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Swamp Corps FAQs
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  • What is Swamp Corps?
    Swamp Corps is a non-profit organization operating under the arm of Swamp Camp Services, Inc., the year-round retreat, conference, and overnight camp facility more commonly known as Camp Swamp. Swamp Corps’ overarching purpose is to replicate the Camp Swamp culture by planning, organizing, and directing summer camps for 9-18 year old children around the world. Our process objectives are:

    1. To establish a perennial summer camp endorsed by the host community.
    2. To extend service-learning opportunities to students 14 years of age and older.
    3. To offer an overnight camp program designed to teach and instill character and citizenship in a memorable, fun-filled fashion to host community students aged 9-18.

    Swamp Corps goes where it is invited. Once an invitation is accepted, Swamp Corps will dedicate resources such as training, planning, experienced campers, competent counselors, an established registration process, and seasoned leadership for three (3) successive years with each year representing a new stage in the process described as follows:

    • Phase I: Swamp Corps will totally run the camp establishing expectations and planting the initial seed of culture.
    • Phase II: Swamp Corps will co-lead the camp while training and coaching leaders, re- affirming expectations, and cultivating the camp culture as stated in the mission.
    • Phase III: Swamp Corps will provide support and evaluation of the host-led event and provide a detail plan to fill identified gaps.

    The ultimate goal is to inculcate the camp culture in the host community and to see it sustained on a perennial basis. We are committed to that end.

    Vision, Mission, and Values
  • What do I gain from participating in Swamp Corps?
    Swamp Corps offers to each...

    (Click a topic to read description.)

    Student Participant:

    See descriptions of each offering below.

    Service Learning Opportunities
    Service-learning is a pedagogy that allows students to develop professional and academic skills in the context of meaningful, applied work with a community service organization. Research shows (Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame) that those who participate in such activities show an increase in motivation, a deeper understanding of subject matter, increased capacity for retention, and analytical skills. Swamp Corps participants are exposed to a variety of situations that touch on sociology, decision-making, leadership, and oration while in the process. These are important factors that can strengthen applicant’s chances of acceptance to a university not to mention the increased demand the job market is placing on students to “differentiate and demonstrate abilities and capacity for success.” Swamp Corps is a fun, safe environment for young students to develop these qualities. A student entering at fourteen years old will have four to five years of service-learning experience to offer a university and the job market.

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    Multicultural Sharing
    According to a 2003 survey conducted by the Meeting Professionals International Multicultural Initiatives, 80% of respondents reported that industry suppliers must be sensitive to the needs of attendees. Through technology our world is growing smaller and smaller; academia and business entities collaborate across cultures more than ever. It is vital Swamp Corps participants grow in their awareness of these facts. Their involvement will lend itself to increased knowledge and understanding of the diversity of the world in which they live and hands-on-training to interact appropriately.

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    Leadership Training
    Leadership is key to the success of any organized effort be it business, classroom or civic related. Swamp Corps participants are immersed in leadership opportunities amongst their peers and younger participants. This can be on an individual basis (teaching another camper a game), a small group setting (leading a team or cabin during the week’s events), or being a head counselor responsible for the mobilization, safety and well-being of several teams or cabins; not to mention the one-on-one or group interactions addressing character-building issues.

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    International Travel Experience & Goodwill
    According to an article in National Geographic magazine, 29,004 high school students from abroad studied in the United States for a semester or an entire school year in 2007-2008. In that same year, only 2,255 U.S. teens ventured into international education overseas. In the post 9/11 world, it is imperative that “ordinary” people travel outside their comfort zones to minimize the “us vs. them” mentality that can so easily precipitate. Swamp Corps offers participants international bridge-building opportunities.

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    Diversity and Cultural Tolerance Training
    Too many times in our society we value the action figure and the toughness of an individual over the respect and sensitivity needed to build diverse relationships. Our schools, neighborhoods, and workforces are becoming more and more diverse. It is paramount that emerging generations acknowledge and embrace cultural variety. Swamp Corps offers participants the right set of circumstances to grow in these skills.

