Parent and Guardian FAQs

Who can attend Ma-He-Tu?

We think everyone should go to camp! Camp Ma-He-Tu is open to all girls, regardless of race, nationality, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. However, not every camp is right for every girl. In order for all of us to have a fun and successful summer, participants should be able meet the following essential requirements:

  1. Move independently throughout camp across rocky and rough terrain.
  2. Effectively interact in a peer group and with counselors based on program content.
  3. Independently meet personal care needs (bathing, toileting, dressing, diet management, etc.).
  4. Self-manage chronic illnesses or allergies (with medication help from the nurse, of course).

Please give us a call if you are unsure if your camper is ready for sleepaway camp. We want her with us if it is a good fit, and we want to help you find the right camp if not.

What is so unique about Ma-He-Tu’s staffing?

The fact that for 2022, 90% of our counselors were former campers is very special and unique. Our Board of Directors is also roughly 90% former campers, counselors, or parents of campers! We have long-standing, personal relationships with these wonderful young adults and their love of Ma-He-Tu and their special training make them ideal role models and mentors for our campers.

Counselors apply each year, regardless of how many years they have attended and are individually evaluated by the Board of Directors based on their experience with children, their desire to be a role model, leadership, maturity, skills, creativity, and sense of humor. Our staff is completely dedicated to making Ma-He-Tu a special, safe, and memorable experience for our campers. The staff meets for an entire week prior to the start of camp for training, to prepare for the arrival of campers, and to ensure we meet or exceed the American Camp Association (ACA) standards for overnight camps.

What is the camper/staff ratio?

We have a minimum of 1 counselor to 5 campers in our living units and during activities, which is above and beyond the coverage required by the American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA requirements are 1:6 for 6 - 8 year-olds, 1:8 for 9-14 and 1:10 for 15-18 year-olds.

Is there a nurse on-site?

We have a live-in nurse to tend to all routine and emergency medical needs. In addition, many of our staff members are first aid and CPR certified. We have a physician available for office visits and Good Samaritan Hospital is easily accessible nearby in Suffern in case of emergency. The camper’s health insurance will be her primary coverage while she is at camp.

What are the requirements to sign up?

At the time of registration, you will need to create an account through our registration platform. By creating an account, you can register your camper, add a credit card and payment plan, and complete required forms. At the time of registration, we require a $250 deposit (per session) to hold your spot. Final payment is due June 1st.

What are the health requirements?

Each camper is required to have a health examination with her physician prior to attendance. The forms must be completed 4 weeks prior to check-in and can be found on the Forms and Documents page. The examination must be within one year of her date of attendance. Upon check-in, the nurse will conduct a short health screening with each camper - please contact the registrar prior to check-in to discuss any concerns. If a camper requires regular medications, they must be given to the nurse in the original packaging at that time. Any medications will be administered by the nurse as directed.

What is the plan for COVID-19 this year?

Our top priority is the safety and health of our campers and staff. The most up to date information will be shared with registered families and posted in the Health + Safety section of our website.

When are Forms and payments due?

Forms are due 4 weeks prior to your camper’s first session. Payments can be made throughout the year using our payment plans. Final payments are due June 1st.

Do campers need to bring money?

Campers should NOT bring cash or any other valuables. Parents will be asked to set up a Canteen account during registration to cover any expenses that the camper incurs during her session, such as special treats or snack purchases, or forgotten items.

What is Canteen?

Canteen is what we call our camp store - this includes all of the merchandise we sell online and the ad-hoc purchases campers may need to make during their stay with us. Campers can buy things like forgotten or misplaced items (toothbrushes, deodorant, flashlights, swim caps, etc) or snacks and a drink during our daily snack period. The latest Camp Ma-He-Tu fashions in tee-shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts are also available for purchase online and can be delivered to your camper during their session.

Is there laundry service?

Our laundry facilities are extremely limited and are reserved for "emergency" use. The best approach is to bring enough clothing to last the entire two-week encampment without needing to do laundry. We also recommend that each camper bring a laundry bag to easily separate soiled from clean clothes and linens.

What happens if my camper is homesick?

Our staff members are former Ma-He-Tu campers, so they understand what it is like to be away from home. We have a very positive support group to help campers adjust to camp life, and any homesick campers are treated with extra sensitivity and positive reassurance. Most campers who feel a little homesick during the first few days are the same girls who don't want to go home at the end of the session! Homesickness is normal and easily cured at camp.

Parents and guardians can help by sending reassuring letters (lots of them!) and making sure they let their camper know that if they stick with it, they will have a great time at camp.

Can I call my camper?

It is important to remember that camp is an ideal place for your camper to increase self-confidence and independence. Phone conversations can significantly impede this growth and development, and despite best intentions, direct phone contact with campers nearly always escalates or intensifies homesickness and is generally discouraged. Parents are always welcome to call or e-mail the camp directors at any time to check on their child’s well being. The best way to communicate with your camper is through postal mail. Everyone likes to get a handwritten letter :)

Do campers get mail and packages?

Yes! We encourage friends and family to write to our campers often. The mail is typically delivered once a day around lunchtime. Please visit our Keeping in Touch page for more detailed information.

How should we prepare for camp?

Our Family Handbook contains a LOT of great information about preparing for camp and what happens during camp. We encourage parents to read the Handbook every summer as that is also where we include new or updated information for that year that they should know about. The handbook contains important dates, information about required forms, tips for first year families, packing information, check-in day information, and more.

Is tuition tax-deductible?
Long story short - probably not. You've likely heard of the Child and Dependent Care Credit - unfortunately, overnight camps usually don't qualify. Please consult a tax professional if you have any questions.
What is the best way to reach the camp office?

The office is open from 8:00am to 10:00pm while camp is in session. The phone number is (845) 942-4508. We will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have. During meals or all-camp activities an answering machine may pick up your call.

What if I have more questions?

One of the best ways to learn more about Ma-He-Tu is to attend one of our Open Houses. You can get a full tour of our site, ask a staff member or Board member any questions, and possibly meet some other new campers! Check our Open House page for dates!

If you can’t make it to an Open House or find the answer to your question on our website – please let us know! We want to answer your questions and make sure we are providing the best information possible on our website. Please email info@mahetu.org or call us at 631-351-1657.