(888) 724-2626 [email protected]


Information for the parents of campers

What to Bring to Camp

Find the information you need to plan your session. Start planning your session with a list of what to bring by downloading our packing list.


Scholarship assistance is available upon request, based on need and funds available. All individuals with need must submit an application for scholarship funds signed by both a parent/guardian and the Rector of their church.  Scholarship requests postmarked later than May 15 will not be considered.

Bunk Notes

Send one-way email communication to your camper with Bunk Notes. This third party resource allows you to send emails to your camper.

Messages will be printed off and delivered daily during the summer camp session.

What medical information does Chanco need?

In addition to completing the online health history, Chanco also requires a physical exam be completed by a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner annually. The date of the physical examination must be less than twelve months from the last day of the sessions that the camper will be attending.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does Chanco on the James have any religious affiliation?

We are an Episcopal institution and a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. However, you do not have to be an Episcopalian to attend our camps, but we ask that you are open and willing to participate in a collaborative chaplain activity block and youth-led worship.

Who accredits Chanco on the James?

Chanco on the James is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA), a nationwide accrediting organization for all types and designs of organized camps. ACA standards focus on health, safety, and risk management practices. To find out more information about the ACA accreditation process, please visit www.acacamps.org/accreditation/accreditation-overview

Why is camp so important?

There are so many benefits to sending your camper(s) to camp. Check out ACA’s article among many others on the importance of out-of-school-time activities for young people.

What does a typical day at camp look like?

While no day at summer camp looks or feels the same, we have a set schedule of activities that campers follow throughout the week. We begin our day with breakfast, then everyone heads to the Spirit Center for morning worship with our Chaplain. The rest of the morning, campers are with their campsite groups participating in various activities. They might go sailing and do a nature hike or spend the morning at the ropes course! We refuel our bodies and minds with lunch and rest time.

In the afternoon, we continue with our various activities, which includes a dedicated time for free swim in either the James River or pool. After free swim, we have shower time, which is then followed by dinner. Dinner is followed by canteen time, where campers can purchase a snack or Chanco swag and run around playing games.

Our last programmed activity of the day is our evening program which often includes all camp activities such as Thumb WrestleMania, Survivor, Skit Night, Movie Night, and much more!

Do you allow campsite/cabinmate requests?

Campers are grouped by age, and we make every effort to meet your requests. Simply make a note on your application mentioning the other camper’s name. We cannot promise that every request will be fulfilled. This will depend on camper registration numbers, as well as the respective age of the campers requesting to be with one another.

Camp is not only about being with old friends, but also making new friends. Many children come not knowing anyone yet leave with friends that will last a lifetime.

Will I be able to contact my camper while at camp?

Families and friends may stay in touch with their camper(s) through handwritten letters or “snail mail”! We strongly encourage you to write these ahead of time and bring them when you drop off your camper. We will have a designated person in the drop off process that will collect any mail you bring. We also use a system called “Bunk Notes” that you may sign up for. This will send letters to our Office Administrator that we then print out and hand them to campers. Instructions to sign up for Bunk Notes are at the top of this webpage. Please use the following format when addressing letters or packages to your camper(s):

Camper Name

Campsite Name

Chanco on the James
394 Floods Drive
Spring Grove, VA 23881

If there is any problem, the parents/guardians are called promptly. This includes any disciplinary issues as well as physical or mental health emergencies in which off-site medical attention is required.

What if my camper is homesick or I am campersick?
Missing home and each other is normal, and it even happens among the staff and camp directors! Here are some tried and true tips for helping you and your camper(s) deal with missing home and each other and preparing them for fully investing in the camp experience!

If you know of any specific personal or family-related issues that may come up while your camper is at camp, please let us know prior to the camp session via the Camper Information Form.

The information you share will be kept confidential and shared with only the appropriate staff parties. It is extremely helpful for us to be aware of potential stressors or anxieties campers may bring to camp so we can prepare appropriately.

It’s important to talk with your camper before leaving for camp to discuss any worries they may have about being away from home.

Younger campers’ concerns are often related to missing home, though homesickness is not unusual for campers of any age. Our staff foster a nurturing environment which will help alleviate any homesick tendencies, Additionally, homesickness is a topic of particular concern that we focus on during staff training sessions.

Please strive to be positive, upbeat, and keep the focus on your camper and the welcoming, accepting, and exciting time they can expect to have at camp. Acknowledging you will miss them helps them know you care, but please pair it with positive, solutions-based comments such as “We can’t wait to hear from you when you write us letters!” or “We know you’ll have a great time and that makes us happy!”

Please NEVER promise to pick up your camper or let them call home if they are not having a good time. This creates a barrier to your camper fully investing in the camp experience and all it has to offer.

How is the food and do you accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions?
Our kitchen staff serves delicious meals that are kid-friendly and well-balanced. At breakfast, there is always a cereal bar, as well as yogurt and fruit. At lunch and dinner, there is a main entrée paired with one or two sides. Additionally, a salad bar will always be available. If campers don’t enjoy what is being offered at lunch or dinner, we also serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. With notice, we can accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions. Please make note of any allergy or dietary restrictions during the registration process.

