What is a "Living Group"?
To facilitate a transformational experience of practicing Christian community together, our programs use a small-group camp ministry model. The core of this experience is the Living Group, a group of up to 12 campers and two counselors who do “everything” together for the week.
DOES EVERYONE DO EVERY ACTIVITY?
We hope every camper has the best week of their summer; our goal is for each camper to have a transformational experience of Christian community. Activities that are safe, age-appropriate, and fun are a huge part of that. Even more important than activities, though, are the relationships formed in Living Groups during and after those activities (as well as at meals and chapel services). Because our focus is on forming faith and friendships, no two weeks of Glisson are exactly alike; each Living Group has its own schedule. And because we have more activities than we have activity blocks in that schedule, Living Groups cannot possibly do every activity in a single week. Our counselors are trained to craft their group’s schedule with traditionally popular activities in mind (e.g. creek hike) and also with a goal of getting campers in-the-air (e.g. Challenge Course) and wet (e.g. pool) each day (weather-permitting). There are certain activities that are age-dependent and/or program-dependent. Notable examples include but are not limited to “The Blob” waterfront activity (middle school and high school Village only) and Outpost’s adventure trips (whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, etc). If you or your camper have any questions at all about our program activities, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 706-864-6181.
WHAT ARE YOUR CORE VALUES?
SHORT ANSWER: Around our 85th summer, we sought to uncover the consistent components of Glisson experiences across nine decades of ministry. The fruit of that process was a list of core values:
- Radical Acceptance | “Whoever you are…” | We accept one another for who we are – without exception.
- Unconditional Love | “Whatever you do…” | We love one another as fellow children of God – not as a condition of perceived merit.
- Christian Community | “You belong here…” | We serve one another by contributing our unique set of God-given strengths to the good of the group.
- Experiential Learning | “You can grow here…” | We challenge one another to put our faith to practice, then reflect upon our experiences.
We identified these core values by examining this ministry’s actions. They are more than aspirational. With great intentionality they guide who we are and the experiences we strive to create for participants in all our ministries.
LONG ANSWER: For more on our core values, here’s an excerpt from our 2016 Impact Report:
“A Striking Family Resemblance
What a group does – and how and why it does it – shows what a group values. What a group values comprises its culture.
Businesses, schools, churches, and even families all have a culture – an environment created by a set of values.
Sometimes culture is so strong you can spot it even out of context. And sometimes it takes being out of context to clearly see and understand it.
By 2010, Glisson’s culture had facilitated campers hearing Christ’s call to discipleship for 85 years. It wasn’t until we tried to transport that culture, however, that we gained clarity on the core values that have long comprised it.
Charged with making camp ministries more accessible (geographically, ethnically, culturally, physically) for more children and youth (from 2,500 campers in 2010 to 5,000 in 2020), our first step out of Glisson’s gates was setting up camp at local churches.
A few years into the pilot program that has become Grow Day Camps, an end-of-summer debrief sparked a breakthrough.
We asked the summer staff if their Grow experience resembled their Glisson experience the previous summer. They paused at first, then reeled off a stream of similar feelings, experiences, and outcomes created by both ministries.
Though the physical context was different, the culture experienced was strikingly familiar.
After removing duplicates, refining language, and reviewing with Glisson year-round staff, we realized we had listed our core values: Christian Community, Radical Acceptance, Unconditional Love, and Experiential Learning.
Plenty of organizations have a list of core values. Whether what’s listed actually guides long-term direction and day-to-day decisions determines whether the list is accurate or merely aspirational.
We identified our core values by examining our actions. They are more than aspirational. With great intentionality they guide who we are and the experiences we strive to create in all our ministries.
As our family of ministries continues to grow, allow us to share our core values as a way of organizing this year’s Impact Report. As you read it, we hope you’ll recognize the family resemblance…” (2016 Impact Report)
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY YOUR CORE VALUE OF "RADICAL ACCEPTANCE" / DO YOU HAVE AN INCLUSION POLICY?
FINDING COMMON GROUND ON HOLY DIRT – Our policy on inclusion
For years now we have been welcoming everyone to our summer camp and retreats at Glisson, Grow Day Camps, and ELI as a largely unquestioned but wholly intentional and integral part of our ministries. We’ve referred to it as “being able to wear plaids and stripes together” here. Recently we’ve recognized a need to put that welcome into words for clarity’s sake. What follows is the result of that effort.
NGCRM, Inc. programs seek to intentionally include all participants regardless of race, color, age, economic status, creed, religion, theology, national origin or ancestry, sex, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We are committed to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment in compliance with all federal and state laws.
