Youth Week FAQ's
Below are commonly asked questions about Camp UniStar Youth Week. Don't see the answer to your question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
How is COVID-19 impacting Youth Weeks this year?
Camp UniStar leadership have made the difficult decision to suspend Youth Weeks for the summer 2021 season. You can read more about this decision on our COVID-19 information page.
Will there be virtual programming offered this summer?
Our dedicated Youth Week committee is currently working hard on imagining what Youth Week could look like with the physical distancing requirements of COVID-19. They will be reaching out to Youth Week Campers via email in the next few weeks to gague interest in these opportunties.
What are the upcoming dates for 2020 Youth Week season?
Youth Week One - Saturday, June 13 - Saturday, June 20, 2020
Youth Week Two - Saturday, June 20 - Saturday, June 27, 2020
Registration will open for returning campers on March 8th, 2020; new campers can register starting on March 15th. See the youth week registration information page for more details.
Why are there two registration dates?
At Youth Week, part of the mission is to create a sustained and solid community of youth that will grow to support and respect each other through the years. In order to achieve that, we offer all campers who attended the previous year to register for Youth Week first, effectively fortifying and rebuilding the community piece by piece. After that, we offer any remaining open spaces to new campers who would like to join the community.
What’s the difference between Youth Week One and Youth Week Two?
The first and most obvious difference is the timing. We try to accommodate as many of the end dates of the school districts of our campers as possible, but every few years there ends up being a district or two that doesn’t finish until a few days into Youth Week One. For those students, there’s Youth Week Two!
Another difference is the counselors. Each week gets a well-rested, hardy, dedicated set of adult chaperones that are volunteering a week of their time to these campers. The project leader and medical professional stay the same throughout the two weeks, for continuity sake.
And lastly, the camper traditions at each week tend to be different as well. The games the campers play, the songs they sing, and the way they spend their down time have been shaped by the campers before them and are therefore unique to each week.
The camp is on an island! How do the campers get there?
There is an open-air ferry to take campers to the island. It leaves from SailStar Marina in Cass Lake and the fee for this ferry is built into the camper fee. It can get pretty wet on the ride over, depending on the weather, make sure your camper packs a garbage bag to cover their belongings and a raincoat for themselves.
Cass Lake, MN is far away from where my camper is, do you provide transportation to youth week?
Yes, camp provides transportation to and from the Twin Cities and Cass Lake. This transportation takes two forms; a coach bus or counselor-provided carpool. There is an extra fee for this transportation option and it can be added on to your camper fees during registration. You can sign up for one direction or both based on your needs.
Those who live farther away than the Twin Cities and would like to use the camp-provided transportation will need to coordinate their own travel and accommodations prior to arriving in the Twin Cities on the morning of the first day of youth week. Feel free to contact the youth week registrar to check for carpooling possibilities or suggestions on where to stay.
What if I want to provide my own transportation to Cass Lake?
That’s great! Campers who will be finding their own way to camp need to be at the SailStar Marina in Cass Lake, MN by 2:30pm on the first day of Youth Week. If you are also going to be picking up your camper on the last day of Youth Week, you need to be at the marina no later than 10am.
How are campers divided into cabins?
Each grade will be assigned to a different cabin, or the lodge, at camp. The living space is based on the number of campers in each grade group and the number of beds available in that space. Rooming assignments are decided upon arrival at camp and are based on gender identity and subject to change throughout the week.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, we do provide partial scholorships. There is no need to fill out an application or send in a statement of need, we do not require either. During the registration process, you can check the box signaling you would like a scholarship, but in order to finish the registration process and secure your camper’s spot at youth week, you must pay the deposit which is roughly half of the total camper fee. After a few weeks, the registrar will contact you to discuss how much of the remaining camper fee you would need to be covered by the scholarship fund.
Who will be making sure my camper is taking their medication while at youth week?
Youth Week has a fantastic medical professional named Laurel Wills who will be volunteering her time as the medic at both Youth Weeks and will be responsible for all medical and dietary related issues for campers at youth week. If your camper has a few special dietary or medical needs, she may email you prior to their week at camp to coordinate their care.
What will my camper be eating while at Youth Week?
There are three meals a day prepared by the kitchen staff as well as an afternoon snack and an evening snack. The kitchen offers fresh fruit, vegetables, and freshly made baked goods every day along with made-from-scratch meals that fit a variety of dietary needs and satisfy the sometimes finicky palettes of the average youth.
Do I need to send food with my camper?
No, please do not send food with your camper. Camp provides three youth-friendly meals a day as well as an afternoon and evening snack. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and plant-based meals are available as long as they are requested during registration. The only exception would be a camper with a highly specific diet that could not be wholly accommodated by our kitchen, in which case we will notify you in advance and you could supplement what we can provide with food sent from home.
Does my camper need money at Youth Week?
