Frequently Asked Questions


You'll find answers to many questions below. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Who is eligible to attend the camp? 

Children who are Deaf or hard of hearing, using any form of assistive devices (such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHA, etc.) or who are D/HH and do not use any assistive devices. 

Children who are CODA, which by our definition means they are the child of a Deaf adult or a sibling of a Deaf child. CODA children are hearing but use American Sign Language fluently to communicate. 

Must my camper know American Sign Language? 

If a child is Deaf (whether using a hearing device or not), most likely he/she already uses ASL. If he/she is hard of hearing, or Deaf using a cochlear implant, we understand he/she may not be fluent in ASL. We hope that all campers will learn some (or more) ASL and become more comfortable signing while at camp. 

All children attending Camp Sertoma who are hearing CODA MUST use American Sign Language fluently to communicate with fellow campers as well as staff. 

We make every effort to communicate using both American Sign Language and English for all activities. We strive to provide an environment where all campers have the best possible camp experience with their peers – where campers can make lifelong friends. A common language makes this possible.

Who runs Camp Sertoma?

Camp Sertoma for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children has operated for 38 years as a joint effort between the Camp Sertoma Committee of NC/VA/MD and the North Carolina 4-H program. The Camp Sertoma Committee handles all the registrations and financial aspects for our weeklong residential camp, and hires Deaf and hearing ASL interpreting staff to serve as cabin counselors and interpreters -- which supplements the 4-H summer staff who are at camp all summer. 

Over the years, our camps have been held at different 4-H facilities in North Carolina. For 2020, we return to Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe, NC. Millstone is managed and operated under North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) at North Carolina State University.

When is the camp held? Is there more than one week of camp each summer?

The camp is held at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe, NC. It is only held for one week per summer, and we have held 37 annual camps thus far. In 2020, the camp will be held from June 28-July 3.

How do I sign up my camper for Camp Sertoma?

Either complete the paper brochure/application form and fax, email or mail it to the registration coordinator, or go to the registration page and apply online. Answer all the questions on the application and that will help us to determine your camper’s eligibility to attend. Each application must be accompanied by the $25 application deposit, which may be paid by mailing a check, or by asking to pay online. (An invoice will be emailed to you, which you can pay using a credit or debit card.) Only applications with a deposit paid will be considered for inclusion in the camp program. 

What if I don’t have the funds to cover the cost of tuition?

We do not turn away children because of financial reasons. The Camp Sertoma Committee has a scholarship fund -- which is made up of donations from Sertoma Clubs throughout North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as donations from private individuals and other organizations. Part of the initial application form includes questions to answer about scholarship eligibility. You will be notified at the time that your child’s camp scholarship application is accepted if you are eligible to receive a partial or full scholarship. 

What happens once I apply for camp? 

PLEASE NOTE: a priority registration will be used for Deaf/HH campers. This registration modification will help ensure that a balance of Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing CODA campers is maintained at each age level — which helps us plan for staffing and activities to make sure your camper has the best access to camp. 

You will be contacted once your child’s application is received. Deaf/HH camper applications will be reviewed immediately upon receipt; hearing CODA applications will be placed on a waiting list and reviewed beginning April 1. Apply today, space is limited!

Once my child is accepted into the camp, what happens next? 

Upon notification of the camper’s acceptance, a set of documents will be forwarded to you via email (and if email is not available, it will be forwarded via regular mail) for you to complete and return by June 1. You should complete those forms right away and return them at your earliest convenience. You will also receive a packing list for camp.

What kind of forms do I need to fill out? 

A Health History and Custody Release form must be completed -- which provides our camp staff with detailed information about your camper’s health, including past and present conditions, medications he/she takes, allergies and special needs. This form needs to be taken to the camper’s doctor’s office for completion and sign-off by the doctor. 

You must also complete pages for insurance information and a consent to treat form, which requires a notary public to witness/sign it. You must also review and sign the Parent Agreement, which indicates your understanding of our policies and procedures. In addition, campers must also review and sign the agreement, indicating your camper understands the code of conduct.

These forms look like a lot of work. Why do I need to complete them?

It is for your camper’s protection as well as ours. Your child will be in our custody for six days. We want to provide the very best possible care for all campers while they are with us, in addition to providing them with a fun and educational summer camping experience. We need to be prepared for all possibilities – illness, accident, injury, etc. We need to know if campers have dietary restrictions, special emotional or physical needs, illnesses, allergies, and more. To give them the best care, we need to have both you and your camper’s doctor’s office complete the health history form in detail, to ensure that campers are healthy to attend camp. 

In addition, we need to know their health insurance information, and have you sign your consent to treat if in the rare case we might need to seek medical attention for your camper. This gives us the authority to act on your behalf with a medical professional, if need be. We need a notary public to witness your signature to assure that you have given permission for a potential medical treatment. These documents help us to help your camper have the best possible experience, both physically and emotionally.

What if I don’t get my paperwork completed and returned by the deadline?

Your camper may lose his/her spot in the camp. The deadline is issued ahead of the start of camp for a reason: we need to have staff review each and every camper’s forms, make notes of any circumstance which needs our attention. (For example, you certainly do not want your camper to be exposed to peanuts if he/she have a peanut allergy. If you haven’t informed us of that allergy, then you are not giving us the tools that we need in order to take good care of your camper.) 

