Semester at Camp

For girls entering 9th -12th grade

September 8th – December 18th


With another semester of virtual learning looming, make the next four months an amazing learning experience with a Semester at Camp! Students will complete remote schoolwork complimented by enrichment programs delivered by Camp Newaygo staff. The aim is to provide a developmentally appropriate social and emotional learning experience blended with the academic requirements that their regular/local schools will continue to provide without face-to-face instruction. We believe that Semester at Camp provides a unique opportunity to allow kids to both grow academically and have needed social connection to enjoy themselves as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

After four months of quarantine and virtual schooling this spring, summer at camp proved to be exactly what kids needed. Camp has been the perfect antidote to being quarantined at home for the months prior. With schools offering remote learning for students, we believe that Semester at Camp will allow girls to continue to have social interaction, physical activity, and adventure education for continued growth and development.

With a maximum enrollment of 16 students, the program will allow for the attention to COVID safe protocols and personal attention for peace of mind.

Pre-Registration Here

Cost: $750 per week/$10,500 for the semester

At this time, we will be collecting a fully refundable $500 deposit. Once we know that we have sufficient interest in the program, we will move forward with applications and interviews. Those students accepted into the program will then have their registrations processed and placement confirmed.

All programs and activities (including weekend adventures and once a month off-site trips), 3 meals per day, lodging, laundry facilities, supervision, printing (for school needs), and wifi.

Each day will consist of up to 6 hours of Virtual learning time, as needed, with added academic & cultural exploration
Time Activity
7:30AM Breakfast
8:30-11:30 AM Virtual Learning Time
11:30-12:15 PM Lunch
12:15-1:00 PM Outdoor Adventure Block 1 
1:00-4:30PM Virtual Learning Time
4:30-6:30PM Outdoor Free Play + Study Time
6:30-7:15PM Dinner
7:15-8:30PM Enrichment Activity
8:30-9:30PM Free Time + Study Time
9:30-10:30 PM Evening Wind-Down (Showers, Movies)

Outdoor Adventure & Enrichment Examples

Our Staff


Jalisa Danhof has a degree in Camp Administration from Florida State University (Magna cum laude.) She has facilitated youth programs at Camp Newaygo for ten years. As a National Merit Scholar, and AP test master, she is passionate about academic success and learning in the out-of-doors.

Lilka Espinosa  & Fernando Jimenez from from Toluca, Mexico will act as “houseparents” for the program. Lilka goes to Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México for Biomedical Engineering. Ferando is receiving his culinary degree from Escuela Culinaria Internacional.

From the United Kingdom, Charley Maguire is certified in Stage Combat from the Academy of Performance Combat. As the Overnight Program Director, she will support the program with weekend adventure trips and enrichment activities.

A COVID-Careful Program

  • All students are required to have a negative COVID-19 test on file (taken within 10 days of the program start)
  • The program will take place outdoors as much as possible (even for virtual learning!)
  • Staff all receive COVID testing periodically
  • Students and all staff will be screened daily with a temperature & symptom check
  • Students will be considered one “pod” for the semester, and will not have direct interaction with other guests or participants of other Camp Newaygo programs
  • Activity areas and program supplies will be cleaned, and sanitized between students. Students will wash or sanitize their hands before and after activities
  • Due to Executive Order 2020-164, children and staff are required to mask whenever in indoor common spaces. The program will have private indoor spaces, designated for use by the students enrolled in this program
We are confident that the systems we have built for a successful 2020 overnight camp season will help us continue to provide a COVID-conscious program for families.


Frequently Asked Questions

Students will be required to come to camp with a laptop for virtual learning. This computer needs to have a microphone and webcam capabilities. Unlike summer camp, we will allow the students to use their cell phones, except during meal times and scheduled activities. The girls would be able to call home every day, but we would keep the scrolling to a minimum, and ensure that the girls are living active, engaged, outdoor, healthy lifestyles. That said, to ensure every student gets a sufficient night’s sleep for school, students will not be allowed to use their phones after lights out. This policy will be relaxed on the weekends.

Depending on program enrollment, students will either live in Lang Lodge or the Health & Leadership Lodge. Students will have a group classroom space, and a gathering space for hanging out. Camp staff will design a schedule that allows the students to utilize all Camp Newaygo property, separate from any other programs or guests.

Camp staff will assist the students to the same level that a parent would help. Our staff are not all certified teachers or tutors. Essentially, our staff will be playing a similar role as parents do in remote schooling. Our staff will be providing social and emotional support, helping ensure the students are fulfilling their commitments, but leaving the teaching to the students’ virtual school teachers

Students will work with camp staff to design their own enrichment modules. Some options include: hiking local trails in Newaygo County, fine arts (ceramics, printing, stained glass), music (guitar, ukulele), budgeting and finance, COVID-Careful community service, and outdoor education. On weekends students will have a mixture of study time and planned adventures (ex: private dune rides off Lake Michigan, fly fishing on the Muskegon river, backcountry camping at Nordhouse Dunes). With this new program, our goal is to find a design that prioritizes student’s academic commitment and allows girls to grow in independence and strengthen their resilience.


