Parent Guide - Camp Agape

Camp Agape - A Walcamp Ministry

Camp Agape provides persons with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy camp, to get outside and explore nature, and to experience the love of Jesus and the friendship of other campers and their "camp buddies."

The Greek word Agape describes an unconditional love. Love without limits, or expectations, or demands. It is the love that God demonstrates to us through Jesus. It is love shown to us by the campers who attend this program, and a love that our team members and volunteers strive to reflect in return.

Our Camp Agape retreats provide guests with fun outdoor experiences. They also provide a time of respite for the participants' families, and opportunities of service for members of local congregations and communities.

Summer Week Retreats

(Sunday to Thursday)

Walcamp’s Camp Agape programs offer children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors.

Campers hike, canoe, fish, swim, and play games requiring some physical ability alongside their camp “buddies.”

Our integrated events serve about six campers per two team members or volunteers.

Our dedicated week serves anywhere from 2-6 campers per two "buddies," depending on the needs of our participants.

Be a Camp Buddy

High School and Adult Volunteers

Our "Camp Buddies" are volunteer adults or high school students who experience camp alongside our Agape campers and help adapt the fun to their campers' individual needs. 

Campers and Volunteers participate in classic camp activities, games and Bible Encounters. Our Camp Buddies serve in a group alongside our counselors.

Caregivers interested in attending camp alongside their Agape participant may also sign up to be a Camp Buddy.

For more information email

Holiday Weekend Retreats

Celebrate the holidays at Walcamp!

Advent Retreat - typically the weekend between December 15th and Christmas.

Easter Retreat - typically celebrated on Palm Sunday weekend

Celebrate the holidays at Walcamp with songs, crafts, Bible stories and camp fun adapted to the season. These weekend retreats are ideal for individuals who are independent and semi-independent, and for those who want to attend with a caregiver.

This is a great beginning event for first-time campers and their families to try our camp experience before committing to a full week.

Levels of Care

The following tiers describe generalizations of four levels of care our campers might require. This tool can help you as the caregiver to decide which Walcamp programs best fit your camper’s situation. It is not intended to define eligibility for camp programs.

Minimum Standard of Care
Unfortunately, there are some campers whose needs exceed the care Walcamp can safely provide. Rather than outline a single “minimum standard of care,” our team members discuss the needs and abilities of each person with their caregiver and make recommendations regarding the programs that best fits their situation.

Please speak with Ben "Mufasa" if you have questions or concerns, or to discuss how we can adapt Walcamp's experience to meet the needs of your participant.

Tier One: Independent

The independent camper can care for his or her self. They are reasonably mobile on flat terrain, and ideally can navigate rough terrain with minimal assistance. This camper can use the restroom, shower and dress completely on their own, with perhaps a little verbal prompting. This camper requires minimal supervision and does not require more one-on-one attention than might be expected of any other person interacting in a group setting.


Tier Two: Semi-Independent

The semi-independent camper can care for his or her self with minimal assistance from a care giver. They are reasonably mobile on flat surfaces but may require help on rough terrain or stairs. Assisting this person may include verbal prompts to remember a certain item or specific tasks. This camper can use the restroom, shower and dress completely, although they may need verbal reminders to wash their hands, or to remember which article of clothing to put on next. This camper requires closer supervision, but can still function within a group setting.

Tier Three: Semi-Dependent

The semi-dependent camper requires assistance when caring for his or her self. This person may be verbal or non-verbal. They may require help when moving over flat surfaces. This camper can use the restroom on their own, perhaps with verbal prompts or mirroring actions, and may need minimal assistance in the shower, such as pouring soap onto a wash cloth, or with dressing, such as being handed clothing items or getting into shirt sleeves or shoes. They may require assistance at meals. The semi-dependent camper may also be physically independent but require individual attention for emotional support or for closer supervision due to behavioral challenges.


Tier Four: Dependent

The dependent individual requires assistance when caring for his or her self. This person may be non-verbal. They may be visually impaired or hard of hearing. They may require transportation assistance. This person may require help using the restroom, putting on disposable undergarments, showering or dressing. They may require assistance at meals. This individual may also need help getting into and out of a wheelchair. In some cases, a physically able person may be considered dependent for emotional or other needs.

Arrivals and Departures

Walcamp is a Child Safe Zone
No firearms, weapons or drugs are permitted on the grounds.
Adults licensed for conceal carry are asked to keep those items locked safely in their vehicle.

Pets traveling with you
We ask that you leave any pets in your vehicle during arrival or departure so they do not disrupt the process.
Before you sign in, and after you sign out, you are welcome to explore the camp grounds with your leashed pets. Please keep your pets outdoors and away from other guests, and please clean up after them.

