Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQs provide information for prospective camp families, those who are registering for camp, and people who are interested in getting involved in other ways.

Prospective Families

I heard that parents/caregivers attend camp. Why can’t I just send my child to camp?

  • All of our camps are “family camps.” Adults attend their own workshops while kids (adoptees and siblings) attend programming for their specific age group.Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families is different from tennis camp or chess camp, or even just sleep away camp, which are about children’s hobbies and interests. HCAF is about your child’s very being – celebrating who they are and where they came from. When you send your child to tennis camp or sleep away camp, they may come home playing better tennis or having learned some fun new songs. When they come to HCAF, they return home knowing more about their inner self, feeling like a little gap in who they are is filled.
    When parents/caregivers attend camp, they immerse themselves in a community of experts, fellow parents who are grappling with the same complexities of adoption, and they have an opportunity to celebrate their family without the typical day-to-day distractions.

Should I wait until my child is older to attend camp?

  • All ages benefit from camp. We believe it is never too young to start introducing an adopted child to his or her birth culture, but also to many other adopted children “just like them.” Many of our camps provide childcare for kids under 2. Youth campers begin at age 3 (if they are potty trained) and go all the way up through high school. Learn more about programming for preschoolers, elementary aged, middle school students, and high schoolers.

How do non-adopted siblings fit into camp?

  • Non-adopted siblings participate in camp activities with their age group (not necessarily with their sibling) and we typically have more than several youth campers who are not adopted. Many non-adopted siblings have expressed an improved understanding about what it must be like to be the only person of a particular race within the family or the neighborhood, or just to feel different for being adopted. Additionally, they gain an understanding of their sibling’s birth culture.

Can extended family members attend camp?

  • Yes, we not only welcome extended family members at camp, but know that many of our camp families have found it to be incredibly beneficial for grandparents, aunts, and uncles to attend. We hear that they leave with new perspectives on adoption and the importance of affirming cultural and/or racial identity, they feel more connected to their adopted family member, and they also have a lot of fun.

Do parents/caregivers have to volunteer?

  • Every parent is required to volunteer at camp. By volunteering, parents are invested in growing camp programming that is responsive to the needs of their kids and other families. Adoptees experience meaningful engagement from their parents that cannot be achieved merely from writing a check for camp fees. We’ve heard from countless families who say that volunteering at camp — getting their hands messy, problem-solving with adult adoptees or cultural community members — has created meaningful and lasting relationships that enrich their lives.Volunteer assignments are made after registration. You will be notified of your volunteer role prior to camp, however, if you would like to play a more active role in the planning and vision of your camp, you can volunteer to coordinate, or to co-​coordinate activities/​committees prior to camp. During registration, you’ll have an opportunity to select activities of interest. The director of your camp will be in touch with specific details.

What kind of content is in the camp workshops?

  • We have a mix of topics that are culturally-centered, and/or focused on friendship-building for kids and for parents/caregivers, plus age-appropriate adoption-related topics for all campers. Parents might choose from workshops on traditional cooking, dance, music, or less interactive activities, such as the screening of a documentary related to the culture that’s specific to that camp. While kids programming includes HCAF’s Specialized Programs — such as HeArt Talks, Courageous Conversations, and Stand Up and Speak Out — much of the kids programming is comprised of fun and engaging workshops that support team-building. For example, kids might participate in martial arts, a hip hop class, a ropes course, or whitewater rafting (depending on the venue for your camp).

Someone in my family has a physical disability. Can they attend camp?

  • Yes, all abilities are welcome at camp. Our sites are accessible, and we have a great volunteer counselor staff, who are willing and able to assist those who need additional help getting around camp. We often are able to designate one counselor for a child who needs assistance. We are not able to financially provide a hearing impaired camper with a designated sign language interpreter. However, we often have volunteers able to provide that service.  We are happy to discuss these situations on an individual basis.

My child gets overwhelmed easily, becomes dysregulated, etc. Are camp counselors prepared to respond appropriately?

  • Yes. We train our counselors prior to camp and during camp to help them assess these situations, and respond appropriately. Many of our counselors have completed a certification in Mental Health First Aid as well. We also have licensed therapists on-site at every camp, if the situation warrants their assistance. Of course, the parents are attending camp with their children, so are often the first to be called when a child is in any kind of distress.

What safety protocols do you have in place?

  • Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families (hereinafter “HCAF”) is dedicated to providing a safe environment for our campers, parents, counselors, presenters, and community volunteers. Our Safety-First Policy is designed to address the safety of everyone involved with HCAF, with special emphasis on the protection of children, youth, and other vulnerable populations.

Read the entire Safety First Policy, which includes information on the duty to self-report, volunteer training, procedures and priorities for an incident that has occurred, and more.

What does a camp stipend cover in expenses?

