Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t find your answer here, please contact us.
What are the session dates and how much does it cost?
What is the age range for campers?
Campers are 12-15 years old, but we are somewhat flexible if a camper’s birthday lands them within a few months of this range. We allow 11 and 16 year olds on a case by case basis, so please contact us for more info if this applies to you.
How many campers are allowed in each session?
We allow up to 30 campers per session. Our enrollment has been about 25-30 campers per session the last three years.
How do I know if there is availability for my child?
The best way to find out if there is space available is to contact us. If you complete registration and sessions are full, you will be given the option to be added to a waitlist.
Are there tuition scholarships available and how do I apply for a scholarship?
We do award some partial and full tuition scholarships based on financial need. Please refer to our scholarships page for more info.
Is Birch Creek affiliated with any religion?
BCSR is nondenominational and our campers and staff represent a variety of spiritual/religious views and lifestyles. We are not affiliated with nor do we promote any particular religion. We do however, discuss topics of general spirituality related to our camp creed and ranch principles, and allow space for individual worship (such as space for meditation/prayer before meals, and the option to participate in local religious services). We have discussions on topics such as: What matters most to me and why? Whom do I admire and why? How can I help make the world a better place? What does it mean to live with integrity? How can I be more mindful of others’ needs and the needs of the community? Why is it important to challenge myself? (Please let us know if you have questions or concerns related to this sensitive issue).
Is Birch Creek a reform program or treatment facility for wayward youth?
We are NOT a reform program and our long application form is designed to screen out kids with severe behavioral issues. There are other, more expensive programs out there for kids who need treatment.
What kind of kids are accepted to the program and where do they come from?
We accept good kids who want to improve themselves by completing this fun and challenging program. Our campers represent a variety of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Many of our campers come from Utah’s Wasatch Front, but we always have participants from other parts of Utah and a variety of other states.
Is transportation to and from the ranch provided?
We provide a free shuttle to the ranch from Salt Lake City, Sandy, and Orem. You can request a spot on the shuttle on your registration form. The shuttle departs Salt Lake City at 9am on the first day of each session, and stops at the other locations as it travels south. We can also provide a ride back to Salt Lake City on the last day of the ranch, but many families choose to attend our final-day bbq and take their camper home.
Can parents visit the ranch?
We discourage visits because it is disruptive to the experience.
Can parents and campers contact each other during the session?
Of course. We encourage old fashioned letter writing and campers love packages. We also invite campers to call home on Sundays, and allow them to use counselors’ personal cell phones for up to 30 minutes. You are welcome to reach your camper at anytime by calling, emailing, or texting us (we may not always be in the same location as your camper, as they are often out engaged in activities, but we will find them and get you connected).
Can campers bring cell phones?
Please do NOT pack cell phones or expensive electronic devices. The mission of the ranch includes overcoming homesickness and other challenges, unplugging from devices and screens, and learning to appreciate work and play outdoors, as well as interactions with others in the community, unmitigated by technological devices. In the case of emergencies, we make exceptions to the phone guidelines. If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please let us know.
Will I be able to follow my camper on BCSR’s social media?
Yes. We will be posting regularly throughout the sessions (@serviceranch), so please follow us on Instagram and FaceBook.
What should we pack?
Please refer to our packing list page. We will also email a packing list to all participants before sessions begin.
What do sleeping arrangements look like?
Campers sleep in a canvas wall tent, a yurt, or a bunkhouse. We provide bunks and sleeping pads to each camper. Bunk groups are divided according to age. Each bunk has 4-8 campers and 2-3 counselors who are assigned to that bunk and live with the campers.
Can Birch Creek accommodate kids with food allergies and food preference (ie. vegetarian)?
We have great cooks and provide a variety of tasty, nutritious meals and snacks to keep the kids fueled for extra physical activity. We encourage campers to try everything and eat what is provided, and picky campers traditionally expand their horizons during the ranch. That being said the cooks are happy to provide alternatives for kids with allergies and various diets, and will communicate with those campers at each meal. Please be sure to list allergies on your registration form, so we can make preparations and contact you with questions.
Who are the counselors?
Most of our staff have participated in the program as campers, or are returning as counselors from previous years. We always have some first-time counselors as well. Our junior staff are age 16-20 and senior staff are at least 21. We do our hiring around mid-March, so please check back in April for counselor lists and bios.
Do staff members undergo background checks?
Yes. We know that our counselors will influence the impressionable young campers, so we take great care to choose people whose influence will be positive. We have a rigorous screening process for applicants and are very selective in curating our staff because they are so critical to the campers’ experience. We also do background checks on staff members.
What sort of training do the counselors have?
We hold a staff training prior to the summer sessions which covers safety procedures and first-aid certification, emergency response, preventing discrimination (racism, sexism, classism, religious discrimination, etc.), preventing abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, bullying, hazing, etc.), and our standard operations procedures. We take safety, abuse, and discrimination very seriously and do our best to mitigate risk. Please keep in mind, however, that our staff is comprised mainly of high school and college students who are NOT professional guides or therapists.
How many counselors are there? What is the ratio of campers:counselors?
We usually have between 12-15 staff depending on camper enrollment and need. That means that the ratio of campers to staff is about 2:1.