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Opening Day

Opening Day at Camp Ozark is equivalent to the Super Bowl for many families, and especially for our camp staff. It’s BIG! Big travel, big firsts, big emotions, big tummy butterflies, and BIG leaps into the best time ever! So, what’s the best way to prepare for this BIG moment in your summer? Let’s break down the process of opening day!

One quick thing to remember when making your plans:

Opening Day is on SUNDAY! Closing Day is on SATURDAY!

What are my travel options?

Private Auto

When should I arrive in Mt. Ida if traveling by private auto?

Two weeks before your session begins, you will receive detailed information about travel to camp. You will be given an arrival window time that says something like, “No earlier than XX:XX and no later than XX:XX” If you are traveling from far away, then consider staying the night somewhere closer to camp to make your travels more enjoyable. Click here for suggested accommodations in the area.

What happens when we arrive?

You will first be directed to Camp Ozark’s Satellite Parking Lot, where will you complete the first part of your check-in process. You will be greeted by smiling faces and your camper(s) will learn their cabin assignment and you will receive more information about what happens when you get over into camp.

Next, you will drive through the main gates of Camp Ozark and really get to see what Camp Ozark is all about. Be ready for LOTS of energy and fun as you’re greeted by the staff! You will be directed to your camper’s cabin area where your car will be unloaded and you will be shown to your camper’s cabin. While they take your luggage to the cabin, another staff member will offer to valet park your car (make sure to check the back seat for items your camper may need). If you cannot stay, then you may drive out of camp and be on your way – your camper’s counselor will help them get settled in! If you plan on sticking around, you are more than welcome to help your camper(s) get set up in their cabin, watch their swim test, and visit the store together.

Keep an ear out for announcements made for parents depart camp so that session can begin, and the campers can get to the FUN! At that time, you’ll make your way back to where you dropped off your car, be directed out of camp, and head on home (or wherever you may be going)!

Which method of drop-off is best?

There are different ways to do it! And it is totally your decision. You know your camper best. Some parents opt for the “Rip off the band-aid” approach, choosing not to stick around for very long, while others feel a little more comfortable staying for a bit and settling their camper in before leaving. Totally up to you! But however you choose to do it, know that the Camp Ozark staff understand this is a big day, especially for first time campers. They are there to help your camper feel right at home!

Charter Bus

When do I need to let Camp Ozark know we want to ride the bus?

Two weeks prior to the start of your camper’s session, you will receive a travel itinerary for the travel selected on your camper’s dashboard. If you have not selected your travel yet that information will not be accurate.

When do you meet the bus?

It is different for each city, but the short answer is…EARLY! All bus routes are designed to arrive at camp by 3:00 p.m. Two weeks before your session starts, you will receive detailed travel information regarding your arrival window, parking, unloading, and loading up your campers. This information can also be found on your myOzark dashboard.

What staff will be on the bus?

Camp Ozark provides three staff members on each bus.

Can my kids sit together on the bus?

For some routes, yes. But this is dependent on how many campers are riding the bus to your area. For routes with more campers, buses are split by gender and age.

What are the guidelines for bus travel?

For the bus ride to camp, Camp Ozark asks that each camper pack a lunch and bring some other snacks. There are no stops until the bus reaches the camp gates. There is a restroom on the bus. Campers may use non-transmittable devices on the bus. Campers may not use any devices that connect to the internet while traveling to camp. All electronic devices will be collected at camp, labeled, and stored safely away. They will be returned on the last day of camp.

Will we know when the bus arrives at camp?

Absolutely! Keep an eye on your myOzark dashboard for announcements or the InfoStream on your Camp Ozark Go app! You will know when your camper’s bus pulls into camp.

What if something gets left behind on the bus?

After making sure the lost item is not on camp property, the Camp Ozark travel coordinators will contact the bus company as quickly as possible to let them know.

Air Travel

What happens after my camper’s plane lands?

Each camper is met at the gate (if permitted by the airline) upon arrival and escorted to the baggage claim area by Camp Ozark personnel. Charter buses for the trip from the airport to camp are parked close to the baggage claim area and are monitored and supervised by Camp Ozark Staff. Also, camp luggage staff is on hand to assist campers with moving their luggage from the carousels to the charter bus.

