FAQs :: FAQs :: Center For Disability Services New York

Clover Patch Camp FAQs

Parents and  caregivers naturally have many questions about camp from activities and accommodations to medical care and counselors. Please let us know if you have questions about Clover Patch Camp.


About our campers

Who are the campers?

Children (minimum age 5) and adults (no upper age limit) with physical and/or developmental disabilities.


How many campers attend each session?

Clover Patch Camp - A maximum of 24 campers attend per session.

Camp Spectacular - A maximum of 56 campers attend per session.


What is the camper to staff ratio?

Clover Patch Camp - 2 campers to 1 staff person.

Camp Spectacular - 4 campers to 1 staff person.


What specific disabilities are Clover Patch Camp equipped to address?

 We are staffed and equipped for those with special needs including, but not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing Impairment/Deaf
  • Developmental Delay
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Speech/Communication Impairment
  • Visual Impairment/Blind

Are there any behavioral challenges that could prevent someone from being accepted into the program?

The following behavioral challenges may not be considered appropriate for acceptance into the camp program:

  • Individuals who are abusive to self, others or property
  • Individuals who are a flight risk
  • Individuals who exhibit physical or sexual aggression
  • Individuals who do not sleep through the night, may wander at night or who require routine assistance through the night (frequent toileting, turning, etc.)

Failure to communicate any of the above behaviors or needs may jeopardize the safety of the applicant as well as others at camp. Individuals whose needs and/or behavioral challenges are beyond the scope of the camp to safely accommodate will be sent home immediately.


Acceptance will be determined based on overall camper care required and staff ability to meet individual needs in a safe and appropriate manner.


Life at camp


What activities are available?

We have activities typical to summer camp including daily swimming in our fully-accessible heated swimming pool, arts and crafts, music and drama, sports, games, nature study, theme days and much more. All activities are adapted to ensure that every camper experiences success.


What medical care is provided?

The full-time summer staff consists of a medical director and nurses (RNs and LPNs) on site 24 hours per day. The medical staff dispense medications, provide routine treatments (e.g. feeding tubes, diabetes management, nebulizer treatments) and attend to emergency and non-emergency situations (e.g. seizure management, bug bites, illness).

The Health Office is a comprehensive facility complete with a treatment room, observation/quarantine rooms and private bathroom. Emergency equipment is readily available and portable. Ellis Hospital is 15 minutes from camp.


Who will help my camper with his/her personal care needs?

The medical staff and counselors are trained to assist your camper with any personal care needs he/she may have. Our staff are trained and competent in providing the following types of care:

  • Lifting and transferring: We have two Liko mechanical lifts with slings. In addition, all toilet facilities are equipped with handrails.
  • Dressing: We have variable height changing tables to facilitate safe changes for our campers.
  • Bathing: We have shower benches, chairs and gurneys that wheel into our large shower stalls. The showers have handheld shower heads to facilitate assisted bathing.
  • Toileting and incontinence care for children and adults
  • Daily hygiene such as combing hair, shaving and brushing teeth
  • Dining: Supervised, assisted, hand-over-hand, total assistance and feeding tubes

What types of foods are served?

Our meals are healthy, varied and camper friendly. Lunch and breakfast options are typical of a school menu. Dinner options are typical of home cooking. All meals are served family-style. Menu items are selected to provide nutritional meals that appeal to our campers.


At every meal we offer:

  • Plain and Flavored Water
  • Low-fat Milk
  • Hot Chocolate/Tea/Coffee
  • Hot and Cold Cereal 
  • Wheat Bread
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly

Breakfast - Hot breakfast selections vary daily. Selections may include:

  • Pancakes/Waffles
  • Egg and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Bagels
  • Corn and Blueberry Muffins
  • Scrambled Eggs with Bacon or Sausage 

Lunch - Our main course varies daily. Selections may include:

  • BLT Sandwiches
  • Chicken Caesar Wraps
  • Deli and Tuna Sandwiches
  • Pasta Salad
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Turkey Club Sandwiches

Dinner - Our main course varies daily. Selections may include:

  • Grilled Pork Chops
  • Chicken Quesadillas
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs 
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Cheese Ravioli w/ Sauce
  • Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

My camper has a food allergy. Do I need to send special foods?