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    Exposure to New Traditions, Languages and Societies
    Plato said, “The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, little compared with that of which we are ignorant.” Swamp Corps offers exposure to a wide variety of newness and combats the ignorance that can stagnate an individual.

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    Personal Development Via Unaccustomed Experiences
    Maturity, practical independence, greater self-confidence, increased self-awareness, and improved relationship-building skills are just a few personal benefits participants gain from the international experiences Swamp Corps provides.

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    Safe and Fun Overnight Camping Experience
    Kids who spend a week away from home among their peers enjoy the benefits of an environment that allows them to make new friends, make choices and decisions on their own, and grow in their independence. According to recent American Camp Association opinion research, parents see safety and fun as the most important factors in the camp experience. Swamp Corps will imitate The Swamp model to provide this for its participants.

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    Peer-to-Peer Relationship Training
    Research results conducted by L.J. Woodward showed that children with high rates of early peer relationship problems were at increased risk of under-achievement and unemployment when compared with children with low rates of early peer relationship problems. (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 2000; 41(2): 191-201). Swamp Corps offers age-appropriate, peer-to-peer structure to allow young participants learning opportunities to develop improved peer relationships. Counselors are instructed how to coach participants to this end.

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    Service Oriented Activities
    Working for the community provides teens with a sense of responsibility and well-being for their local environment and allows them to focus on others and see that their involvement can make a difference by giving back. The camp facilities in the host communities are generally rented; many of them being public schools, boarding schools or the like. Swamp Corps’ service activities focus the participants on improving their community by improving the facility. For instance, in Jamaica in 2010, Swamp Corps held a “Trash-Off Contest” where each team was directed to collect as much trash as it could all through out the property. The goal, of course, was to pick up trash; the kids viewed it as fun and rewarding. Over 220 pounds of trash and light debris was collected. The staff at the facility was quite impressed, as no other group had previously done this.

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    Interpersonal Skills Training
    As stated in News You Can Use (Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2003) research by Dr. Nayda I. Torres, Professor and Chair, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, “having good social skills and relationships is extremely important to an adolescent's healthy development and has been associated with qualities such as psychological health, improved academic performance, and success in relationships as adults. On the other hand, lack of social skills and healthy relationships has been associated with negative outcomes, such as delinquency and psychological problems.” She notes six outcomes that result from positive interpersonal interactions: conflict resolution, intimacy, pro-social behaviors, self-control and behavior regulation, social confidence, and empathy. Swamp Corps' processes are designed to provide structured and unstructured activities for children to develop this type of learning.

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    Character Based Training
    Larsen Professor Robert Selman of Harvard Graduate School of Education stated, “One thing we have learned from research over the years is that social competence and character development are not fully achieved by ages five or ten; they are life-long learning experiences…The kinds of social and ethical problems that students face across elementary, middle, and high school change in dramatic ways, and practice-solving them is essential to the individual and to the society.” Swamp Corps offers class and special learning sessions to address continued character development at every participant age level.

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    Team Building Exercises
    "Today's work environment is a different world than in the past. Employers do not look for employees who work alone. They seek team members who arrive at decisions based on a collaborative effort of the entire group. Teamwork requires an entire set of skills that differ from those required in the past. Being able to work with others to achieve team goals can be learned with experience. Teams move through stages of development and participants who are open to change and assimilation can acquire the skills necessary to work well with the group.” (Dr. Michael Smith, Yahoo! Contributor Network) Swamp Corps strives to fulfill these experiences with its team-oriented activities and games preparing students at an early age.

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  • What is the "Swamp Experience?"
    Wow...a tough question if you have never been to Camp Swamp.

    It's a time of extreme fun for kids ages 9-18 in an environment where they can:

    • Be themselves,
    • Learn about and put into practice citizenship and good character behavior: service, gratitude, humility, encouragement, and forgiveness...without being ridiculed, and
    • Surround themselves with best friends and love.

    It's not about a place or a building or how much money someone has or has not or even how fancy the facility.

    It is:
    • about relationships: with God, with each other, with our neighbors, with our communities, and with our families.
    • A retreat from the daily pressures of young life in order to strengthen and mature quality character in a safe atmosphere.

    It's where a kid can be a kid and still learn to grow up!