Because we know that putting our practices into these words of an inclusion policy will generate a variety of questions for people, we wanted to take time to answer those questions as exhaustively as possible. For more about how our long-standing camp practices have informed the development of this policy, follow this link: Radical Acceptance Info
WHAT IS GLISSON'S MISSION STATEMENT?
“Glisson joins with the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to nurture leadership by creating experiences in Creation and in Christian community that encourage transformation, growth, and renewal for all people.”
What are the differences between the programs?
For a quick overview, watch our Summer Programs Overview video. To learn more about a program, click its link below to find more info and a program-specific overview video.
- Village | An Experiential Christian Community | Our traditional residential camping program.
- Outpost | Small Groups, Big Adventure | Our beginner-friendly outdoor adventure program.
- Sparrowwood: Where All Abilities Are Celebrated | Our program designed for campers who have different developmental abilities and needs.
If you have any questions about a particular program, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 864-6181.
When is Summer Camp, and how much does it cost?
Summer Camp runs from the last week of May or the first week of June through July for nine weeks. Different programs are offered for different age group each of the nine weeks of Summer Camp. Please visit the Registration page to browse the Village, Sparrowwood, and Outpost schedules and costs.
WHY IS THERE MORE THAN ONE PRICE / WHAT IS TIERED PRICING?
SHORT ANSWER: For decades, denominational support has allowed us to offer camp at fees lower than costs. Now, with the UMC unable to offer the support that it has given for decades, our “Tiered Pricing” is a chance for all of us who love camp to step in and keep camp as financially accessible to everyone as possible.
LONG ANSWER: Glisson’s summer camps have been underwritten spiritually and financially for decades by the family of congregations called the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Through their annual collective support of ministries called “apportionments”, the Conference has made an ongoing impact for Christ around the world. Glisson and her sibling camping ministries have benefited from conference support annually across decades of ministry. Glisson has returned that support by partnering with churches to form faith and develop leadership in young people, and by being a place of discerning call and direction for ministry for thousands of people all year round.
Now, as all our churches and other ministries face challenges presented by the pandemic and by ongoing denominational strife, the ability of the conference to offer financial support has diminished, and that will likely continue. Rather than directly pass along this anticipated funding gap to families as it occurs, back in the summer of 2021 we introduced a way of continuing to make camp more affordable for those families who might be “priced out” of camp by a sharp fee increase resulting from the loss of apportionment support.
As we prepare for another summer of ministry in 2024, we’ll count once again on those who love camp to help others afford it through “Tiered Pricing”. “Tier 1” incorporates our Campership Program, which integrates the Campership Application into the registration process. Families who would not otherwise be able to send their kids to camp can apply to receive assistance from our Campership Fund, the purpose of which is to receive and distribute donated funds that ensure every child can attend our camp programs. Our “Default” camp fee is “Tier 2”, the normal subsidized rate. In addition, “Tier 3” represents the actual, unsubsidized cost of camp, and “Tier 4” is the actual cost of the summer camp experience and of the annualized depreciation of our facilities, representing the “Sustaining” level at which our fees would be without donor giving.
We know that families have differing abilities to pay for a summer camping experience and that you know your family’s financial situation better than we do. It’s our hope that by sharing the true costs related to the camp experience, our families can select the level of payment most appropriate for their financial circumstances. We want to be present for your camper throughout their camping years, even as your family’s circumstances change. Of course, regardless of the tier chosen, every camper will receive the same, high quality camp experience. And, as always, our intent is that no camper be unable to attend camp because of money and so our Campership Fund is available to families facing financial hardship this year. See the Campership Fund page on our website for more information and an application form.
During initial registration all campers will be charged the Tier 2, “Default”, camp fee. Each family will have the chance to choose: Tier 1, to apply for a Campership; Tier 3, to donate $150 in addition to the Default fee; or Tier 4, to donate $300 in addition to the Default fee. The donation for Tiers 3 and 4 will be made by adjustment to your camper’s account by our staff within 10-14 days after completion of registration. Tiers 3 and 4 are considered donations, and are therefore tax deductible. You will receive a tax receipt in January of 2024 or in January of 2025 for your donation, depending on the year in which your account is paid in full.
Why Tiered Pricing?
For years we considered the possibility of introducing a pricing model that honors the giving that makes camp more affordable but that also is transparent about the true costs of camp. Each summer at closing celebration our directors have been sharing that the true cost of camp is about $150 more than is charged and that you should “hug the neck “ of your Methodist friends. We finally introduced this model for the 2021 summer, knowing that a reduction of conference apportionment support for camping ministries was coming. And post-pandemic financial realities influenced the expansion of the tiers for 2022 and beyond.
