True Friends welcomes people ages 5 to adult who have developmental or physical disabilities or health conditions.
What programs are offered?
Summer and winter camp, day camp, respite weekends, wilderness trips, travel, therapeutic riding, team building and volunteer & youth leadership development. We also partner with other disability and health organizations to host their camp sessions at our sites.
What do the care ratios mean?
The ratio that best suits the camper will include some or all of the pieces within each care level listed below. These are the guidelines that we use to determine how we can best take care of individuals throughout the course of their stay to give the best possible experience and support.
We provide a typical range of 1:1 to 1:5 care. Staff-to-camper ratios in a camp setting often differ from daily living care ratios. If you need help to determine your care ratio, contact our staff.
High Care Support – 1:1
May have frequent verbal or physical outbursts that require staff intervention
May be unable to communicate needs
May have trouble participating in a group setting or display inappropriate behaviors
May need extensive support with medical care needs
Needs “eyes on” supervision during awake hours. The True Friends staffing module does not offer overnight awake staff. Staff assist campers with typical needs during the night.
Uses manual wheelchair and needs staff support to propel outside buildings
May need total support with activities of daily living
Medium Care Support – 1:3
May have occasional verbal or physical outbursts that require staff intervention
May have trouble with large social environments, but does well in small groups
May need some support with medical care needs
May need verbal support with activities of daily living
Easily accepts support from staff
Low Care Support – 1:5
Can respond well to new and unfamiliar situations
Can enjoy group settings
Are independent with activities of daily living
Easily communicates wants and needs
Easily accepts support from staff
When is check-in/out?
You should’ve received a confirmation packet with all of the important information about your session. If you don’t receive this packet at least one week prior to camp, please call our registration team for more information at 952.852.0101.
For all sites
Check-In: 1:30-2:15 for Last Names M – Z 2:30-3:15 for Group Homes or Multi-Camper check-ins 3:30-4:15 for Last Names A – L
Day Camp Check-in: 8:30-9:30 Day Camp Check-out: 4:30-5:30
Are tours available?
Yes, we encourage tours of our locations any time of year. Schedule a tour by calling 952.852.0110 or email email@example.com.
Who are the staff members?
Most of our Counselors, Program Leaders, and Coordinators are college-age students who want to gain a hands-on experience where they can learn about individuals with developmental disabilities, to add to their life experience or assist them in the knowledge for course work at college. We hire staff from around the world and support a multi-cultural experience. Counselors in Training are generally 16 to 17 year-old individuals who are interested in helping others have a meaningful experience. CIT’s are assigned to work with college-age staff. Volunteers return year after year to help make our programs extraordinary. They help with summer & winter camp and year-round weekend respite services. They support services such as housekeeping, kitchen and maintenance. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, ranging in age from 14 to 80. They include health care personnel, educators, business executives and students from college and high school. To learn more about our full time leadership staff members, check out our camp staff page.
What is the schedule for a typical day at camp?
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Cabin clean up / Brush your teeth
9:30 a.m. Activity Time (length of activity time varies depending on location)
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Rest Hour/Free Activity Time
2:30 p.m. Activity Time (length of activity time varies depending on location)
5:30 p.m. Supper or Cook out at Camp out
6:30 p.m. Cabin Time or Camp out
7:30 p.m. Evening Program or Camp out
8:30 p.m. Cabin Time or Camp out
9:00 p.m. Bedtime or Camp out – return to camp in morning for breakfast and showers.
How can we prepare for cabin life?
