Before registering your child for summer camp, we ask that you carefully consider whether our offering aligns with their child's interests and values. Our program is designed to be very active and is rooted in the Orthodox faith. With fully scheduled days, participants can expect a dynamic and engaging experience that fosters both personal and spiritual growth. Safety is our top priority, and we have implemented specific rules to ensure a secure and enjoyable environment for all participants. It is essential for parents to gauge their child's comfort level with an active and socially oriented program. This thoughtful consideration will help ensure that the summer program is a positive and enriching experience for every participant.
What is Ionian Village?
Ionian Village is a unique summer camping program for Greek Orthodox teens located in Greece and operated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Participants travel across Greece, venerate the relics of saints, walk in the footsteps of the Apostles and visit significant sites or Greek history and culture. They also participate in a fun and exciting summer camp program with a typical camp program setup- Arts and Crafts, Athletics, Evening Program, etc.
Where is Ionian Village?
Ionian Village is located on a scenic stretch of ocean front property outside of Bartholomio, Greece. The property is about 32 acres, and lays along the western coast of the Pelopponese, directly across from the island of Zakynthos.
How long are the sessions?
Each session is 20 days long.
What ages are eligible?
Students who have completed 9th through 12th grade are eligible.
What is the difference between the two sessions?
Both Ionian Village Summer Camp sessions are identical in program and travel.
How many campers usually attend Ionian Village?
Ionian Village Summer Camp hosts 200 campers at each session.
What is the difference between IV Next and IV Summer Camp?
IV Next is programming specifically tailored to young adults, both in and, just out of college. It offers the similar programming as our summer camping sessions, but relies on the dependability of the participant’s maturity gained through their independence at College or University. The biggest difference between summer camp and IV Next is the role of the Staff. At summer camp, every cabin consists of 15-18 campers and 2 young adult staff. At IV Next, there is a small admin team and two primary “Trip Leaders,” that run the program.
Many aspects of the Ionian Village summer program extend to IV Next, such as:
Trips to Zakynthos, Patras, Kefalonia, Kalavrita, Olympia, Bartholomio, local towns and villages, with the same 3 days in Athens, and Aegina.
Knowledgeable staff to lead and facilitate such trips
Orthodox life sessions with clergy and peers, staples of IV Next and summer camp, geared to their perspective of life.
Utilization of the IV facility including the cabins, the beach, the pool, local cuisine, and daily chapel services daily
In additional to our classic IV program model, IV Next offers slightly more to assist during this current stage of life. We feature 4 professional development sessions with members of Leadership 100 to assist our participants to build career networks.
What is a typical day at camp like?
8:00 am - Morning chapel service and breakfast
9:00 am - Activities (Arts and Crafts, Orthodox Life, Athletics, etc.) and Sessions
12:00 pm - Lunch followed by siesta
2:30 pm - Free swim at the beach or pool
4:00 pm - More activities and sessions
5:00 pm - Supervised free time for sports, crafts or just relaxing
7:30 pm - Evening chapel service and dinner
8:30 pm - Evening activities (Cabin olympics, glendi, music fest, etc.)
How do parents communicate with campers while they are at camp?
All campers love to receive mail from family and friends, so feel free to write your camper a letter or two! Campers are also encouraged to write postcards home and stamps are available in the Periptero (Camp Store).
Our email policy is an extension of our effort to slow our campers down. While emails are convenient for parents, too many emails lead to homesickness, so please use snail mail. Please note that unless there is an emergency, emails will not be delivered to your camper.
When a camper leaves home for Ionian Village, he or she needs space to develop their personality and find his or her place at camp. Our office in Greece gladly accepts phone calls from parents interested in leaving a message for their child or in learning of their child’s progress at camp. Please do not be alarmed if your phone call is answered by our answering machine – we are often traveling on excursions or away from the office to supervise activities. Please do not call the camp hoping to speak with your camper, as it is our policy not to pull campers out of the program for a call from home. Campers will not be able to accept a phone call except in the case of an emergency. Phone calls to campers often cause increased homesickness and disrupt the camp program and community.
