Do you have a waitlist? What are the chances of getting a spot once on the waitlist?
Yes. Camps fill up fast and we do maintain a waitlist. We can’t accurately predict the chances of getting a spot when you’re on the waitlist. If an opening occurs, families are contacted in the order they were added to the waitlist. You’ll have 48 hours to notify us you’d like to take the spot before we contact the next family on the list.
What about siblings?
Siblings will get paired together and considered as one number in the lottery. If it’s important that your kids be in the same week, please rank their weeks the same.
What is the difference between Full Day and Half Day camp?
Full Day camp is for children ages 6-12 and runs from 9 am – 4 pm. Complimentary early drop off available beginning at 8:30 am. Aftercare is available from 4:00-5:30 pm for a fee of $10 per day per child. Children who are 5 years old but completing kindergarten in June 2022 and will turn 6 by 12/1/22 are eligible for full day camp. The pace of the day, activities, and expectations reflect the development and abilities of school age children.
Half day camp is for children ages 3-5 who are 3 years old on or before May 1, 2022 and runs from 9 am – 12:30 pm. Complimentary early drop off available beginning at 8:30 am. The pace of the day, activities, and expectations reflect the development and abilities of preschool children.
What is the difference between Willows camp and Maples camp?
Willow camp is our typical camp experience focusing on child-led activities and play throughout the day. Each week, morning activities will happen led by mentors and educators focusing on creation and education. Our afternoons are filled with play through different areas of the Garden. Once a week, campers will have a chance to go on a hike outside of the Garden.
Maples camp is for our older campers (10-12) who have completed 4th grade and are interested in a more skill-focused experience. Campers will work on leadership, team building, and learning about the land they live on through different activities. Two themes are offered but each week will allow skills to be built up and improved. Campers can enroll for the entire Maples experience or for as little as one week. The week is meant to allow older campers to challenge themselves while still having room to play.
Do you offer aftercare?
Yes. Aftercare is available for Full Day campers from 4-5:30 pm. The cost is $50 per week, per child. To ensure you receive after care, please indicate your need on your registration form. You may sign up for aftercare on the morning of, but it is not guaranteed to run if no one has pre-registered.
My child is 5, can they attend Full Day camp?
Five year olds that complete kindergarten in June, 2022 and will turn 6 by December 1, 2022 are eligible for Full Day camp. If you have questions about this policy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does my child need to be potty trained to attend Half Day camp?
Yes. We understand that many 3 and 4 year olds are still refining their skills and we will help them navigate occasional accidents with dignity and kindness. Children that still wear diapers or pull-ups/training pants during the day are not ready for Half Day camp.
How many children are in each camp?
Acorns: Half Day camp has 15 children ages 3-5 per week
Willows: Full Day camp has 32 children ages 6-10 per week
Maples: Full Day camp has 8 children ages 10-12 per week.
Who makes up your summer staff?
All camp staff are a minimum of 18 years old and are comprised of a blend of college students and adults who have completed their degrees and have related experience. High school students may assist at camp but do not count toward ratio minimums and always work alongside older camp staff.
What is your staff training program like?
All camp staff receive 36 hours of training prior to the camp season. This includes camp systems, policies, health & safety, and ICG philosophy. Significant amounts of time are spent on child development and playwork principles. We role-play challenging situations and camp transitions and bring in guests to explore topics such as bullying, cultural competencies, positive behavior guidance, and building camp community. Staff work together during training to prepare the Garden for camp and ready rainy-day kits and plan unique activities. By the first day of camp they are a cohesive and supportive team.
What is your staff to camper ratio?
The maximum ratio for our Half Day camp is 1:6, but is often maintained at 1:5.
The maximum ratio for our Full Day camp is 1:12, but is often maintained at 1:8.
Do I need to pack a snack or lunch?
Yes. Please pack a morning snack and a lunch. We will provide an afternoon snack. Due to COVID precautions Pizza Fridays are on hiatus. We look forward to the return of this beloved camp tradition in the future.
My child has dietary restrictions or allergies. Do you make any accommodations?
All afternoon snacks we provide are vegetarian and nut-free. Staff are alerted each week to campers with allergies and their group leader will provide extra support as needed. Campers wash hands both before and after morning snack and lunch to prevent allergen contamination on program materials. Please contact us before the camp season begins should you have concerns about your child’s allergies at camp (email@example.com).
What does my child need to bring to camp?
– Healthy camper who has sunscreen applied
– Appropriate clothing for the weather
– On rainy days, a raincoat or poncho
– Footwear that can get wet (e.g. water shoes or crocs)
– Dry change of clothes, in a labeled gallon-size ziploc bag, including socks & underwear
– One morning snack. ICG will provide an afternoon snack.
– Nutritious lunch
– One full water bottle labeled with their name
– Sunscreen labeled with their name
– A towel
What are your camps like?
Themes & Activities:
Each camp has a theme that informs the morning activities of the week. We try to balance daily activities to provide many ways to interpret the theme: fine motor, gross motor, exploratory, experiments, games, group and individual endeavors. There are typically three activities each morning that all campers rotate through. Each Wednesday or Friday morning we hike the Black Diamond Trail, letting us explore that week’s theme in the forest or along the creek. Special guests often join us to share their expertise.
