Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I prepare my child for camp?
    Try to visit and see camp first hand. Ask for their input, but as parents you make the ultimate decision based upon multiple factors which only adults can recognize. Once a decision has been reached, tell them you have chosen a camp because you feel it is the safest place and that there are more people there who will watch over them. That is what is most important for them to know. At Pontiac you will be contacted during the winter and spring by a head counselor and during the week prior to camp your child’s group leader will call you. We hold a “new camper day” at camp in May where we provide a day of activities and bonding with other new campers in the group as well as a parent orientation program. Typically, in the spring, each younger group has an additional get together. Finally, when they ask questions or have concerns, if you are not sure of the answer, don’t wing it. Call us and we will work with you to create a strategy to make them feel comfortable and allay any anxieties.
  • How do you deal with “homesickness?”
    Homesickness is not an illness but rather occurs when campers have difficulty in transitioning from home to camp with separation issues and anxieties. Firstly, we partner with the parents to help ease the transition prior to camp, as well as throughout the summer. Extra parental contact with their camper may be required to reassure them that they are in a safe, fun-filled and nurturing environment. We establish a “support team” comprised of multiple staff members. A designated counselor advocate works closely to monitor the camper daily, especially during “down time.” They are introduced to specialists and program heads in activities that they enjoy for an added connection and increased participation. They are paired with campers of shared interests to create a sense of friendship and belonging. They meet with one of our camp counseling staff members who are school guidance counselors, social workers or family therapists with years of camp experience to oversee the entire process and coordinate with the parents.
  • Is Pontiac a Co-ed or Brother/Sister camp?
    We have the geographic layout to enable us to operate Pontiac as both. We are a Brother/Sister camp in that we have separate facilities and programming, enabling “boys to be boys” and “girls to be girls” during the entire daily programming. On the other hand, the conveniences of the immediate proximity of both campuses creates the ability to experience an age appropriate, well supervised social life with a co-ed family feeling where boys and girls can learn to grow together and respect one another. We live in a co-ed world which Pontiac teaches our campers.
  • What is your bullying policy?
    There is a distinction between a bullying mentality or just being annoying. We have a zero tolerance if there is true bullying – where an individual is continually targeted and demeaned. The situation is immediately addressed and if it persists will result in expulsion from camp. We will not permit any child to infringe upon the happiness of another.
  • How is illness handled?
    As physician/owners, we strive to set the gold standard of medicine in the camp industry with two separate state of the art health centers managed by a medical director, 3-4 physicians always on site, 12-14 nurses, an EMT and health center administrators. We can provide campers and staff the most experienced camp medical expertise available. If your child develops a medical condition and needs admission to one of our health centers, you will be contacted that day. Likewise, if your child requires outside services (specialists, ER, blood tests, X-rays) you will be apprised and be closely involved in the process for any significant medical issues.
  • Where do your campers come from?
    We have a very diverse geographic camper population, with 20% from New Jersey/Philadelphia area, 20% from Westchester/Connecticut, 33% from Long Island, 10% from New York City, 12% from Florida, and 5% from the remaining states.
  • How do campers travel to camp?
    We provide coach buses from Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and LaGuardia Airport round trip. Our Florida campers fly on chaperoned flights to and from camp.
  • Are you a uniform camp?
    Yes, with one caveat. We wear traditional camp uniform three days weekly, any Pontiac clothing or red and white clothing the other three days and on Thursdays we supply specialty Pontiac tees for College Game Day and Tribals.
  • Is there a big brother/little brother, big sister/little sister program?
    On girl’s side our campers are designated as little sisters through 6th grade and big sisters beginning 7th grade. Big sisters contact their littles to introduce themselves before camp. On the second night of camp “sisters” meet each other at a campfire and have bonding activities. There are multiple other big/little sister activities throughout the summer and big sisters frequently tuck in their little sisters at night. On boy’s side we create the bonding through College Game Day where boys are divided into 12 teams with campers of all ages on each team competing in sports every Thursday. Through this venue the older boys meet the younger ones on their team and form bonds throughout the summer. In addition, our boy and girl CITs are assigned to work one period a day with our younger campers throughout the summer.
  • Do you have a lice treatment protocol?
    Yes. We send information prior to camp emphasizing the importance of checking for lice immediately prior to camp and treating at home if necessary. Once your child arrives at camp, prior to going into the bunks, we hire a professional lice check service, who checks each camper. If a child has lice, parents have the option of picking up their child and treating them at home or having them treated at camp.
  • Is Pontiac a religious camp?
    No. We are non-denominational but have generic all camp events discussing life values. Children are welcome from all religions and backgrounds.
  • What are your package, bunk gift and technology policies?
    Everything is predicated upon offering a non-competitive, more genuine camp experience. We do not permit bunk gifts. We have a no package policy except for necessary items which must be arranged through the camp office. We do not permit cell phones or any hand-held devices that can access the internet or play movies. We accept devices that play only music.
  • What happens if my child gets hungry during the day?
    Daily we have three extensive meals, an AM fruit snack, a PM snack (ices, cookies, etc.) and an evening canteen with food and drink items. The dining room is open all day for juices, water and iced tea. There are stations with water chillers throughout camp to ensure that campers are well hydrated.
  • Where does the staff come from and what is the camper/counselor ratio?
    We hire 230 counselors to live in the cabins. That creates a 2:1 ratio for the younger campers and 3:1-4:1 for older campers. In addition, we employ 80 out of bunk senior adult staff to oversee camp. The average age of a counselor is twenty-one, 80% of our staff are American (40% of these are former campers) and 20% are international from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
  • What does your program emphasize?
    We offer a highly diverse program with strong sports instruction and game play balanced with non-athletic activities. We believe, through 6th grade, our campers should be exposed to a broad range of activities and sports with some choices and after 6th grade have the ability to select the majority of their activities.
  • Is Pontiac structured or laid back, competitive or non-competitive?
    We believe that children are more successful with a structured environment yet realize that every child is different and consequently we create enough down time throughout the day. We also believe in healthy competition where campers can improve their skills through extra instruction without compromising others. Each camper at Pontiac has the ability to participate in all activities and games.
  • What is a typical day?
    • 8:00 AM wake-up
    • 8:20 AM Line-up (announcements)
    • 8:30 Breakfast
    • 9:15-10:00 Clean up
    • 10:00 – 1:00 Three morning activities with AM snack
    • 1:00 Lunch
    • 1:45 – 2:30 Rest Hour or extra athletic instruction (at no extra charge)
    • 2:30 – 4:30 Two afternoon activities with PM snack
    • 4:30 – 5:15 General Swim through grade 6 – Optional general swim or extra sports above 6th grade
    • 5:15 – 6:00 Shower Hour
    • 6:00 PM Line-up (announcements)
    • 6:15-6:45 Dinner
    • 6:45 – 7:30 Free Play
    • 7:30 – 9:00 Evening activity and canteen
    • 9:00 – 11:45 Back to cabins - lights out (age dependent)