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Junior Gathering

This really depends on both the ages of the children and how far apart in age they are. Infants and toddlers are often grouped together – if there are not too many of them. Rising Kindergarten through sixth graders are divided into groups of equal numbers based on both age and their school grade, with activities tailored for their ages. The rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders are together in a middle school group.

Every child and youth at Gathering needs a sponsor. A sponsor is a parent/guardian, family member or other conscientious person 25 or older who knows the child or youth well. If the sponsor is not the parent, the sponsor should be someone who is actively concerned with the young person’s activities and well-being. We request that a sponsor be responsible for no more than two young people. Both the participant and sponsor must be full time Gathering attendees residing on campus (this includes on-campus camping).

Children and youth may not arrive before sponsors or remain at the Gathering after sponsors have departed. Please make travel plans accordingly. The sponsor (or designated alternate) must be on campus (or with the sponsee) at all times during Gathering. Alternate sponsors are designated in writing in advance. Complete sponsor guidelines may be viewed at our website in June, and will be explained in detail at the High School Program sponsor orientation on Sunday evening. All participants, even those already 18, must identify their sponsor when registering for Gathering and submit a parental release form.

If your travel plans require you to arrive late Sunday evening or Monday morning, please be sure to let us know so the Group leader can make sure your child feels a warm welcome upon arrival! We encourage all families to stay for the full week; however, if your travel plans require you to leave on Friday afternoon, be sure to let your child’s group leader know this, so your child will receive a proper goodbye.

Please indicate your child’s rising grade level, the one your child will be in when school starts again in the fall. 

The Junior Gathering Times, and other communications during the month of June, will share all of the specifics.  There is also some information on the webpage for your child’s age group.

Yes, but you must have a helmet for each rider, no matter what age. 

If your child has an IEP or 504 plan, please attach it to your parental release form so we have this additional information about your child and do our best to support them during Junior Gathering.

Some Junior Gathering group coordinators may send a letter in June introducing themselves to you and your child. Junior Gathering Open House and Oaks Orientation on the first day of the Gathering are an opportunity for you and your child to meet their group leaders together before the program begins.

For infants and toddlers, our goal is one-on-one care. Older children typically have a child:staff ratio no higher than 4 children per adult.

The number of children in your child’s group will depend upon a variety of factors, but we generally like to keep our numbers small with adequate adult staff to support the group. 

Simple snacks will be provided for each group during the morning session. We ask that you use the meals provided in the dining hall, as well as any snacks you may bring from home, to make sure the children are well fueled for their play and learning with us. A hearty breakfast goes a long way toward a successful morning and a solid supper helps children thrive during evening program time.  Our simple snack will help bridge the time between meals.

Please plan to send a water bottle clearly marked with your child’s name so we can avoid using disposable cups and still make sure our children are getting plenty of water to drink, especially on hot days.

This depends on the particular campus, child’s age and your preference. On some campuses, children under a certain age have the option of sleeping on the floor in your room IF the other bed is occupied. (No bedding or pillows provided!)

Older children or younger ones who don’t want to sleep on the floor will share a room with you or, if your room is full, with another child of similar age and gender. That room will likely be next to your room.

The Housing Team will choose another family in the same situation and put your child with another one in the room between yours and the other child’s parent’s room. If they can’t find a good match for your child, your child may be in a room by themselves — but you will still be charged the price for a double (shared-room).

In the housing section of the registration form, indicate the friend as your child’s desired roommate. You might also ask your child to double check to see if the friend’s family is choosing the same type housing (A/C or not) and “Housing Cluster” (General, FLBGTQC, etc.)

The Oaks program sometimes includes a variety of week-long workshop options for participants to choose among. If workshops are being offered, the rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders indicate their preference at the mandatory Oak Group parent and participant meeting on Sunday evening. The Junior Gathering staff then assign the participants to workshops based on the participant’s preference AND group size.

Junior Gathering programming runs until 9 to give parents the opportunity to attend evening program. For younger children, the evening program session may include quiet activities like story time or soft music. It is your decision whether or not your child attends evening group time, especially if bedtime is an issue. A well-rested child will be better able to focus and reap the benefits of morning group. However, for school age children, our experience has shown that the more time they spend together the more friends they make! For rising 7th through 9th graders, our expectation is that all the participants will attend each evening. However, if your older child must miss one evening, it is important to notify the leaders – so they won’t come looking for you!

We encourage parents to do cooperative babysitting. You can meet other parents at the Junior Gathering Open House on Sunday. You will likely be housed near families with similarly aged children.

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