We are able to accommodate most dietary needs. Campers who are lactose intolerant are encouraged to bring Lactaid and/or lactose-free food for meals and snacks. Campers who are diabetic or on a gluten-free diet need to bring the necessary food. The Camp Director may contact you for more specific information or meal ideas.


What are the cabins like?

Camp has three rustic camper sleeping cabins with screened doors and windows. Each cabin houses eight campers and two overnight counselors. Cabins are all close in range to other buildings and have two exits monitored by motion detectors for safety. All cabins are recently refurbished and fully accessible.


Should my camper bring money for the Camp Store?

Campers will have the opportunity to visit the camp store for snacks each afternoon. We recommend your camper bring $10-$20 per session. During registration we will collect your camper’s spending money, log their money into their personal account and issue a receipt. Your camper may then debit purchases to his/her personal account. Unused money will be refunded at the end of the session.


We strive to keep our campers healthy. To support this effort, we limit our campers to one snack and one drink from the camp store per day.


We sell t-shirts, chips, cookies, flavored water, ice cream and Popsicles. If your camper has dietary restrictions we suggest that he/she bring labeled snacks from home (individually wrapped packets work best). We will keep these in the store so that he/she does not feel left out when his/her cabin mates are “shopping.”


What is the process for hiring camp staff? Will my camper be safe?

Potential employees complete a comprehensive application including disclosure of criminal history and a complete background check (state and sexual offender databases). Each applicant completes a personal interview with camp administration and three references are checked for every candidate. Employees are continually observed during their employment to ensure exemplary performance.


Application and check-in

Can I apply online?

Camp applications are sent as an email attachment whenever possible. When necessary applications will be sent via US Mail.


When is the camp application due?

As soon as possible. There is no application deadline, however, to ensure a spot on the roster early application is strongly advised. It is not advised to hold an application while waiting for an annual physical. If a physical is delayed or scheduled for a date close to camp please contact the camp office to discuss options.


How will I know if my camper’s application was received?

You will receive a confirmation of receipt to verify that we have received your application. This only confirms that it has been received, not that the camper is enrolled. You will receive an acceptance packet as a final confirmation. The “No News is Good News” adage does not apply to camp applications. If you have not received conformation within two weeks of mailing the application contact the camp office to verify receipt.


If items are missing from the application, will I be notified?

A letter will be emailed/mailed with the status of your camper’s application and any missing items will be indicated.


How will I know if my camper has been accepted?

An acceptance packet with details about the session (when to arrive, what to bring, directions, etc.) will be emailed/mailed to you upon approval of a complete application.


What happens if the camp session we want is full?

The Camp Director will discuss alternate sessions with you but we also maintain a waiting list for each session. We will notify you as soon as possible if a space becomes available in the desired session.


Is there financial assistance available?

Financial assistance is available for campers who qualify. Campers requesting financial assistance are required to complete the financial assistance form and submit proof of income. We award assistance in a way that attempts to allow as many campers as possible to attend summer camp. Based on resource availability, we may not be able to offer a scholarship to everyone that applies. Scholarship money is awarded based on several factors including annual household income, family size and extenuating financial circumstances.


Do you accept credit cards?

We can accept checks on the camp premises. Credit cards (Master Card, Visa and Discover) can be used to make payments over the phone by calling our finance department (518) 437-5513.


Are campers allowed to attend more than one session?

Campers will be admitted to additional sessions based on the Camp Director’s approval and available space.


What should we bring for check-in?

Both a caregiver and the camper must be present at check in. Please bring any outstanding paperwork and all medications. Luggage can remain in the vehicle until after check-in. The camp staff will assist with bringing luggage to the cabin after your camper completes the check-in process.


Can I bring the health forms with me when the camper checks in?

We require that the health forms to be submitted two weeks prior to attendance. This gives the clinical staff time to review the forms and request any necessary items.


If I have more information to give the counselors than is listed on the application, when will I be able to talk to someone?

After completing registration/check-in, you will be able to go to the cabin and meet your camper’s counselors. As you are helping your camper unpack, we encourage you to chat with the staff.


