Camp Policies and FAQs
Do I have to be Episcopalian to come to camp?
Camp Tuttle is a ministry of the Episcopal church of Utah, but you do not need to be an Episcopalian to work at or attend Camp Tuttle. We celebrate and encourage diversity of experience and all are welcome at Camp Tuttle!
How old does my child have to be to attend camp?
While Camp Tuttle offers two Family Camps, where parents and children of any age attend camp together, for your child to attend on their own they must be going into 3rd grade. High school seniors are also invited to attend the summer after they graduate, and of course anyone in between!
How can I contact my child while they are at camp?
Campers are not permitted to have a cell phone during their stay at camp, and are encouraged to disconnect and unplug for their duration in the great outdoors. To contact your camper, pre-write letters to be delivered during the week, or leave a care package with notes for your child. If ever an emergency involving your child arises, we will contact you via phone call.
What do I or my child need to pack for camp?
Please see our various packing lists to make sure you and your child are packed appropriately for your stay at camp:
What activities can my child expect to participate in at camp?
The typical camp day is jam packed with activities that range from passive to active, and from chosen to guided. As a part of an Adventure Group, your child will participate in working and playing together as a group with 10-12 other campers. During Camper Choice time, your child will make a choice about whether to rock climb, play Nuke ‘Em, do arts & crafts, and many more choices! In the evening, our talented and skilled counselors will host and facilitate different activities that range from backpacking to capture the flag and more and that highlight the diversity of our experience as a staff. We close out the day with an evening program with our chaplain of the week and enjoy singing around the campfire. We often have guest speakers with us in the evening to enrich our camp experience.
How much does it cost to come to camp?
Visit the “Register for Camp” tab under the “2022 Camp” banner option and scroll to “Paying for Camp” to read more about our tier pricing system that allows families to pay according to their needs.
Scholarships are available, learn more here.
The safety of our staff, counselors, and campers is our top priority. All staff and counselors are required to be fully vaccinated in order to work at camp.
In order to prioritize the health and safety of our campers, staff and the entire Tuttle community, we have made some changes to our 2022 programs and Camp practices.
New for 2022, all campers who will be eligible for the vaccine by the time their summer program begins are required to be fully vaccinated* against COVID-19, as are all Tuttle staff.
Children who are not vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of coming to camp. Mid-week COVID testing will take place as the need arises for unvaccinated and/or symptomatic campers.
Most of our programming takes place outside, and when we are inside and in close proximity, masks will be required except when actively eating and drinking.
We are keeping a close eye on the latest recommendations for summer camp procedures provided by the ACA (American Camps Association), the CDC, and local government officials.
This page will be updated to reflect our current plans and is subject to update given new CDC guidelines. If you have any questions, concerns, or information that is relevant to us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Campers may also submit proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of coming to camp. Mid-week COVID testing will take place as the need arises for unvaccinated and/or symptomatic campers.
OVERVIEW OF GENDER-INCLUSIVE PRACTICES
Camp Tuttle seeks to foster a safe place where all youth and staff experience spiritual, environmental, social, and personal transformation by challenging their comfort zones and deeply engaging with their community and the world around them. We embrace youth and families from a variety of backgrounds – celebrating the diversity of Creation through our participant’s experiences of age, ability, race, language, sexual orientation, and gender backgrounds.
For over sixty years at our beautiful forested location in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Camp Tuttle has housed campers primarily in two cabin clusters, designated simply the Girls’ Cabins (comprising St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth, St. Margaret, and St. Martha) and the Boys’ Cabins (comprising St. Alban, St. Columba, St. Francis, and St. Vincent). In recent years, some cabins have transitioned into storage cabins (St. Stevens and St. Hilda) and a cabin for counselors to rest on their night off.
While this strictly binary housing arrangement has generally been satisfactory, it is no longer an adequate model, nor does it reflect or conform to the diversity of the camper population we serve. While binary options may be sufficient for the majority of participants, a non-trivial percentage of campers now identify as non-binary or gender fluid, and creating a space in which all campers and staff can feel affirmed, accepted, supported, and safe should be as fundamental a part of our mission as providing opportunities for learning, growth, and fun.
In 2019 our leadership team attended workshops at the annual ECCC conference about gender inclusivity and recognized that this was an essential area of growth for our camp. As a result, we began inviting campers to share their pronouns during introductions and expanded our staff training sessions to emphasize the importance of inclusion and diversity. Through community conversations, we now know that gendered bathroom and cabin spaces were negatively impacting youth experiences. We are fortunate to be in a strong network of “sibling” camps across the Episcopal Church (special shout-out to Transplaining and Camp Stevens!) who have guided us in implementing similar gender-inclusive practices at camp.
Our decision to offer a gender-inclusive housing option is the product of extensive research on best practices in the summer camp industry and careful deliberation by Camp Tuttle staff. It is also motivated in part by some alarming statistics that underscore the difficulties that many LGBTQIA+ youth face:
- More than 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth have seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth
- One in five trans* youth attempt suicide each year (but when transgender youth are empowered to share pronouns, use their name, and are affirmed for who they are, that risk is cut in half)
- Substantial majorities of LGBTQIA+ youth report feeling unsafe at school because of bullying and harassment
- An overwhelming majority of trans* youth never play a team sport
For more information about why gender-inclusive spaces are so important for trans* and non-binary youth, please watch this video by Chris Reys-Dupin of Transplaining whose work has assisted Camp Tuttle in developing this housing policy.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY DOES CAMP TUTTLE NEED A POLICY ABOUT GENDER INCLUSION?
