PART I – What is Chinese Family Camp (Midwest)?

What is the mission of Chinese Family Camp?

The Midwest Chinese Family Camp (CFC) unites a multi-generational community of extended Chinese American families for a week of fun and recreation in a modern resort setting. We socialize, celebrate our culture and heritage, and learn from each other about being Chinese in America. Since 1958, our annual gatherings continually create and sustain deep and lifelong friendships that are truly priceless.

CFC welcomes all families who would like to mix their interest in Chinese culture with the fun and recreation of a week-long “camp” set in the environment of an Indiana resort hotel. From the early years through today, the goal of CFC has been to foster a positive image and understanding of the special circumstances of Chinese families – grandparents, parents, and children, blended families, adoptive families – living in or having connections to the American Midwest.

Who attends CFC? How many?

People of all ages attend CFC, usually with relatives. Their connections to China vary from direct to indirect. There are singles and couples who come without children, although most adults are parents or grandparents. Typically 75-90 people attend the entire week, with 10-20 more campers joining us by the weekend. New families make new friends quickly, especially the children.

Why do families return year after year?

Some people have attended CFC since the 1960’s. Others return when they become parents after skipping many years. Those who return find a sense of community that is both fun and comforting. It’s a pretty good bargain for a vacation with your family, with other families of Chinese, Chinese-Americans, and various other mixtures of families, kids and grandparents. Hard not to like that food is provided, organized activities are led by dedicated volunteers, and there is plenty of time to talk and play with family and friends.

When will Chinese Family Camp be happening?

2018 is our 60th Anniversary Year. A weekend celebration will be held just before Camp session on July 13-15, 2018; then regular Camp session will be July 15-22, 2018.

In general, CFC is celebrated annually over a week in the mid to latter portion of July and goes from a Sunday evening to the following Sunday morning. Although most people go for the whole week, some only attend the final weekend. New families are encouraged to arrive before Friday in order to experience the Heritage and Arts and Crafts program held during the week.

How do I register?

The registration form is now available here!  Prior to camp, the registration form and a specific deposit amount need to be sent to the Director/Registrar as specified on the registration form. Contact the Director/Registrar, Lawrence Wang, at registrar@chinesefamilycamp.com
if you have any questions and/or concerns.

PART II – What do you do at Chinese Family Camp?

What is the daily schedule?

Typically, organized daily activities start at 7:30am-ish and are essentially over by 9:30pm. In recent years, breakfast started at 8:00am, lunch at 12:00, and dinner at 5:30pm. The planned activities such as Arts and Crafts (all ages), sports, and a Chinese Heritage program run in the morning, with sports in the afternoon for a couple hours (because we need to do Something until we can eat again!). Group fun is scheduled every evening from 7:00 to 9:00, with evening snacks starting around 9:00pm.

How are meals handled?

All meals at Amish Acres will be in the Beam Room of the Restaurant Barn unless an exception is noted in the camp schedule. Breakfast is a continental buffet. Lunch is served buffet style. Dinners are served buffet or family style. Dinner on the first Sunday is not included. Breakfast the final Sunday is included. Be prepared to consume three healthy, robust meals a day, plus a late evening snack.

We take our wisdom from the old Chinese proverb: Family eats together in harmony, some poems STILL don’t have to rhyme.

Is alcohol allowed? Is smoking allowed?

Alcohol is not allowed in the public areas of Amish Acres although beer and wine may be purchased, by those 21 and older, at the Restaurant Barn. Smoking is not allowed inside any of the buildings.

What kinds of outdoor or sports activities are there?

Amish Acres has a pool on-site. A park two miles away has facilities for tennis, basketball, softball, a swimming pool, and a playground. Golf and bowling are nearby. An excursion to the original CFC stomping grounds at Lake Wawasee or a water park may be arranged.

Athletic/sports activities traditionally held at CFC are: kick ball, swimming/volleyball at the water park, the annual CFC BambooMan Micro-Triathlon, and making/cooking jiao-tze dmplings (how did this become a sporting/athletic activity?)

Where are indoor activities held?

CFC uses three rooms at Amish Acres for CFC group activities: the Lilac Room at the Inn, the Barn Loft Grill at the Restaurant Barn and the Locke Hall at the Greeting Barn. Daytime activities are in the Barn Loft Grill. Evening fun is at various locations but mainly in Locke Hall. Evening snacks and the traditional Chinese table games of mah-jong and Trivial Pursuit are held in the Lilac Room.

Will there be computers set up?

The CFC IT crew will set up in the Lilac Room with a couple laptops and a color ink jet printer. There’s a big flat screen TV included in the Lilac Room with a DVD player. The Lilac Room is reserved for use by CFC 24/7.