• Treat others fairly. The Platinum Rule is: Treat other people the way they want to be treated. • Cooperate. Work with your cabin mates, not against them. Lend a helping hand. Listen to your counselors. • Be a good sport. Play fairly, follow the rules, and remember to congratulate the other team with a handshake, high-five or a camp cheer. • Use good manners. All campers and staff appreciate “please” and “thank you.” • Do your share of the helping. Participate in cabin clean-up, clearing the table at meals, and other cabin chores. • Keep your stuff in order. Small cabins feel crowded when they’re messy. • Label your items – a good way to do so is with iron-on labels. You can order custom labels from irononmdlabels.com • Care for camp property. Treat equipment with care, so that others may enjoy it after you. Tell a counselor if something is broken. Conserve plants and other nature. Recycle. • Respect others’ privacy. Give your cabin mates some space, especially when they’re changing clothes. Always knock before opening a door and wait for permission to enter each time. • Ask before you borrow things. Most people will say “Yes” to a reasonable request.
How can we prepare for homesickness?
Homesickness can affect anyone, young or old. Even campers who have never had a problem before could struggle with homesickness while at camp. There are many factors that may trigger homesickness, but there are things you can do to help prevent or alleviate it.
Before Camp: Alleviate homesickness by talking about confidence in a camper’s ability to “get along” at camp. Talk about the interesting things campers will do, the fun times to be had, and things you are excited to experience. When packing for camp send simple, personal possessions that a camper may find comfort in. However, we do ask that items that would be expensive to replace if lost or broken are not brought to camp.
Points to remember: • Homesickness is the distress (usually mild sadness or nervousness) that people feel when they miss home. • Mild homesickness is normal. Almost all people have some mild homesick feelings when they are away. • Severe homesickness is rare. • Talking about homesickness does not cause homesickness, nor make it worse. • There are many things to think about and do before leaving home to lessen homesickness. • There are even more things to think about and do during camp to lessen homesickness. • Homesick feelings are good in the sense that they reflect the love you have for people and things at home. • Homesickness, and getting over it, are normal processes that help people develop independence and self-confidence.
Registration and Online Registration
How do I register?
Apply early to secure your spot. If a session is filled, we will contact you.
Via mail: Download the camper application from www.truefriends.org/forms or call to request a paper copy. Send your form and deposit to True Friends, 10509 108th St NW Annandale, MN 55302 (you may email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. Confirm – A confirmation packet will be mailed within three weeks of receiving your completed application and deposit.
How do I update my information online without registering?
You can log in to the main screen “online dashboard” and update any of your information at any time.
What is “up-to-date” on a file?
Anything completed within 12 months is considered up-to-date.
Payment and Financial Assistance
Is a deposit required?
Yes, to be registered for services, a deposit is required for each session. Deposits will be applied toward the total session cost. True Friends encourages campers to apply early, as openings fill quickly.
How do I pay? Checks, VISA, MasterCard, Discover or AMEX are accepted. You can also pay online by logging into your account. Fees should be paid in full before the first day of camp. If needed, payment plan options are available, contact the finance department for more information.
Do you offer financial assistance?
Yes. With the generous support of donors, we are able to provide financial assistance to many participants with proven need. To request aid, the financial assistance portion of the application must be completed and submitted with the application. Anyone eligible for waivered services or Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) can contact us and your social worker for information on how these funds can be applied to camp.
What is your cancellation policy?
All advanced fees paid will be refunded in full if notice is received in the True Friends office 30 days prior to the applicants’ session. If less than 30 days notice is received, all but the registration deposit will be refunded.
What is included in the invoice?
The True Friends Invoice summarizes the fees, scholarships, payments, and deposits for ALL services and sessions you have attended or are registered to attend.
You are responsible to pay the amount under Current Balance.
Minimum Monthly Payments are $75.
Payments and deposits will show up on your Invoice with appropriate descriptions.
All balances from the previous calendar year MUST be paid before registering for services in the current calendar year.
What are the payment of services definitions?
SESSION COST: This is the full price for participating in a session and reflects the actual amount it costs us to provide our services. Those who can afford to pay this amount are encouraged to do so. SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED: This is the difference between the COST and the amount you are required to pay to participate in a True Friends service. AMOUNT REC’D. TO DATE: This is the amount of money we have received toward your camp fee. BALANCE DUE TO BE PAID BY: This indicates who we have listed as paying for your camp session. If this information is incorrect, please contact the camp office.