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? What is the ratio of staff to children, and what training does the staff 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 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 attend special training and orientation at the MSPCA, and are fully CORI/SORI checked prior to camp.
My child is allergic to (animals, nuts, hay, ect.) can they still attend camp?
This depends on the severity of your child’s allergies and their comfort level around hay or 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. 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.
Is transportation to and from camp available?
We do not provide transportation to camp.
What should my child bring to camp each day?
Campers should dress in comfortable clothing that they do not mind getting a little dirty, and comfortable sneakers. We recommend bringing rubber rain boots for cleaning in the chicken coop and horse stalls, a sweatshirt for inside areas (our AC is cranked pretty high), sunscreen, bug repellent, a snack, lunch, a reusable water bottle (we have refilling stations), change of clothing just in case, and foul weather gear (we will go outside for animal care chores in the rain). We have cubbies to store extra belongings throughout the day. Campers are allowed to bring cameras, video recorders, and cell phones but we are not responsible for lost, stolen, or broken valuables. Please do not bring sandals (even if they have covered toes), open toed shoes, handheld video game consoles, jewelry or anything valuable that you are concerned about to camp. Cell phones are not allowed at camp. If your child needs to bring a cell phone with them, please check it in with the camp director in the morning, and it will be returned to them when they leave.
Does my child need to bring a lunch each day?
Yes, you need to pack a healthy lunch and snack for camp each day. We have refrigeration available for lunches, but do not have access to microwaves or stoves. We ask that parents help us to reinforce what your children are learning at camp by using as much reusable or recyclable material as possible to pack your child’s lunch each day 🙂
What types of animals will my child meet at the MSPCA summer camp?
The types of animals who are waiting to be adopted into loving homes at Nevins Farm constantly changes, but we typically have lots of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigs, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, sheep, goats, cows exotic birds, alpacas, and the occasional reptile at our facility as well. Animals at Nevins Farm come in all age groups; babies, adults, and seniors. Animals are pre-selected by our adoption center staff before visiting with our campers.