What is the mission of Camp Ne-O-Tez? Camp Ne-O-Tez is a Christian camp that has had the mission of “Training Youth to Walk with Christ” for over 50 years. We believe the basis for training youth to walk with Christ is the Bible. Camp exists because faithful Christians volunteer each summer so that children can learn about God and His plan. Learning how to lead a Christ-centered life while having fun and making friends is the focus of camp Ne-O-Tez.
Why is Christian camping at Camp Ne-O-Tez so important? The foremost reason a child should attend Camp Ne-O-Tez is to grow in their understanding of what it means to live a life dedicated to following the teaching of Jesus Christ. Making friends, learning social skills, and growing more independent are all additional benefits of attending camp. Unplugging from all types of technology, being physically active, and appreciating nature help children to grow and mature.
Does Camp Ne-O-Tez welcome campers of various religious traditions? Camp Ne-O-Tez welcomes campers of all religious beliefs to attend. Bible classes and devotionals will reflect the teachings of the Old and New Testament scriptures.
Who runs Camp Ne-O-Tez? Camp Ne-O-Tez is operated by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are members of the church of Christ throughout the metropolitan area of St. Louis.
Are there any paid staff members at Camp Ne-O-Tez? No, the entire staff serves as volunteers. The caretakers, Nate and Christea Reiser live on site and volunteer to serve year-round. Directors, cooks, dishwashers, Bible teachers, and counselors all donate their time and energy.
Tell me about camper fees. Camper fees are all-inclusive. The camper fee reflects the actual cost of caring for each camper. Fees cover living expenses, activities, t-shirt, camp photo, meals and snacks. No additional money will need to be sent with the camper unless you are notified by the Director about an extra-special activity. Every camper is housed in a cabin with bunk beds and fresh air. Three meals per day are provided, along with two snack breaks that usually include soda, water, chips, or candy. The campers are given a camp t-shirt and a 8” x 10” photo of all the children and staff attending that week. Depending on the particular camping session, bus trips to the Washington State Park swimming pool or a river float trip may be on the agenda. Camp sessions may also include craft projects. Facility improvements are not part of the camper fee. Camper fees cover the entire experience and are not pro-rated on a daily basis. If a camper arrives late or leaves before the session ends, refunds are not available.
What are the Ne-O-Tez facilities like? Camp Ne-O-Tez is situated on approximately 140 private acres of wooded land, six miles south of DeSoto, Missouri. The camp is located in a valley and Cricket Creek runs the length of the valley. There is a natural cave on the campsite, as well as a bluff overlooking the Big River. Campers sleep in rustic wooden cabins with sturdy bunk beds. Camper cabins are shaded by large trees and are located on either side of Cricket Creek. Each set of cabins has its own bath house with private showers and toilets, which is just a short walk away. Bible classes are held in one of the two gazebos or the screened-in porch of the large rock house known as the “Stone Castle.” Crafts classes are held in the large screened-in cabin above one of the bathhouses. Activities occur on the outdoor basketball court or the softball field. A large covered play area provides shelter for rainy day activities. An outdoor amphitheater is perfect for skits, talent shows and worship services. The terrain at Camp Ne-O-Tez is hilly and paths are gravel or mulch.
What do kids do all week at camp? The schedule at camp reflects the age and interests of the campers who attend. The day usually starts with flag raising and a short devotional then off to a hot breakfast. A few minutes are set aside for cabin clean-up and chores, Bible classes and activities are scheduled. Lunch is served and “mail call” is a fun camp tradition. Crafts and sports, such as softball, kickball, volleyball, soccer or basketball fill the afternoon depending upon age and interest of the campers. Some groups go to the pool at Washington State park and others play water games, go on a creek walk or participate in boat races. Most days end with a campfire under the stars.
How old are the campers? Camp Ne-O-Tez serves children who finished kindergarten through completion of the senior year of high school in regular summer sessions. A special Memorial Day weekend session is offered for college-aged and young adult campers.
How many campers stay in one cabin? Up to fourteen campers and two counselors sleep in a cabin. The K-2nd grade pre-camp session has three counselors per cabin.
Can I request to have my friends in my cabin? Campers may request on their application to be in a cabin with a friend. Directors will work hard to grant as many camper requests as possible, but cannot guarantee that every request can be honored.
What is the food like? We serve tasty, balanced meals in the Pine Lodge Dining Hall. The meals are designed to be nutritious and also appeal to the age group of campers each week. Food is served “cafeteria style” in the kitchen. (Staff will carry trays to the tables for young campers.) Campers eat in groups with friends and their counselors in the dining hall. A peanut butter and jelly option is always available.
From where do the counselors come? Volunteer counselors come from the St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as several Christian colleges. Most of the counselors are former Ne-O-Tez campers. Counselors must be active members of their local church congregations. A minimum of two counselors are assigned to each cabin with children.
Can campers receive packages at camp? Campers may receive packages but may not take food, candy, or gum to the cabins as doing so encourages mice and other rodents to visit.
Can campers phone home? Years of experience have taught us that it is best for a camper to not talk with family and friends from home as it increases homesickness. Do not send a cell phone with your child or tell them that they can phone home as desired.
Are campers allowed to have visitors during the week? We prefer that campers do not have visitors as it typically encourages homesickness. Also, for the safety of your child we do not allow any unscheduled visitors during the camping week.
