Welcome to the fun-filled world of HSC campouts! We have compiled the following information to give you an idea of what to expect at our campouts. We hope you find this information informative and helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the camp host for the particular campout youíre planning to attend or hoping to attend, or contact our campout coordinator.
To stay informed and involved, join the HSC campers email discussion list.
New and inexperienced campers are welcome on HSC camp-outs.
Are most people who camp with HSC experienced campers? HSC camp-outs are for everyone! We welcome new and inexperienced campers. No need to worry. Once you have camped with us, you will know everything you need to know about camping. Weíll help. Feel free to either post your questions to the HSC yahoo camping list or Facebook group, or contact the Camp Coordinator, Catherine Hanna-Askin at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a first time camper, what do I need to bring?
Here is what you will need at minimum. For a more complete packing lists join our Yahoo web page.
∑Sleeping Bags & Pillows
∑Plastic Bins to store non-perishable food
∑Plates, Sporks, Cups
∑Warm Clothes (often get chilly at night)
How can I try out camping without spending a lot of money?
We suggest that new campers either borrow equipment or rent it. REI and other camping stores often offer reasonably priced rentals.
Are there electric outlets at our camp-sites?
Some have electric outlets and others do not. Please ask the camp host if having electric outlets matters to you.
Are there flush toilets are our camp-sites?
Most camp-sites have flush toilets. However, some do not. Joshua Tree, a favorite HSC camp-site, has vault toilets.
Are there showers at our camp-sties?
Many of our camp-sites have pay showers, so bring lots of quarters.
Are there stores at our camp-sites
Most camp-sites have a small store which sells ice and other essential items. Some camp-sites are near cities with grocery stores. Others are remote. Ask the host about nearby amenities.
Do I have to pay for babies and toddlers? Children under two are free.
What forms do I need to complete to attend an HSC camp-out?
HSC honors the diversity of homeschoolers. This diversity is reflected in our camp-outs. Because our campers come from many different backgrounds and have different parenting styles, we have developed some processes to help create an enjoyable camping experience. We have found that for many camping families the community created at campouts extends to future campouts and beyond.
At HSC camp-outs we arrange our kitchen areas so that we have a Community Kitchen.
What is a Community Kitchen? Each family has their own kitchen and prepares their own food. However, we set up our kitchen areas next to each other in one area of the campsite.
Why do we have a Community Kitchen? Like the kitchen in your home, camp kitchens tend to be a great place to gather. Whether your preparing your potluck dish or making a late night snack, it's often just so much more fun to have some company while your cooking - and the kids like it too!
Tables - You will need to bring your own table. Group camp sites have only a few tables and those tables are for playing cards and games, doing crafts, setting out the potluck dinner and for eating together.
When you arrive at camp the host will point out the kitchen and tenting areas. Tents are usually around the perimeter of the camping area and away from the kitchen/campfire area if possible. Additionally we also like to leave an open area for running games if the campsite allows.
I like to go to bed early, where should I put my tent? Put your tent as far away from the kitchen area as you are comfortable. Please do not expect it to be quiet by 10:00 pm in the kitchen area or around the fire pit. There will be noise in the kitchen area until the wee hours of the morning.
I like to stay up late, where should I put my tent? Put your tent in an area away from the main tent/sleeping areas; nearer to the kitchen area. You may not disturb those who are sleeping. Remember when someone is right next to you laughing and talking loudly, it sounds like theyíre in your tent.
The highlight for many is the nightly optional potluck. Potluck is one of the few times at camp when everyone is together. For those who are unable to eat potluck due to dietary concerns, we still welcome you to eat your dinner with the group.
How much should I prepare?What is the total amount your family will eat? Make at least enough so that you would fill their stomachs if they ate only that one dish. There should be enough for your family with plenty left over to share. You may serve yourselves before you put your dish on the potluck table.
What kinds of food are at Potluck? Anything goes. Some people are gourmet cooks. While others prepare simple, satisfying meals. Everyone always appreciates a huge batch of just a plain ole fresh vegetables, or mashed potatoes, or hot dogs. It doesn't have to be complicated. Donít forget the kid-friendly meals of mac and cheese, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Most people enjoy fruit as well.
I am a vegetarian or a vegan, will there be food for me at the Potluck? Many of our campers are vegetarian or vegan and there is always lots of food for them.
How will I know if the food is vegetarian or vegan? The host will provide clothespins to identify vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes. One clothespin is vegetarian, and two clothespins is vegan. Gluten free clothespins are marked as such. Please be sure to use the clothespins to identify your food. The clothespins will be on the potluck table before meals.
Will there be enough food? There is usually plenty of food. However, make sure that your children donít take too much before everyone has been served.
My kids are little, can they go first? The littlest kids are allowed to go to the front of the line. Parents may join them.
Are there any planned activities at HSC cam-outs? There are both spontaneous and planned activities. Capture the flag, badminton, a knitting circle, a hike, are all examples of spontaneous activities.
I would like to plan an activity, would that be ok?We love it when campers want to organize activities! Let everyone know what you are planning so they can bring the necessary supplies. Tie dying, foam weapon making, friendship bracelets, or a side trip are examples of past activities.
