Frequently Asked Questions
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Where is Nature Camps located?
Nature Camps is in Monkton, Maryland, on 230 acres of nature conservancy woodlands. We are a 30-40 minute drive from Baltimore and just a short hike from the beautiful Gunpowder River.
What different programs do you offer?
Camper (4-16 year olds): day camp only
Explorer (11-13 year olds): day camp with one Explorer overnight each week
Teen Adventure (TA) (13-16 year olds): one week of day camp with two TA overnights, one week TA trip of choice
Teen Adventure/Junior Counselor (16 year olds): two-week TA trip plus at least two weeks as a junior counselor at camp. Experienced 16-year-old TAs are invited to apply!
Appalachian Journey (10-16 year olds): 7-day overnight trip to Spruce Knob Mountain Center in West Virginia
See our Programs page for more information!
When are the Family Overnights? What is involved?
On the second Wednesday evening of each session, Nature Camps hosts a Family Overnight and Concert in the Woods for campers and their families. For the dates and details, check out the Family Overnight & Concert in the Woods page.
Where do campers come from?
All over the Baltimore metropolitan area, the I-83 corridor, and Westminster, Bel Air, and York, PA. Each summer we have campers from other states and countries, too. Campers from over 60 public and private schools attend camp each summer.
When does the camp day officially begin?
Children are to arrive at camp by 8:45 a.m. Small group activity choosing begins directly at 9:00 a.m. The regular camp day is over at 3:00 p.m. Extended Day hours are 7:00 am to 6:00 PM.
What are the hours of the Extended Day Program? What takes place during these hours?
For information on Extended Day and van routes, visit the Extended Day and Van Service page.
Where are the van pick-up locations and times?
Pick up locations and times are listed on the Extended Day and Van Services page.
Are families who use the van service also charged for the Extended Day Program?
No, the Extended Day program is included with van service.
Is there a carpool list?
Yes. In early June a carpool list is sent to all registered families who express an interest in carpooling options. Nature Camps believes in conserving our planet's resources and encourages families to carpool whenever possible.
What should my child bring to camp each day?
Check out our Camper Gear List.
How do the counselors determine the swimming ability of my child?
On the first or second day of camp, children have the opportunity to take the swim test in the pool, where our certified lifeguards determine each child's swimming ability. Please be sure children have swimsuits and towels on the first day of camp.
When does trail bike riding take place and what should my child bring?
Trail bike riding is offered every Wednesday as an optional activity for campers who can ride 2-wheel bicycles. To participate, campers must have a properly fitted bike with properly inflated tires, properly fitted helmet, water bottle, and bell/horn for a safe and pleasant riding experience. Bikes may be brought to camp Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. Bikes may also be left at Nature Camps throughout the session. Please note that training wheels are not permitted on the trail bike rides. The NCR Trail Biking permission form is available here.
How safe is this camp?
Risk management and safety guidelines are our top priorities. Nature Camps minimizes risks through staff training and management, proper equipment management, and daily 45-minute staff meetings at the end of the day. We know that effective outdoor educators must constantly upgrade their safety, environmental, educational, and risk management practices. Our approach to safety and risk management is entwined with competence, sound judgment, and purposeful, substantial programming. Our staff implicitly guides every action and interaction, to reduce accident potential. At Nature Camps it truly comes down to this: If there is a situation where safety would be compromised, it is a situation in which we will not participate.
One part of our health and safety protocol is tick checks, to prevent tick-borne diseases. Parents are invited to partake in Nature Camps' safety policy by performing an additional tick check at home.
What are staff qualifications?
Go to our Health and Safety page for full list of staff qualifications.
How long has Nature Camps been in business?
We have been in business for four-and-a-half decades! For the first twelve years, Nature Camps, Inc. was called Don Webb Nature Camp, at the old Happy Hollow Camp facility off Padonia Road and Happy Hollow Road. Then, with a change in location our name changed, but not our philosophy and unique ways of being with children and folks of all ages.
Can I talk to current or past camp families?
Yes. You are also welcome to talk to educators, psychologists, and administrators. Nature Camps will be glad to give you these contacts. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (Jen, administrator) or 410-935-1545 (Don, director) for more information.
Can parents visit camp during the camp day?
Definitely. Nature Camps welcomes visits from parents anytime. This has always been our policy. Children feel so good about "their" camp when parents take the time to share the experiences their children have found to be meaningful.
My 12-year-old is very mature, and I think they will enjoy the Teen Adventure program.
Can I sign them up?
The Teen Adventure (TA) program is specifically designed for teens, ages 13-16. While not all 12 year olds are the same, our many years of experience has proven that 12 year olds do not benefit as much from the TA program and can struggle to become a part of the group. We have learned that a 12 year old's needs, emotions, and abilities are much better met in the role of the 'older' camper during day camp through the Explorer program, which is for campers ages 11-13.
I would like to choose my child's weeks a la carte—a week here and a week there. Must I choose your session dates, or can I pick my own?
After forty-plus years of experience, Nature Camps has concluded that the optimal program for children is a two-week program, progressing each day to new and more challenging activities.
Our program is designed so that each day builds upon the day before. Therefore, a child starting halfway through a session will be missing those important beginning camp days, when children make their nature journals, take the swim test, get to know fellow campers, learn to identify poison ivy, and become familiar with how our camp operates.
It is this building upon the prior experiences and learnings that makes Nature Camps unique. While we understand the desire to mold your child's schedule around vacations and other summer obligations, we strongly recommend that you enroll your child for a full two-week session.
This same principle applies to the two-week Teen Adventure program. Again, each day builds upon the day before, and the teens benefit most from the two consecutive weeks of the TA program, in the sequence we have designed. Please note that teens aged 13-16 do have the option to register for a regular 2-week camper session rather than go on a TA trip if they prefer.
The popular "Add-a-Week" option is available to parents who would like to register for an additional week at the end of a two-week session.
What is your Federal Tax ID Number?
The Federal Tax ID # is 52-1774592.