Who will pick up my camper at the airport and transport them to camp?

Camp Ozark offers a fully staffed charter bus service to and from the Little Rock Airport. Parents may book flights on the airline of their choice following Camp Ozark’s departure and arrival windows, which are available on your myOzark dashboard.

Upon arrival, all campers are greeted by Camp Ozark Staff and escorted to our charter buses for transport to Camp Ozark. Camp Ozark luggage personnel are on hand to load luggage into the luggage bays once identified by each camper at the baggage claim.

What are the rules of plane travel?

Campers who fly are allowed to bring cell phones for convenience of communication en route to and from Camp Ozark.

What if we are flying to camp but cannot bring the trunk?

You are more than welcome to ship your trunk to camp in advance. Just be sure to call Camp Ozark to let them know. Trunks must arrive by the Friday before your session begins. Camp Ozark does not receive packages on Saturday or Sunday. Trunks may also be shipped home.

What happens on Opening Day?

  • Unpack! Welcome to camp! Campers will make their bunks and set up their shelf for the session.
  • Swim Test! Campers put on their swimsuits, grab a towel and head down to the waterfront. Our swim test is approximately 20 meters, from one dock to the other. This is to show “survival swimming” and comfort in the water- not specific swim strokes, or speed. All campers wear life jackets during all water activities at camp, other than a few water slides. However, for safety reasons, Camp Ozark still wants to identify campers who may not be able to swim independently. If for any reason a camper cannot take their swim test on opening day, then they will have many opportunities the next day.
  • Camp Store! Take a moment and stop by the camp store. It’s a great place to grab a snack or a new camp t-shirt, and enjoy a breeze of air conditioning!
  • Greet bus campers! At approximately 3:00 p.m. our bus travelers will arrive. All cabins head to the pavilion to welcome our new arrivals.
  • Opening Day Games! Cabins will spend part of the first day playing fun cabin games out on the fields to help everyone get to know each other.
  • All-Camp Lifeline! On opening night, the entire camp attends a worship service together and enjoys skits introducing Camp Ozark’s spiritual emphasis theme for the summer and going over the camp rules.
  • Team Initiation! Opening night, new campers will find out which team they are now a proud member of! If you want to provide your camper with new team gear, you can order items from the Camp Store and have them delivered to their cabin. You will have the chance to designate that you do not know your camper’s team at the time of purchase. The store takes care of it.
  • Masquerade! This is a Special Event just for our younger campers. Most elementary aged campers will throw on their costumes in their cabins and attend this fun event where they get to play games to win some EPIC CABIN PRIZES! It’s a great way to start of the session! Helpful hint: Put your camper’s Masquerade costume on the top level of their trunk for easy access!
  • Cabin meetings! Before bedtime, our three main cabin age groups will have a meeting with Permanent Staff to review cabin guidelines and reminders. Then, it’s time for showers and bed!

What if we arrive late?

If for any reason your travel plans to camp get diverted, then please call the camp office and let them know. Depending on the situation, the travel coordinator will arrange with the Camp Mom Team to facilitate your arrival. Please, do not drive into camp after 2:45 pm.

What if a camper is missing something?

Don’t worry! Camp will get it taken care of. If a camper is missing any items that are needed that night, your camper’s counselor will get that taken care of with the help of the Camp Moms (toothbrush, deodorant, bedding, etc.) All non-essential items can be purchased the next day at the Camp Store.


Closing Day

Closing Day is a great day for families to experience camp. If you can’t make it to camp, that is totally okay!

Spotting Your Camper

Okay, parents…let’s be honest. When your kids are at camp, you miss them more than they miss you—for the most part!

Your Camper’s Dashboard

Now that you’re registered, it’s time to complete your camper’s myOzark dashboard! Grab your catalog and read below for some helpful hints!

Camp Ozark Store

Everyone asks me, “Why is there a store? Didn’t I pack everything they need?” And I tell them, “You did! Really! Don’t worry!”


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