TQ Camps FAQ
What is Teen Quest?
Teen Quest is a youth mission assisting churches, communities, and families winning, equipping, and empowering students for ministry through camping, student groups, ministry teams, and global evangelism. Mark and Debbi Witt founded Teen Quest in 1976.
What does Teen Quest do?
We host camping year-round at the Teen Quest Ranch in the Laurel Highlands. (Somerset, Pennsylvania) We also host mission trips and work with youth pastors in the local church.
Are you a non-profit?
Yes, we are a non-profit 501c3 organization.
Where is the Teen Quest Ranch?
The Teen Quest Ranch is located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands in Somerset, PA, the highest elevation of Pennsylvania. We are about 3 -4 hours from Columbus, Cleveland, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. We are 2 hours from Erie and 1 hour out of Pittsburgh.
How do I get to the Ranch?
Please see our TQ locations page for directions to camp.
What is the winter weather like in Pennsylvania?
SnowCamp is held at the Teen Quest Ranch which is nestled in a plateau between two mountain ridges at an altitude of 2700 feet. We are in the Pennsylvania snow belt and temperatures can reach as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. The average temperature for January and February is around 25 degrees Fahrenheit and there is almost always snow on the ground.
What day does camp begin?
Teen Camp registration begins on Sunday at 4 pm and ends on Saturday at 10 am.
Kids Camp registration begins on Sunday at 4 pm and ends Friday at 6 pm.
Weekend Camps: begin Friday 8 pm and end on Sunday at 1 pm
What time is pick-up for camps?
We encourage parents to join us for breakfast at 9 am on Saturday for Teen Camp.
We encourage parents to join us for dinner on Friday at 5:30 for Kids Camp.
(Nominal charge – can be paid at registration along with your reservation.)
Pick-up is 1 pm on Sunday for weekend camps.
How old do you have to be to go to Teen Quest Camps?
Teen Quest’s weekend programs are available for youth grades 6-12 and are organized by current grade level. Our weeklong camps are divided into Kids Camp, grades 2 -5 and Teen Camps, grades 6 – 12. Weeklong camps are organized by grade level for the coming fall session.
Where do the campers stay?
Campers stay in heated cabins with restroom facilities inside most cabins and some nearby. Some cabins are air-conditioned.
How many kids per counselor/ in a cabin?
Cabins accommodate various size groups of campers. We have cabins of 8 – 32. (We house multiple counselors with larger groups.)
How do you hire your counselors?
A lot of our counselors are college age after having grown up through the ministry of Teen Quest. We also travel to Christian colleges, interviewing and recruiting. They are screened thoroughly, giving a clear testimony of salvation in Christ. They are dedicated to making your camper’s week safe and enjoyable. Our counselors receive in-depth staff orientation and are supported throughout the summer from our experienced leadership team.
I have two children; one is going into 4th grade and the other is going into 6th. I’d like them to be together. Can that happen?
Our programs are planned to be age appropriate. To accept an older child in the program geared for younger campers would not be a positive experience for him. Accepting a younger child in the program for older students would not meet his needs effectively.
What does my child need to bring?
Sleeping bag, pillow, towels, soap, toiletries, jacket, Bible, notebook, pen, flashlight, modest one-piece swimsuit, one set of clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. Optional: musical instruments and props for skits, skateboard, paintball gun. You can bring your paintball gun, but your paintballs are not allowed. Equipment for Specialty Activities: If you would like to use the skateboard park make sure to bring your board. You may also bring your own ice skates, skis, snowboard, or sleds.
All clothing worn by campers should be modest and in good taste. In some cases, we may ask campers who are wearing questionably immodest clothing (i.e. very short shorts, tight or see-through clothing, cropped shirts, excessively low-riding jeans, etc.) to change. Please be sure campers pack appropriately.
For cold weather, think warm and pack cold. Pack: toiletries, personal items, indoor clothing, bathing suit, layers of clothes like sweaters, hats, gloves, scarf, waterproof snow boots, laundry bag, indoor slippers, towels, pillow, sleeping bag, extra blanket, heavy winter coat, moisturizing cream, lip balm, sunglasses, bible (if you have one), and notebook.
PLEASE DO NOT PACK: Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, fireworks, electronic equipment including but not limited to fans, clock radios, IPods, and MP3 players. These items will be confiscated and returned to you before leaving camp. In the atmosphere of a camp, campers tend to forget, lose track of, or misplace things. We are not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
Be sure your campers take home all that they brought with them to camp. We suggest you mark all of their items ahead of time. All items unclaimed at the end of each summer are donated to local charities.