Can I check my email? What about our constitutionally protected rights to free WiFi?

In addition to the IT set up, some campers bring laptops or tablets. WiFi is available at the Inn and at the Restaurant Barn. It usually works pretty well, but then there’s about a dozen teens firing away with Instagrams and texts and videos and who knows what else. We usually manage to crash the poor overloaded WiFi router at least once a day. This actually works out pretty well because it makes us stop messing with our cell phones for at least a few hours and actually talk to each other. Check at the Amish Acres Inn front desk for the WiFi password.

Is there a place to swim?

There is an unheated and unsupervised outdoor pool next to the Inn at Amish Acres. The depth ranges from 4 feet to 5 feet. Pool towels are provided by the front desk.

What languages are spoken?

The primary language is English. Grandparents and a few others speak Chinese, mostly Mandarin, amongst themselves. Most of the American-born Chinese adults and children do not speak Chinese. Teens rarely talk to anyone other than other teens, and it’s pretty hard to understand what they’re saying, even tho they are apparently speaking English.

We have instituted a Chinese language table at mealtimes for those of us who wanted to practice a little Chinese. Some of us had exhausted our meager collection of Chinese words and phrases by 12:15pm on Monday. Ai-yah!

Who is in charge of activities?

CFC is run completely by volunteers. Lawrence Wang is the Camp Director. There are dedicated people in charge of Arts and Crafts, the Chinese Heritage Program, Evening Activities, Group Sports, Snacks, and so on. A number of volunteers have helped out at Camp for many years, following a family tradition started by their parents.

Are group activities required?

No, all activities are optional, even sleep for most of the teens. Some parents who want to play golf–or shop or nap–are able to find a baby sitter for young children amongst other parents or older teens.

PART III – Where, How Much, and Other Questions

How much does attending Family Camp cost? What is covered?

Rooms are $90/night. Adult meals are $180/week. Children (age 4-11) meals are $90/week. Those aged 3 or younger eat free. A registration fee of $35/camper is also required whether a camper is registered for the full week or only for a portion of the week. An example: a family of four with two children aged 5 and 8, will pay about $1300 for the entire week. There is no credit for meals missed. In general, there are no fees for CFC activities held on-site at Amish Acres except for shows at the Round Barn Theater or Soda Shop group activities. Some off-site activities such as bowling, boating and golf require separate payment.

How is final payment handled?

The deposit, made prior to camp, is applied to the final bill, which is given to families during Camp. The balance is paid before the end of Camp to the Treasurer or Director or the President of CFC, Inc. CFC can only accepts checks, no credit cards. Campers do not pay Amish Acres directly for lodging.

Where is Family Camp held? Where do people stay?

Beginning in 2009, Family Camp moved to Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN. The drive to northeast Indiana is 2-4 hours from the Chicago area, southern Michigan, southern Indiana, or Ohio. Lodging is at the Inn at Amish Acres. People who fly can go to Indianapolis, Chicago, Ft. Wayne, or South Bend.

Do I have to stay at Amish Acres?

Traditionally everyone stays at the main lodging location. If you would like to stay elsewhere nearby, please contact the Director/Registrar.

What kinds of hotel rooms are available?

Most rooms have two double beds. There are a limited number of handicapped access rooms with one double bed available. There are a few rooms with a king bed available, which also have a sofa bed, frig/microwave, and a 2-person whirlpool. All rooms have a hair dryer, coffee maker, and cable TV. A refrigerator cannot be added to a regular room.

How are special rooms assigned, such as the handicapped rooms?

In general, room assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis based on the postmark date for Registration Forms. The Director/Registrar may ask Campers to help out if someone with a later registration has a greater need for a special type of room.

What is teen lodging?

There is a lodging option for teenagers only, if they are interested and have their parents’ permission. See page 2 of any registration form for details.

Can a teenager attend without parents?

Yes, a teenager may make arrangements with the Director to attend without a parent. An adult sponsor must agree to be responsible for the teen. The teen may stay in teen lodging, if available, or share a hotel room.

Do people bring babies or toddlers?

Yes, babies and toddlers are welcome with the rest of their family. Amish Acres is family friendly. A stroller is recommended.

Is Family Camp for Christians only?

No. Family Camp activities have no specific orientation to any religion.

Is a car required during Camp?

Although many activities are held at Amish Acres, a car is recommended. Rides are arranged for off-site activities such as golf, bowling or boating at Lake Wawasee. Most families have a car because they live within driving distance of Nappanee. Families who fly usually rent a car. There is plenty of free parking near the hotel.