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 and Chinese-American  families for a week of fun and recreation in a modern lakeside retreat 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 lakeside retreat. 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.

Where can I find all those fascinating facts about CFC, Inc.?

Thanks for asking! Here’s a page chock full of organization details!

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 more joining us during the week. New families make new friends quickly, especially the children.

Why do families return year after year?

We form deep, decades long friendships among all generations and encourage everyone to grow in their own identity. Some people have been attending CFC since the late 1950’s. Some attended as children and returned when they became parents. Everyone who attends finds a fun and comforting sense of community. It’s also a pretty good bargain for a vacation with your family. It’s also a chance to spend time with other extended families of varying degrees of Chinese heritage. There’s also lots of food (3 meals plus an evening snack plus whatever else everyone brought back from the grocery store or Chinatown), organized activities led by dedicated volunteers, and plenty of time to talk and play with family and friends.

When will Chinese Family Camp be happening?

CFC 2024 will be held from July 14-21, 2024.

CFC is celebrated annually over a week in mid to late July and goes from a Sunday evening to the following Sunday morning. The official schedule of events will come out in the Summer.

How do I register?

Registration is now OPEN and sleeping rooms are getting snatched up quickly!

Here’s a link to the spiffy 2024 Registration Information Packet

And you can also contact Camp Director/Registrar, Lawrence Wang, at campdirector@chinesefamilycamp.org if you have any questions and/or concerns.

How can I stay informed about registration, camp events, and upcoming news?

Please contact Camp Director/Registrar, Lawrence Wang, at campdirector@chinesefamilycamp.org to be added to our Chinese Family Camp email list.

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

How do I get a CFC T-shirt?

CFC T-Shirts will be available for purchase in an announcement email in the Spring. Order a white shirt if you want to Tie Dye it during Camp! T-Shirts will be handed out at Camp. Stay tuned for new details!

What is the daily schedule?

Organized daily activities start at 7:30am-ish and are essentially over by 9:30pm. Usually breakfast starts at 8:00am, lunch is at noon, and dinner is at 5:00pm. The planned activities such as Arts and Crafts (all ages) 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. Curfew is 11pm.

How are meals handled?

You are required to consume three healthy, robust meals a day, and an evening snack. If you have a special dietary concern, such as a food allergy, please note this on the registration form.

We take our wisdom from the old Chinese proverb: “Family eats together in harmony, gluten free snakes on a plane.” Something might have gotten lost in translation.

Is alcohol allowed? Is smoking allowed?

No alcohol or smoking is allowed in the campground.

What kinds of outdoor or sports activities are there?

There are several activities on site at Cedar Lake, which can be viewed on their website.

By the way, we hope to bring back our CFC BambooRen Micro-Triathlon!

Where are indoor activities held?

All indoor activities will be very likely held…indoors! in one of the meeting rooms at the lower level of the Oaks Dining Hall.

Will there be computers set up?

None are provided. Please bring your own computer if you need to work. You are responsible for your own connectivity.

Is there a place to swim?

At Cedar Lake campers can go to the small beach to swim, canoe, and kayak.

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 though they are apparently speaking English.

In the past we have had 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. 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.

PART III – Where, How Much, and Other Questions

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

Chinese Family Camp fees are determined every year based on the host facility pricing and will be published in the Registration Packet. The Chinese Family Camp pricing will include lodging, meals, and a registration fee.

Where is Chinese Family Camp held?

Chinese Family Camp is current held at Cedar Lake Ministries. Please view their website to see details such as lodging facilities and on-site activities.

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 the week to the Treasurer of CFC, Inc. Chinese Family Camp cannot process credit cards, so please create an account with our online registration system to pay by e-check or you can bring your checkbook to pay at camp.

Do I have to stay at Cedar Lake?

Traditionally everyone stays on-site at one of the lodging options.

What kinds of rooms are available?

We will be staying in the Rest-A-While Lodge and the Cedars Lodges. Each room in Rest-A-While has a private bath, double bed, and a bunk bed. Each Cedars Lodge Cabin sleeps around 4-5 campers who share 1 bathroom. For pictures and more information you can visit the Cedar Lake website lodging section.

Are there any handicapped rooms?

Please contact the Camp Director for accessibility needs.

What is Teen/YA lodging?

There is a lodging option specifically for teenager and/or young adults to room together. If they are interested and have their parents’ permission, the pricing information will be on the registration packet.

Can a teenager attend without parents?

Yes, a teenager may make arrangements with the Camp Director to attend without a parent. An adult sponsor must agree to be responsible for the teen.

Do people bring babies or toddlers?

Yes, babies and toddlers are welcome with the rest of their family. Cedar Lake is family friendly. Babies may not attend without their parents. 🙂

Is Family Camp for Christians only?

Chinese Family Camp does take place at a Christian campground; however, Chinese Family Camp has no specific orientation to any religion.

What is Camp’s policy with demographic information and photographs?

Per our liability waiver that campers sign, it states “I hereby consent to the distribution of my personal demographic information in the camp directory and the use of my photograph in Chinese Family Camp brochures, publications, slide presentations, etc…”

What are some of the nerdy fine print details about Chinese Family Camp?

Chinese Family Camp, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Illinois!

Contributions are tax deductible!

If you’ve read this far, you are eligible to receive TWO (2) water balloons for Field Day!

And if you must know more about CFC Inc., click here!