Getting Ready

The Pacific Northwest Adventure Trip combines a camping trip and teen tour, which makes it a unique, adventure of a lifetime. We want every camper to have the best possible experience, which begins weeks before departure.

Be Prepared for…
  • Daily hiking. The length of hikes varies from less than 1 mile to 8 miles or longer.
  • Meeting people. Some participants come with friends and others are traveling solo. We arrange bus groups to encourage making new friends.
  • Being a little dirty. It just comes with the territory.
  • Trying new things. Come with an open mind; camping for five weeks is a new experience for everyone. Staff and your fellow travelers will help you every step along the way. And, remember that often the best experiences come when you least expect it.
Pre-Trip Advice

We’ll review all trip details with families in a pre-trip orientation that takes place in the spring. At this gathering, which can be attended in person or remotely, we’ll provide you with a lot of information about getting ready and the trip. This is a great opportunity for parents and teens to get answers to any and all questions.

There are two things that everyone can do prior to the trip to help get ready. First, make sure to break in your hiking boots or trail shoes. Also, get plenty of rest so you’re ready to go on the first day. Lastly, stick to the packing list.

PNW Packing List

Frequently Asked Questions

The PNW trip leaves JCC Camp Chi and travels out to the West Coast and back over five weeks. During that time, campers will have the chance to explore national parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Olympic, take a dip in the Pacific Ocean, stop in Seattle, Bozeman, and Jackson, and so much more.

PNW is a camping trip. This means that each night we sleep in tents (and occasionally under the stars) at campgrounds in or near state and national parks. Campers sleep in 4 person tents with other campers of the same gender. Participants will learn how to set up the tents while at camp before the trip departs and return to camp as pros by the end of the 5-week journey.

We often hear that the food on PNW is far better than the food at camp! Campers and staff cook vegetarian meals. They take a variety of dry foods with them when they depart from camp and stop at local grocery stores and food markets for produce and dairy.

Breakfasts might include cereal, eggs, fresh fruit, granola bars, pancakes, French toast, etc.

Lunch might be sandwiches, fruit, and bars if the group is out and about for the day. And if they’re stopped at the campsite and the group has time for more involved preparation, they might have grilled cheese and tomato soup, stir fry, or something like that.

Dinner is usually the heartiest meal of the day, with typical meals including chili, pasta, rice dishes, tacos or quesadillas, stir fry, and more.

Sometimes they’ll stop in a town along the route and campers will have the opportunity to grab a bite in a local restaurant of their choosing. We make sure that there are always plenty of healthy snacks available, and that the teens have more than enough to eat and that no one leaves a meal hungry.

If your teen has other allergies or dietary needs, please contact us at 847.763.3551 so we can make sure to plan accordingly.

Campers travel between parks and campsites on a coach bus operated by National Trails. At full capacity, each bus can fit 33 campers and 4 staff members.

The beauty of PNW is that every day is different. Most days on the trip involve hiking. In addition to hiking, on any given day teens may find themselves white water rafting, surfing, kayaking, exploring small rural towns, or hanging by a lake. One thing is for sure, the PNW trip includes lots of outdoor physical activity and a lot of fun!

Absolutely! A camper may request to be on the same bus as their friends. Friendship requests for PNW work the same way as they do for any session at Camp Chi: we do our best to honor all mutual requests.

We pick up mail at 3 mail stops throughout the trip. We will give you the information for these mailstops before the trip with enough time to ensure that mail arrives in time. Parents are encouraged to write letters and send them to the mailstops for the campers. Once a week campers will use cell phones provided by Camp Chi to call home. The week is Saturday to Sunday, and a camper may call you any time during the week depending on cell service and itinerary. If your camper does not catch you when they call, they will try again before the end of the week.

Camper safety is our number one priority; therefore, we always have our eyes on the weather. In the event of severe weather, we take all necessary measures to keep campers safe. This may include rerouting the trip or spending the night in an alternate location. We have alternate plans for every camping location that we travel to on this trip

The health, wellbeing, and safety of our campers and staff on PNW are our top priorities. All PNW staff are First Aid and CPR certified. During the staff training period, staff discuss health and safety precautions with an emphasis on prevention.

Specifically, the following procedures are in place:

  1. All prescription medication must be labeled and given to trip staff with dispensing instructions prior to the trip. (See prescription info on health page of website)
  2. A staff member controls the dispensing of all medications.
  3. If a camper has a fever or does not feel well, staff will contact the parents and arrange for the camper to see a physician.
  4. If a camper becomes ill and a physician advises that they should not travel, the trip staff in conjunction with the Camp Chi full time staff may adjust the itinerary until the teen is able to travel. This is the case unless the teen needs to return home. In the event of a serious medical situation, staff will be in close contact with the parents.

