A group of kids at summer camp running through a river in Iowa.


Choosing a summer camp is a big deal. Camp should be a fun place and a space for kids to learn, grow, and develop.

We also know that safety is priority number one when parents choose the right summer camp for their child. At Camp Bear Creek, we care about your child’s experience and their development when they are here at camp. The policies listed below are designed to ensure that Camp Bear Creek is a place of safety, of welcome, and of faith formation each summer.

Our number one goal as an organization is the safety of each person, staff member, and guest that participates in our events and programs. When the unthinkable happens, the outcome of any emergency is how well prepared and trained the staff is in handling the crisis. Throughout our 12-day intensive staff training, our staff are trained in not only preventative steps to avert major emergencies but are also trained in a Plan of Action (POA) for any individual emergency that might arise. These POAs are practiced as real-life drills throughout staff training, and the subsequent procedures are revisited throughout the summer. Staff are trained to follow POAs for the following emergencies: Lost Camper, Severe Weather (Tornados), Drowning, Fire, Natural Gas Leak, and Unidentified Persons. In each of these cases, staff are trained on the specific steps in the Plan of Action for each emergency, and a thorough working knowledge and competency of each POA is expected of each team member by the completion of training. Should you have any questions about our procedures or POAs, please do not hesitate to contact Executive Director, Kevin Cullum, at (563) 488-3893

At Camp Bear Creek, we ask campers to come without technology like phones, smart watches, tablets, video games, etc. We want campers to be able to experience the natural world around them, be present in the moment, build positive relationships, and enjoy everything that camp has to offer. It’s very hard for them to do that when they are distracted by screens and devices. Being able to un-plug from technology and connect personally, emotionally, and spiritually with others is part of what makes camp so special. While it might seem like having a phone or device may help alleviate anxiety around homesickness or being away, the opposite is actually true. When they have an “out” like a phone, kids are less willing to make friends, participate in activities, or enjoy any part of the camp experience. They simply focus on the distraction of their phone. For all of these reasons, we ask campers to leave technology at home. If a camper does come with any of these distractions, they will be collected by the camp staff and returned to them at the end of the week. Camp Bear Creek is not responsible for any lost or damaged items. To learn more about our technology policy, check out this video.

For many kids, camp is one of the first experiences he or she has to be away from home for an extended period of time. Sometimes the myriad of emotions, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the camp experience can lead a camper to become homesick. Our staff are trained to deal with homesickness and all the emotions that come along with it. We instill a compassionate spirit into each of our staff that assists them in dealing gently with homesick campers. Our policy does not allow campers to call their parents; however, in extreme cases where the emotional well-being of the camper would greatly benefit from it, a director will contact the parents or guardians by phone and may allow the camper to speak with their parent. We have found that even in the most extreme cases this brief phone contact helps to alleviate many of the problems associated with homesickness; however, calling home is reserved for only the most extreme cases. Rarely will a camper be sent home due to homesickness.

Should a serious injury or illness occur above and beyond basic first aid treatment, a director will immediately notify the parents or guardians to inform them of the injury or illness. In the event that the injury or illness prevents the camper from returning to their group, a director will arrange for a parent or guardian to come and take home their camper. Each of our staff are certified in Child & Adult CPR/First Aid, and the camp additionally utilizes the services of volunteer nurses throughout the summer.

After registering for camp, each camper and their parent/guardian will be required to sign the following contract:

Because Camp Bear Creek will be my home for a period of time this summer, I agree to make it a safe place for myself and others; therefore, I agree to conduct myself in the following manner:

  • I will listen to others including staff and fellow campers.
  • I will control my own behavior and use appropriate language.
  • I will not cause physical or emotional harm to other campers or staff.
  • I will not engage in or threaten abuse of any kind.
  • I will respect the environment, camp equipment, property, and other campers’ belongings.

Discipline Policy: Camp operates on a three strike policy. A strike can be given by any staff member for any infraction of the above behavior contract. After a second strike is given, the Director will contact my parent(s)/guardian(s). Upon a third strike, I will be sent home and my parent(s)/guardian(s) will be required to pick me up that day. Camp Bear Creek has a zero tolerance policy on bullying and the possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, weapons, or illegal substances. Breaking this policy will result in an immediate three strikes, and I will be sent home.

By signing below, I am indicating that I have reviewed this Camper Behavior Contract with my parent(s)/guardian(s) and agree to abide by the rules. I understand that in the event I am sent home, no refund will be given. Following these rules will help camp be a safe environment for everyone.

After registering for camp, each camper and their parent will be required to sign the following dress code statement:

In order to create an appropriate atmosphere whereby all campers can grow and learn, I agree to abide by the following dress considerations:

  • I will wear clothing that completely covers my undergarments and does not expose my chest or stomach.
  • I will not wear cut-off t-shirts with the sleeves cut below my armpit.
  • I will wear a modest one piece swimming suit/tankini (girls) or board shorts/trunks (guys).

At Camp Bear Creek, we recognize that many of our campers come from different denominations and backgrounds. Sometimes, we may serve communion at a worship service. In order to ensure that no camper takes communion against their parents’/guardians’ wishes, we have created a statement detailing our beliefs regrading the sacrament of communion and how it will be administered. Every parent/guardian will have the chance to indicate whether or not they wish for their camper to partake in communion at camp. The statement is as follows:

The Sacrament of Communion is an outward and visible sign and seal of the promises God makes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It nourishes the faith of believers in the Church community and unites Christians. If the camp offers communion in its worship, the camp will use bread and grape juice to symbolize the body and bread of Jesus Christ. An ordained pastor will officiate the communion and will be accompanied by another pastor or elder. Presbyterians have an open table, meaning that if you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior you are welcome to participate regardless of denominational affiliation.