Our primary goal at Camp Tuttle is to provide an excellent summer camp experience for our participants, especially those who may not feel welcome at other camps. We are openly Humanist and vocally tolerant of all but recognize we may be alienating some campers by reinforcing social norms related to the binary idea of gender – that all people are either male or female. Current science shows us that sex and gender identity exist along a spectrum. Alienation of trans youth and other non-binary campers can be overt, like bullying, but it can also be unintentional with very uncontroversial things like cabin assignments, cabin names, pronoun use, bathroom designations, and the very common practice of splitting up campers into groups of boys and girls for activities for no reason other than expediency. We feel it is important for us to address this issue and set an example making sure that all campers are welcome and feel respected at our camp and in our community.
HOW WILL CAMPERS BE ASSIGNED TO CABINS?
If you or your camper(s) would like to opt-in to staying in an all-gender cabin this summer, please email email@example.com.
On the 2023 applications for enrollment, prospective campers will be able to choose from the following housing preferences: same-gender, gender-inclusive (all gender), or no preference. We will make every effort to place in gender-inclusive housing every applicant who requests this option. All campers whose applications indicate a preference for same-gender housing will be assigned to the bunkhouse corresponding to their stated gender.
- Who can live in an all-gender cabin? Anyone can! All-gender cabins are good options for children who prefer to bunk with children of other genders, for non-binary children, for those who want to bunk with a friend who is nonbinary, or for campers who feel this is the best fit for any reason. Fraternal twins who want to bunk together often enjoy living in an all-gender cabin as well. Trans campers are welcome in all bunks including the all-gender cabin.
- What about bathrooms? The all-gender cabins have access to all-gender bathrooms and showers and the boys’ and girls’ bathroom and shower facilities. All single-occupant bathrooms at the camp facility will be designated as All Gender and available for use by any person, regardless of gender. All conventional social norms about respect, modesty, and civility apply.
- Who will be the counselors? We will assign loving Tuttle counselors to the all-gender cabins and provide additional training and resources to them.
- Will there still be diversity of gender expression within the boys’ and girls’ cabins? Yes. Camp Tuttle believes there is not one right way to be a girl or a boy and encourages all campers to just be themselves regardless of what cabin they live in.
WILL CAMPERS CHANGE IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER?
What you may not know is that most kids are pretty modest and have been changing in private or under their covers already at camp for years. We don’t expect this to present problems at camp and we’ll rely on the respect, modesty, and civility of campers and examples set by staff to rule the day.
I KNOW MY CIS-GENDER CAMPER WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM BEING IN THE GENDER-INCLUSIVE CABIN AND WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT GENDER DIVERSITY AT CAMP – SHOULD I REGISTER THEM FOR THE ALL-GENDER CABIN?
Of course! All campers are welcome in the all-gender cabin. Preference for cabin spots will be reserved for gender diverse campers but we will consider your strong preference if there are spots available. Let us know about your willingness to have your camper assigned to the gender-inclusive cabin in the “Special Instructions” field and let us know if it is your strong preference or whether you just don’t mind. If we need to reassign cisgender campers to the gender-inclusive cabin for logistical reasons, it will be nice to know your willingness and we will reach out to you directly.
HOW WILL COUNSELORS BE TRAINED IN GENDER INCLUSIVE PRACTICES?
Camp Tuttle’s commitment to gender inclusivity is emphasized throughout the process of onboarding staff, including the interview, preparations before summer, and on-site training, Staff training includes an overview of all camp policies and protocols; discussions about the importance of gender inclusivity as a part of Camp Tuttle’s larger commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI).
DON’T YOU EXPECT TO LOSE REGISTRATIONS BECAUSE SOME PARENTS ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR NEW POLICY?
Yes, but we feel it’s an important topic to address. People with concerns about this should know that for all campers assigned to their traditionally gendered cabins, this policy will affect them almost not at all. Being more inclusive and conscientious will make us a stronger and more compassionate community and we have faith that people will respond to our inclusiveness.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU HAVE THAT WE CAN SHARE WITH OUR CAMPER BEFORE THE CAMP SESSION?
Here are some websites that you may find useful and informative.
- Children and Gender Identity: Supporting Your Child (Mayo Clinic)—Contains information for supporting and advocating for a gender non-conforming or transgender child
- Transplaining—Seeks to create a safe world for transgender and gender non-conforming youth and adults through education, conversation, and empathy
- The Trevor Project—Provides information and crisis support 24/7 for LGBTQ+ youth; also publishes Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth
- Gender Spectrum—Works with children, families, and institutions to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments; includes guidance for families considering camp for their gender-expansive children
ISN’T THIS A LOT OF WORK TO ACCOMMODATE A VERY SMALL NUMBER OF CAMPERS?
Nope, and each camper is worth it.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING KNIVES, FIREWORKS, ILLEGAL DRUGS, ALCOHOL, OR CIGARETTES. THESE ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE AND WILL RESULT IN A TRIP HOME.
Campers, please DO NOT bring cell phones, iPods (or other music devices), hand-held video games, or candy. You will be asked to surrender these items to your parents at the time of check-in. We have an exciting and full schedule, and there will not be time for any of these things. Some of the focuses of camp include teambuilding and creating a sense of community among campers. As these items can only take away from and challenge that goal, they will be confiscated, and returned at the end of the week. Also, Camp Tuttle cannot be responsible for any lost or stolen items.