What is Himmelbjerget Danish Camp?
A Danish language and cultural overnight summer camp. Himmelbjerget is a week-long camp where we spend our days celebrating Danish traditions, foods, songs, and dances. While there is a strong Danish focus throughout the week, including daily language classes, campers can also expect the same activities and shenanigans found at any summer camp, including crafts, sports, swimming, skits, games, and more!
Who can attend the camp?
Himmelbjerget Danish Camp is for kids aged 10 to 18. Campers should have completed the fourth grade by the week of camp and can continue to attend until the summer following their High School graduation.
Campers do not have to come from Danish lineage to attend. We have had many campers over the years who are interested in learning more about Scandinavia or who are friends with a fellow camper and they have had amazing experiences at Himmelbjerget and returned year after year.
Campers have varying degrees of fluency in the Danish language. Some have never spoken it before while others speak it fluently at home. All levels are welcome and encouraged. There are varying levels of Danish language classes to accommodate different fluency levels.
Where is the camp located?
Himmelbjerget is held at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center located in Corbett, OR. This historical retreat center overlooks the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and is about a 20 minute drive from Portland.
Click this link to see a photo gallery of the Menucha property.
We originally chose this location and the name of our camp because the scenery around Menucha so closely resembles that of the Himmelbjerget Tower in Søhøjlandet, Denmark.
What is the cost to attend the camp?
The base price for camp tuition for 2023 is $950. However, there are many discounts and scholarships available to help lower the cost, so please read the following carefully.
If you register your camper by March 31st, you will receive a $50 discount on tuition.
If you are currently a member of the Northwest Danish Association (our parent organization), campers receive an additional $50 discount on tuition.
Use the below chart to determine your camper’s tuition cost for 2023.
|Price A||Price B||Price C||Price D|
|$50 NWDA Member Discount||
|$50 Early Bird Discount||X||X|
Are there any scholarships available to help cover the cost of tuition?
Click this link to see an updated list of scholarships available, as well as their qualifications and due dates.
Scholarship awards typically range from $200 – $500 but are dependent on the organization and how many campers apply.
Historically, scholarships have been issued to families in the form of tuition reimbursements. To reduce the financial burden on our families, we are working to improve this process and will keep you updated. We will honor the date that camper registrations are submitted regardless of whether camp tuition is paid at that time in the hopes of discouraging families from not registering their camper for Himmelbjerget because their attendance would be dependent on whether or not they receive a scholarship. If you have any questions please contact the Camp Director at email@example.com.
What does a typical day at camp look like?
7:00 Vågn op (Wake Up)
8:00 Morgenmad (Breakfast)
8:45 Hejse flaget (Raise the flag)
9:00 Dansk (Danish Language Class)
10:10 Familie gruppe (Family Group)
10:55 Dansk (Danish Language Class)
12:00 Frokost (Lunch)
12:30 Rum inspektion (Room Inspection)
13:20 Musik (Music)
13:55 Butik (Camp Store)
15:15 Dans (Folk Dance)
16:00 Svømning og Fritid (Swimming and Freetime)
18:00 Aftensmad (Dinner)
18:45 Sænk flaget (Lower the flag)
19:00 Familie gruppe (Family Group)
20:00 Stor gruppe (Big group)
21:30 Sengetid (Bedtime)
22:00 Sluk Lyset (Lights Out)
On Thursday morning, we have a non-mandatory Polar Bear swim before breakfast where campers (and counselors) can earn stones for their family groups by starting their day off with a chilly dip in the pool!
On Thursday night, we have a giant competition for families to earn stones for their family groups.
On Friday night, we have a Talent Show and a dance following dinner to showcase our campers’ talents and to celebrate the week!
What are family groups?
During the week of camp, we split our campers and counselors into smaller groups of around 8-12 people called “families.” Each family has a color identifier (red, yellow, green, blue, or purple) and works together throughout the week to complete various activities and challenges. Family groups create a skit about their assigned topic and compete to earn the most stones throughout the week – among many other tasks.
This camp structure allows for campers to have a strong support system during their week at camp and fosters a sense of togetherness as they compete against the other family groups. To be the winning family at the end of the week comes with major bragging rights and a seat at the head table for Friday night’s dinner.