Communicating with your camper

What if I want my camper to call me?

To help your camper enjoy his/her experience we discourage calls home. You will be notified in the case of an emergency or any other concerns. If you are concerned that your camper may be overly homesick, a private chat with your camper’s counselor or the Camp Director may be a better solution than simply telling your camper to call home anytime. You are welcome to check in daily with the Camp Director for an update.


What is your cell phone policy?

Personal cell phones are not allowed at camp. Please do not send a cell phone with your camper.


Can I email my camper?

You may contact your camper by one-way email at cloverpatchcamp@cfdsny.org. Upon receipt, the email will be printed and delivered to your camper. These emails are one-way and campers will not have computer access.


Can families/caregivers send mail during their camper’s session?

Families and caregivers are encouraged to send mail. Please be sure to send it prior to camp or just after arrival.


What if my camper becomes homesick?

It is not unusual for young or first time campers to be homesick. We do our best to keep campers active and involved in fun and exciting activities. If the homesickness persists, the Camp Director may call to let you know what is happening and seek helpful suggestions. We strongly discourage campers from speaking directly with family and/or caregivers. Telephone calls tend to cause homesickness – not cure it.


What can I do to help make my camper’s first visit to Clover Patch Camp a success?

Transitioning into new experiences can be a challenge for all of us. At Clover Patch Camp, we have several opportunities to help with this:

  • You may call to schedule a personal tour with our Camp Director.
  • Our Open House takes place in June of each year and is our official kickoff for the summer season. This day is fun for the whole family and is designed for first time campers and their families, although all are welcome. 
  • If you have done all of this, your camper (and you!) should be ready for a session at Clover Patch. Please be sure that your camper has had a successful overnight experience away from you prior to sending them for a full session at camp.

Remember, we all want this to be a positive and successful experience for you and your camper.


Preparing for camp

What kind of luggage is best?

The most practical luggage is a Rubbermaid-type bin. They are easy to pack, easy to transport, easy to store and can take moderate abuse. Suitcases are acceptable as well. Please label all clothes and belongings.


Is there a lost and found?

Yes! We make an honest effort to send each camper home with the same items with which they arrived. Despite our best efforts things do get left behind. The lost and found is located at the camp office. Items will be held until the end of the camping season pending calls to claim items. You will have the opportunity to come and pick those items up at your convenience. Items not claimed will be donated to the CFDS Residential Program and/or given to other local charities.

Here are a few tips to ensure that everything returns home with the camper.


  • Don’t over pack. We do not provide laundry service, however, we will wash clothing and bedding on an emergency or as needed basis. 
  • Complete the Clothing and Equipment Inventory Log prior to arrival.
  • Don’t bring new or expensive clothing – this is camp, we will most likely get dirty!
  • Don’t send anything that you consider irreplaceable – grandma’s quilt, family photos, jewelry, etc.
  • Clearly label all of the camper’s belongings with a full name. We serve over 250 campers per summer. By the end of the season first and last initials are little help in sorting left items.

Is transportation provided?

Transportation to and from camp is the responsibility of the camper.


Can a camper stay over the weekend until Sunday, if they are coming for 2 weeks in a row?

No. The program is not staffed during that time.


How should medications be brought to camp?

  • All medications must be in their original, pharmacy-packed containers. Medications will not be accepted in any other containers. 
  • All medications (including over-the-counter medications) need to be clearly labeled with camper name, drug name/strength and current dosage
  • All medications and treatments must have a signed Physician’s Order or a copy of the most recent script.
  • Please send only a travel supply (7 days) of accurately labeled medications. We will accept monthly birth control packs.
  • All medications must be turned in and reviewed with the nurse during check-in, including all prescription and over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Please do not leave any medications in luggage.
  • Please supply any specialty medication supplies necessary for the camper.
  • Unused medications/supplies will be returned on the day of departure.
  • On the first day of camp the first dose of medications will be dispensed at 4:00 pm.

Do I need to send my camper’s medications/nutritional supplements or are they provided?

We do not supply prescribed medications or nutritional supplements. Please bring enough for your camper for the week in original containers. The infirmary stocks common over the counter medications in case of headache, stomachache, etc.