Summer Week Retreats

Sunday Drop-Off

  • Drop-off times are between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm

Thursday Pick-up

  • Pick-up times are between 11:15 am and 11:45 pm
  • Parents and Care-givers are invited to join us for our Closing Ceremony at 11:00 am

At Check-in

  • Bring any medications or printed forms. All other luggage can stay in your vehicle.
  • Sign your participant in and confirm who will pick them up. We will confirm if you are missing paperwork or payment.
  • Pick up your camp t-shirt if you pre-ordered one.
  • Add camp store money to your participant's tab, and drop off any mail/packages you want us to deliver to them during the week.
  • Introduce your camper to the Camp Nurse or Camp Staff and drop-off any medications, epi-pens, etc. We may ask for details or confirm changes from the details you provided during registration.
  • Return to your vehicle for luggage. A team member or volunteer can assist with luggage and guide you to your participant's living area.
  • Meet your participant's counselor! Be sure to share any care details they may need to know to help make your participant's camp experience a success.
  • Depart camp and enjoy your week!

At Check-Out

  • Join us for our Closing Ceremony with camp songs and important closing announcements.
  • Sign your participant out! Campers can only be signed out by an adult you designate. We may ask to see a driver's license or other ID.
  • Collect your participant's medications. Confirm that you have any epi-pens or inhalers you dropped off.
  • Get your Camp Photo and any remaining Camp Store cash your participant did not spend during the week.
  • Visit our Camp Store to purchase any desired souvenirs.
  • Check your participant's luggage. Make sure you have all their stuff - luggage, dirty laundry, sleeping bag, pillow, craft projects, awards, etc.
  • Have a safe journey home!

Holiday Weekend Retreats

Friday Drop-Off

  • Drop-off times are between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm

Sunday Pick-up

  • Pick-up times are between 9:30 am and 10:30 am
  • Parents and Care-givers are invited to join us for our closing devotion and songs at 9:00 am

At Check-in

  • Bring any medications or printed forms. You can also bring in their other luggage if desired.
  • Sign your participant in and confirm who will pick them up. We will confirm if you are missing paperwork or payment.
  • Introduce your camper to the Camp Nurse or Camp Staff and drop-off any medications, epi-pens, etc. We may ask for details or confirm changes from the details you provided during registration.
  • Meet your participant's counselor! Be sure to share any care details they may need to know to help make your participant's camp experience a success.
  • Depart camp and enjoy your weekend!

At Check-Out

  • Join us for our Closing Ceremony with camp songs and important closing announcements.
  • Sign your participant out! Campers can only be signed out by an adult you designate. We may ask to see a driver's license or other ID.
  • Collect your participant's medications. Confirm that you have any epi-pens or inhalers you dropped off.
  • Check your participant's luggage. Make sure you have all their stuff - luggage, dirty laundry, sleeping bag, pillow, craft projects, awards, etc.
  • Have a safe journey home!

Campers cannot leave camp until they have been signed out, and they must remain with their group leader.

Late Arrivals & Early Departures
If circumstances require a late arrival or early pick-up:

  • Please inform our office in advance if you need to schedule a late arrival or an early departure. This gives us time to inform their Group Leader when to expect your participant, or gives us time to gather your participant’s things and escort them to the office before your arrival.
  • Campers can be dropped off and picked up at our office, unless you are directed otherwise.
  • Early departures may result in campers missing out on camp activities, including field trips, that take their group away from our "main camp" area during the scheduled departure time.

Early Arrivals & Late Departures
For our team to best prepare for your participant’s stay.

  • Walcamp team members are generally not available to supervise campers before the Drop-off times.
  • Late pick-ups are discouraged as it prevents our team members from fulfilling other responsibilities that keep our camp clean and safe for everyone.
  • Please call ahead if you know your participant’s driver will be late so we can reassign our team as needed
  • Any special circumstances must be discussed with our team in advance. They will be handled on an individual basis, and are subject to the availability of our team members.

Unauthorized persons cannot pick up your camper. For your participant’s safety, the primary parent/adult caregiver must call our office IN ADVANCE if there is a change in drivers.

AT NO TIME should a participant be dropped off and left alone unsupervised at camp.


General Information

Walcamp Emergency Contact Info

  • Walcamp's phone number is 815-784-5141
  • This land line is staffed during office hours, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday-Friday.
  • After hours, dial Option 3 to reroute your call to our on-call cell phone. A full-time staff member will respond at their first available opportunity.
  • Emergency updates are posted on our Facebook page in the event of extreme weather, when calling every parent would not be possible. Please be patient - our first priority is the safety and care of our on-site guests and staff.
  • Our team is trained ti handle a variety of medical, weather and other emergency situations. Questions about Walcamp's emergency action plans can be directed to - please ask in advance, rather than seeking immediate answers during a potential crisis.