Does my child need extra spending money?
We recommend extra spending money for souvenirs or snacks purchased in our Tin Spur, extra paintballs ($5 per 100), laser tag $5. Campers are encouraged to give to the offering for our camp speaker several times a week.
How many towels does my child need?
Often, items don’t thoroughly dry due to humidity. We would suggest two towels for weeklong camps.
“Oh, no, my child left some stuff at the Ranch!”
If your child left some things behind, call us at (814) 444-9500 and let us know what you have lost. We will do our best to find the item, at which time you may come and pick it up from the Ranch. We only mail items with an advance charge for postage only and will hold the items for approximately two weeks. If your camper has come with a group, please check with your leaders first. They often go through and pick up everything left and take it to your church.
How do I contact my child?
We understand that for many parents, leaving your camper is a difficult thing. (Some parents get more homesick than the camper!). We encourage you to write your camper while they are at camp. Please send camper mail to:
c/o Teen Quest
293 Rich Road
Somerset, PA 15501
Please be sure your return address is included on the envelope should your mail arrive late. It is advised that you send snail mail no later than Wednesday of the week prior to your child’s weekend. Otherwise, they may not receive it. Email is even better. We will print off your email and put in an envelope, giving to your camper.
Can my child room with his friend?
Your child can certainly room with a friend. Please notify us ahead of time so we can make that happen.
How many friends can room together?
This is handled on an individual basis depending on our crowds and the breakdown of cabins. Definitely, two to three friends can room together.
Can I come with my child and volunteer?
We welcome a parent in a volunteer position. We do, however, require a volunteer registration and state required clearances. You would not be housed with your child and would fulfill any position where there is a need. Additional siblings accompanying you is not convenient for you or your other child.
I haven’t received my follow-up forms yet?
We are sorry that they have not arrived. Sometimes they go directly into your spam folder and they are missed. We will re-send just as soon as you notify us. Please make sure to check your spam if you don’t see them in your main folder.
What is the camp schedule?
Each life-changing day at Teen Quest Camps includes morning devotional time, large and small group games and activities, free time to enjoy the recreational activities at the Ranch, exciting evening programs featuring dynamic speakers, & evening snack time. Meals are usually served at around 8:30am, 12pm and 5:30pm.
What do the campers do at night?
We have a special meeting each evening after an all-camp activity. Staff and campers are involved together in each evening’s planned event right up to bedtime. Some examples: Gaga ball tournaments, Xtreme Barn activities, campfires, talent shows, and game shows with participation by your child.
Do campers have a curfew?
Everyone in camp is required to be in cabins at curfew and stay in the cabin until 6 am.
Can my child do laundry?
Due to the short stay of our camps, we encourage you to pack enough clothing so your child does not have to do laundry as it takes away from the fun. However, if they run out of dry, comfortable clothes, we have laundry facilities onsite. (Nominal fees apply.)
Will you celebrate my child’s birthday?
Yes, we sing Happy Birthday to your child. For weeklong camps: A birthday cake is delivered to her cabin to be shared with her cabin mates. Weekend camps: We will sing Happy Birthday, but usually leave the celebration up to the leader who is with the camper.
Can my child call home or can I call my child?
Campers certainly can call home although we do not encourage it. Many times it will increase the likelihood of homesickness. We WILL print and distribute emails to your camper on a daily basis.
Do you allow cell phones?
Students may have their cell, but we will ask them to turn it off during meetings and activities. If cell phone use is interfering with their camping experience, and after a warning, the counselor will hold it for them for assigned times of use.
In what circumstances will Teen Quest contact me?
- Severe Homesickness – If your child becomes homesick, we will do our best to try and keep them at camp. Most cases of homesickness pass within a day or two. However, if they become unduly homesick, we will contact you. We encourage you to remain enthusiastic about your child being at camp, even if we have to call you. Most children can remain at camp and have a great time with proper support from their parents.
- Health Reasons – If your child becomes injured or has an extended time of illness you will be contacted as soon as possible.
- Inappropriate Behavior – If your child becomes disruptive beyond the normal limits we will call you and ask to have them taken home. Please inform your child that even though they are going on vacation this does not mean they are taking a vacation from appropriate behavior.
IMPORTANT– If your child is sent home early for inappropriate behavior, they will not be allowed to attend camp again. In addition, if they are signed up for another week/weekend, you will lose the non-refundable deposit for that week/weekend as well. Please inform them of this before they come.