My child is young and has not been to camp before. Any suggestions? Label all belongings! Make sure your child can shower independently. Some parents help their child pack everything they will need to get dressed that morning in an extra-large Ziploc bag. Remember to pack extra clothes for that unexpected splash while trying to net a crawdad in Cricket Creek. A mesh laundry bag is also helpful. Kids who bring a container to hold their toiletries and a bag for their clothes have an easier time carrying their items to and from the bath house. Make sure your child has a pair of tennis shoes and plenty of socks. Crocs or water shoes are great for the creek. Flip flops are good for the shower, but not walking around camp. Sturdy sandals or tennis shoes with thick soles work best. Don’t forget a top sheet for hot nights, a blanket or sleeping bag for cold nights, and a pair of jeans and a jacket for cool mornings and nights. See the packing list on the website for more information.
How do I send mail to a camper? Mail should be sent to “Camper’s Name,” Camp Ne-O-Tez, 6266 Big River Heights Rd., DeSoto, MO 63020.
How can I contact camp? The Ne-O-Tez kitchen phone will be answered during the day when camp is in session. 636-586-9756.
What is the check-in process for campers? Each camper will receive information from the Director of their week that specifies the time of arrival for campers. During registration, campers will turn in any forms that have not previously been mailed, receive a t-shirt, and be assigned a cabin. Please check your child for head lice before bringing them to camp. Once campers arrive, the first aid worker may do lice checks. Also, please give any camper medications to the first aid worker. Parents of younger children usually help the camper unpack their belongings and meet the counselors in their children’s cabin before leaving. If someone other than the parents is bringing the camper, please remember to bring a camper application, complete with medical and photography release.
What is the pick-up process for campers? Before leaving camp on Sunday, parents should confirm the pick-up time. It is important to pick up your child on time so the volunteer staff can depart as well. On Saturday morning, each cabin of campers cleans up their cabin and an assigned area of camp. The kitchen closes after dinner on Friday night. A light, cold breakfast will be served Saturday morning. Parents should check in with the director before leaving with their child. Make sure the camper has their camp picture, t-shirt and any craft project. Don’t forget to check the lost and found as well. Many campers will not recognize their items if they are wet and dirty! Once home, be ready to hear all about camp activities and fun.
I’m worried my child will be homesick at camp. How can I help prepare them for the experience? Children who have spent some time away from home, at least overnight, with family or friends tend to be more prepared for a sleep-away camp. Children tend to live up to their parent’s expectations. If the parent is confident and expresses to the child their confidence, it is more likely the child will do well. Be sure that the child understands how long the camp session will be and discuss any fears or concerns in a positive manner. Send along a favorite stuffed animal. Be sure your child has learned to sleep in their own bed without the television or music. Parents are usually surprised how much more independent and confident their child is after time at a sleep-away camp like Ne-O-Tez.
How is homesickness handled by the counselors and staff? Counselors have been campers themselves, usually for several years. Kind words and a pat on the back go a long way for a child who misses their family at bedtime. The vast majority of children just need a good night’s sleep to renew their cheerful spirit. The director will be notified if the child is not easily consoled. If the homesickness is persistent during the day, the Director may contact the parents. Very few children go home early due to homesickness as they are busy and engaged in activities throughout the day.
My child is on a special diet and I am wondering if they can attend camp? If your child is on a special diet and willing to comply with the diet restrictions while at camp, please contact the camp Director. Accommodations are possible if the parents are willing to send additional food to replace foods normally served to campers, depending upon the needs of the child.
My child is allergic to certain foods and I am wondering if they can attend camp? If your child is allergic to certain food items, please notify the Director of the week the child will be attending. Depending upon the allergy and the severity of the symptoms, it may be possible for the child to attend. Specific treatment for accidental ingestion must be sent to camp with the child, such as antihistamines or an EpiPen. Jefferson Regional Health Center (a Mercy SSM facility) maintains the closest emergency services to camp and is located approximately 23 miles away.
What happens if a camper gets sick or needs regular medication? Camp Ne-O-Tez has a First Aid Cabin that is stocked with first aid supplies. A volunteer with knowledge of first aid is available when regular summer camping sessions are being held. Medication for campers should be given to the health volunteer who will dispense all camper medications.
How can I prepare my child to have a safe experience at camp? The most common injuries at camp are small abrasions or bug bites. Remind your child not to run on the gravel roads. Send flip flops for your child to wear in the shower but ask your child to wear shoes that have thick soles and that stay on their feet for other times. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water while at camp, wash their hands thoroughly, wear bug spray and sunscreen. If your child needs medical attention outside of camp, the first aid volunteer or the Director will contact you. It is important that you leave a working phone number where you can be reached while your child is at camp.
What else is done in regard to safety? In an effort to continue providing a safe and welcoming environment at camp, all volunteers (ages 18 and older) are required to have a background check through the security company Verified Volunteers. We appreciate the time our volunteers have donated to camp and value their passion for serving the Lord through Ne-O-Tez.
I’m worried about my child’s safety during storms. Each Director conducts the camping session with safety in mind. Ne-O-Tez is located in a valley and that provides some protection from strong winds. The basement of the Stone Castle is large and provides shelter if needed. The caretakers have access to weather reports and advise the Directors as needed.
Please contact us if you have other questions.