Medications, and OTCs

  • All medications are collected and stored in a secure location. The exception is Inhalers, Epi-pens and similar items requiring immediate action - these are kept in the care of your participant's Counselor or activity leader.
  • Medications are dispensed at meal times and at bed time by a registered nurse, or by a designated, trained staff member. Medications dispensed outside of these times should be discussed at Check-in so that they are not overlooked.

Meals and Allergies

  • If your participant has Food Allergies, please email at least two weeks BEFORE your participant attends camp so that we can be sure to plan our meals accordingly.
  • Walcamp's kitchen team is equipped to adapt meals for common dietary allergies or restrictions.
  • Please have your participant eat before you arrive and check-in.
    • Breakfast is NOT provided for Day Campers.
    • Sunday Dinner is NOT provided for Sleep-Away Campers.
    • That being said... we will not let a camper go hungry. We have various snack options available upon request. We are also within 5 miles of a Casey's (pizza), McDonald's or Subway.

Snacks, Souvenirs and "Camp Store Money"

  • Day Camper's do not need to bring cash to camp
    • Daily snacks are provided for Day camp and are built into the price
    • Souvenirs can be purchased by parents on weekday mornings. After Check-in, please park and visit the office and ask to make your Camp Store purchases.
    • Occasionally, our Day Campers ask for a "Camp Store" day to purchase soda or candy items. We will schedule these and inform parents in advance.
  • Sleep-away Campers can plan to spend about $8 in snacks.
    • Our Sleep-away campers typically visit our Camp Store each day and purchase a snack item and a soda
    • Snack items may include candy, cookies, chips or ice cream bars depending on current supplies.
    • Camp souvenirs can be purchased Friday morning after Pick-up.

Rest & Reflection

Campers tend to use more energy at camp than they do at home or school. R&R is a time for them to rest a little bit
before their afternoon activities, and usually lasts about 20 minutes.

  • Many campers use this time for a quick nap, but it is not required.
  • Others bring a book to read, write letters and stories, draw pictures or bring other quiet, restful
  • activities that will not disturb the other campers.
  • Electronic recreation (cell phones, tablets, etc.) will not be an option.
  • Walcamp often hosts a "Movie Event" on Friday afternoons for a end-of-week change of pace and to assist with program transitions as we prepare for the following week.

Cellphones, Tablets and Electronics

Walcamp does not permit campers to bring electronic devices to camp or to carry them during camp activities.
This growing list includes, but is not limited to, the following items.

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • MP3 players
  • Smart watches
  • Portable video games
  • Portable DVD, BlueRay and other video display devices

In our many years of running youth camps, we have learned that participants receive better camp experiences if they “unplug” and leave some things at home for the week. There is also a higher risk of damaging or losing this expensive equipment while at camp.

... but I need to contact my camper!

  • Sleep-Away Camp options
    • Try our One-Way Email option - email - with an encouraging message or photo (See Help with Homesickness). Please include your camper's full name and their camp program in the heading. Messages are printed and delivered at Dinner-time.
    • Send a letter or care package - You may need to send it a week early, or leave it with us at Drop-off.
    • Enable your participant to send letters home - a stationary pack with paper and self-addressed, stamped envelopes helps.
  • Parents can contact our office during the day to pass important messages on to the counselor or to their camper. Our office hours are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. In the event of a family emergency, your best chance of reaching us and speaking with your participant is around noon when our campers are in the Dining Hall for lunch.
  • If you prefer to leave a cell-phone at camp with your participant, please check it in with a team member as you would with an epi-pen or inhaler. These items are returned at pick-up time. Some parents use this option for their participant to call for a ride.

Thank you for your understanding! By following these guidelines you also teach your participant to respect our policies. It also also saves them from the embarrassment of “getting caught.”

Questions about “Contraband”
Cell phones and other items on the Do Not Bring list still occasionally appear on camp property. Walcamp staff does not search any participant’s bags or belongings for these items, however such items tend to appear on their own.

  • When discovered, the Counselor will set such items aside until they can be given to a Program Director (Pearl or Ducky), who will hold onto them until Friday.
  • These items can be picked up from the Nurse along with any medications.

Photo Memories

Walcamp takes photos of camp groups throughout each week of camp to record their experiences and to share
them with parents and family members.

  • Photos are posted to a secure Online Photo Album (using Google Drive) that is only accessible to the parents of registered campers each week.
  • If you do not receive an email granting access to our Google Drive, please email
  • For the safety of our campers and respect for their privacy, we ask that no photos be posted to any on-line web or social media site that includes campers other than your own, and that campers are not referred to by name in social media tags or comments.
  • Please save and re-share photos of your participant with other family members, rather than Sharing the entire Google Drive folder with them. Access from unregistered email accounts will not be granted, unless the primary caregiver first speaks to Ben (such as granting access to a second guardian).
  • If you prefer that we do not take or share photos of your participant, please email Ben with your request and your camper’s name(s) by the Thursday before your participant attends camp.