Students are allowed to receive packages delivered to Camp Newaygo. Store trips will be made by volunteers weekly for necessities. Students will have an opportunity to shop safely at a store (Target, Meijer) once per month under the supervision of Camp Newaygo staff. Students are encouraged to come with a debit card and a clear understanding of budgetary limits with their family. 

Once per month (schedule TBD) families will be allowed to visit at Camp Newaygo. Students will not be allowed off-site. Families can take advantage of our Fall Family Weekends at a discounted rate, to stay overnight at Camp Newaygo. Or, families can visit for the day and bring outside food into camp. Families will be required to complete a COVID-19 screening, including a COVID-19 test within the past 10 days for every adult, and any children/siblings/friends/significant others visiting need to have an adult present with a negative COVID-19 test that lives in the same household as the child. Camp will help parents with a free testing option for adults. If a student does not have family visiting on this weekend, they will continue to be supervised and participate in activities with Camp Newaygo staff. 

Students will be required to make arrangements to leave Camp Newaygo for the Thanksgiving week (November 22nd-29th) A negative COVID-19 test will be required before they return to camp. We will have families willing to host out-of-state students for the holiday. Students will not be allowed to travel by public transit for this break.

Any virtual learning is compatible with Semester At Camp. Preferably, coursework can be completed on a flexible schedule. Virtual learning classes that are pre-recorded and/or have open office hours with teachers are ideal. Our goal is to keep students enrolled in their own school district for ease of future transfer back.

Camp Staff will be on site supervising the campers 24/7. They are trained in CPR/First Aid, and Responding To Emergencies. Nurse Carlene will be available for the students once per day for consultation, and as-needed for in-person care. Gerber Memorial Hospital is 15 minutes away. Camp Newaygo will work with parents for routine medical care (dentist, check-ups), and will manage all medication. Camp works with providers who are following COVID-safe guidelines, and will supervise the students during any needed local off-site medical treatment. Students must be covered on parent’s insurance for all routine care and in case of emergencies. All medical treatment is the responsibility of the parent.

Staff are equipped to facilitate outdoors activities in rain, snow, and cold weather. Students will be expected to dress for the weather every day and be prepared to be outside for at least half of the day at Camp.  In cases of extreme weather (thunderstorms, blizzards, low temperatures, etc) staff will provide alternative indoor activities. Seeing camp in the fall and early winter is one of the best parts of this program!

A little. It will be a different pace, schedule, and concept. Students will feel more like a family pod with assigned capers (chores), responsibilities (laundry, school work), and more collaboration in the program design. Students will have more time on their own (but supervised) and have access to things that make living at camp full-time more comfortable (your own snack stash, cell phone usage, off-site trips to Chipole drive-through). We’ve never done this before. But we are good with kids. We are good at camp. And we are good at running a safe program during a global pandemic. We hope Semester At Camp feels like all the best parts of camp mixed with a sample of study abroad.


Recent and relevant media coverage related to outdoor learning as an asset to school districts’ COVID-19 response

“Scotland Eyes Outdoor Learning as Model for Reopening of Schools”
The Guardian, May 10, 2020
”Local authorities are exploring how using outdoor space could optimise physical distancing”

“Italy Eyes Plans for Kids to go to Micro-Nurseries and Have Lessons in the Forest”
AFP/The Local, May 2, 2020
Schools in Italy will be closed until the fall, but the government is considering outdoor learning as an approach to reopen, particularly for young children in preschool and kindergarten.

“Flashback: In the Fight Against Tuberculosis, Open Air Schools in Chicago Took an Unorthodox Approach: Keep Kids Outside, Even in Winter”
Chicago Tribune, May 1, 2020
This article compares the current COVID-19 pandemic to the health crisis 100 years ago, when Chicago (and the world) suffered from the tuberculosis and Spanish flu pandemics. It details the ways that schools in Chicago responded, by having class outside, even during the coldest months of the year.

“Bring Back the Open Air School”
Treehugger, April 24, 2020
Discussion of the open air school movement that started in 1904 in Europe, and spread to the United States before and after World War I. Outdoor learning was used as a strategy to fight the tuberculosis and Spanish flu pandemics, while also keeping school open. This article includes photographs of the outdoor classrooms used at the time.

“See the Forgotten Open Air Schools, Designed to Battle Tuberculosis During the 1930s”
Media Drum World, undated
Photographs of outdoor learning in response to the tuberculosis pandemic ninety years ago.

“When Your Classroom is Outside, School is Always Open”
EdNews, April 2, 2020
Ideas for using outdoor classrooms for engaging academic curricula, shared by staff from Out Teach, a nonprofit that provides coaching and onsite professional development for teachers to boost STEM instruction, in the south and southeastern United States.



If you have questions or concerns, and would like to speak with someone on the phone, we will have staff available Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time): (231) 652-1184