General Questions

  • What are the camp dates for this year?

    Check back for information on 2015 camp sessions.

  • Where is CTB Oregon held?

    We are very fortunate to be hosted by Salem YMCA - Camp Silver Creek in Silverton, Oregon.

  • Is there a cost to attend CTB Oregon?

    Yes. The actual cost for a camper to attend camp is approximately $1000. However, the camper registration fee is $500. Oregon DHS has committed funds in various ways to assist in paying this fee for all youth who are in state custody. Please check with the youth's caseworker about payment, especially if the camper is connected to a therapeutic agency.

    If campers are not in state custody (adopted or with birth parents), the fee is the responsibility of the parents. We recommend checking into post-adoptive funds, holding fundraisers in the community, asking local businesses to sponsor the camper(s) etc. Some scholarships may be available as well.

    The remaining cost of attendance is made up by fundraising efforts that take place year round. There are many dedicated volunteers in the northwest that commit their time year round in this effort to ensure that we have the funding in place to run this life changing program each year.

  • Who do I contact with any questions?

    Contact Karyn Schimmels at: or call 971-219-4434.

Camper Registration

  • How do I register a group of siblings to attend camp?

    Siblings must be separated by foster care, adoption or other out-of-home placement to be eligible for CTB Oregon. If you are interested in sending a youth to CTB Oregon, you would need to contact the youth's child welfare caseworker(s). We work very closely with our public welfare departments and each state has a direct contact that oversees the camper registration process for his/her state. Each state will have the registration forms available for the caseworkers to complete. We also recommend that the caseworker and care provider work together to complete the forms with as much information as possible, so that the staff of CTB Oregon can provide each camper and his/her siblings with the best experience possible.

    You can contact: Judy Helstrom, CTB Oregon at:

  • When does the registration process for campers begin?

    We start this process each year around March.

  • What are the ages of the campers?

    Campers are ages 8 and up.

  • Can youths with special needs attend?

    It depends on the needs of the camper. Please contact the Camp Coordinator for more details.


  • Who is the staff at CTB?

    The staff of CTB is made up of volunteer counselors from around the state and the U.S. and beyond. Each counselor goes through an application, interview, screening process/background checks. While many of our past counselors have been social workers, we also have counselors who work as teachers, computer programmers, postal workers, nurses, etc. Our goal is to attract a diverse group of people who are kind, caring, responsible, committed to children/youth, understand the importance of the sibling connection, willing to jump in the trenches and like to have fun.

  • Do I have to have experience as a camp counselor? Do I need to be a social worker to be a camp counselor?

    No. We look for folks who are caring, nurturing, energetic, positive, open-minded, and enjoy being part of a team. The most important qualification is that our staff enjoys working with children and youth of all ages.

    We also want our campers to have exposure to folks who work in various fields. Our campers are surrounded by social workers in their everyday lives, so we also like to have them learn about other fields. We have had counselors who work in the computer industry, insurance field, as teachers, nurses, etc.

  • I am interested in being a camp counselor. How do I apply?

    Contact CTB Oregon Program Director Karyn Schimmels for an application or contact or call 971-219-4434

  • If I become a counselor, do I have to be at camp the entire week?

    Yes. Those who are accepted as counselors (after the application, interview and screening process) are required to commit to the entire week plus the 2 days of training.

  • I am not able to be a camp counselor, but are there other ways I can volunteer?

    Absolutely. We always need individuals who are willing to help with event planning, and fundraising. We have a fundraising committee which meets about once per month. We also need help at events.

    We also need individuals who are willing to collect specific items for our evening signature programs such as party decorations, theme night decorations, camp wish list needs.

    For those who like to sew/quilt, we need lap-size quilts to be pre-made. These are used for a CTB Signature activity where the siblings write special sentiments on the quilt and present it to a brother or sister.

    Please contact the CTB Oregon Program Director, Karyn Schimmels for more ideas of ways to help. or call 971-219-4434

Camp Week

  • Do brothers and sisters spend the days together?

    Yes. Sibling groups are assigned to what we call Family Groups. Family Groups are made up of 8-10 campers and 4-6 counselors. Each family group is comprised of 2-4 sibling groups (i.e. brother/sister, brother/sister/sister, sister/sister/sister, brother/brother etc.) depending on the numbers of siblings. We typically have six family groups. Each family group rotates through activities and meals together.

    There are also all-camp activities when campers can meet new friends as well. Because Camp to Belong focuses on the sibling connection, we encourage all campers to take advantage of the time available to spend with siblings. However, campers have also found comfort in meeting other campers who have similar life experiences as their own. We have found that the wisdom and experience of some campers has helped other campers to deal with certain issues they are facing. Sometimes just hearing other campers share their stories is extremely beneficial.

  • How are campers placed in bunks?

    Sisters room with sisters and brothers room with brothers. Cabins typically hold 6-8 campers and 1-2 counselors. If a sibling group is made up of a brother and a sister, the sister would usually be in a bunk with other single sisters of similar age. The brother would be in a bunk with other single brothers of a similar age.

    A great deal of thought is put into assigning bunkmates and family groups.

  • How do we learn what the camper will need at camp?

    Once your camper has been selected to attend camp, caseworkers and care providers will be informed of all documentation required, and will be given details as to what a camper will need to bring to camp. Our camp coordinator will provide a camper handbook and packing list to every provider or caseworker to be shared with the campers selected.

  • Is transportation available for campers who live far from camp?

    Yes. We do assist/provide airfare and ground transportation to and from camp when needed for siblings from out of state to join their siblings at camp. Care providers will be asked to drive campers to and from a designated drop off and pick up site in Salem, Oregon. From this site, Camp To Belong Oregon transports all campers by bus to the actual camp site. More detailed information will be provided to providers prior to camp.

  • What types of activities are held at camp?

    Basic camp activities include swimming, tubing and canoeing/kayaking, arts & crafts, challenge course, and hiking. We also have special events including a carnival, theme activity (Luau, Western, 50s) and a special birthday party for all campers. Of course, we also have campfires with roasted marshmallows and s'mores.

  • Do the campers get to choose which activities they attend/participate in?

    We encourage campers to participate in all activities to the best of their ability. We do not force any camper to take part in activities in which they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe. Our counselors are prepared to offer other options, such as word games, mind teasers, low-key activities or high-energy activities that appeal to the camper. Family groups rotate through activities together. Each family group attends each activity once. Each activity period is approximately 1.5 hours so there is ample time for each camper to experience the activity.

  • Are we allowed to visit/contact campers during camp?

    Because we want the campers to be able to stay focused on each other (their brothers and sisters) and stay involved in activities, we don't encourage phone calls or visits. If you would like to send a postcard or letter, you are more than welcome to do so. If you would like to call during camp to find out how your camper is doing, we would be more than happy to have the Camp Coordinator or a counselor contact you with any information you need.

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    Camp To Belong offers many volunteer opportunities across the United States. Volunteers contribute to our organization by serving on various committees such as finance, marketing/public relations, camp standards and member camps.

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