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Summer Camp Program FAQ

Registration FAQ

How and when can I register my child for camp?

Registration opens each year on February 1st, and will be posted until all spots are filled. To register your child for our camp program, visit www.mspca.org/nevinssummercamp and submit an electronic registration. You will receive an email confirmation that your registration was received by our staff.

Can I register my child to attend multiple weeks of camp?

Yes, you may register for as many weeks of camp as your child is eligible to attend based on their age.  Registrations for the camp are on a first come, first serve basis.

Can I register my child for a session that is not for his or her age group?

While we understand that some children are more mature than others, or that they may have a sibling or friend who is attending another session, we do not allow campers to register for sessions that are not for their age group. Our summer camp is very popular and allowing campers to attend sessions they are not eligible for would likely mean that another child who is eligible for that session would be unable to attend.  In addition, the activities and discussions that are planned for each week are planned according to the age of children who will be attending.

The session I wanted to register for is sold out; do you have a wait list? Why don’t I see the session I want to register for when I click the register button?

When a session is sold out, our web site will remove it from the registration page.  Our summer camp is popular and space is limited; we recommend registering as early as possible.  If the session you would like to attend is sold out, please email us at humaneeducation@mspca.org  to be added to the wait list.

Can I register and pay for camp in person at the animal shelter?

We prefer that people register and pay online, using a credit or debit card.  If you need to register or pay in person, you must contact the summer camp director at humaneeducation@mspca.org and make an appointment with her in advance.  You will not be able to register or pay in person without having an appointment, as the general animal care staff is unable to access the summer camp database.

I have registered my child for camp…now what?

You will receive an automatic response in your email inbox within 24 hours with additional information, including our full summer camp policies, where pick up and drop is, and what to bring. If you do not receive this email within 24 hours, please contact our office to be sure your registration was processed. We are required to have a copy of your child’s immunization history on file. You should request a copy of your child’s immunization record as soon as possible (as it can take doctors’ offices up to two weeks to process such requests) from your doctor’s office or your child’s school. If your child has an appointment to see the doctor after your registration date, but prior to the start of camp we recommend submitting their current immunization record and then submitting an updated copy as it becomes available.  We will send a reminder email the Friday before your child is scheduled to attend camp which highlights the most important things to remember for your session.

What additional paperwork do I need for my child to attend camp, when is that paperwork due by, and how do I submit it?

A copy of your child’s most recent immunization records are required for all campers.  Parents must also fill out an “Authorization to Administer Medication Form” if their child will be bringing medication to camp, if they did not do so during the online registration.  If a person other than a parent will be picking your child up from camp, we need to have this in writing (an email is fine), if this information was not filled out during your online registration.  Registrations that are incomplete are at risk of forfeiting their spot and will be subject to our cancelation policy.  Since your child cannot attend or be left at camp without an immunization record on file, we recommend sending this form in to us as soon as you register, in order to avoid any issues on the first day of camp.

Paperwork can be submitted by fax (617.989.1651), email (humaneeducation@mspca.org), snail mail (MSPCA at Nevins Farm, ATTN: SUMMER CAMP, 400 Broadway Methuen MA, 01844), or dropped off in person during normal business hours.  We strongly recommend that you submit all paperwork by email – this is the fastest and most secure way for us to confirm that your paperwork has been received.

How do I change the week I am registered for?

It is not easy to accommodate schedule changes once a session sells out. Contact us by email at humaneeducation@mspca.org to change weeks, and we will do our best to accommodate you.  If your child is unable to attend the week of camp they are registered for, and we are unable to change them to another session, you will be subject to our cancellation policy.

The MSPCA is a non-profit. Can I claim my tuition fee on my taxes?

While the MSPCA is a nonprofit, the IRS does not allow you to claim money paid to a nonprofit for a service as a charitable deduction. However, you may be able to claim the cost of camp as a child care deduction, or on your company’s flexible spending account for dependent care. We recommend consulting your accountant or HR department to check. Our tax ID is 042-103-597.

How do I apply for financial aid?

The MSPCA believes that all children deserve the opportunity to engage in meaningful humane education programs, despite financial hardships. While we make great efforts to offer financial assistance to families in need, our funds are limited and we may have to make tough decisions if our requests exceed our scholarships. We offer partial scholarships to families in need of financial assistance, typically offering to cover $175 of the camp tuition (half). You can apply for financial aid by clicking on the financial aid link on our main summer camp page.  You should have information handy, including your monthly household income, your rent/mortgage expenses, and any government programs for which you receive assistance.  After you apply, you will receive an email response with directions for submitting your financial aid approved application.  Since our financial aid is accepted on a rolling basis, you must register and pay for camp within two weeks of your approval, or your financial aid spot will be forfeited to the next family in need.  If you cannot afford the $175 reduced fee, we may still be able to help, depending on funding and the number of financial aid requests received – please email the office at humaneeducation@mspca.org if this is an issue for your family.

What if I apply for financial aid and am denied?

