Frequently Asked Questions

 

General information: who we are, contact information

What is Camp PALS?

Camp PALS is a weeklong overnight camp hosted at Universities all over the country for young adults with Down syndrome and their peers. Throughout the week of fun, campers and counselors engage in a wide range of activities, from beach trips to the Jersey shore at our Philly and New Jersey locations, to visiting Google and the Golden Gate Bridge at our San Francisco location.

What are PALS Adventures and how do I get involved?

PALS Adventures engage the PALS Family year-round as campers and counselors pair up one-to-one to explore new places, engage in shared experiences, and build lasting friendships. Our Adventures are similar to our Camps, just shortened to a weekend getaway. You do not have to have any prior experience with Camp to attend.

We saw PALS Programs on the Meredith Vieira show, and want to know more about the Congratulations Project. What is it?

The Congratulations Project is an initiative in which members of the PALS family write letters to new members of the Down syndrome community. These letters are designed to inspire, encourage, welcome and, most importantly, congratulate new parents and siblings of a child with Down syndrome. If you know of a family or individual who would like to receive a letter, just select “receive a letter”.

How do I get in touch with staff?

You can email us at staff@palsprograms.org or call 202 630 5858 and leave us a message.

Where is your office or headquarters located?

While we have programming that takes place around the country, we do not have a physical office that the PALS Community can visit. Our employees work remotely. We do have an address that can be used to send donations and PALS-related mail at: 4965 Grundy Way Doylestown, PA, 18902

 

General information about participants and application process

Who is eligible to apply?

All volunteers are eligible as long as they are within the ages of 16-30. Our Campers are young adults with a Down syndrome diagnosis between the ages of 12-30.

What would keep a Volunteer from being accepted?

If you are outside of our age range, do not pass our background test, or are not open to the PALS experience.

My young adult has never been away from home before. Is he/she still eligible to attend Camp PALS?

Yes! PALS is a great place for your young adult to experience an inclusive community away from home. There are a few requirements due to the nature of our programming. Campers should be able to independently attend to their personal hygiene, thrive in group activities, and have the endurance to partake in a week of scheduled programming.

How do I apply?

Through CampInTouch. You can also visit our apply page.

When does the camper application for Camp PALS go live?

Typically, the camper application for Camp PALS goes live on January 1st around noon (ET).

It says “Your application is already on file,” but I don’t remember submitting an application for a volunteer position at camp.

If you submitted a staff application for Adventures, Director Role, or Campus Ambassadors, login to CampInTouch and fill out the "Camp PALS 2017: Location Preferences" form to apply for Camp.

What opportunities are there for Campers?

Campers can apply to Camps and Adventures to take part in programming and be paired with a volunteer. PALS is also currently offering leadership development and inclusive positions for Campers at Camp PALS and in the off-season. During select times, Campers can apply to be an Inclusive CPS Volunteer, or a Campus Ambassador. Visit our Leadership Page for details. We are always working towards increasing our inclusive roles at PALS. If you have ideas on how we can continue to grow these opportunities, please email Julia.

What opportunities are there for Volunteers?

Volunteers can apply to Camps and Adventures to take part in programming and be paired with a camper. We offer leadership development for our Volunteers to grow into new roles through their involvement with PALS. Volunteers can apply to be a Campus Ambassador, Adventure Leader, Director, Medical and Media Volunteers, Head Counselor, and/or Camp PALS Support Volunteer. Visit our Leadership Page for details.

 

General Camp and Adventure Questions

Who will I room with at Camps and Adventures?

Campers and counselors are carefully paired one-on-one by Camp Directors to room together and experience a week of fun together! Each pair will also be a part of a team, and will spend much of their time at camp with their teams. Roommates are selected based off of age, interests, hobbies, and background information collected from surveys.

What should I pack for Camp and Adventures?

Click here to see our Camp packing list. Click here to see our Adventures packing list.

Will a Camp PALS or Adventure location ever come to my area?

