Frequently Asked Questions

Registration & Finances

I'm registered, when will I get more information?

All participants for CYSC will receive an email in May with general information about policies, arrival and departure times, packing list, etc. You’ll also receive an email 2 weeks prior to your session with the same information and any additional details.

Participants for all other overnight retreats and conferences should receive an email 1 month prior to your retreat, including packing list, directions, and arrival and departure times.

If you believe you are registered and have not received an email, check to make sure the correct email is listed as the primary email on your account. Reach out to registration@damascus.net with any questions.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellation Policy for CYSC and Individual Retreats:

Every registration includes a non-refundable deposit. Any additional payments are eligible for a refund up to 1 month before your session, after which point our costs are committed and we are no longer able to provide refunds.

We are sorry, but this policy also applies to cancellations that may arise as a result of illness, injury or other unforeseen circumstances as our contracted expenses are also binding. All cancellations must be submitted in writing via email to registration@damascus.net.

If possible, transfers to another session can be made without charge.

For CYSC only:

If cancellation is motivated by financial hardship, please inquire about financial aid before seeking cancellation.

Beginning in the 2023 season, a camper protection policy through Travel Insured International will be available to purchase at checkout. View their brochure for more information.

Is financial aid available?

The leadership, staff, and benefactors of Damascus want to see families, schools, and parishes experience true and lasting revival through encounter with Jesus. Through the generosity of our benefactors and ministry partners, income-based scholarships are available for CYSC and the application may be found during the registration process. Our team will hold your reservation while they review the request and respond within the week. Please reach out to financialaid@damascus.net with any questions.

Do I need additional physicals or medical forms?

All forms can be found on your account if you click on your camper’s name and go to the “My Forms” and “Medications” tabs.  No additional physicals or forms are needed.

How does the waiting list work?

Waitlists are automatically established for each session of camp or retreat once the available spots are full for either gender. For each spot that becomes available, it will proceed to make offers in order down the list of boys or girls. Please note that because there are separate waitlists by gender for each session, a brother and sister who were added to the waitlist at the same time may get off the waitlist at different times, and high school and middle school may also move at different rates.

If you are on the waitlist, you will receive an email letting you know when space has become available to the primary email on file in your account. You will have 72 hours to complete your reservation before the spot is automatically offered to the next person.

If you already have a reservation, you may reach out to our office for help transferring your reservation to the new session.

Prior to each camp or retreat, we typically also reach out to coordinate a "standby list". If you are still on the waitlist and wish to be contacted for any last-minute spots that become available due to no-shows, you'll have the opportunity to indicate your interest and receive a phone call on Day 1 if availability opens.

Can I move my reservation?

For CYSC or other retreats with multiple sessions, our registration team can move your reservation to any open session of the same type at no cost. If the session you would like is full, you can join the waiting list. You may maintain your reservation while on the waiting list for another session(s). Reservations can only be moved within the same season, which re-starts each September.

How do I update t-shirt size, medications, or personal information?

Log in to your account and select the name of the individual from the home page. To edit personal information, choose “Edit My Bio Information”.  Click “Manage Medications” to add or update medications. To update camp t-shirt size select “My Forms” and then “Camper Personal Information.”

How can I update a buddy request?

Log in to your account. Click on “My Reservations” and select the reservation you would like to edit; click “additional information” to see the current buddy request and select “edit information” to make changes.

Please note that we will make an effort to place friends together but we can only guarantee ONE requested buddy.

When does registration open?

Registration for CYSC opens in late October. Registration for school-year retreats (Men's and Women's, Winter Camp, Empower, etc.) opens in mid-June on the first Friday of CYSC.

How do I register?

To register for any session of camp or retreat, simply make an account or log in to your existing account with our third-party registration platform, Ultracamp. (Any “register” button on our website will direct you to your account!)

Camp Retreat & Experience

What is the lodging like?

There are three types of lodging at the Ohio campus: Hillcrest Cabins, Woodland Cabins, and Lakeside Retreat Centers. These are described in detail on the Ohio Campus page under the About tab. For CYSC Great Lakes, the host site accommodations can be explored here.

At CYSC and other youth retreats, campers stay with their groups in a cabin with at least 2 missionaries. Adult chaperones are lodged separately.

Do you need volunteer nurses?

Yes, we invite licensed nurses and other medical professionals to serve during the summer and/or at other retreats throughout the year. Visit our volunteer nurse page for more information, or contact nurse@cysc.com with questions!

Does Damascus accommodate special dietary needs?

Damascus is a nut-free kitchen, and we are able accommodate dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets if this information is submitted with your registration prior to the retreat. For other needs (e.g. egg, soy) please email foodservices@damascus.net to inquire about the menu and potential needs for supplementary food.