WHAT ABOUT CAMPERSHIPS / HOW DO I APPLY?
Camperships continue to play an important role in ensuring that camp is accessible to everyone. We encourage every family whose children would be unable to attend camp without support to apply for a campership, and every family who would like to make camp available to campers in need to give to the campership fund. Tiered pricing is our effort to avoid a “hard stop” of subsidized fees that our families have grown accustomed to over decades. Funds raised by tiered pricing do not directly support the Campership Fund, which is why we’ve made it possible to contribute separately to that fund during registration and on our website. As with everything else we do, it’s all about the campers and making sure they get to camp – no matter what.
Applying for camperships is now integrated into the online registration process. During registration, parents/guardians will be asked a question about “Tiered Pricing”, which will include an option to select “Campership”. More questions will follow, and our staff will be prompted to follow-up with more information prior to applying a campership to your camper’s account.
If you have additional questions, please contact email@example.com or 706-864-6181.
WHEN IS EARLY REGISTRATION AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
SHORT ANSWER: Members of North Georgia United Methodist churches AND returning families of Summer 2023 campers are eligible to register during our early registration period that begins on October 16th, 2023. Registration opens to everyone on November 1st, 2023.
LONG ANSWER: Traditionally, early registration has been available only to members of North Georgia United Methodist churches – a nod to the special relationship between Glisson and the churches that have supported camp and retreat ministries through Conference apportionments for decades.
Leading into Summer 2023, with nearly 100 congregations having disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church as of June 2022 – and an unknwon number engaged in and/or considering disaffiliating – we acknowledged an opportunity to adapt our early registration approach toward two important ends: 1) we did not wish to penalize returning Glisson families whose churches were disaffiliating, and all those faithful Glisson families for other denominations who have been with us for years and would no longer be included in our previous early registration construct; 2) in these less certain times, and as the dynamics of the United Methodist Church and the North Georgia Conference continue to fluctuate, we wished to directly show our deep appreciation for the ongoing support of our returning Glisson families – many of which are multi-generation – regardless of their church membership.
Therefore, moving forward, we decided A) to continue having an early registration period of two weeks that honors the special relationship between Glisson and the churches that support camp and retreat ministries through apportionments and also B) to adapt it to include families of campers from the previous summer to honor their ongoing engagement and partnership.
I registered last year. How much info do you have on file?
If you registered a camper for Summer 2023, your camper’s info is saved in your account. Please check to ensure all information is still accurate and then update any information that has changed since last year.
What is the difference between the "Register" and "My Account" links?
Clicking Register will lead you through the registration process, which is managed by our online registration software, CircuiTree.
After you have fully registered, you may click on My Account to re-login to your account for one of the following reasons:
- to edit information previously entered
- to make a payment
- to add cash to your camper’s account at the camp store
Can I request a cabinmate? / What is the Cabinmate Pairing Policy?
SHORT ANSWER: As part of online registration, camper families will have the option to form a Cabinmate Pair with one (1) fellow camper (“A” requests “B”, “B” accepts “A”). Please note that this step is optional, and can be revisited later by logging back into your account. See below for key info on the conditions and process for successful Cabinmate Pairings.
LONG ANSWER: While decades of experience show that campers grow most in self-sufficiency and self-esteem by attending camp individually, we fully understand that having a close friend as a cabinmate can sometimes mean the difference between a child having the confidence and/or desire to come to camp rather than staying home. Decades of experience also show that having three or more close friends in a living group of only 12 campers (25%) inadvertently negatively impacts the other campers’ experiences and directly hinders the forming of Christian community among the group – one of four core values identified as having set Glisson apart during its nearly century of ministry.
For these reasons, we are highly intentional about our Cabinmate Pairing Policy allowing for mutually agreed upon cabinmate pairs, but not permitting “triangles” or “quadrangles”. If you would like your camper to attend camp with a cabinmate (optional), the following conditions must be met:
- a camper can only be paired with one (1) other camper;
- the request must be mutual (A=B, B=A);
- the request must be sent and accepted through our online registration system;
- both campers must be registered for the same program, session, and age group;
- both campers must be in the same grade or no more than one grade apart.
Please note that our registration system will only permit campers to be placed in mutually requested and accepted cabinmate pairs (A requests B, B accepts A). A “triangle” request for three cabinmates will not be accepted. Please also note that this step is optional, and can be revisited later by logging back into your account. Below are the steps for requesting and accepting a cabinmate pairing during registration:
- “CAMPER A” SENDS REQUEST: During registration, you will reach a window for “Roommate Requests”. Enter the name of the camper you would like to request along with the parent/guardian’s email address. The system will then send an invitation email to the requested cabinmate’s parent/guardian.