    Click
    here to watch a video to get a better picture…no pun intended.
  • What is a "Host Community?"
    This is the place where Swamp Corps has been invited. Can represent a city, a region or even a nation.
  • Where has Swamp Corps been invited?
    2010
    • Jamaica (Year 1) - July
    2011
    • Jamaica (Year 2) - July 2-9
    • Barbados (Year 1) - July 9-16
    2012
    • South Africa (Year 1) - Dec. 28, 2011 - Jan. 9, 2012
    • Barbados (Year 2) - June 30 - July 7
    • Jamaica (Year 3) - July 28 - August 4
    2013
    • South Africa (Year 2) - Dec. 26, 2012 - Jan. 7, 2013
    • Brazil (Year 1) - July 20 - 28
    • Barbados (Year 3) - July 28 - August 3
    2014
    • South Africa (Year 3) - Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 7, 2014
    • India (Year 1) - May 10 - 20
    • Brazil (Year 2) - July 19 - 28 - DELAYED UNTIL 2015
    • Bahamas (Year 1) - July 28-Aug 4
    2015
    • India (Year 2) - May 9 - 19
    • Brazil (Year 2) - July 18 - 27
    • Bahamas (Year 2) - July 27 - August 3
    • Zimbabwe (Year 1) - Dec. 15-20 {as trained by South African Camp Staff}
    2016
    • Nicaragua (Year 1) - Dec 30, 2015 - January 9
    • India (Year 3) - May 14 - 28
    • Brazil (Year 3) - July 23 - 31
    • Bahamas (Year 3) - August 1-11
    • Zimbabwe (Year 2) - Dec. 13-18 {as trained by South African Camp Staff}
    2017
    • India (Year 4) - May 13 - 27
    • GC Camp (Year 1) - June 24 - July 1
    • Zimbabwe (Year 3) - Dec. 12-17 {as trained by South African Camp Staff}
    2018
    • Cambodia (Year 1) - May 10 - 21
    • GC Camp (Year 2) - June 23 - 30
    • Kenya (Year 1) - July 28 - August 13
  • Who is eligible to travel with Swamp Corps?
    Participant Eligibility:

    • Be 14 years of age at the time of travel; unless traveling with parent and then need to be camp age (9+)
    • Have attended Camp Swamp for at least four (4) weeks in one's lifetime (campers and counselors only)
      • NOTE: This can be waived depending on the needs of the trip.
      • For example, Florida applicants for Brazil or Virginia applicants for India are currently waived from this requirement based on the note* below.
    • Be mature enough to be on a team in an extreme selfless and giving environment
    • Other factors determined on a case-by-case basis (i.e. needed skills such as counseling, life guarding, nursing, etc.)

    *Note: Priority is given to those participants who are from a location that in anyway supports the host community so that relationships and sustainability are fostered and maintained.
  • What are the costs?
    Each trip has a different cost. Click here to see details.
  • How do I apply?
    Participants:

    • Ages 14-18 please apply using the Camper selection during the online application process.
    • Ages 17+ please apply using the Adult Volunteer or Counselor selection during the online application process.

    Visit
    Application page for more information.
  • How do I get accepted?
    Applications are accepted based on the following criteria in this order:

    1. Meeting eligibility requirements
    2. Having particular experience or skill set needed for the trip (i.e. nursing, counseling, life guarding, language skills, etc.)
    3. Residing from a location that in anyway supports the Host Community
    4. Seniority by age
    5. Fill remaining open slots
    6. Paying deposit according to schedule - this secures your spot.

    KEY NOTE:
    All approvals are at the final discretion of the Executive Director and Camp Program Director based on what is needed in order to most effectively meet Swamp Corps' Mission and Strategy for the host community.
  • What happens after I apply?
    If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will receive an application acceptance email stating that your deposit is now due to reserve your spot and complete the application process.

    Once a deposit has been received, you will next receive a confirmation email welcoming you to the Swamp Corps trip, requesting for any further information (i.e. name as written on passport, tee shirt size, etc.), and including a fundraising letter. Further instructions will be forthcoming and ongoing.