Campers will have the opportunity to call home most days during the hour-long Free Time period. Please note that campers must choose to call home, we will not force them to call home. If you have a family emergency, our Greece office at 011 30 262 309 6818. Every effort will be made to make contact as soon as possible.
Cell Phones, Laptops & Other Technology
Your child may bring a cell phone, however, once campers arrive at Ionian Village their phone will be collected by their counselor and will be returned to them when camp is over. They will have the opportunity to use the camp payphone during daily free time if they choose. Laptops, tablets (iPads, etc.), or any devices that are WiFi capable (iPod Touch, Kindle Fire etc.) are NOT allowed at Ionian Village, and will be held during the camping session in the camp safe. Apple watches are allowed. In addition, please note that campers will NOT have the opportunity to access personal email accounts or social networking sites (such as Facebook) while camp is in session.
It is common for your child's email accounts to require "2-factor identification" involving a code sent to their phone. We see many campers give their email account information to their parents to handle college application deliverables while away. With cellphones inaccessible at camp, we advise that campers turn off their 2-factor identification settings on their accounts so parents can access them while camp is in session.
What do I need to bring to Ionian Village?
Please keep in mind that Ionian Village is an Orthodox Christian Camp and that the program resides in an Orthodox country. As an Ionian Village participant, you are a representative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and should dress appropriately.
Additionally, please limit yourself to the essentials and pack lightly. On most airlines, you are only allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on bag, which should not weigh more than 50lbs (for the suitcase) and 15lbs (carry-on) respectively. Please realize that you will be traveling a great deal throughout the summer and it will be difficult to carry an extremely heavy bag everywhere you go. In fact, you might want to make your carry-on bag a backpack that you can use when traveling to each site.
Any medication you will need
Any flight information you will need
Extra spending money, in euros
Do I need spending money?
The currency in Greece is the Euro. Campers should bring money for souvenirs and any snacks they wish to purchase on travel days. Campers must bring their own euros to Greece with them. There will NOT be an opportunity to exchange dollars to euros. Campers may use an ATM card to make withdrawals on trips; however, ATMs will not be available on every travel day (small villages, monasteries etc). If campers bring travelers’ checks, Ionian Village will not be able to provide a Dollar to Euro exchange, and many merchants are hesitant to accept travelers’ checks.
Do I need to know Greek?
No, you do not need to speak Greek to participate! Of course, you will be exposed to the language and culture of Greece and be given the opportunity to learn.
Will my camper’s special diet needs be able to be accommodated?
Yes! Ionian Village is able to accommodate special dietary needs based on the information you provide in your registration. Our kitchen staff takes pride in everything they put out, and makes sure each camper is taken care of. Our camp chef, Kyria Sophia, stresses the importance of a well-balanced diet by offering a variety of traditional home-cooked Greek dishes, and can tweak any of them for your camper's needs. Her food is amazing and not something you want to miss!
Can my camper do laundry at camp?
Yes. There are designated times in the program when campers can wash laundry "village style." The camp provides buckets and detergent for campers to wash their clothes by hand. They can then hang them on the line to dry.
What is the bathroom situation like at camp?
There are gender-specific bathrooms located by their respective cabins. Bathrooms have individual stalls and showers.
What is the dress code?
The Ionian Village dress code is in place to ensure modesty, as we are first and foremost, an Orthodox summer camp. At churches, monasteries, and during Divine Liturgy, all campers are required to cover their knees and shoulders. Girls can wear shawls, wraps, or long skirts (no pants). While boys must wear long pants. At camp, we follow a "fingertip length" rule for shorts, skirts, and dresses. Modest one-piece bathing suits (no cutouts) for girls, and fingertip length swim trunks for boys are required. Campers may wear strapless and tank top shirts and dresses, as long as they meet the above requirements.