What is a Senior Camper?
Himmelbjerget Danish Camp offers a unique leadership opportunity for high school aged campers to be a Senior Camper. These campers must have completed their freshman year of high school to be eligible and an application must be submitted. It is very seldom that a camper is turned away from being a senior camper, but because there are increased responsibilities with the role, we want to ensure our campers are committed to the expectations.
Senior Campers arrive to camp a day earlier than their younger counterparts to help the counselors prepare for the week. They assist with the check in process and act as the leader of their dorm rooms for the week of camp. Seniors are expected to act as role models for the younger campers and encourage enthusiasm for the activities of camp.
As reward for this leadership role, Seniors are allowed to stay out an extra hour past lights out before they attend a nightly meeting with the Camp Director. There is increased freedom and trust from the counselor group when a camper becomes a Senior camper, and we appreciate their role as liaisons to the younger campers.
To apply to be a Senior Camper for Camp 2023, click this link
What are the sleeping arrangements like?
Campers sleep in dorm style rooms where, dependent on the building, house 4 to 8 campers per room. Menucha recently renovated some of their dorms so the number of available beds per room varies greatly.
Each dorm room has a private bathroom or shares a bathroom with the room next door. Bathrooms have private showers and toilets with hot running water.
Each dorm room will have an assigned Senior Camper (a camper who is of high school age and who has gone through an application and training process) and will have a mixture of ages.
Friends who attend camp together and would like to request a room assignment in the same dorm will need to reach out to the Camp Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click this link to learn more about Wright Hall, one of our dorms and the primary dining and meeting hall
Click this link to learn more about Ballard Hall, one of our dorms
What is the camp’s policy for rooming non-binary, gender non-comforming, or transgender identifying campers?
Himmelbjerget determines room assignments based on campers’ gender identity. Below is our current policy and inclusivity statement.
Himmelbjerget is dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive camp experience to all campers and counselors, regardless of gender or sexuality. Campers who disclose a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming identity on their registration will be contacted by the Camp Director to determine the dormitory assignment the camper would feel most comfortable with for their week at camp. As a default, campers will be assigned to dorms on the basis of gender identity. A trans* identity that is disclosed in a camper registration form will not be shared with those outside of the counselor team unless requested otherwise by the camper. Himmelbjerget will uphold a zero-tolerance policy for any form of LGBTQ+ discrimination.
What are the meals like?
The Menucha kitchen makes some of the tastiest food in the PNW. Meals are served family style with 6 to 8 places around each table. Each day, one family group is assigned the role of “server” and assists with bringing food items from the kitchen window to the table and with clearing their table at the end of the meal.
For breakfast, campers get to choose their own seat after making their way through the cereal and oatmeal buffet. A main hot dish is provided to the table once everyone is seated. For lunch and dinner, campers draw a seat placement card from a bin and enjoy a fresh hot meal with their table.
We work with Menucha to incorporate as many Danish dishes into the menu for the week, though we most often have these traditional items at Dinner. Frikadeller, pickled herring, and red cabbage – oh my! We also feature smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches) for dinner one of the nights and it is quite the big hit!
Click this link for more information about meals at Menucha (our meals are often more kid friendly than some of the dishes shown on the web page embedded above)
My camper has a food allergy or special diet, can this be accommodated?
Yes! Because we do not prepare the meals during the week, these accommodations are handled alongside the Menucha kitchen. If an alternate diet (vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free, etc.) needs to be requested, the kitchen is happy to accommodate but requires an additional fee of $54 for the week of camp.
If a camper has a nut allergy or other sensitivity that is not likely to be an issue at every meal, the Camp Director will work with your family and the Menucha kitchen to determine if a formal alternate diet request needs to be submitted.
For the evening snacks and candies that are available for campers to purchase at butik, we can work with families to make sure all campers have foods they are able to eat.
My camper takes medications or has a medical condition, can this be accommodated?
Most likely yes! We will have a Camp Nurse on site 24/7 to help provide campers with their prescription medications and to treat non-emergent issues during the week of camp. All medications must be turned in to the Camp Nurse during camp check in. If your camper has a prescription for an epi-pen, we will work directly with the camper and their family to ensure it is in an accessible location at all times during the week of camp.
