FAQ's For TS Family Camp

Questions about TS Family Camp?  Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below:
  1. What is included with my Camp registration fee?
  2. Does it really cost $160/$130 a person?
  3. Is there assistance available to help pay for my family to attend camp? 
  4. Can I just send my child to this camp?
  5. Can I bring other family members?
  6. I have a toddler/baby, can I bring them along too?
  7. What are the onsite sleeping accommodations?
  8. Can I stay in a hotel?
  9. Will we be sleeping with families we don't know? Will my family be split up?
  10. What are the bathrooms like?
  11. Are we going to be cooking our food over the fire?!?
  12. I have medication that must be kept cold, will I have access to a refrigerator?
  13. Am I able to purchase snacks or beverages onsite?
  14. Who will be watching and working with my child/children?
  15. What should I pack?
  16. What types of activities will the children be involved in?
  17. Who is responsible for the children during meal times and at the conclusion of activities for the day?
  18. Will my child 'pick up' tics from others?
  19. Will my child feel different at this camp?
  20. Will I have cell phone service and internet access?
  21. Will there be a medical personnel on site during the weekend?
  22. When will we get our schedule of events for the weekend?
  23. Can my child change groups at camp?
#1--What is included with my Camp Registration Fee?

The following is included in your Camp registration:
  • Meals for the weekend
  • Onsite Lodging
  • Activities and Workshops
  • Camp t-shirt
  • Conference Materials-handouts and give aways provided by speakers and workshop presenters
  • An Unforgettable Experience! 
#2--Does it really cost $160/$130 a person?

Yes, the actual cost per person is much higher. We rely on State Grant, Sponsorships and other fundriasing in order to supplement registration fees in order to keep costs affordable for families. 

#3--Is there assistance available to pay for my family to attend camp?

Yes, there are several way to help defray or have your entire camp fee covered!  Click Here for more information!

#4--Can I just send my child to this camp?

No, this is a family camp.  A parent or adult family member/guardian must be present for the entire duration of camp.   We plan separate tracks for parents/guardians and children so each will have a neat camp experience.  You won't want to miss out on all the fun!!

#5--Can I bring other family members?

We strongly encourage you to bring the entire family; Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  We have often heard from parents that they expected their child that is diagnosed with TS to have gotten the most from camp and they were very surprised at how much their siblings or even the parents learned and were able to take away from the experience.  We have several families that routinely bring grandparents and aunts or uncles to share in the experience of camp.  ALL are welcome!! 

#6--I have a toddler/baby, can I bring them too?

You are more than welcome to bring children under the age of 4, however we do not have babysitting or camp programming available.  They will be your responsibility.  Black Rock Retreat is located on many acres of wooded land.  You are welcome to tag along with a group with your little one or go off on an adventure of your own.  Perhaps if they are taking a nap in your arms you can even sit in on one of the parent workshops!  Because there is no cost for children under the age of 4 you will not be registering them online, however after registering please email Sara so we can take down the toddler's information, as we would still like to count them and provide them with a camp t-shirt and name tag! saraw@patsainc.org

#7--What are the onsite sleeping accommodations?

Black Rock Retreat has 60 private, hotel-style rooms that accommodate up to 5 family members. Each room has one queen size bed and two twin size beds and a bathroom. There are 3 handicap accessible rooms each with two queen sized beds and an accessible bathroom. There are no adjoining rooms, so families larger than 4-5 will need two bedrooms.  

#8--Can I stay in a hotel?

Yes, but you should not need to at Black Rock Retreat. If you choose to stay off-site, that fee is not covered by your registration fee or compensated by PA-TSA or scholarship funds.  This would be at your own expense.  

#9--Will we be sleeping with families we don't know?  Will my family be split up?

If you are a single adult, you can choose to pay the singe adult rate and we will assign a room-mate of the same gender. If you want to room alone, please pay the $160 upcharge when you register. If your family has more than 4-5 members, you may need two rooms--we will do our best to make them next to each other. Unless we exceed our 60 rooms, we will not combine families unless you request to room with another adult/child famly.   

#10--What are the bathrooms like?

Just like a basic hotel room!

#11--Are we going to be cooking our food over the fire?   What about food allergies?

No, Black Rock Retreat has a wonderful food services department.  We are provided with a well-rounded hot meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They will do their best to accommodate any food allergies. We ask that you share with us on the 'Camper's Information sheet' if any of your family members has a food allergy.  A menu will be sent out prior to camp.  If you would prefer to bring some specialty foods for your family you are more than welcome to do so.  There is a refrigerator and microwave you can have access to. Please label all food if you choose to supply your own.

#12--I have medication that must be kept cold, will I have access to a refrigerator?

Yes, you can, please label any medications.  Please note this on your 'Camper Information Sheet'.

#13--Am I able to purchase snacks or beverages onsite?

Yes, there is a gift shop on site. You can also pack some snacks or additional drinks if you so choose (Alcoholic beverages are not permitted)

#14--Who will be watching and working with my child/children?

We have volunteer youth mentors that will lead each kids' group.  These youth mentors have gone through a training program provided by PA-TSA as well as have met the state mandated clearance requirements to work with children.  Many of our Youth Mentors are affected by TS, either personally or within their family.  We also have a few youth mentors that are in the the medical field and are here because they feel passionately about giving our kids this unique and incredible experience.  

#15--What should I pack?

We will provide a packing list prior to camp so watch for an email about that!

#16--What types of activities will the children be involved in?

More information will be coming out about the activities as they are finalized. 

#17--Who is responsible for my children during meals and at the conclusion of activities for the day? 

The parents/guardians are responsible for the children during meals and at the conclusion of activities for the day. Additionally, if your child does not want to participate in a scheduled activity with their group, they will need to be supervised by a parent/guardian.

#18--Will my child 'pick up' tics from others?

This is often a fear for first time campers, whether they are an adult with TS or a child.  I can tell you that people can pick up new tics from each other.  However every family that has reported 'inheriting' a tic from a friend at camp has also reported that the tic left within a few weeks of returning home from camp. You can never be certain of what will trigger a new tic whether it is a tic of another child with TS or a behavior of peer on the playground.  The benefits of experiencing camp far out weigh the 'risks'! We hope you will be joining us!

#19--Will my child feel 'different' at this camp?

Our goal is to create an environment for these children to feel completely 'normal'.  The following are quotes from first time campers.
"Dad I like it here, everyone is 'normal' just like me"
"I can just be myself and no one stares or even notices!"
"It feels good to be in a place where you feel like the people around you understand you."

#20--Will I have cell phone service and internet access?

Yes, you will have cell phone reception and there is wifi. There are no tv's in the rooms and you will be too busy to notice!

#21--Will there be a medical personnel on site for the weekend? 

We will have a certified CPR/First Aid individual on duty throughout the weekend. 

#22 --When will we get our schedule of events for the weekend?

The schedule is often a work-in-progress until just a few weeks before camp. You will receive a final schedule with your materials when you register at camp and a draft copy will likely be sent out a week or two in advance so everyone can be prepared for what to expect.

#23--Can my child change groups at camp?

Changing groups at camp has been done in the past, however this is strongly discouraged as it creates several problems. First, it can make the groups different sizes and mean that volunteers must also move. Second, the medical information that will follow your child will need to also be transferred. Third, it is a huge safety concern as it is easier for a child to be "lost" if they do not stay with their assigned group. To alleviate this, we are working on several ideas that will allow people to check in to see if their "friends" are in their activity group and we can do all the switching before we arrive!

I hope we have answered all of your questions! If not please email Sara at saraw@patsainc.org