  • Full or partial financial assistance for program fees and lodging may be awarded. See our Camp Fees and Stipends Page for more information. 
  • for specific information, including income guidelines.

Will my child be able to be in the same group as their friend?

  • In general, we’ve found that we’re able to cultivate a more inclusive camp community by encouraging new relationships, so we do not arrange camp groups to accommodate buddy requests. This makes it easy for kids to join when they’re older because expanding our friendships becomes the norm at camp. Most likely if your child is in the same grade as his or her friend, they will be in the same group at camp.Camp is structured so that kids have plenty of time to spend with their friends at lunch and during evening activities.

Lodging Questions

All lodging is handled independently directly through the venue (i.e., Snow Mountain Ranch, Estes Park Center, hotels, etc.).

Is lodging included in my program fees?

  • No, lodging costs are not included in your program fees. They are handled separately directly w/​the lodging venue.

How much does lodging cost?

  • You will receive a welcome letter from us after you register for camp, with information for lodging. Each site is different. Please go to the “Location” page on our web site for average rates.

I am a member of YMCA – do I need to pay the “off site” fee?

  • No, as a YMCA member, you do not have to pay the “off site” fee – please complete our HCAF Reimbursement form to receive your off-​site fee reimbursement.

Why am I being charged an off-​site fee?

  • Snow Mountain Ranch & Estes Park Center charge us for the rental of the meeting rooms & large community areas that we use during camp. These fees are included in your on-​site lodging if you stay on-​site. We are still charged “activity fees” for use of SMR and EPC property, meeting rooms, activities, etc. directly by the facilities for camp families that stay off-​site, so your off-​site fee is sent directly to the facility to cover those fees charged.

How do I make lodging reservations?

  • Immediately after your registration is completed, you will receive 2 auto response e-​mails (1: Order confirmation/​receipt; 2: Camp “Welcome” letter detailing everything you need to know regarding lodging (i.e., telephone #, e-​mail address, closing date for reservations & required code to get the camp pricing, etc.).

Parent Roles

I am new to camp & would like additional information regarding the various parent roles.

I want to change my parent role.

I am not sure what I want to do for my parent role during camp.

  • Please select “anything” and you will be assigned where needed.

I want to volunteer at the same time as my spouse/​partner.

  • Please indicate the full name of that person under “comments”. Every attempt will be made to insure that your request is met.

I want to volunteer at a different time than my spouse.

  • Please indicate the full name of that person under “comments”. Every attempt will be made to insure that your request is met.

Order Confirmation Receipt Questions

How do I know that my registration has been received?

  • Immediately after your registration is completed, you will receive two auto response e-​mails — 1: Order confirmation/​receipt; 2: Camp “Welcome” letter detailing everything you need to know regarding lodging.

I did not receive lodging information or my order receipt.

  • Please check your junk/​spam folders as occasionally these e-​mails will end up there. If not, please contact Marne Gulley immediately at


Changes To Your Order After It Has been Completed

I want to change my t-​shirt size, and am not able to edit my completed registration.

I want to add someone to my registration (i.e., extended family member, child’s friend, etc.).

  • Follow the instructions below to add someone to your registration.
  1. Go to www​.her​itage​camps​.org
  2. Under the Registration option on the main menu
  3. Select Register Now (under the “Registration” drop down menu)
  4. Log in – IMPORTANT – please be sure to use the same e-​mail address used when you registered your family initially
  5. Select your camp from the drop down menu
  6. Scroll down to “add another family member”
  7. Be sure to check all the agreement boxes
  8. Complete your registration & pay

I want to delete one of my registered family members.

I want to substitute one registered person for another.

I registered my child in the wrong grade.

What’s your cancellation policy if we decide not to attend camp after we’ve completed our registration?

  • You may cancel your camp registration at any time. Prior to 30 days before the virtual camp start date, you will receive a full refund of your program fees, except for a $100 processing fee, which will be assessed to all cancellations made prior to 30 days before the camp start date. Within 1-30 days of the camp start date, there will be no refund of program fees if you cancel your camp registration. There will not be ANY exceptions to this policy.


I would like to donate, but am not able to do so at this time.

  • You can visit our web site any time & click on the red “Donate” box or follow this link: Donate.


For Coordinators/Directors Only

Reimbursement for program fees

  • All program fees must be paid when you register. Our system doesn’t recognize that coordinator/​director fees are reimbursable. Reimbursement requests for your program fees need to be submitted before December 1, and should be requested on our Blank Reimbursement Form.

Donation of Program fees

Thank you for deciding to pay for your fees, rather than having HCAF cover them. Please complete the HCAF Reimbursement form & check the “in kind donation” box near the bottom of the page.

I used the early registration code – why was I charged my program fees?

  • The code only allows you to register ahead of the general public – it does not calculate the reimbursement– that must be requested manually on our HCAF Reimbursement form.