Frequently Asked Questions
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  • Do you offer scholarships?
    Unfortunately, we do not have a scholarship or financial aid program in place at this time. Occasionally, as funds are available we may offer a limited number of partial scholarships through our partner organization, Jacquie’s Kids, set up in memory of Jacquie Ellena who co-founded Mountain Meadow Ranch with her husband in 1956.
  • How long have you been in business?
    Mountain Meadow Ranch Summer Camp was started by Jack and Jacquie Ellena. They held their first session of camp as a boys camp in the summer of 1956 with about 35 boys. Mountain Meadow Ranch is now owned and operated by second generation owner/directors, Jack Jr. “Chip” and Jody Ellena.
  • Where is Mountain Meadow Ranch?
    Mountain Meadow Ranch is located about an hour and ten minutes north of Reno, Nevada, just 2 miles west of Hwy 395 and ten miles southwest of Susanville, California.
  • How many campers attend Mountain Meadow Ranch each session?
    We limit our enrollment to no more than 120 campers. We have found this to be a camper population that greatly accommodates many aspects of our camp philosophy. Some of the major advantages of a smaller camp family include better and more thorough supervision, greater familiarity throughout, quicker bonding and development together, and better communication within the camp family. At a hundred campers each individual will have greater participation and access to activities and we can assure ultimately more personalized care.
  • What is the ratio of counselors to campers?
    5 to 1. We have counseling and supervisory staff spending their days working directly with the campers. In addition, there is a Doctor or RN on site, 9 kitchen and maintenance staff, 5 directors, and our secretary.
  • How old are the counselors?
    Our counselors must be at least 19 years old and have completed at least one year of college. The typical age range each summer is 19-24 years old. Our Activity Heads and Assistant Directors are typically between the ages of 22-30.
  • Where do the counselors come from?
    Our staff, as with our campers, come to us from all over the U.S. and the world. Many of our counselors were campers with us. The majority are from west coast universities.
  • What is the rate of return for counselors?
    We average 60% to 70% returning staff each summer.
  • What is the rate of return for campers?
    We average 60% to 70% returning campers each summer and occasionally will hit 80% returning campers.
  • How many campers are in each cabin group?
    Eight per cabin group for our youngest campers and no more than 16 for our older guy campers. The middle-aged groups range between 8 and 14 campers per cabin group.
  • How do campers select activities?
    A notice board is located at the Dining Hall where the day’s activity offerings are posted and updated at each mealtime. Just prior to each activity period (mornings at about 9:30am and afternoons around 2:00pm) the camp family gathers to select activities. At this time the head of each activity announces the particulars taking place at their activity. Campers need to hear what’s happening so that they may make better educated selections. For example, a horseback riding activity for a given period could be beginning, intermediate or advanced trail rides going in any number of directions, or it could be games, instruction or western dressage in the arena. After the campers hear of all their choices, each activity instructor asks in turn who wants to go to their activity. Campers choose by raising their hands and off they go. If a camper should not be picked for their activity of choice, they will have first priority at the next activity period. Upon arrival to each activity a role is taken which in turn is fed into our database. A resulting spreadsheet tells us who is where and when.
  • May I have references?
    A list of references is included in each information packet. We’d be happy to make others available to you upon request.
  • What if a camper does not want to do a specific activity?
    With choice of activities, campers may choose to participate in any activity area they desire. Campers always need to be participating in a supervised activity, but we don't dictate what that activity is. We offer choice of activities twice each morning and twice each afternoon. 
  • Is there a “Parent’s Day”? 
    We do not offer a “Parent’s Day” per se, however, we do host parents during the drop-off and pick-up days.  If you are dropping your camper off, you are welcome to join us for lunch and meet the directors, tour the camp, and meet your camper’s counselors.
  • Is there a doctor of nurse on staff?
    There is always a doctor or RN on duty 24 hours a day all summer long.
  • How do campers get to Mountain Meadow Ranch?
    Parents may drive their campers to the ranch, fly with them to Reno where they may rent a car and drive them to camp, or fly them to Reno where we will escort them to the ranch. For fifty summers we have been escorting campers to and from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Over half of our campers each summer choose to fly into the Reno Airport where we greet each camper as they exit their plane. We then escort each camper to baggage and home to the ranch. Upon completion of their stay with us we escort each camper to the airport, through check in and stay with each until their plane departs. There is no extra charge for this service. Please refer to Our Airport Procedures for more info.

    Getting to Camp

  • What happens if my child is sick or injured?
    We have a Doctor or RN on site and an urgent care clinic is just 8 miles from camp. We also have ambulances with paramedics and air ambulance companies that serve our area just minutes away from camp.
  • When may I enroll my child in Mountain Meadow Ranch?
    Enrollment Forms are first made available to our current camp families from mid-summer until late September, after which enrollment is open to all new and returning camper families.
  • May I visit Mountain Meadow Ranch before summer?
    Yes, we welcome and enjoy all visitors. Please call ahead to make an appointment (we like to prepare some cookies or some such tasty treat).
  • What is the weather like?
    At 4600’ elevation the climate is very comfortable. Daytime temps average between 75 and 95 degrees and the nights average between 45 and 65 degrees.
  • What if my child becomes homesick?
    Homesickness / Missing Home is a normal part of growing up and is to be expected in varying degrees. Missing home is not a sickness but certainly is part of being human. It's just missing home. We are very open about “home sickness” and discuss it as a camp family to help our campers and sometimes our staff to face and understand how they feel. We tell them that it's a normal and very natural feeling, and that it's OK. We encourage campers to tell someone how they’re feeling, to get a hug, but not to allow themselves to dwell on it. We help these campers set goals and encourage them to stay positive about the independence that they are developing, to stay busy, and make their families proud. Our success rate is near 100%. Once in a great while, a camper will really have a problem with homesickness. If, after 24 hours, the camper is still missing home and not able to participate in camp activities because of it, we will call you and together we will decide what to do.


    Having an "out" often sets a camper up to fail. If things are not going well, they will focus on the "out" you have given them, rather than working with you and us to find a way to success.

    Read More About Homesickness

  • My child has never been away to sleep away camp before.  How will he do if he comes to Mountain Meadow Ranch by himself?
    Because of the family-like atmosphere that we have created as part of the unique environment of Mountain Meadow, returning campers welcome new campers with open arms.  We strongly encourage inclusiveness as part of our camp philosophy, which all of our past campers are aware of and have previously practiced.  While some new campers do come with friends or siblings, many first-timers also arrive on their own.  They assimilate well into the camp family, and our counseling staff make every effort in facilitating this process.
  • What about all the details to prepare for camp? What should I bring to camp?
    Each enrolled camper will receive a “Get Ready For Camp” Information Booklet that will answer all of the particulars regarding preparing for camp. It includes travel info, packing and equipment lists, shipping details, etc.

    Click Here for a Packing List

  • What if I have questions not answered here?
    Please do not hesitate to call or email us with any unanswered questions or concerns. 


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