What do campers do at camp?
All campers work alongside the barn and adoption center staff, participating in the care of our animals; activities include mucking horse stalls, cleaning rabbit cages, feeding cats, walking dogs, and socializing (petting and playing with!) the many creatures at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. In addition to the experience providing care to a variety of animals on site, campers also learn about important animal welfare topics in daily discussions, and meet a variety of animal care professionals who participate as guest speakers. And just like any fun summer camp experience, our campers make crafts, sing songs, and play games!
I noticed that you have themes for each session. Are all camp weeks different?
The theme for each week helps shape discussions, crafts, and guest speaker presentations, but all campers participate in similar animal care activities, games, and animal visits (petting/handling). The reason we have themes are to help differentiate weeks based on the age of the campers, and to provide a new experience to campers who attend over several years.
How many campers are in my child’s session? How many staff people are there, and what training do they receive?
There are as many as 48 campers in each session. For most activities, campers will be working in smaller groups of 12 or 24. In addition to the Summer Camp Director, there are three-four Head Counselors and about eight Junior Counselors per session. The Director and Head Counselors are CPR/First Aid Certified; Junior Counselors also receive basic First Aid Training during their orientation. All camp staff members (including volunteers) attend special training and orientation at the MSPCA, and are fully CORI/SORI checked prior to camp.
My child is allergic to animals. Can they still attend camp?
This depends on the severity of your child's allergies and their comfort level around animals. Our facility is very clean and has great ventilation, but we house hundreds of animals in a relatively confined space, which can be too much for some allergy sufferers. Children with mild allergies have attended camp in the past and had a lot of fun doing so. However, if your child's allergies are severe enough that they cannot comfortably share a room with several animals (or even hay), whether or not they are touching them, then Summer Camp at the MSPCA is probably not the best choice for them. If your child has mild allergies, and you're not sure whether or not camp will be too much for them, a great way to check in advance is to visit our adoption center and spend time in our cat (or rabbit, or dog) rooms.
What should my child wear to camp?
All children should wear comfortable clothing. Because our days involve spending time with various animals, please send your child in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty (or a bit furry)! And please—NO open-toed shoes, sandals, flip-flops, or Heelys (sneakers with wheels in the soles). Regular sneakers are best!
It’s also a great idea to bring a sweatshirt (the AC is cranked pretty high inside our buildings) or a change of clothes. There are cubbies for each camper to store their belongings. Valuables should be left at home.
Does my child need to bring a lunch each day?
Yes—we do ask that you pack a lunch for your child each day, ideally in recyclable or reusable containers. Refrigeration is available for those who need it. Campers are welcome to bring an extra snack to eat during our morning discussion time. Every camper should bring a water bottle, as well!
What are the drop-off & pick-up times?
Children may be dropped off as early as 8:45am, and pick up is promptly at 3pm each day. Please DO NOT leave your child unattended on the property before 8:45; kindly wait until the camp staff is outside at the drop-off & pick-up area to the left of the Education & Training Room, near the outdoor riding ring. Adults must sign campers in-and-out each day.
Do you offer before- or after-hours care?
We are working on being able to offer after-hours (until 4pm) care this year, but as of now we are unable to do so. We will let parents know if this changes!
If your work schedule doesn’t allow you to accommodate these hours, you will have to make arrangements for someone else to drop-off and pick-up your child. We are happy to help arrange a carpool for families interested in this option.
Is transportation available?
Each family is responsible for providing their own transportation for their child; however, we are happy to help coordinate carpool options. We will send out a later email to give parents the chance to “opt-in” to have their info printed on a carpool list. Only those families who wish to have their information on this list will be included. Another opportunity to meet other camp families is at our Parent’s Night on June 19th. If someone other than a parent or guardian will be transporting your child, we will need this information in writing for our records (on the Camper Profile).
Is your facility “peanut-free”?
Due to the variety of animal feeds and other products used throughout the property, we are not a peanut-free environment. Children with mild peanut allergies have attended camp in the past; if this situation also applies to your child, please consult your child’s pediatrician to determine the safest course of action.