If you have any questions about whether Himmelbjerget Danish Camp is able to accommodate a camper with a specific medical condition or diagnosis, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Camp Director at email@example.com
My camper would have to fly into Portland to attend camp, can this be accommodated?
Absolutely! We have had many campers over the years who have coordinated with the Camp Director to fly into the Portland (PDX) airport and be transported up to camp by a counselor or other trusted Himmelbjerget volunteer. Please contact the Camp Director at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to coordinate this type of transportation.
What should my camper pack for the week of camp?
Clothes for 5 to 6 days, a swimsuit, a nicer outfit for Friday night, PJs, a jacket and warm pants for layering in the mornings and evenings. Toiletries, 2 towels (one for showering, one for the pool), a water bottle, a watch, bug spray, and sunscreen. Depending on which dorm your camper is assigned to, you may need to provide bedding (blankets or a sleeping bag + pillow) – you will be notified of this in advance of your camper’s arrival.
Click this link to view our entire suggested packing list.
What should my camper leave at home for the week of camp?
Cell phones, English books, candy, and gum are all prohibited during the week of camp. During check in, campers’ belongings are inspected for contraband and if found, will be confiscated for the week of camp.
If desired, the Camp Director can hold on to the cell phones, keys, or wallets of Senior Campers during the week of camp.
My camper has a prop (i.e. musical instrument) they would like to use in an act for the Talent Show, can they bring it?
Yes! We have had campers bring all sorts of musical instruments along in order to showcase their talent at the Friday night Talent Show. In most cases, the Camp Director can safely store the item away in a secure location during the week of camp until it is needed.
Menucha does have a piano on site if campers would like to play a piece for the talent show.
What does camper drop-off look like?
Campers arrive with their parents or guardians between 4:00 and 5:00pm on Sunday. Once checked in with the Camp Director at the entrance of Wright Hall, the camper and their family will make their way through customs inside Wright Hall where they can expect to:
- Have their camp passport stamped
- Have their belongings inspected for contraband
- Check in medications with the Camp Nurse
- Turn in money to be spent at butik (the camp store)
- Place a pin in a map of Denmark where their family is from
- Get their room and family group assignments
Families are welcome to assist their camper up to their room and help them get settled. By about 5:15 all campers should have their room assignments and be ready to attend the Welcome Orientation and Celebration back down in the meeting room of Wright Hall. Parents are asked to head home at this time.
*Senior Campers arrive with their parents or guardians between 4:00 and 5:00pm on Saturday. Once checked in with the Camp Director at the Barn, the camper will have their belongings inspected and will turn in any medications to the Camp Nurse. The Senior Campers and Counselors will be sleeping in the barn Saturday night until they can move up to Wright Hall on Sunday. More information will be provided prior to your camper’s arrival.
Can I send letters or other mail to my camper during their week at camp?
Absolutely! Mail is passed out each day at lunch and it is always a treat to get a letter from home. If you are keen on sending your camper a letter to have on the first day or two of camp, we recommend sending it out a few days prior to their arrival. Packages are okay to send but we discourage families from mailing contraband items that campers shouldn’t have at camp.
Mail can be addressed as follows:
Himmelbjerget, Camper Name
Menucha Retreat and Conference Center
P.O. Box 8
Corbett, OR 97019
What does camper pick-up look like?
Our final day of camp ends with a closing ceremony beginning at 10:15 on Saturday. Families and friends are invited to attend as the ceremony involves a showcase of the week including folk dances, songs, family chants, and more. The ceremony is held on the tennis courts – just a few hundred feet from the parking lot, it is an easy location to spot. After the ceremony we all head back up the hill to Wright Hall to lower the flag one last time and take group photos. Once guardians have checked out their camper with the Camp Director and have picked up any medications from the Camp Nurse, campers are free to get their belongings and head home with their families.
What are the best places to stay up to date on camp?
What is the Northwest Danish Association?
The Northwest Danish Association (NWDA) is a nonprofit organization based out of Seattle, WA that aims to preserve and share Danish culture, tradition, and values. Himmelbjerget is a proud program of the NWDA and is extremely thankful for the ongoing support the NWDA has provided to our camp over the years.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the NWDA or signing up for their newsletters, head to their website at https://northwestdanish.org