    Several things to start doing:

    1. Obtain a passport; click here for more information.
    2. Obtain a visa, if required. You will be provided with clear directions on the Trip Detail Information Page as each country has specific requirements.
    3. Create a fundraising plan. For example, list out 30 people who will give you $100 dollars and call or talk to them in person, yes, personal contact so they can see your excitement and feel your reason for going.
    4. Review the payment deadlines (see next question) and plan accordingly.
    5. Update your vaccine shots. Click here for more information from the CDC or see each trip's Trip Information Page with a specific link to the host area's CDC recommendations.
    6. Have your parents and loved ones RSS Feed the Swamp Corps Blog so they can follow your journey.

    Our Participant Coordinator will communicate various information along the way to walk you through the process of preparing for departure. Feel free to contact this person at any time.
  • What are the payment deadlines?
    Deposits and payments for airlines, camp location reservations, transportation reservations and the like are dependent on your adherence to this schedule.

    Please be on time with your payment as deposits/payments for the trip must be in a timely manner.

    Click
    here to go to Fees page.

    To help support a participant or make a general donation, click
    here.
  • How do I make a payment?
    Three Options:

    1. Send Check or Money Order made payable to Swamp Camp Services, Inc. to our business office at:
      • Swamp Corps, 33 N Stratford Drive, Athens, GA 30605
      • Please write in the memo field the participants name and trip name.
    2. Via your Swamp Account.
    3. Our Website: Click here and use Option 2 for online payment service.
  • What documents do I need in order to travel?
    You will need a passport with six months validity from the date of return. Click here for information.

    If you are 17 years of age or younger, you will need a completed and notarized Consent for Minor To Travel Form. Click
    here to download. Depending on the destination, some countries include this form in the Visa application process.

    Some countries require a visa. Refer to the trip's
    Trip Information Page.
  • Can I get a refund?
    Yes; however, please understand that the cost of the trip is impacted by the number of people going as costs are disbursed over the total attending. If you must cancel your trip, this will increase the cost of everyone and could impact the total refund available to you.

    We will follow the guidelines below as long as it does not impact other's costs too significantly.

    • After the deposit is paid, $100 per person per trip is non-refundable no matter the circumstances.
    • All but $100 is refundable if cancellation is made before the airline deposit refund deadline.
    • After the airline deposit refund date has passed, then $200 is non-refundable.
    • After the airline ticket is purchased, all monies collected greater than that of the cost of the airline ticket plus $200 will be refunded.

  • Can I donate to help a participant?
    By all means! They would appreciate that tremendously.

    Two Options:

    1. Send Check or Money Order payable to Swamp Camp Services, Inc. to our business office at:
        Swamp Corps
        1271 Willowynd Way
        Watkinsville, GA 30677
        Write participant's name in the memo field. It will be credited to their account.
    2. See Donate Now page for online donations.

    Donations are also accepted for general operations.

    Our tax identification number is 58-2381032 and we are a 501c3, Publication 78 organization; however, please check with your accountant to verify the deduction.
  • How do I complete a Customs Declaration Form?
    Sample Customs Declaration Form

    (03/11/2011)spacerclearU.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form 6059B - Instructions

    Each individual arriving into the United States must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. If you are traveling with other immediate family members, complete one form per family unit. You will be given this form while on the plane.

    Explanations for information fields are explained below sample image.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form - Front

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    sample
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    1. Print your last (family) name. Print your first (given) name. Print the first letter of your middle name.

    2. Print your date of birth in the appropriate day/month/year boxes.

    3. Print the number of family members traveling with you (do not include yourself).

    4. Print your current street address in the United States. If you are staying at a hotel, include the hotel's name and street address. Print the city and the state in the appropriate boxes.

    5. Print the name of the country that issued your passport.

    6. Print your passport number.

    7. Print the name of the country where you currently live.

    8. Print the name of the country(ies) that you visited on your trip prior to arriving to the United States.

    9. If traveling by airline, print the airline's name and flight number. If traveling by vessel (ship), print the vessel's name.

    10. Mark an X in the No box. Are you traveling on a business (work-related) trip?

    11. Mark an X in the No box. Are you bringing with you:

    a. fruits, plants, food, or insects?
    b. meats, animals, or animal/wildlife products?
    c. disease agents, cell cultures, or snails?
    d. soil or have you visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States?