Also, we need you to understand that our registration staff are volunteers who are doing this work in their spare time. They do not have the time to wait for you to send in your paperwork late. Nor do they have the ability to call each and every parent to chase down paperwork. We want for each camper to have the opportunity to attend camp; we certainly don’t want that opportunity to be taken away from them because their forms are not completed.

When will I find out what time I need to bring my child to camp, and what we need to bring with us?

At least a few weeks before the first day of camp, parents will be sent an information packet which will include the time to drop off campers on the first day of camp, the time to pick them up on the last day of camp, and a list of items to pack for each camper. We call this the “Getting Ready for Camp” communication.  In addition, you'll find this information on the Camp Week page of this website, as well as links to packing lists.

What do I need to send with my camper to camp?

A link to packing lists can be found on the Camp Week page of this website. In addition, a packing list will be provided to you with your first set of forms to complete. We will provide it again with your Getting Ready for Camp information packet. 

Can I send food with my camper to camp?

The short answer is, no." Snacks of any kind cannot be in cabins, as they attract rodents and other pests. In some very rare instances, a camper may have special dietary needs that may not be met through the typical camp meal and snack menu. In those instances, with the approval of camp personnel, meal and snack substitutes may be sent to camp with the camper and stored in the camp dining hall. Campers receive three meals per day, as well as daily afternoon and evening snacks.

Please note that each and every one of the items on the packing list must be included with your child’s baggage when they come to camp. Please do not forget anything on the list. It is important that your child come prepared. And if you have any questions about what an item means, please ask us. For instance, “toiletries” would mean toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo & conditioner, comb or hairbrush, and whatever else is needed for your child’s personal hygiene. Also, we are not a hotel, we do not provide bedding (which means pillow, blanket, sheets, AND sleeping bag) and we also do not provide towels, washcloths, etc. All of this is on the packing list and must be sent with your child to camp. In addition, please send along personal care products that your camper may need when staying away from home. Some campers have difficulty transitioning into a new environment for the first time.

It's hot … do I really need to send long pants for my camper?

YES! Campers are required to wear long pants while riding horses. Long pants help prevent skin from chafing or being pinched in stirrup leathers. Plus, if it’s hot (and it usually is during camp week), the saddle can be too hot for tender skin.

Older campers will also be on the ropes course. Long pants or longer shorts are required at the ropes course, in order to prevent chafing, pinching and rope burns.

Is there a bus that can pick up my camper and deliver him/her to camp and return home? 

Not specifically, but we do have Sertoma volunteers in selected areas who are willing to assist families with transportation if they are unable to transport their camper themselves. Because we tend to have several campers coming from the Raleigh-Durham area, we will have a van coming from there, but otherwise, we will be asking our volunteers to transport campers in their personal vehicles as may be needed. We do, however, encourage all families who have the means to transport their camper to do so. For planning purposes, please let us know at your earliest convenience whether your camper will need transportation.

Can I talk to my camper while he/she is at camp?

The only reason you would talk with your camper during camp week would be if there is a reason it would be necessary – such as a behavioral or medical issue. Otherwise we hope that you can both enjoy a few days of independence from one other. We certainly encourage families to send letters or care packages (which do NOT contain food) ahead of camp that will arrive while they are here! Those should be sent to your camper, in care of Millstone 4-H Camp, 1296 Mallard Drive, Ellerbe, NC 28338. Please be advised that the campers must leave their cell phones with you; we do not allow cell phones at camp. 

Can I meet my camper’s counselors and/or other camp staff?

Absolutely! When you check in your camper on the first day of camp, you can meet his/her counselor(s) and see where your camper will be bunking for the week. However, once you have ensured that he/she has settled in, we encourage you to allow your camper time with his/her new friends to get acclimated, and you can depart the facility.

Can I get updates about my child during the week?

Yes and no. We will post photos on social media each day, and we try to capture as many of the campers as we can. Notes may be made regarding the activity campers are doing in the photo. However, we are not able to answer specific check-in inquiries from parents. Our time is better spent working with the campers to provide them an awesome experience, and we will not have much time or opportunity to check emails or phone messages. If you do not get a call from us during the week to discuss a specific matter, consider that to be a good thing! 

What happens if my camper misbehaves during camp?

We will follow our Code of Conduct to deal with any behavior issues that may crop up. The severity of the infraction will correspond to the type of discipline a camper may receive. We try to give campers at least one warning before sending them home, but we will indeed send your camper home if he/she is a repeat offender and/or behaves in such a way that he/she needs to be separated from other campers. 

What activities will my camper be participating in while he/she is at camp? 

Although it can vary from year-to-year, most likely the following activities will be offered:

Explorers group (ages 8-14): activities may include, but will not be limited to, swimming (in the pool as well as in the lake), arts & crafts, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, archery, nature walks and hikes, sleeping under the stars, and more.

Adventurers group (ages 15-16): In addition to some or all of the above, activities may include team building, backpacking/hiking, climbing, sleeping under the stars, cooking meals over a campfire, nature education, survival training, and more. 

All of these activities are operated and supervised by trained program staff and meet American Camp Association (ACA) guidelines.

Where is Camp Sertoma?