Camper hygiene is important to everyone. Shower facilities vary depending on the campsite and sleeping arrangements. We make sure that campers have fresh water to wash their hands, brush their teeth and wash up every day. Campers will shower as facilities permit.

Yes! Campers will do laundry 3 times throughout the trip. The group will stop at a laundromat or other laundry facility, and the campers will be responsible for their own laundry. If your camper has never done their own laundry before, we recommend that you practice together once or twice before the trip.

The trip is geared toward the participating campers. We begin with shorter, easier hikes for the first few days to ease the kids into the experience and build endurance. As the trip progresses, some of the hikes become more challenging. By this point, most kids are excited for these adventures and able to participate and succeed. While hiking, we make sure to have staff at the front and back of the group so that no one falls behind. We believe that all campers who wish to succeed on this trip can do so regardless of previous hiking experience. If you’re thinking of joining the trip, we recommend going on a few walks before the trip and get your body used to the idea of walking multiple miles in one go!

Generally, the same rules about electronics that apply at camp, apply on the PNW trip. Any electronic devices that can connect to the Internet, including cell phones, computers, iPod Touch, iPads and other tablets, eReaders, portable game systems or other similar equipment are not allowed on the trip. Campers may bring iPods (that can’t connect to wifi) and digital cameras on the trip. Please note that Camp Chi does not assume responsibility for these items if they are lost, stolen, or damaged.

The major difference between camp and PNW, with respect to electronics, is the ability to charge these devices. There are 2 plugs on the bus that staff use to charge camp cell phones, walkie talkies, GPS, the camp camera, and other devices necessary for the trip. Only when these plugs are not in use, may the campers use them to charge their personal electronics.

Definitely! We recommend sending your camper with around $350-400 in cash for them. You can send more or less at your own discretion, but we’ve found that to be a pretty good amount. Each camper’s cash will be stored in an envelope with their name on it. Campers can then withdraw their cash when they ask for it, and they’ll keep a detailed account of each withdrawal.

The trip is led by hand selected staff with experience and interest in the outdoors, camping, and working with teens. Many of the staff have experience leading trips and have degrees in recreation. All of the staff are at least 21 years old. Often, we already know the staff because they have grown up at Camp Chi or have led the trip before. Each bus will have staff who are certified in Wilderness First Aid and Lifeguards.

We have 1 staff member for every 8 campers on the trip. A full bus will have 33 campers and 4 staff members. In addition to these counseling staff, there is also a bus driver.

Our staff lead all of the day hikes and easily accessible experiences throughout the trip. For more involved activities like whitewater rafting, surfing, zipline, etc. Camp Chi uses reputable vendors with demonstrated expertise in their industry, and who have experience working with large groups, including teenagers. We have used many of our current vendors for multiple years.

We pride ourselves on creating open and inviting communities that allow new campers to find a place and make friends. Over the years we have had a number of new campers attend the PNW trip and have wonderful positive experiences. It’s important to note that many of the campers on the PNW trip were previously 4-week campers in either the first or second session and do not know the campers from the other session. PNW brings together both sessions for this opportunity and mixes campers so that they get to meet new people. This provides a natural and easy transition for first time Camp Chi campers to mix into the group.

Shabbat on PNW is a time to rest and reflect. We camp at the same place on Friday and Saturday night and campers and staff work together to create a meaningful Shabbat experience. Each Shabbat is different, and every bus has its own Shabbat rituals and flair. The Shabbat experience ranges from a Camp Chi style Shabbat service to meditation, to yoga, to a reflection of the week or nature study. Campers and staff find inspiration from their natural surroundings and use this as guidance in creating a meaningful Shabbat experience.

Campers who have controlled asthma and can endure regular exercise routines without their asthma acting up have been very successful on this trip. If your child’s asthma is not under control or your child regularly needs a nebulizer or other rescue treatments for asthma, this may not be the trip for them. If you have any questions about your child’s asthma or any other medical condition, please contact a Camp Chi director at 847.763.3551.

Absolutely! Campers can choose to attend camp first session in Noar for three weeks (1B) and then go on the PNW trip. This is a great way to combine your love for camp with the excitement of the PNW trip. Special pricing is available for this combination program. Register here or call us with questions at 847.763.3551.

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