Financial aid is usually granted to anyone who receives help from government assistance programs. Families also have the opportunity to share with us any extenuating circumstances when submitting their application. Please keep in mind when applying that our funds are limited, and accepted on a rolling basis. We ask that families who can otherwise afford camp, but may need a payment plan, contact us directly to work something out.

In the past, I was able to register for camp for $25 and pay my balance at a later date. Why do I now need to pay in full at the time of registration?

In order to make the registration process easier for camp families and our staff, we have made our camper profile part of the online registration process, and are now requiring people to pay in full as they register.  This means that the only thing camp families will need to submit after they register will be their child’s most recent immunization records.  In addition to making camp registration operate more smoothly, asking people to pay in full when they register will greatly reduce the number of people who register for camp, and never complete their registration, essentially “holding” a spot that another child could otherwise register for.

What is your refund policy/cancellation process?

There is a $25 cancellation fee for camp, regardless of the cancellation reason, so please contact us at humaneeducation@mspca.org  if you have any questions prior to registering. If you have paid in full for camp, and need to cancel prior to May first, we will refund your tuition minus the $25 registration fee ($325 or $150 for FA). If you have paid in full and are canceling at least two weeks prior to the start of the session your child is registered for, we will refund half of your tuition, minus the $25 cancellation fee ($163 or $75 for FA). Cancellations made less than two weeks prior to the start of your child’s session are not refundable.  If you need to cancel your child’s session because of an injury or illness, we will issue a refund in full as long as you provide us with a doctor’s note that indicates your child is not fit for that week of camp.  We do not offer prorated rates for camp for missed attendance (even due to illness).  If you used our early registration for the Junior Volunteer Program, and are canceling prior to May 31st, we will refund your money for that program minus a $3 cancellation fee per 1 day session ($10 per 1 day session).  Cancellations for the Junior Volunteer Program made June 1st or later are not eligible for a refund.

Summer Camp Program FAQ

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!

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.

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.  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.

Is your camp licensed?

MSPCA Children’s Summer Camp complies with all the regulations imposed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and is licensed and inspected by the Methuen Board of Health. Parents have the right to request and review the following: background check, and camp policies and procedures.

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 at our summer camp.

Does your camp offer before or after care?

We do not offer before care, however, campers may begin checking in as early as 8:45am.  In the past, we have offered after care, but found that most families did not need it to attend camp.  This year, we will be expanding our popular Junior Volunteer Program for the summer months to run Monday – Thursday from 3-5pm.  If your child is between the ages of 11-15, and is in need of after care or wishes to spend a full day at the shelter, we will be offering advanced registration for Junior Volunteer for our summer camp families at a discounted rate of $13 per day.  The Junior Volunteer Program is limited to 12 children per day, therefore, we recommend early registration in order to secure your child’s spot.  You may register for the Junior Volunteer Program at the discounted rate until May 31st, after May 31st you may register for the regular rate of $15 per session if space is available.  Camp families may register for Junior Volunteer as often as they would like, even if they are registering for a date that their child is not attending camp.  If your child is younger than age 11, and they require after care, they unfortunately cannot attend the Junior Volunteer Program, however, we may be able to work something out for your family – please contact us at humaneeducation@mspca.org.  If your child requires after care and the date(s) you need are sold out, please email us as well and we will try to help you.

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 or video recorders, 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 for after camp, please check it in with the camp director in the morning, and it will be returned to them when they leave.  If your child’s cell phone is doubling as their camera or video recorder, they may use it during camp hours for that purpose only.

Does my child need to bring a lunch each day?

Yes, you need to pack a lunch, drink and snack for camp each day. Your child should also bring a refillable water bottle each day, as it is hot here in the summer.  If your child will be staying for the Junior Volunteer Program after camp, we suggest sending a second snack with them for that 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.  Since we are not a peanut free facility, we do not have restrictions on the food your child brings to camp.  However, please ask your child not to share their food with other campers in case of allergies.

What is your address? Where do I pick up/drop off my child on your property?

Our address is 400 Broadway Methuen MA, 01844.  Children are dropped off and picked up at our outdoor riding ring, which is located to the far left of the Noble Animal Care and Adoption Center building.  Camp families should park their car in the main parking lot and walk up to the ring to sign their child in or out of camp.  Please remember that we need written permission if an adult other than a parent will be picking your child up from camp, and that non parents should be prepared to show a picture ID if it is their first time picking up.  All campers must be signed in and out of camp, and should never be left unattended on our property.  In the event of rain, campers will be picked up at the Education Room entrance, which is also located to the far left of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Does your camp allow for buddy requests?

We will honor one buddy request per camper (both children must request each other). There is a spot on your child’s registration form to enter a buddy request. Please keep in mind that due to the large number of buddy requests we receive, we cannot accommodate larger buddy request, as this affects our ability to have the correct staff to camper ratio for certain activities, as well as honor all buddy requests.  Campers are broken into smaller groups for some of our hands on animal activities, but they are also frequently all together, so not being in the same group as a buddy does not mean you will not see them all day.  We find that most campers make many new friends throughout the week!

 

For all other questions, please email us at humaneeducation@mspca.org

 

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