The answer depends on a few things. On the way up to and back from camp, the camp-provided transportation will stop at a designated fast food lunch spot, if your camper would like to purchase something to eat, they will need some money.
Also, we do have a small kiosk at camp where we have a variety of clothing items (sweatshirts, flannel pajama pants, sweatpants, t-shirts, bandanas, etc.) that campers may choose to purchase as a memento from their week at camp. Campers can pay cash for these items while at camp, or the director can charge the credit card used during registration for each camper. If you prefer to be charged for any purchased kiosk items rather than sending money, make sure your camper communicates that with camp staff.
Will my camper have a curfew at Youth Week?
Yes, the curfews are assigned by grade. 7th and 8th graders need to be in their cabins each night by 11pm, 9th and 10th graders by midnight, and 12th graders by 1am. Counselors are on duty each night to make sure that youth adhere to these curfews.
What should campers pack for a week at camp?
The Youth Week registrar will be sending out a suggested packing list about a month before Youth Week starts, but you can view it here. Campers will be sleeping in cabins that have bunk style beds with basic vinyl covered mattresses. Campers should bring their own bedding, including a pillow, and all the toiletries they will need for a week. Each cabin has a bathroom with indoor plumbing and the option of a bathtub, but most campers prefer to use the separate shower houses. There are no laundry facilities in camp, so campers need to bring enough items (including towels) to last them the entire week.
Closed-toed shoes are a requirement for work projects and some campers choose to bring costumes or special outfits for the talent show or dance. During their down time, campers can sail, kayak, SUP, swim, etc so a swimsuit and water shoes are a necessity, as well as an extra towel. Lastly, don’t forget the layers and jackets for cold or rainy weather.
Can I call my camper at Youth Week?
Yes, there is a phone line specifically for campers to use that will not interfere with camp business. The number is 218-335-6116. They may use it to call you and you may use it to call them. If you call and your camper is not within shouting distance, please ask the person on the other end of the line to find your camper and have them call you back so as not to hold up the line.
Can my camper bring their cell phone to camp? Will they have service?
Yes, campers are allowed to bring their cell phones to youth week, however we stress the importance of “unplugging” at Camp UniStar and the value of being a present and active part of the youth week community. Screen time should be kept to a minimum.
Wifi is not available at camp and because of its remote location service may be spotty or nonexistent depending on your carrier. Please see the question about calling your camper for a more reliable method of staying in touch.
Can I send packages to my camper at Youth Week?
Yes, you can send packages or mail to the address below, but please be mindful that packages arrive at the marina in Cass Lake and may not get picked up by staff members for several days because of inclement weather, miscommunication, or plain bad timing. Depending on where you are sending it from, the package may need to leave before your camper does in order for them to receive it!
℅ your camper’s name (Youth Week #)
25816 Star Island SE
Cass Lake, MN 56633-3339
Can I pick my camper up early from Youth Week?
Yes, please contact the youth week registrar ahead of time about leaving early. A fee may be charged for the extra boat run required to take a camper from the island to the mainland if it does not coincide with an already scheduled boat run. Unfortunately, the fees for youth week are not prorated.
We are attending the family week following Youth Week Two, can my camper stay on the island until we get there?
No, all campers must leave on the morning of the last day of Youth Week and must be picked up at the marina by a designated adult before 10am. If arrangements are made ahead of time, and the camper’s belongings are cleaned out of their cabin, they may leave their things on the island in between camper weeks. Please contact the youth week registrar, to make those arrangements.
We have a previous engagement and will have to miss the transportation up to camp, can my camper arrive late to camp?
Yes, please contact the youth week registrar ahead of time about the late arrival. You will have to provide your own transportation up to the marina in Cass Lake, but a staff member will meet you and your camper there to take them to the island. A fee may be charged for the extra boat run required to take a camper from the mainland to the island if it does not coincide with an already scheduled boat run. Unfortunately, the fees for youth week are not prorated. Don’t forget to register for the camp-provided transportation back to Twin Cities if you need that!
Are there any safety concerns I should be aware of before sending my camper off to the north woods for a week?
Always! Sunscreen and bug spray are a must, and treating clothes and bedding with Permethrin prior to arriving at camp is one of the best ways to protect your camper from tick born diseases. The prevalence of ticks on the island only increases as the years go by and their capacity to spread diseases like lyme and anaplasmosis, even the newly discovered red-meat allergy, is going up. Here are some helpful links for prepping with permethrin:
Are there any adults supervising the Youth Week work projects?
Of course! We have former staff person and professional craftsperson Austin Frizzell as project coordinator over the both Youth Weeks. He coordinates the project direction and execution and has an extensive background in construction and maitenence. Counselors are also assigned to each group project based on their skills and interests. Please make sure that your camper packs closed-toed shoes to prevent foot injuries and camp will provide all other safety equipment (gloves, protective eyewear, etc.) as needed.