What should I pack for a retreat?
Here is a sample list of the essentials:
  • Sleeping bag or bed linens and blankets (linens are NOT provided)
  • Pillow
  • Seasonal clothing
  • 1 lightweight rain jacket or poncho
  • 2 pairs of shoes, including closed-toed shoes for activities
  • Personal hygiene items and bath towel
  • Money for the gift shop and vending machines (optional)
  • Bible and journal (optional)

A more detailed packing list for each event is sent in advance to participants.

How do I know that my child will be safe at Damascus?

There is no more pressing question that parents could ask than for the assurance of their child’s safety at camp.  We hold every child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual safety as our highest priority.  As a result, we are committed to partnering with families in providing the same degree of care that you show at home in your children’s time away.  In order to do this effectively, we have adopted policies around providing a safe environment to which we hold every staff member personally responsible.

Organizational policies and procedures have been crafted through careful consultation with four key organizations:
1. The policies and procedures, particularly safe environment policies of our local diocese.
2. The best practices advised by the American Camping Association.
3. The policies and procedures of the Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT).
4. The Redwoods Group, our insurer and partner in risk assessment and safety implementation and training.

Implementation of all policies and procedures is made possible by thorough individual staff oversight and management, a strict adherence to proper training, certification and licensing, and the intentional establishment of an organizational culture of safety and accountability.  Damascus maintains a two-deep strategy with all interactions with minors and maintains head counselor positions who specifically monitor camper/counselor interactions. In addition to enforcing safe environment policies based on those of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio, all missionaries and staff receive additional training beyond what would be offered in any typical parish or school environment.  They are trained in the observance and implementation of Damascus policies from the day of their application through their interview weekend, 10 days of dedicated staff training prior to camp, and through ongoing pastoral and activity leadership supervision.

As an organization with programs that emphasize high adventure activities, we have a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to risk in our facilities, equipment, and operation. Every one of our adventure activities undergoes annual third party inspection or recertification and all of our staff are trained by a certification body approved by the ACCT, or American Red Cross in the case of lifeguards. Their training and certification is kept current and tested regularly.

Additionally, Damascus holds an organizational liability policy to specially address not only accidents and injuries, but also sexual abuse by both staff members and other campers.

A full copy of our Policy Manual, most notably policy 100.20 on risk management, is available here.  All of our safe environment training is recorded and available upon request.

Thank you for the trust that you place in us.

Where is CYSC located?

CYSC Main Campus: Located in Centerburg, OH, the first campus has been the home of CYSC since 2016 and has capacity to host over 4,500 campers each summer. Map it >

CYSC Great Lakes: The newest location in Brighton, MI opened 2023 at a newly renovated Our Lady of the Fields camp. Map it >

What activities will be offered?

At CYSC, every camper will have the opportunity to participate in each activity throughout the week as their group rotates through a schedule. On each retreat the selection of activities varies. Please refer to each camp location or retreat page for a description of the activities available!

We encourage participants to conquer fears and step out of their comfort zone, but will never force campers to participate in any activity.

Can I send email or mail to my camper?

For CYSC, Bunk1.com offers packages of BunkNotes which can be sent electronically to be printed and delivered to campers. The Bunk1 access code will be send to parents of registered campers in an email prior to your week of camp.

Physical letters or packages can be labeled with your camper’s name and session and sent to the main address of your camp location:

Main Campus: 7550 Ramey Rd. Centerburg, OH 43011

Great Lakes: 7000 McClements Rd, Brighton, MI 48114

We recommend sending your mail earlier in the week to ensure that it gets delivered on time!  All mail and BunkNotes will be delivered to campers at lunch Monday-Thursday (last call for mail/email to be received is Thursday at 10am).

This service is not offered at other retreats.

Can I see photos of my camper?

For CYSC, photos of campers are posted at Bunk1.com each day. Our media team works hard to capture photos of each camper to make this possible! There is an option to view the gallery for free, in addition to paid packages. Parents of registered campers will receive an access code in an email prior to their week of camp.

This service is not offered for other retreats. However, retreat photos may be posted on the Damascus Facebook page.

Can I access any of the talks or other recordings?

The CYSC Digital All Access Pass makes the summer’s talks, homilies, worship and highlight videos available to campers and their families following the summer. This is a great way to come back to the most impactful moments and share them with loved ones! The All Access Pass can be purchased at any time prior to the end of summer for a one-time fee of $10, and login information will be sent in September for access throughout the year. Get access >

What are the dropoff and pickup times?

For CYSC, each week of camp begins with check-in on Sunday afternoon. The week ends with a closing Mass on Friday which is open to family and friends! Come early to hear camper testimonies prior to the 1pm Mass. Departure will follow shortly after the conclusion of Mass.

Weekend retreats typically begin around 5pm on Friday evening and conclude Sunday in the later morning or early afternoon.

An email with this information is sent prior to each retreat or week of camp. If you are registered and have not received an email within 2 weeks of your retreat, please email registration@damascus.net.