Can my relatives visit me at Ionian Village?
Yes, Sunday afternoons that we are at the Ionian Village campsite are designated visiting times. In order to receive visitors at Ionian Village, parents of campers are required to complete a Parent/Guardian Release that is part of the online registration designating authorized visitors. If a relative wants to visit and is not authorized, you must email us immediately at [email protected] or they will not be allowed to visit the camper. Relatives can visit the campsite between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on the specified Sundays. Please inform the relatives visiting that they will be limited to a small visiting area of our campus, and due to safety and our Youth Protection policies, are only allowed to go on tours of the campus with a Staff Member. In addition, no visiting relative may enter the camper cabins at any time. Please note that the only visiting time for campers is while we are at the campsite. There will be absolutely no visiting time allowed while we are in other locations, such as in Athens.
Will someone meet participants at JFK International Airport to help them with check-in and boarding?
Flights will be chaperoned to and from Athens. Upon arriving at New York's JFK International Airport, campers will be greeted by Ionian Village staff. Each flight to Athens will be supervised by staff members that are responsible for escorting all campers safely aboard the flights to the Ionian Village staff awaiting them at the Athens Airport. These chaperones will also ensure that all campers clear International Customs, collect their luggage, and board the Ionian Village chartered buses at the airport, which are supervised by more Ionian Village staff members. These buses will depart Athens for Bartholomio, where campers will settle in at the Ionian Village campgrounds.
As Ionian Village is a "travel" camp, parents should be aware that campers travel to each site by cabin, and that every trip is accompanied and supervised by cabin staff and administrative staff. As part of the intense training and orientation program that Ionian Village's staff members experience, all staff members have been educated on the sites we visit.
Is Ionian Village Safe?
Ionian Village not only prides itself on the incredible spiritual and cultural experiences that it creates for its campers, but on its camp standards and safety precautions, as well. In coordination with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Office of Camping Ministries, the Ionian Village Administrative Team joins camp directors from across the nation to attend the American Camping Association's (ACA) training conferences. Ionian Village implements a rigorous staff application process that requires a national background investigation and screening. This helps assure that Ionian Village only hires the finest of the many interested applicants each year. Additionally, Ionian Village maintains a 1:7 staff-to-camper ratio.
Are there Medical Staff present at all times?
Ionian Village employs qualified medical staff to maintain the health and well-being of each camper while in Greece. Typically, the medical staff is comprised of American physicians and or nurses (RN certified). Ionian Village also has a medical clinic on its grounds, which is annually stocked with medications and equipment to meet any medical need or emergency.
Does Ionian Village have Insurance?
Since it is considered an international camp, Ionian Village has full liability insurance, which covers injuries, accidents, and kidnapping and ransom for all its' participants. Ionian Village also holds insurance that allows us to immediately fly back any seriously injured or ill participant to the United States on a medically equipped aircraft, so that he/she may receive the best medical attention from US physicians and medical teams.
Tell us about the educational value of Ionian Village
The Ionian Village program places a high priority on its opportunity to educate our teens and young adults. Many of the Ionian Village staff members have backgrounds in education and curriculum development, and teaching experience. With this expertise, Ionian Village carefully designs and creates lessons to cater to all modalities in many areas. Participants are provided with interactive lessons in religious education, Greek history and culture, music, and the arts. Through these areas, Ionian Village is able to broaden the horizons of its' participants so that they return home with a better understanding of the Orthodox faith and Greek culture.
How does the flight booking process work?
All international travel must be booked with our agents. Most campers will travel to Greece on the start date of the program and will return to America on the last day of the program. There is also an option for campers to extend their ticket longer than the days of the program, either before or after. This must be done with the official travel agency of Ionian Village, ProTravel. Campers traveling on the start and end date of the program will travel as a group with chaperones from Ionian Village. Campers are not allowed to book their international travel on their own.