- “CAMPER B” ACCEPTS REQUEST: The requested cabinmate’s parent/guardian must accept the request through our online registration software. Once accepted, a confirmation email will be sent to the person who sent the request.
- SUCCESSFUL PAIRING: Once “Camper A” has requested “Camper B”, and then “Camper B” has accepted the request, the process is complete. “Camper B” does not need to request “Camper A”.
How do I set up a scheduled payment?
Once you have registered your camper, you have the option to set up scheduled payments:
- Log in to My Account
- Under the list of registrations, find the session for which you would like to schedule payments
- Under the camper’s name on this registration listing, click “Schedule Payment”
- Select whether you would like “Calculated Payments” or “Fixed Payments”
- Select the months you would like included in the payment schedule
- Select an existing credit card on file or add a new account
- Click “Create Schedule” to schedule the payment
What is the Cancellation Policy?
Our Cancellation Refund Policy is largely the same as in recent years, with a key distinction of reinstituting May 1st as a Final Payment Deadline for all sessions. See below.
FINAL PAYMENT DUE MAY 1ST
Final payment for all camp sessions is due on May 1st. If the full balance is unpaid at this time, camp reserves the right to cancel the registration and open it to a waiting list.
• Notice of cancellation must be received by the Summer Camp Registrar in writing (postal mail or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to be processed
MORE THAN 4 WEEKS PRIOR TO THE CAMP SESSION
• If notice of cancellation is received more than 4 weeks (28 days) prior to the start of the camp session, the refundable amount will be the full amount paid minus the deposit. (Deposits are paid for each individual registration, and each individual deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.)
• *Medical Exception: Full refunds will only be given if, prior to the camp session, the Summer Camp Registrar receives a signed doctor’s note within 3 days of the cancellation.
WITHIN 4 WEEKS OF THE CAMP SESSION
• If notice of cancellation is received within 4 weeks (28 days) of the camp session, the full session fee is forfeited.* Add-on purchases paid toward the camp store card and/or care packages is fully refunded.
• *Medical Exception: Full refunds of session fees will only be given if, prior to the camp session, the Summer Camp Registrar receives a signed doctor’s note within 3 days of the cancellation.
DURING/AFTER YOUR CAMP SESSION
• No refund will be made for any reason after the start of your camp session.
IF YOUR SESSION IS CANCELED
• If Glisson is unable for any reason to offer the camp session for which your camper is registered, we will offer a full refund of any deposit and/or fees paid toward that session.
What is the Transfer Policy?
After registering, campers may transfer to a different camp session at no charge through March 31. Starting on April 1, all transfers to a different camp session will come with a $25 transfer fee.
What if my camper takes medications? (new process for 2024)
NEW FOR 2024: Please note that, in order to streamline our process and minimize the potential for medication errors, we have a new system for medication administration:
- All daily scheduled oral medications/supplements (both prescription and over-the-counter) must be packaged by a licensed pharmacist in blister packs (many local/privately owned pharmacies provide this service) and must be professionally labeled with the camper’s name and medication names. Please do not send homemade pill packs.
- Any as-needed medications that are not taken regularly must be provided to the nurse in their original packaging. Please note that we supply basic as-needed medication (Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Allergy Medications, Benadryl, Robitussin, Anti-Diarrheal, Antacids, etc), and can provide those as needed.
- Liquid medications, drops, creams, powders, inhaled/injected medications cannot be blister-packed and must be turned in to the nurse in their original packaging.
- Campers with medications will need to complete a medication administration form prior to arrival (linked in pre-arrival emails sent prior to camp session).
If you have any questions about our medication administration system prior to your camper’s session, please contact us: email@example.com or 706-864-6181.
Upon arrival at camp, all medications are collected by a member of our healthcare team during check-in inside its original container. During the week, our staff ensure that campers receive their medications at the correct time. Village and Sparrowwood campers are escorted to visit our healthcare team at the infirmary. Outpost camper medications are stored in a secure location, then distributed by each camper’s counselor.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO MITIGATING COMMUNICABLE ILLNESSES?
Offering safe, faith-forming experiences will always be our top priority. For Summer 2024, we will rely on our standard and long-standing best practices for limiting the spread of communicable illnesses at camp. Those standard practices include:
- SCREENING: We ask that campers and family members who feel sick on check-in day or 24-hours prior not come. We will continue our practice of employing written screening for illness and temperature checks during check-in.