I have an RV; can I bring it to a HSC camp-out? We are usually at a group site, and many group sites do not allow RVís. If you have an RV, please let the host know and she will tell you if we can accommodate it. Many people with RVís get an individual site near the group site. Please note, many places do not allow RVís longer than 29í.
I have a Trailer or Tent Trailer; can I camp at the group site?Some group sites allow Tent Trailer and Trailers. Please ask the host if you can bring your tow vehicle. Please note that even if you can bring your tow vehicle, most likely you will not be able to park your car at the group site. You may need to park your car in an overflow parking area. You also may need to pay for parking.
Parents are solely responsible for the welfare and safety of their children or any minor children accompanying them to HSC camp-outs. Each parent must supervise their children and any children accompanying them.
Parents will supervise their children so that there is a safe and respectful atmosphere at HSC camp-outs. Parents should discuss with your children the responsibilities of being in a group that consists of a variety of ages -- young children, teens and adults.
Parents are soley responsible for the activities of their children and any children accompanying them to HSC events.
During the HSC camp-outs, do my children have to be with me at all times? Parents are solely responsible for the supervision of their children. Parents will need to decide what that looks like. Parents know their children and know how much or how little supervision their children need.
Can I leave my children with other parents if I need to run a short errand?If you need to lave the campsite for any reason, please ask another parent to watch your child(ren). Let your child(ren) know that you are leaving the campsite and who is watching them. Do not leave your children unsupervised.
If I see a child doing something that I think is dangerous, what should I do?Ask the child to stop. If the child says that ďs/he is allowed to do itĒ, then ask the child to go to his/her parents and tell them what they are doing. Sometimes, you will see something that you think is dangerous; however, the parents know about it and are ok with it. If you are concerned, it is always good to let the parents know about the questionable behavior.
Tigers, lions and bears, on my! Occasionally we go to places where there are dangers such as raging rives, high rocks or other natural dangers. In those cases, you should discuss with your child(ren) what is ok for them to do. Can they climb those high rocks? Can they be anywhere near the raging river? Become familiar with the area and let your children know what is acceptable to you.
Instructions for registration will be provided when registration opens for each individual event. HSC members get priority and so do campers who are staying the entire time. Specific limitations or options will be provided for each campout, so read the information thoroughly.
Registration payments are nonrefundable unless we are able to fill your spot. IF we can fill your spot, we will refund your payment minus a $15 processing fee.
HSC hosts campouts in February, March/April, May, June, September and October. As soon as dates and locations are confirmed, a "Save the Date" announcement is posted here and on the HSC email list, the HSC Campers List, and in "The California Homeschooler" monthly email newsletter sent to all current HSC members.
When registration becomes available that will also be announced here and on the HSC email list, the HSC Campers List, and in "The California Homeschooler" monthly email newsletter.
Remember that HSC members get priority registration and campouts do fill up quickly. Join HSC here.
HSC offers GROUP campouts and generally expects all families camping with us to camp in the group site as arranged by HSC. Since HSC bases our camping prices on the number of campers expected in the group site, it can create a financial hardship for HSC if people choose to make their own reservations in individual sites. Under some conditions, it may be necessary for some campers to be in individual sites rather in the group site. If you have special circumstances that require you to reserve your own individual site, you may still be able to participate in our group, but this must be arranged with HSC as soon as possible and at least two weeks before the campout.
If you do arrange with HSC to be in an individual site, we will need some required forms and a $25 participation fee which must be filled in online and paid online at least 2 weeks prior to the campout.
Instructions for filling out the forms and paying your participation fee will be given to you when you make arrangements with HSC for individual site camping.
Remember, if you are in an individual site, you must still make sure that your children are under the direct supervision of a responsible adult whenever they are in the group site.
If you would like to arrange to camp in an individual site, please email HSC at: email@example.com.
Visiting for a day- We love to have you! Please let the Host or the Camp Coordinator know and we will explain to you how to complete your required forms online before your visit. No fee required.
Campout Calendar 2015
February 3-8: Camp Krem, Santa Cruz Mountains
March 8-13: Joshua Tree National Park
May: Dates & Location to be determined
June: Mono Hot Springs
August 6-9: HSC Conference
September: Dates & Location to be determined
October: Pismo State Beach
State parks do not allow reservations more than six months in advance for most campgrounds.
Where: Santa Cruz Mountains www.campingunlimited.org WHEN: February 3 - 8, 2015 COST: $40 per person (children 2 yrs and older) 4 hour work exchange* 2 hour clean up at end of camp** RV's: Limited space, no hook-up's Registration: Priority will be given to HSC members. Refunds will be given for cancellations, less a non-refundable $15 cancellation fee, only if we are able to fill your space and made no later than January 20, 2015. REGISTRATION: PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY Our online registration process has changed slightly, please read directions on the website carefully. We continue to refine our process to make it easier and complete.
The FIRST step in the process is pre-registration. By pre-registering, your entire family will have spaces allocated for them. Following your pre-registration, within 24 hours, you will receive a confirmation email and instructions on how to complete full registration for the campout. Those who are on the waiting list at that point will also be notified.