After dinner most nights, the Canteen is open. There, campers can purchase a snack if they’d like.

How will my camper(s) medical and medication needs be met at camp?
Chanco employs a full-time registered nurse to oversee all physical and mental health concerns. Staff are also trained in CPR, First Aid, and AED. Our nurse treats all campers, dispenses all required medication, and is available to deal with illnesses and emergencies during the entirety of the camp session. All medication (including over the counter) must be turned into the nurse during check-in. Medication is dispensed during mealtimes, as well as before bedtime. A first aid kit is available in each campsite and your camper(s) counselor will have a fanny pack on them at all times with basic first aid needs. If your camper has any emergency medication such as an Epi-pen or rescue inhaler, it will be carried by the counselor who is with them at all times. The Surry County Rescue Squad EMTs and Volunteer Fire Station both respond quickly to any emergencies.

Our medical program is approved by the American Camping Association and adheres to national medical standards.

How do you select your staff?

We strive to hire the best staff to care for your campers. Each staff member goes through an extensive hiring process that culminates with a background check conducted by a national provider, as well as 3 reference checks. As summer draws closer, you’ll be able to see who we’ve hired on our “Summer Staff” page. 

What certifications and training do summer staff obtain?
Every staff member is trained in First Aid, CPR, and AED. Any staff who are tasked with leading an activity at camp have the proper certification and training, including lifeguards, ropes facilitators, and archery instructors.

We hold a staff training period prior to the summer season for all staff. During this week, staff receive training in mental health, safeguarding, behavior management, DEI, and all our emergency procedures.

What do I do on the first and last day of camp?

Arrival Day information will be sent out one to two weeks prior to your camper(s) session. Drop off occurs on Sunday between 2 and 4pm. Staff will be stationed throughout the drop-off circle, directing you through various checkpoints. During this, we will preform a lice check, collect any remaining paperwork, and visit the nurse to drop off medication (if applicable). Medical information will be reviewed by our nurse privately so they can fully understand any important information pertaining to your camper(s). After moving through registration, our staff will help unload any belongings. Here, you’ll have a chance to say goodbye. Be sure to look for our photographer and smile!

Departure Day information will be sent out one week prior to the end of the session. Pick up occurs on Friday between 9 and 10am. Our staff will direct you where to park and lead you to the Perry Pavilion, where we will hold a closing ceremony, including campsite introductions, a slideshow recapping the session, and a short Eucharist. Shortly after our closing ceremony, your camper(s) will be waiting for you with their counselors who will return any remaining balance on your camper(s) canteen account. Our Canteen/Camp Store will be open if you’d like to purchase any Chanco Swag or snacks for the trip home.

Campers will only be released to the person named by the family member on the Camper Information Sheet. If pick-up arrangements change during the course of the session, please call our office to notify us of the change.

What does my child need to pack?
A detailed packing list is sent to families after registration is received. Please keep in mind that camp can be messy, so only bring clothing you don’t mind getting a little dirty! Many campers find that packing their belongings in a trunk is the easiest for storage. We recommend bringing an extra towel and bathing suit due to our humid climate.

We highly recommend you label ALL of your child’s belongings. Campers may lose clothing or their belongings could be mistakenly placed in another camper’s trunk.

Before packing, sit down with your camper and talk with them about what you all are doing and why. This can mean the difference between a meltdown over a lost toothbrush and no socks (even though they really are there) and a more positive camping experience.

Here’s a short list of ideas to keep in mind!

  • Sort clothes by outfit for younger kids and by type of clothing for older kids. Bag and label them if needed.
  • Pack toiletries separately so they’re easily transportable to the bathroom.
  • Pack bedding last so it’s on top or separately in a clean trash bag.
  • Hide notes or a surprise for them to find later (no candy or food please).

Potential things to talk about:

  • Go over the packing list and ask them what they might not need.
  • Discuss why some things are appropriate for camp and why some aren’t
  • Discuss non-clothing items they want to bring (and if they don’t mention them, why they should): stuffed animals, picture of family, journal, or paper to write letters home, etc.)
  • Are there things they want to add to the packing list?
What are the facilities and cabins like?

Our facilities are cared for by our Property Keeper and housekeeping team. We are a year-round retreat center, so many of our facilities are used on the weekends throughout the Fall and Spring. Campers and staff members are assigned to one of our 8 campsites. Each campsite is equipped with 4 “chalets”. Chalets are screened in cabins with 3 bunk beds and storage space for camper’s belongings.

Additionally, campsites have 2 picnic tables, a fire ring, and a covered area for when it’s raining or too hot! Each campsite can house up to 18 campers and 6 staff members. Staff and campers sleep in different chalets; however, they are directly adjacent to each other. Campers will minimally need to pack a pillow, sheets, and a blanket or sleeping bag. 

Contact Us


Chanco on the James
394 Floods Drive
Spring Grove, Virginia 23881

(888) 724-2626
[email protected]