Is there a lost and found?

Please make sure that your camper’s name is on all belongings!! Campers are encouraged to check the lost and found table for items before departure as items will not be held after the week ends, unless it is an item of value (e.g. phone, wallet).

What if my camper has medications?

For CYSC, medications must be updated in your account at least 2 days before camp begins. Log in, select your camper’s name, click on “Medications” and choose “Manage Medications” to add. Please note that it is necessary for all medications to be in the original bottle. Please only send the exact amount of medication for the week in the original container for efficient and safe administration. As a reminder, campers may not carry oral medications with them and all medications are to be checked in with the nurse upon arrival. This includes emergency medications, such as epipens and inhalers. Further instructions for self-carrying emergency medications will be given by the nurse at check-in. If you have any questions or concerns related to medications or the medical care of your camper please reach out to our Medical Staff at nurse@cysc.com.

For school retreats, medications should be turned in to the chaperone for distribution at appropriate times.

What if my child has special needs?

We would like to know of any special needs in advance, to make sure we can appropriately accommodate for each camper to be set up for success! Special needs include, but are not limited to,

  • Physical needs (hearing impaired, leg brace, wheel chair, blindness, etc.)
  • Mental needs (down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, aspergers, etc.)
  • Learning needs (use of an aide at school, attends a special needs school, etc.)

Depending on the level of care required, some families may be asked to supply an aide to attend with their child. All aides can attend free of cost with lodging and food provided.

Please reach out to registration@damascus.net with any questions!

What if my camper has diabetes?

For CYSC, our medical staff would like the opportunity to review medical needs specific to your camper prior to arrival. Parents of campers with diabetes will be asked to complete an information form and a record of blood sugar and insulin levels for the 2 weeks leading up to camp, to equip the medical team with an idea of your camper’s typical glucose levels and insulin intake.

A more detailed Q&A is available here. If you have additional questions or concerns related to the medical care of your camper please reach out to our Medical Staff at nurse@cysc.com.

Donations

How can I update my credit card or payment information for my donation?

If your donation is in support of a missionary, please email partnership@damascus.net.

If your donation is in support of another aspect of our mission, please contact advancement@damascus.net.

Thank you!

Missionaries

Who runs the Damascus retreats?

Every retreat at Damascus is led by members of our Damascus missionary formation program.  Each of these young adults has been interviewed and trained, received all appropriate certifications through Protecting God’s Children and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and has received industry appropriate certification in leadership of all high adventure activities and events.

How can I become a missionary?

Visit damascus.net/mission for more information about our summer and full-time missionary programs!

Locations

Can I bring Damascus missionaries to my area?

Please reach out to noah@damascus.net to learn more about opportunities to bring Damascus to your diocese.

How is Damascus connected to Catholic Youth Summer Camp?

Damascus is the organization that runs Catholic Youth Summer Camp, and now does much more! CYSC was founded in 2001, and after outgrowing local sites acquired a campus in Centerburg, OH that opened in 2016. At that time that Damascus was established as a missionary organization based at the campus. Now Damascus not only operates CYSC as our flagship program in two locations, but also serves over 20,000 annually through other retreats and missional activities that take place at the Ohio campus and beyond.

What if I am flying in from out of state?

The closest airport to Damascus Main Campus is the John Glenn International Airport (CMH) in Columbus, about 45 minutes south. For CYSC and other retreats, you can arrange to have a shuttle to pick up and drop off for a fee. You will have the opportunity to indicate this in your registration, and our staff will reach out to confirm details.

The closest major airport for CYSC Great Lakes is the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), about 45 minutes away from the camp. If you are interested in arranging transportation from the airport for either of these locations, please inquire at registration@cysc.com.

Ohio Campus

What else is in the area?

The closest town is Centerburg, about 10 minutes south, which offers several local shops and cafes as well as the Heart of Ohio Trail.

About 20 minutes northeast is Mount Vernon, which has a great selection of local and chain dining options as well as the closest hotels.

Sunbury is about 25 minutes in the other direction (toward Columbus). The Polaris and Easton shopping centers and other northern Columbus suburbs are about 40-45 minutes from campus, and downtown Columbus is accessible within an hour.

Is there security on the grounds?

Safety and security is a top priority at Damascus. Access to our property is controlled by a coded front gate and monitoring system, and missionaries are trained in emergency response protocol.

Can I make a personal retreat at Damascus?

In order to best serve our primary ministry of summer camps and youth retreats, and due to the design of our facilities, we do not offer private retreat bookings for individuals.

Is the site available to rent?

When not in use for programmed retreats and events, our facilities may provide hospitality to guest groups. Please visit the Ohio Campus page to learn more or contact hospitality@damascus.net to inquire about availability.

More Questions?

Our team will be happy to help you! Please email us at info@damascus.net or call (740) 280-1288.