How does the camp handle prescription medications?
Be sure to bring your child’s completed health form to camp check-in.
Please send all medication in the pharmacy labeled bottles. DO NOT USE DAILY PILL BOXES. Be sure there is only enough medication for the week your child is at camp.
Scheduled medication administration times are typically after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and before bed, unless a different specific time is required.
All medications must be turned in with the exception of fast-acting inhalers and some prescription topical acne ointments (Please still indicate on list of use).
You must have a written physician order attached for injectable medications. This includes insulin (with sliding scale dosing if used) and growth hormone replacements. We do not administer injections. If your child is capable of giving his/her own injections for diabetes, we allow for it.
Where is the nearest hospital?
The nearest hospital is four miles away. We also have ambulance and LifeFlight service available in the area.
Do you have a nurse?
Our fulltime staff is certified in first-aid/CPR. Medications are dispensed to campers as prescribed by your family doctor. We treat your camper immediately for any sickness or injury. We also contact parents immediately in the event of an accident or injury.
Can you take stitches out?
You will want to make arrangements for a full time medical person to remove stitches.
My child is taking antibiotics. Can she come?
Yes, we will continue to administer the antibiotics until they are finished.
My daughter just had surgery and can not participate in sports. Will that be a problem?
Although she would miss out on some of the physical activities, we have exciting times in our meetings, lots of cheering opportunities and great Bible teaching which will benefit her.
I noticed you are a Christian camp. Will you push your religion on my camper?
We are a Christian camp, and therefore teach Christian values from the Bible in our camping programs and activities. We also hire mature Christian staff who we expect will model a godly lifestyle that we hope campers will want to emulate. In each camp, we will give campers the opportunity to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ and His example. However, we recognize that it is a personal choice to become a Christian and fully respect each individual’s decision. We do not force nor use scare tactics to try and make someone do something they don’t want to do.
Since Teen Quest is a non-denominational inter-denominational Christian youth mission, we do not promote a particular denomination or church. This means it is our practice to present the simple message of the Gospel as found in the Bible and teach Christian values without promoting nor condemning any denomination or church.
Do you make the kids go to religious meetings?
Our meetings are full of competition, music, dramas, games and we bring in speakers who teach from the bible. Our meetings are part of the entire camping program.
What is the menu and how is the food served?
We’ve been dishing up delicious and nourishing meals since we started our camping program in 1979. We also try to take into account the fact that some campers will not like every meal, so we offer options at each meal.
Breakfast – Here are a few samples of a typical breakfast:
Sample Menu #1:
* Scrambled Eggs & bacon
* Hash Browns
* Cereal Bar
* Fresh fruit
Sample Menu #2
* Hot Cakes
* Cereal Bar
* Fresh fruit
Lunch – Here are a few samples of a typical lunch:
Sample Menu #1
* Grilled Cheese
* Salad Bar
* Soup Bar
* PB & J (available upon request)
Sample Menu #2
* Sloppy Joes
* Soup Bar
* Salad Bar
* Chocolate pudding
* PB & J (available upon request)
Dinner – Here are a few samples of a typical dinner:
Sample Menu #1
* Oven Baked Turkey
* Mashed Potatoes
* Salad Bar
* Vanilla pudding
Sample Menu #2
* Honey baked Ham
* Potatoes au Gratin
* Salad Bar
* Apple Crisp
We receive rave reviews about the food we serve. Three hearty homemade meals are served per day including all the food groups and are geared to what students like. There is a lot of variety at each meal service with a full salad bar included each lunch and dinner.
My child is gluten free – can you accommodate him?
We will be glad to email you a copy of our menu. We try our best to accommodate your child’s dietary needs. We will need you to fill out a form and sign it so we are aware of his exact dietary needs. Due to the many students in attendance, we recommend that you pack additional items that he may eat to supplement meals.
My child has peanut allergies. Can I get a copy of your menu?
We will be glad to email you a copy of our menu. We try our best to accommodate your child’s dietary needs. We will need you to fill out a form and sign it so we are aware of his exact dietary needs. Due to the many students in attendance, we recommend that you pack additional items that he may eat to supplement meals. Nut products such as peanut butter are kept separate from other food service.
My child has a ballgame during the week, can I take him out?
A parent who has made prior arrangements in writing can pick up their child. We will not allow anyone else to take your child off the grounds who does not meet this criteria. Please report to the office and fill out the proper forms.
We are going on vacation – can I pick him up early?