Thank you for helping our campers stay safe in our digital world!

Lost & Found

Walcamp collects the items lost each week. Our staff does their best to return these items to their owners. Please contact our office as soon as you realize something is missing and we will do what we can to help find it for you. We generally do not keep lost underwear or socks. Unclaimed items are added to our supply of "extra clothes on hand" or donated at the end of the summer.

Extra clothes on hand? Walcamp maintains a small stockpile of common essentials in the event that a guest forgets something at home. This includes basic toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste) and occasionally larger items - extra t-shirts or "river float shoes" as they are made available by donation or design (ie. left in Lost and Found for over 1 month). Please talk to Ben or email to discuss what items we can accept as a donation towards this stockpile to help our campers - since our storage space is limited!

Living in Camp Community

Attending camp is an important step towards encouraging both independence and in living as part of a larger community.
Here are some of the tools we use to encourage positive community at Walcamp.

Full-Value Contract (FVC)

To provide each person with the best value for their experience, Walcamp staff and campers are asked to act according to the following five ideals:

1. Safety First. Each person’s behaviors must ensure the safety of every individual. This includes physical, mental and emotional safety.

2. Choose Your Challenge. Each person receives opportunities to try new activities and to practice skills required to live in community. They have the opportunity to express when an activity or behavior takes them beyond their limits or feels unsafe.

3. Respect Self and Others. Each person shows respect to everyone through their words and actions, with the expectation that they will be treated in kind. It is possible to disagree with someone and still act respectfully towards them. Each person also treats our facilities with respect.

4. Give your 100%. Each person is encouraged to do their best and to give their best effort for their group. This includes joining in all group activities, not just the ones they prefer.

5. Have fun! Each person determines the level of fun within any given moment or activity. It is their actions and attitudes that make camp a great place to play and to grow through new experiences and interactions with others.

Each person at camp is asked to hold themselves accountable to these ideals, and to kindly and lovingly
encourage others to do the same.

The Full Value Contract is adapted from Project Adventure

Behavior Corrections

In the event that a specific behavior needs to be addressed, our Group Leaders follow a 3-step method used by Walcamp and other youth organizations.

  1. Verbal reminder of expected behavior(s)
  2. Second verbal reminder, with explanation of future consequences
  3. Third verbal reminder, followed by appropriate consequences. Parents will be informed of these behaviors at pick-up time or earlier.

Behavior consequences may include:

  • A brief time out from that activity, especially when there is a risk to someone’s safety
  • Brief discussion with their counselor or another team member
  • Comparable consequences: such as cleaning up a mess they made intentionally.
  • Extreme or repeated behaviors may be addressed as outlined below.

A Program Director or other senior staff member may step in to help address behaviors that are dangerous to the camper or others, or behaviors already addressed but not corrected.

In an extreme case, if a camper repeatedly acts in a way that is self-harmful or harmful to other members of the group, a parent or guardian may be called to pick-up their camper early.

If you do not feel a situation between your child and their group leader was handled appropriately, please speak with Ben to address your concerns or for help facilitating a discussion. Please do not confront a team member personally.

About Our Team

Walcamp Summer programs are led by counselors and volunteers trained to work with youth of all ages in an outdoor setting. Our counselors are certified in First Aid and CPR, and are equipped with a wide variety of kid-friendly activities and games to ensure that their campers receive quality outdoors experiences.


ACA Accredited - Peer-reviewed Quality Experience

The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals who join together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs at 10,000+ member locations.


Ben oversees Walcamp's Camp Agape programs and supports the program in other areas, including registration systems, staff training, logistics, and communication.

Ben has served at Walcamp on and off since he was a Jr Counselor in 2000. He holds a Masters degree in Education, and has 16 years of experience in youth ministry at Walcamp and four other camps, and as a teacher in Chicago. Ben serves at Walcamp year-round.

Lindsay oversees Walcamp's Summer Day Camp and year-round Outdoor Education programs.

Lindsay served at several summer camp and educational facilities before joining our team, including the Oak Learning Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin's first outdoor preschool, Lions Camp WI serving youth with disabilities, and FFA Camp Muskingum in Ohio. She has 13 years experience in youth education and ministry, and she serves at Walcamp year-round.

Anna oversees Walcamp’s Sleep-Away Camps, Jr Counselor program and year-round Youth Retreats.

Anna is a camper, junior counselor, and summer staffer from Camp Luther in Three Lakes, WI. She is a graduate of the Director of Christian Education program at Concordia St Paul, and she is called to serve at Walcamp year-round.