Your SECOND step in the process is to finish the full registration, which includes payment and form completion. If you do not complete the second step within 48 hours of notification, you will automatically be moved to the waiting list. If you are bringing children not your own, a parent or guardian of the child will need to complete the campout registration, including a separate liability release form. Additionally, a medical release form (found here http://hsc.org/liability-form.html) must be completed by a parent or guardian, and the adult bringing the child must have two copies of the medical release (one for self and one for campout host) during the campout.
Now more about the campout! Camp Krem, HSC's fabulous "indoor" winter "campout" is coming up soon. We'll be staying at beautiful Camp Krem, located a few miles from Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains from Tuesday February 3rd to Sunday February 8th.
Camp Krem was established as a summer camp for developmentally disabled people, but during the off season it is used by other groups. Generally camps like this run $30 per person per day and up, but HSC has arranged to use the camp as a partial work exchange, with us doing some maintenance work for the camp. The price of this gathering is only $40 per person for five full days.
The camp is situated on top of a beautiful hill with panoramic views. We will have full use of the large dining hall with a fireplace, a large restaurant-type kitchen, outdoor decks (partially covered from rain), two other indoor lounge/meeting spaces, men's and women's bathrooms with (free) showers, and even a cheap coin operated laundry room. Outdoors there is a fire pit in an amphitheater, a play structure, a gazebo and basketball hoop, as well as miles of hiking trails on the property. (There's a pool but it's closed for winter.)
Camp Krem is quite different from other HSC campouts. People tend to spend lots of the time indoors in the dining hall. We have electricity, so that means computers, video games, movies, sewing machines, midnight doughnut making and late nights. Some have called it more of a giant sleepover than a campout. If you want to see your HSC friends in wintertime, or if you love the idea of days of lots of indoor play, you'll love it! Weather permitting there are great opportunities for outdoor adventure in the area; itís just combined with the indoor part.
The weather in January-February in this area ranges from torrential rain to balmy sunshine. I'm hoping we hit that gorgeous sunny week we usually get that time of year, but we can't count on it. That's why we need roofs! If you come, prepare for a variety of weather conditions. We will have to venture outdoors to go between the dining hall, cabins and bathrooms, so warm clothes, rain gear and umbrellas are a good idea just in case.
Sleeping accommodations consist of cabins, each of which will hold 10 people on five sets of bunk beds. These cabins are not winterized. The cabins have roofs and doors but the top couple of feet of the walls is just screen covered with plastic. The cabins are not heated and most have no electricity. (A couple have light bulbs but none have outlets.) Bring flashlights and lanterns that can be used indoors. The bunks have mattresses but we'll need to bring our own bedding. Make sure it's warm bedding! (Extra blankets or quilts with sleeping bags should work. Hot water bottles or heat-able rice bags are nice too. Also, sleeping bag pads on top of the mattresses help with warmth. Long underwear, hats...people have lots of recommendations for staying warm.)
Ten people, two or three families usually, share each cabin. Itís easy to put up a curtain of some kind as a divider if people want one. If you know a family you'd like to share with, arrange it with them, then let me know and I'll put you together. I recommend that you bring a doormat to keep the mud out of the cabins and make clean-up easier. Those staying in the cabin will be responsible for cleaning it up before leaving.
Because we are getting to use Camp Krem partially in exchange for work and because there's no janitorial service, we'll need to each pitch in to get the work done. *I'm anticipating that the maintenance work we'll do (it could be organizing their camping or craft supplies or filing or weeding or any of a variety of projects) will take about 2 to 3 hours per person, with some jobs taking longer and some heroic campers pitching in very generously! **Each family should plan to pitch in to help keep the common areas (bathrooms, dining hall, kitchen) somewhat clean during the week and **we'll all help do a thorough clean-up of all the facilities we use before we leave at the end. How families determine who in the family does the work is up to each family. In some, just parents work, in others, kids pitch in.
Camp Krem will provide cleaning supplies but we need to bring our own towels, soap, personal items, as well as bedding.
We also will provide our own food and do our own cooking, as we do when camping. We will be having our infamous Potluck Dinner at Six each night (except the first night always gets pushed later!). We'll be able to use the kitchen, including refrigerators. The kitchen is big enough - it's huge! - that itís comfortable for most of the group to use together. You donít need to bring eating utensils Ė they have plenty of silverware, plastic plates, cups, and bowls. But please bring pots and pans. The ones at Camp Krem are too super-sized for most normal cooking. You can also bring your table and camp stove and cook outdoors under the eaves of the building if you can't stand being so civilized! We can have the fire pit going even in the rain, so bring those Dutch ovens if you want. The camp provides firewood.
The camp is only a couple of miles from Boulder Creek and access to groceries.
No pets or firearms are allowed at this facility. Smoking is only allowed in designated areas. RVs will need to park up the hill a bit. There are no hook-ups and we need to make sure not to block fire lanes. Please let me know if you'd like to bring an RV or camper.
OK, if you're ready to brave the possible rain and make your way to the Santa Cruz Mountains to hang out in a glorious spot with some of the most wonderful people on the planet, go pre-register now!