Although we discourage picking up your child early, you certainly have that right. A parent who has made prior arrangements in writing can pick up their child early. We will not allow anyone else to take your child off the grounds who does not meet this criteria. Please report to the office and fill out the proper forms.
Do you have handicap facilities?
Yes, we do.
May I use my credit card to pay for camp?
You may use your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card. We accept payments online, by phone or mail.
What does the price of camp include?
Prices listed next to each camp include: food, lodging, and all activities unless otherwise listed. The only things that are not included are some crafts and spending money for the Tin Spur, (our snack shop). There are nominal fees for driving range, laser tag, extra paintballs.
If I cancel, do I get a refund?
If you cancel at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the camping week, all but the non-refundable $49 registration fee will be refunded. After 14 days prior to the beginning of your camping week, you will receive credit for a future camping week within a 13 month period. Students sent home because of disruptive behavior are not eligible for a refund, nor will they be allowed to attend additional weekends camp. Your rate will be credited to a future camp if your child is sent home because of illness during a camping session after its begun. Should it be necessary to cancel your registration, you must contact Teen Quest in writing (letter, fax or email).
How can I give to Teen Quest?
Due to the fact we keep our camp prices low and many qualifying students come by scholarship, we are dependent on donations to exist. We welcome your tax-deductible donation throughout the year. Donations can be made right on our website. Or if you prefer, you can send a check by mail or call and donate over the phone.
How does the camp bank work?
Teen Quest camps has a snack shop called the Tin Spur. Your camper can purchase gifts, crafts and snack food items. They may do so with the money you have deposited into their account prior to the week they attend. We use a banking system that will allow your campers to purchase items in the Tin Spur without having to use cash. In the past we have had some problem with campers losing money. Each camper is asked to open an account at the Tin Spur. The money is deposited and works just like a real bank. They can write checks, use a “debit card,” or withdraw money.
How do I deposit money in the bank?
The easiest and fastest way to deposit money in your child’s bank account is to do so before you get to the Ranch. Simply mail a Check: Simply mail a check to:
FOR “CAMPER NAME”
c/o Teen Quest
293 Rich Road
Somerset, PA 15501
Please be sure to identify it as bank money for your child. Please make checks payable to Teen Quest.
If you do not put bank money in prior to attending camp, you may do so on check-In day, but this will slow down your check-In process. A 3% fee will be added to credit card deposits for the bank.
How much do I put in my child’s account?
Most parents put between $35 and $100 in spending money for their campers.
What happens to my child’s bank money at the end of the week?
You may request that the bank money be returned to you at the end of the week when you pick up your child. You may also donate the balance in your child’s camp bank account to the ministry of Teen Quest.
Can youth leaders stay with their kids?
Yes, most certainly. We are one of the few camps that allows this. Our goal is to strengthen the local church. If a youth leader is present at camp with his students, they can all talk about what is happening and grow as a group. During weekend camps, you will be the cabin leader for your students. During weeklong camps, we provide counselors who stay with you and your students.
How does paintball work?
Paintball is an exciting team-building game that has become very popular in recent years. It is designed in a Speed-Ball and Capture-the-Flag format where participants tag each other with paint in order to eliminate players from the game. The way in which players tag each other is by using a paintball marker which shoots a small ball filled with biodegradable paint that bursts upon impact. Since the paintballs are potentially dangerous to the eyes, players are required to wear protective masks while playing. Campers may bring their own markers but not their own paint. Paintball is included in your camp fee along with your first 100 balls. The only additional charge will be if you want to buy more paint that is $5 for 100 paintballs.
As a youth pastor, do I need to have a lesson prepared for the camp?
There are several options for you as a youth pastor or leader. You will have some time set aside to spend with your youth group any way you wish. You may take this time to reflect on the current topics being talked about during your camp or you may have some key elements that will be great for your group. You may also just use this time to have fun as a group if you wish.
Will I have time to spend with my youth group?
As a youth leader, you participate in the teens’ sessions and in their free time. Your youth group will be together with you during your camping time, and time is allotted for YP’s to give instruction.
Will I be able to be involved in the activities with the teens?
As much as you want to be. If you want to arm yourself with a paintball gun, ride a horse, grab a hockey stick, or just relax by the fire with a cup of coffee – it is all yours!
Can a group do morning XDay?
We host X-Days in afternoons only.
How old do you have to be to work at a Teen Quest Camp?
If you are out of high school you may be qualified to come and serve as a counselor. Visit our Join the TQ Staff page for more information and download staff applications.
Have a question you don’t see listed here? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer your question.