The ideal situation would be for PALS to be in every location where there is a need. Camp PALS has grown from 1 to 10 locations, and we are always looking into opportunities to expand the impact of our programs. Please contact us if you have any ideas!

Can I visit and see Camp in action?

We always welcome visitors and partner organizations to stop by and visit. We do, however, ask that parents refrain from visiting during the week as it may make some of our participants feel home-sick. We also want to give everyone a chance to grow in independence, make new friends, and get the most out of the experience. Parents and friends are welcome to attend our Closing Ceremonies at the week of camp for a full recap of their week.

 

CampMinder, CampInTouch Accounts, and Medical Forms

I can’t find the link to CampInTouch. How do I log in?

You can visit it by clicking here to create your CampInTouch account. Use the same email address and password that you used to complete the application.

What if I forgot my password and am locked out of my account?

You are never really locked out of your account. All you need to do is press the “Retrieve/Set Password” link in the login box on palsprograms.campintouch.com>

How do I access all the medical forms?

Log in to CampInTouch and click on “Forms & Documents”. All the forms that you need to fill out are there.

I can’t figure out how to upload the medical forms to CampInTouch. What should I do?

It’s as easy as attaching a document to an email! Please try one last time by going to “Forms & Documents” and clicking “Upload” next to the form you would like to upload. Please contact julia@palsprograms.org if you still have an issue.

Which immunizations do I need up to date?

It is a PALS requirement that all volunteers and campers are up to date on their vaccinations based on the CDC immunization schedule.

 

Financials and Fundraising

How much is tuition?

Camp tuition is $1,400 and Adventure tuition is $550. Visit our financials page for details.

Where is my money going?

Tuition covers food, housing, supplies, and activities for not only the camper, but his or her paired counselor, and additional staff.

What if I can’t afford it?

We don’t want money to be a reason anyone can’t attend PALS. We encourage anyone interested to fill out the reduced tuition form, even if they’re not sure it’s right for them. We also encourage families to review our Funding Sources document to learn more about outside organizations that can help subsidize tuition. Click here to see our Funding Sources document.

I need an invoice to send for waiver funding. How do I get that?

Log in to CampInTouch, click “Financial Management” then “View Statement”. That will download a PDF of your invoice.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Log in to CampInTouch and click on “Forms & Documents”. There you will find our financial aid application.

Why not charge less for programs that cost less?

The longer programs run, the more we’re typically able to reduce costs-- both by building stronger relationships with local organizations, and by hosting more campers with shared resources. In order to foster an environment that supports new programs, we’ve decided to charge the same rate across programs.

Why stay at college dorms if housing is one of your biggest costs?

While housing is expensive, we think that being on college campuses is an important part of the PALS experience. The young adults who participate in our programs (both campers and volunteers) have enjoyed the independence and life-skills opportunities that are available on a college campus, and we are able to use these campus communities to further PALS mission of building transformative relationships between people with and without Down syndrome.

How do I make a donation?

You can donate on our fundraising platform to a specific fundraiser or cause by clicking here. You can also donate electronically through PayPal on our website. If you wanted to waive the 3% in fees, you can add in the difference or mail a check made out to PALS Programs at: 4965 Grundy Way Doylestown, PA, 18902

Are Matching Gifts an option?

Yes, we accept all matching gifts! All employers are different and in some cases may double your gift amount. We have a tool on our website that allows you to search for different organizations with details on matching gift amounts and steps to process donations. Visit our donate page for details!

What is your EIN number?

PALS Programs is a 501c3 non-profit. Our EIN or Tax ID number is 35-2334489.

What should I do if I wanted to fundraise for PALS?

You can visit our Fundraising Page for details on how to start your own Fundraising Page and see Resources on events, ideas, and different fundraising initiatives to raise money for PALS Programs.

Where does money from the fundraising campaign go?

Money from the fundraising campaigns, as well as grants we receive, go toward ensuring that any camper can attend PALS regardless of their ability to pay. Additional funds go to year-round program development, office expenses across programs (e.g. storage, mailing), long term savings, taxes, and staff compensation.