How many staff members are employed during the summer?
In addition to the Administrative Staff, there are more than 150 summer staff members each week. Bryan McIntyre, Eli and Cam Cochran, Megan Gierhart, Cole Perry and two nurses are all adults who live at camp during the summer.

What is the process for recruiting and hiring staff?
More than 80-percent of our staff were campers at Camp Ernst.  The summer staff is recruited:  from past campers and staff, staff contacts, from area and national colleges and high schools, and international counselor programs.  Prospective staff must complete an application, provide references and be interviewed.  Applicants 18 and older must pass a criminal record check.

What type of training is required of employees?
There is one week of staff training prior to the camp season with continual in-service training throughout the summer and year-round.

What is the food like?  What about food allergies?
Check out our camp menu and food guide here!

How many campers live in a cabin and what direct supervision is provided?
There are 10-12 campers per cabin with both a Head Cabin Counselor and an Assistant Cabin Counselor.  The cabin counselors participate with campers in the various activities during the day, eat with them and sleep in the same cabin.

What is the camp policy on discipline?
Our discipline plan is designed to help children develop self-control and assume responsibility for their actions and impact. We are guided by our core values of honesty, caring, responsibilityl, and respect. Clear, age-appropriate rules and limits are established at camp. As in any group activity, inappropriate behavior by one or two children can challenge the experience for the entire group. Staff will deal with typical, day-to-day behavior issues using acceptable techniques and approaches, such as: redirecting campers, rewarding positive behavior, encouraging campers to use "I" statements and talk about their feelings, role modeling on how to speak and interact with campers in a positive manner, and implementing time out when appropriate.

Campers will partake in an anti-bullying seminar on their first evening at camp and sign a pledge stating that they understand the importance of creating a positive community at camp. It is emphasized repeatedly to all in the camp community that “If something or someone is keeping you from having agood time, tell your counselor. If your counselor doesn’t do enough about it, tell another counselor.” There are also anonymous reporting boxes in both nurse offices. In addition, the “Tuesday check in” by the unit leaders gives campers a designated, individual, programmed procedure for reporting any problems or concerns.


What is the typical schedule; what to do in rainy or exceptionally hot weather?
In the event of inclement weather, we make use of our indoor facilities and have alternative activities.  Storm shelters are used when necessary.  When it is exceptionally hot campers are encouraged to drink water and swim. Other activities may be toned down as necessary.

How many scheduled interactions are there between girls and boys?
Boys’ and girls’ cabins are separated.  However, boys and girls participate together in activities throughout the day.

Can a camper ride horses even if they are not in the ranch program?
Campers ages 9 and older can purchase a trail ride option, and there are occasionally opportunities during choice activities to ride in the ring if they choose and weather permits.

What is the ratio of lifeguards to campers when the pools and lake are in use?
We adhere to the YMCA standard which calls for 1 guard for every 25 swimmers.

What religious activities are the campers required to attend?
There is a Spirit, Mind, and Body ceremony relating to the YMCA triangle on opening night, an inter-denominational Christian chapel service once or twice a week, and devotions focusing on personal growth and values.  We also celebrate Christmas in July during the session containing July 25. We also sing a simple "Grace" of thanks before each meal.


What type of medical examination is required before a child may attend camp?
Each camper must provide a YMCA Camp Ernst Health Form (which does NOT require a doctor’s signature.) A general health screening will be conducted during registration.  Click here to see a list of medications stocked in the health center.

Is there a Camp Nurse?
Yes.  There is a licensed nurse on duty at all times.  The nurse or health care assistant will handle all medications (prescription & non-prescription), minor illnesses and injuries.  Parents will be notified at the discretion of the nurse:  Basically, if there is a significant health problem, a continuing fever of 101+, or if camper needs treatment beyond our health center.  In the event of an emergency, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Florence is only 10 minutes away.

How are the meals planned?
The meals are planned and prepared by cooks.  Food allergies and the likes and dislikes of campers are considered and we provide an alternative table with salads, vegetables & fruits. 

What happens if an unauthorized person shows up at camp?
There are “No Trespassing” signs at each entrance of Camp Ernst.  The staff is trained to approach strangers (including parents-since there is no way of knowing at that time) and direct them to the office.  If necessary, the police are called.

What do you do to ensure safety?
Activities are designed with safety features.  Staff are trained in risk management.  We are accredited by the American Camp Association, the standard of the industry, for safety practices.


How is mail handled?
We encourage both campers and parents to write.  Mail is distributed after lunch or supper.  Please remember to put camper’s name, cabin number, and week number on letters and packages.  Our address is: 7615 Camp Ernst Rd, Burlington, KY 41005

What is the policy regarding phone calls?
Campers do not have access to telephones.  A staff member will initiate a call when appropriate.  If a camper needs to be reached in an emergency, the camp office will make the necessary arrangements.  Cell phones are not permitted.

What is the camp procedure regarding homesickness?
Counselors are trained to watch for warning signs and to keep the camper engaged in the camp program and cabin group.  Counselors will acknowledge that everyone gets a little homesick sometimes and remind the camper about their new friends and what activity they get to do next.  They will also ask if there is something or someone keeping them from having a good time.  In some cases, the parents will be notified and can assist in developing a strategy to help the camper.

Are campers allowed to bring radios, CD players, or other electronic items?
NoSuch items can be easily lost or damaged.

Are campers allowed to bring personal sports equipment?
Yes.  The equipment will be stored in a safe location, can only be used during specified times, and only used under the supervision of a Camp Ernst staff member for the protection of all individuals.

How are Lost and Found items handled?
If an item is lost, the camper should notify one of his/her counselors.  We actively try to keep campers connected to their belongings.  We have a lost & found fashion show on Saturday morning.  Lost and Found items are kept in Welcome Center for two (2) weeks and then donated to charity.  Labeling clothes with camper’s name is recommended.  Please call the office or use our lost and found reporting form (on our home page) to report item lost if you notice something your camper did not return home with after camp.

Note:  We have adopted a one-piece bathing suit policy (no bikinis).

How are cabinmate requests handled?

If your camper has a friend or group of campers he or she would like to bunk with, please make the request during registration or by giving us a call at the office.  We can accommodate most cabinmate requests if the campers are within 18 months of age of each other.  For any pair or group, please pick one camper’s name as “cabinmate” to use on all registrations (so even that camper will have her own name as “cabinmate.”).  We can honor cabinmate requests for groups of up to 6 campers.  We can accommodate a larger group only if you are able to fill a cabin of 12.  Any requests between 7-11 campers will be asked to be split into two groups.  Cabin assignments are emailed out approximately one week prior to your camper’s stay.  If there are any issues with assignments, give us a call so we can work with your request.

What is the camp's cancellation policy?

A deposit of $100 per session is required with registration and is non-refundable after March 15. The final balance is due at the latest by four weeks before the session begins. Cancellation for a session must be made at least two weeks before that session begins. Cancellations within two weeks of the session's start day will be nonrefundable. All cancellations must be made in writing, by emailing [email protected].