    12. Mark an X in the No box. Have you or any family members traveling with you been in close proximity of (such as touching or handling) livestock outside the United States?

    13. Mark an X in the No box. Are you or any family members traveling with you bringing $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or foreign equivalent in any form into the United States?

    Read definition of monetary instruments on the reverse side of the form. Examples: coins, cash, personal or cashier's check, traveler's checks, money orders, stocks, bonds. If yes, your must complete the Customs Form 4790.

    14. Mark an X in the No box. Are you or any family members traveling with you bringing commercial merchandise into the United States?

    Examples: all articles intended to be sold or left in the United States, samples used for soliciting orders, or goods that are not considered personal effects.

    15. If you are a U.S. resident, print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you have purchased or acquired abroad (including gifts for someone else, but not items mailed to the United States) and are bringing into the United States. Note: U.S. residents are normally entitled to a duty-free exemption of $800 on items accompanying them.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form - Back
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    sample2
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    If you are a visitor (non-U.S. Resident), print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you are bringing into the United States and will remain in the United States. Note: Visitors (non-U.S. Residents) are normally entitled to an exemption of $100.

    Declare all articles on this form. For gifts, please indicate the retail value. Use the reverse side of this form if additional space is needed to list the items you will declare.

    The U.S. Customs officer will determine duty. Duty will be assessed at the current rate on the first $1,000 above the exemption.
    • Read the notice on the reverse side of the form.
    • Sign the form and print the date.
    • Keep the complete form with you and hand it to the CBP inspector when you approach the Customs and Border Protection area.

    Controlled substances, obscene articles, and toxic substances are generally prohibited entry.
  • Should I register with an U.S. Embassy and, if so, how do I do it?
    It is not necessary; however, depending on the location it might be wise. This is an individual preference.

    For more information on registering with the embassy go to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  • Should I get personal travel insurance?
    This is a personal choice. Here are two options for you:

  • Where do we meet at the Atlanta airport?
    During the last conference call before our departure we will designate a place to meet. Generally it is in front of the ticket counter for the airlines we are flying.

    Domestic flights are either in the North or South terminal depending on the airline.

    International Flights meet in the new International Terminal. Below is some information:

     
    When do I go to the International Terminal?
    If your flight departs Atlanta directly for an international destination, for example Atlanta-London, Atlanta-Buenos Aires or Atlanta-Tokyo, you should go to the new International Terminal to check in.
    If your flight departs Atlanta on a domestic flight connection, for example Atlanta-Detroit-Hong Kong, you should go to the Domestic terminal for check in.
     
    The Airlines operating from the International Terminal are:
    • Air Canada
    • Air France
    • AirTran/Southwest
    • British Airways
    • Delta Air Lines
    • KLM
    • Korean Air
    • Lufthansa German Airlines
     
    Please note the following are considered domestic departures:
    • Atlanta-Hawaii
    • Atlanta-San Juan, Puerto Rico
    • Atlanta-US Virgin Islands
     
    How do I get there?
    The International terminal is accessed from Interstate 75 exit 239
    image001
     
    What about parking?
    • Hourly parking is available at the new international terminal.
    • International Park-Ride (2,400 spaces) is available on Maynard H, Jackson Jr. Blvd and provides a three minute transfer to the new terminal.
    • Existing remote lots will provide shuttle transportation to and from the new terminal.
    • The airport will provide a 12 minute shuttle ride from the international terminal to the domestic terminal ground transportation center to allow access to MARTA, domestic terminal parking lots and the rental car center.

    International Arrivals in Atlanta:
    Most international arrivals into Atlanta will arrive at Concourse E or F.  All passengers with Atlanta as their final destination  whether arriving at Concourse E or F will clear Passport Control and claim luggage in Concourse F.  You no longer need to recheck your bags and clear security after Passport Control, you can exit the airport directly into the International Terminal Arrivals Hall.
     
    Want more information?
    You can find detailed information about the new terminal at
    www.atlanta-airport.com/internationalterminal .
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Swamp Corps Bahamas
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