked several times a day. Is this possible?
Yes. If your child is a Jr. Camper, you might consider being on staff the first year so that you and your child feel more secure with a week away.
My child has severe food allergies, enough to cause her to need an Epipen. What do you have in place to protect my child from allergens?
We have a nurse on staff 24/7. If your child has a food allergy that is profound enough to cause her to worry about encountering food allergens, we will do our best to help her understand what might be included in her meals and canteen snacks. We understand that it is terribly frightening to send your child away, not knowing what they may be eating. Our kitchen is not a tree nut, dairy, peanut or gluten free environment (most common allergens).
What if my child becomes ill while at camp?
If your child develops a fever of 100.0, just like at school, we will ask you to come get them.
What if my child injures himself?
Cuts, bumps, scrapes, and bruises are taken care of at camp. If it is determined that your child needs more urgent care, we will transport them to Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville, TX (25 miles) after we call you. Of course, if our medical personnel determine that a child requires more urgent transport, an ambulance will be called.
May I bring OTC medications in case my child gets a headache or stomach ache?
Yes, but it must be in its original bottle and clearly labeled with your child's name.
What can I expect at check-in regarding my child's medications? Will I be able to talk to the nurse?
Every child goes through a private check (with parents in attendance) for any signs of illness, head lice and to register all their medications with the nurse.
What if my daughter starts her period for the first time or unexpectedly at camp?
We are prepared with the supplies needed. We will, of course, call you if it is her first time--some parents choose to come get their child but it is absolutely not a requirement of the camp.
If my daughter is on her period, does she have to get in her swimsuit and go to the pool.
No. There are always counselors that stay up by the cabins during swim time. Children don't go to the pool for many reasons.
Staff Training and Background Checks
What does your background check entail?
All members of our staff are checked for felonies and also the Texas Sexual Offender Registry. Additionally, they go through a lengthy registration process with our sponsor, Community of Christ. It is a 4-tier interview process with three references.
Does your staff receive any training?
Yes, we take a State mandated class, followed by a test regarding every sort of abuse. How to spot it, what to do should we encounter it, and who we report it to.
What other measures do you take to protect my child?
We have what we call the 2 by 2 rule. No child is ever alone with one staff member. For example: If a child needs to run back to their cabin and get something, we make sure another child goes with them. If a counselor is taking a break in the cabin and a child enters alone, the counselor will step out of the cabin onto the porch.
We understand that many people are making choices regarding their children's diets that best fit their family's beliefs and lifestyles. We are not equipped to accommodate children that have a very restrictive diet. There are always meatless options at every meal. Please click HERE to see a sample menu.
Technology and Cell Phones
Will my child be able to call me and text every day?
The short answer is No. At the beginning of every camp, we ask that parents take their children's phones with them when they leave. If you choose to leave their phones, we will keep them until the end of camp and happily return them to your child once the last event is over.
Additionally, we know from experience, that a child that calls home every day has real trouble with homesickness.
Why do you do this?
We believe that to fully open a child up to the experiences at camp, that being constantly in touch with those outside of camp is a hinderance to that process. Camp is a chance to unplug! Getting them outside their shells and away from friends at home, helps them learn things about themselves and others that they cannot learn from texting and all the other things they do on their phones. You can't be "here" if you are "there". Learning the art of conversation is vital for all of us. Phones don't allow that to take place---as ironic as that sounds.
How will I know if they are doing okay? Are they happy?
We have a photographer on staff every year. Photos are posted on the "Camp Photos" page of this website every evening. It is likely that you will catch a shot or two of your child having a blast. If your child is really struggling, we will call you.
Can my child bring their computer or iPad?
No. The only time your child would have any time for those devices is during rest time. Rest time is for resting, recharging and hopefully getting a nap. Even our Sr. High kids nap! It's a long day and rest is needed.
Special Needs Children
While we strive to be an all-inclusive camp, we cannot guarantee that there will be staff members present to meet all of your child's needs. Please reach out to the Director of your child's camp/age group and see if an incoming staff member can help your child have the most wonderful experience possible. If you would like to see what our camp is like before sending your child away for the first time by himself, you might want to consider being on staff for his first year. Check out our Volunteer Page for more information.
What are your policies regarding bullying and hazing?
We do not allow bullying or hazing of any sort. One of the things we do to prevent even the most innocent of hazing practices by kids, is to keep children in cabins with others in their grade. We have found that cuts down dramatically on things like "I'm older so I get to sleep on the top bunk".
As far as bullying, our practice of having 2 counselors per cabin and in classes, helps us not only observe any bullying that might take place, but shut it down. If it continues to be an issue after being privately called out and corrected, we will gather the children involved and get to the bottom of the issue. Our hope is that we can help them work through it. Occasionally, some children are not able to resolve their differences and we will move the child that is doing the bullying to another cabin.
Under what circumstances will a child be required to leave camp?
We require that all children, regardless of age, sign a "Campers Promise" when you register them for camp. There are several rules that we ask that your child obey and they are similar to what you might find in any public setting where children gather.
No alcohol, weapons, tobacco, vaping/e-cigarettes, drugs, or physical abuse of any kind are acceptable. We have a zero tolerance policy for both staff and children regarding those items.
My child is very advanced for her age and all of her friends have graduated to an older camp. Can she come to the older camp with her friends?
Unfortunately, that is not possible. If we open the gate for changes regarding suitability of ages and grades, then we'll be overrun with requests and we will be unable to give each child the camp experience they deserve. Each camp is grade level appropriate for content, tasks and classes offered.
My child is 18 and allowed to smoke at home. May they bring cigarettes to camp?
No, that is strictly against not only our rules, but against the rules of the campground itself.
My child isn't a strong swimmer, does that mean they won't be able to be near the swimming pool?
All children take a swim test the first evening of camp. If it is determined by our lifeguards that your child isn't a strong swimmer, then he will be able to swim in the shallow end of the pool only. It would be a good idea to encourage your child to take Swimming as one of his class choices.
It gets so hot at camp. My child is not used to the heat. How do you ensure that he doesn't get dehydrated?
We provide water bottles at the beginning of camp. Coolers full of ice water are placed all over the campground. All staff members ask, "Have you been drinking water?" to the point of annoyance on the part of the campers. We even ask Sr. High Campers. Dehydration and heat illness and stroke are serious business and we give it the proper attention it deserves.
What if I forgot to pack something?
Our business manager will make a trip into town for emergency items that have been forgotten, within reason. You can pay the business manager for that item when you come to get your child on the last day of camp. Often, we have extra items left behind by other campers that have never been claimed (pool towels).