Structure vs. Free Play:
Mornings at Ithaca Children’s Garden Summer Camp are structured. Campers join together for morning meeting and rotate through themed activities in their smaller groups. After lunch the program shifts to child-led free play. We often begin in the Hands-On-Nature Anarchy Zone but spread into other areas of the Garden as well. Our staff shift from educators to playworkers during this time and their role is to support children’s play so that it is as freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated as possible. Around 3pm each afternoon campers wrap up their play and assemble under the story tree for closing circle after which snack is served. Stories, games, and free play in the Village Green keep us busy until parents arrive.
Large groups vs. small groups:
Half Day campers spend the majority of their time as one group with up to 15 children and a minimum of 3 staff. They may play or engage in activities in self-selected smaller groups within the same area of the Garden.
Full Day campers join together for morning meeting which often includes songs, stories, and/or games. Campers rotate through morning activities with their small groups then join together for lunch under the story tree. Afternoons are devoted to child-led free play. Groups mix during this time as campers decide where and with whom they’d like to play.
Small groups are determined primarily by age so that activities and the pace of transitions can meet them where they are developmentally. However, we are responsive to campers requests and needs and make changes as needed to ensure groups are a good fit for all involved. If your child is attending camp with a friend, let us know and we can ensure they are in the same group. The same holds true for siblings. Please let us know if you’d like them in the same group for the week.
How are groups determined?
Groups are usually determined by age. We give consideration to siblings and friends and use our judgement on campers who do better in separate groups.
Can I request my child be in the same group as or not in the same group as a friend or sibling?
Yes. It’s good for us to know if siblings do better together or in separate groups. Friends often find being in the same group makes camp even more awesome. Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 5th. The earlier the better.
My child LOVES Garden Magic, can they attend both weeks?
In an effort to ensure that campers have access to their favorite camps, we are repeating each theme twice this summer. These camps tend to have the longest waitlists. The subsequent camp weeks of these themes will be an exact duplicate of the first week. Campers will only be able to attend one week of each of these camps.
Can I attend camp with my child?
The ICG camp day is structured to provide total care and enrichment for your child with your child’s safety, wellbeing, and development in mind. It can be confusing and sometimes stressful for children to have parents stay or drop in without notice. If you anticipate a need to visit the site during the day, please alert the camp director.
We want every child to feel comfortable and welcome at camp. Parents are invited, especially if ICG camp is a new experience, to support your child in making a smooth transition into camp. If your child benefits from more leisurely transitions, please plan to utilize the 8:30-9 am period to help your child feel prepared for their day. We request parents say goodbye to their camper by 9am with encouragement for a wonderful day at camp. Although campers are typically delighted to say goodbye to their adult and hello to their camp friends, if you find your child is requesting more of your presence than this time after the first day, please contact the camp director.
My child needs a 1:1 aide or special assistance to attend camp. Can this be provided?
Currently, ICG is not equipped with the staffing to provide 1:1 for campers in our care. Several campers have successfully participated in camp with outside special assistance and 1:1 aides arranged by families. Please contact email@example.com to be pointed in the right direction to talk more about your child’s needs and the support person that may be accompanying them to camp.
My child has special needs that may impact their camp experience. How do I communicate these with you?
Please provide as much information as possible on your registration form. Our Camp Director will reach out to you with questions or for additional information well ahead of your camp experience. If at any time you’d like to ask questions or provide additional information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 319-4203 and we’d be happy to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.
What happens when it rains?
We play through sprinkles and light rain. During heavy rain, we’ll move activities into the Kids’ Kitchen or the yurt. Emergency shelter is available in our yurt and at the adjacent Cass Park Pavilion.
What if I need to pick up my child early?
Please let staff know at check-in that morning what time you will be picking your child up. We’ll do our best to have them ready to go by the time you arrive. Should something arise during the day that requires pick-up before 3:45pm, please call or text the Camp Director. Phone numbers will be provided in your reminder email and posted the first day of camp at check-in.
What if we will be late to camp?
If you know you will be late prior to that morning e.g. a scheduled dr. appt), please notify our staff at check-in or pick-up the day before. Should you be running late or if your child is sick and won’t be attending camp that day, please call or text the Camp Director. Phone numbers will be provided in your reminder email and posted the first day of camp at check-in.
Can my child come to camp if they are sick?
No. It’s very hard to participate and enjoy your time at the Garden if you are not feeling well. If your child is unwell due to vomiting, fever, or diarrhea, or is experiencing any COVID symptoms, they may not return to camp until they are free of symptoms for 24 hours without medication or have received a negative COVID test. If a child is found to have symptoms which appear to be infectious or otherwise prohibit the child from enjoying their camp experience, they will be sent home for the day. Symptoms are based on, but not limited to: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent coughing, fever, or lethargy. If your child becomes sick during the day, you will be notified and asked to pick him or her up immediately. If your child is sent home sick, he/she will be expected to remain home as per the camp COVID guidelines.
What is your sunscreen policy?
Campers should arrive wearing sunscreen. If your child has not applied sunscreen when they arrive our friendly camp staff will ask you and your camper to apply sunscreen before you say goodbye. After lunch each day, full day campers will reapply sunscreen. Our staff will encourage campers to apply their sunscreen as independently as possible but can assist if asked. If you’d rather your child not reapply sunscreen after lunch, we require a signed note from a parent or guardian. Should your child forget their sunscreen, we have backup on hand they may use.
Where do you go on hikes?
Most Wednesdays or Fridays we head up the Black Diamond Trail adjacent to the Garden. Occasionally, a hike may be taken to the inlet, Farmer’s Market, or Cass Park depending on children’s choice for that morning. If you would like to know where the hike will be taken, please let staff know at check-in so you can be contacted.