- OUTDOORS: The vast majority of our activities take place outdoors, with any large group activities occurring in well-ventilated areas.
- SMALL GROUPS: By nature of our small-group camping model, campers have limited contact with campers and staff beyond those in their cabin and living groups.
- SANITIZING: We clean and sanitize facilities and touch points on a daily and weekly basis.
- HEALTHCARE: Our Healthcare Team is onsite 24 hours-a-day to address camper health needs, including assessing symptoms of communicable illnesses. Campers with any communicable illness will not be allowed to remain at camp. Please keep in mind our Cancellation Policy that no refund will be made for any reason after the start of your camp session.
As always, we will continue to monitor developments related to communicable illnesses, and to do what we believe is best in our commitment to keeping campers and staff safe.
Can my camper arrive late or leave early?
Neither late arrival nor early departure is allowed.
All of our one-week camps are Sunday to Friday. Mini Camps are either Sun-Tue, or Wed-Fri. 10-day trips either start on Sun and end on the following Tue, or start on Wed and end on the following Fri.
Removing a camper from their living group early or adding a camper after the week has begun are highly disruptive to the group process and to the other campers in the group. If you know that your camper cannot attend the entire week, please select a different camp week.
How much money should I deposit in my camper's Store account?
The camp store sells a range of items including: snacks, water bottles, t-shirts, stuffed animals, and more. We recommend at the most $30 for the week. You can now deposit money into a store account for your camper online during registration. You may also choose to deposit to your camper’s store account at anytime after registration until your camper arrives at camp.
If you would prefer to mail a check or cash for your camper’s store account prior to the camp week, please include your camper’s name and the session that he or she is attending. Each camper will go to the camp store with their living group more than once during the week. If your camper brings cash to camp, there is no place it may be used. At check-out parents may choose to request a refund or to donate remaining camper store account balances.
How do I add money to my camper's store account?
If you did not add money to your camper’s store account during the initial registration process, you can still add money to your camper’s account through a two part process:
PART 1: ADDING TO ACCOUNT
- Log in to My Account
- From the Registrations Dashboard, find the camper/camp session for which you would like to add money to the store card
- In the list of registration steps listed below this registration listing, click “Store Card”
Fill out required info and click “Save”
PART 2: MAKING PAYMENT
- From the Registrations Dashboard, click “Make Payment” under the correct camper/camp session
- Select your payment method and confirm the payment amount is correct
- Select an existing credit card on file or add a new account
- Click “Pay”
Money is only applied to the account once both steps have been completed.
What forms do I need to fill out and bring with me?
Every camper must have a filled-out Check-In Form. However, please DO NOT mail the form to us. Instead, we ask that you print out the form, provide the requested information, and then bring the form with you when you check in your camper. For speedier check-in, ensure the form has been signed and fully filled-out. Visit our Arrival & Departure Page for more info and for a link to download the Check-In Form.
Why does camp end early in the day on Fridays?
Camper pickup is early (mid-to-late morning) on Fridays in order to reduce travel times for families driving around or through metro Atlanta to get to and from camp easier by letting out well before peak congestion times (does not apply to certain Mini Camp and 10-day experiences that end on days other than Friday).
When is Cane Creek Falls open to the public?
Cane Creek Falls is located on private property and is entirely closed to the public when summer camp is in session (May-Aug). During retreat season (Sep-Apr), limited viewing access to the public is available during weekday business hours Mon-Fri from 9:00-4:30. To ensure the outer gate will be open on the date you plan to visit, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (706-864-6181) ahead of time.
What are your organization's Stakeholder Rights?
We have always been committed to engaging those connected to these ministries in the most respectful and trustworthy ways possible. We’re sharing a consolidated list of expectations for your interactions with us so that you can help us hold ourselves accountable to our commitment.
Campers, camper families, retreat leaders, retreat participants, donors, alumni, and staff should know that in their engagement with NGCRM, Inc. ministries and services, they have the right to expect:
• ESSENTIAL INFORMATION – That provision of only essential information will be required to engage our ministries and that collected information will remain secure and confidential.
• SAFETY AND PRIVACY – That facilities for guests, campers, and staff will provide safety and a reasonable level of privacy as appropriate for each facility type.
• CLEAR EXPECTATIONS – To receive a clear understanding of what may and may not be expected from each ministry and service we offer.
• TO BE HEARD – To be provided a process to be heard when you believe any of these rights listed above have been abridged in any way.
To report a perceived abridgment of these rights, use this link: NGCRM Stakeholder Rights Feedback Form