Camp FAQ

What are the hours of camp?
All sessions of camp run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. Please note that some weeks are 5-day weeks that run Monday-Friday, some weeks are 4-day weeks that run Monday-Thursday, and some weeks are 4-day weeks that run Tuesday-Friday, so please check the dates for your particular week. The drop-off window in the morning is from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and the pick-up window in the afternoon is from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.

Can I register for camp online?
No, you cannot register online. You can pay online, but we do not have online registration. Even if you make payment online, you must still mail in a paper registration form to our P.O. Box in order to secure a spot in camp. Registration Forms are available to download on our website.
After you register, we will mail you a confirmation letter to confirm which dates you are enrolled in.

During the day while my child is at camp, how can I reach camp staff?
If you need to contact our staff during camp hours, call (207) 331-3202 extension 0. The Camp Director carries this phone at all times.

Can my child arrive late/ get picked up early from camp?
Please contact us to talk about specifics. We will often make a special effort to accommodate parents’ needs. If you know in advance your child will need to leave early on a certain day of camp for a dentist appointment, for example, we can work with you to find a time when we know we’ll be at the Ecology Center—like lunchtime—so that pickup will be easy and quick. Otherwise, if you just show up without notice and expect to find your child right away, chances are we’ll be off hiking in the woods and it will take some time to track us down and for us to hike all the way back to meet you.

Schedule conflicts on a daily basis (for example signing up for morning swim lessons all week that would mean arriving at camp 20 minutes late each day) would obviously not be a good idea.

Please realize that the morning arrival time and the end-of-day time are some of the most important times of day for coming together as a group. This is when we have our “Morning Circle” (when we discuss our plans for the day, play group games and name games, etc) and “Closing Circle” (when we debrief the day, share suggestions and hopes for the next day, recognize individuals who made a special contribution during the day, etc etc). These transition times of the day are especially important for your child to participate in so that s/he can really feel like a part of the group.

What kinds of camp activities can my child expect at camp?

CREA camp includes a mixture of hikes, science explorations, art projects, and group games. Your child might spend the morning searching for salamanders in the forest, scooping for dragonfly larvae in the pond, or building stick boats to race down the river… Then after snack, an art activity might involve sculpting clay bugs or painting pond pastels… Following lunch and group games, your child then spends part of the afternoon in “Choice Time”, during which s/he might choose to go “RiverWalking” or else make “Reverse Pastel” art projects.

Every child will do at least one science activity & one art activity each day, as well as group games, and will be given opportunities during afternoon “Choice Time” to choose an activity that sounds most interesting to them.

Sample activities during camp: scooping for bugs in the pond, fishing, catching frogs, geology hike, turtle-trapping, dissecting an owl pellet, making clay birds & eggs, making rainsticks, reverse pastels, printmaking journals, playing group games like ‘Bat &Moth’ or ‘Arrow Stalking’.

Campers will also be introduced to some of the ongoing ecology research underway at CREA. Water Quality Monitoring at the river, Bat Detectors in the field, motion-sensor Wildlife Cameras in the forest, Turtle Traps in the pond… Campers will get the chance to engage in these ongoing research studies. Younger students, for example, might watch from the dock while counselors from our Environmental Youth Leader (EYL) program put on hip waders to set turtle traps; then we all get a chance to see the turtles get weighed and measured before being released.

Older students in the weeks dedicated to grades 6,7,8 will include longer hikes and more advanced science investigations.

Group games are also an integral part of our day—Name games, “icebreaker” teamwork games, and just plain fun big-group games help everyone get to know each other. Our staff is dedicated to creating a welcoming atmosphere, and group dynamics are a focus of our week together.

What is a typical day of camp like?

Each day is slightly different, but in general you can expect the following schedule:
Morning Circle & Games; Science Activity; Snack; Art Activity; Lunch; Big-Group Activity; Choice Time; Closing Circle

Morning Circle. Each day begins with “morning circle” where we outline the plan for that day, and play some group games. We place great emphasis on group dynamics and getting to know each other, as much as we do on the science and art projects. We have a minimum of 4-6 staff for the group of 24 campers each week, dedicated to helping campers get to know each other and have fun together, while learning about the outdoors and exploring this special nature preserve.

Activity #1. (Science or Art) After morning circle we divide into smaller groups for our first main activity of the morning. One small group might start the day with an art project like “reverse pastels”, while the other group heads to the woods for a “sensory hike” through the forest down to the river.

… We come together in the big group for Snack

Activity #2. (Art or Science) After snack is the second big morning activity (either science or art—whichever one the camper didn’t do already that morning).

…We all reconvene for lunch around 12:00

Big-Group Activity with all 24 campers—This might be a game of “Animal Tag” outside while folks are finishing up lunch. This transition time in the afternoon is flexible depending on what the campers are most enthusiastic about.

Choice Time. On most afternoons, campers are given “option time”, to choose between a few different activities– For example going on a river exploration or making a birchbark picture frame.

Closing Circle. We all come back together for closing circle around 2:30 and begin packing up to head home.

Interspersed in the down time throughout our day are mini-activities, for example using the skulls, microscopes, and other teaching resources in our Ecology Center. We also play impromptu games – for example Animal Tag, Golden Acorn, or Iceberg—to help the campers get to know each other.

You have two programs for students entering grades 6-8, “Adventurers” and “Field Science Camp.” What is the difference between these two programs?

In both programs, campers will spent most of the day outdoors, exploring the forest, pond, and river at CREA’s 235-acre nature preserve. The two programs, though, have different schedules and activities.

Our “Adventurers” program is our more typical day camp program, and is what we have offered in previous summers. Each morning consists of a 1-hr science exploration outdoors (this might be a geology hike, fishing, salamander searching, or scooping for amphibians & insects in the pond), and a 1-hr art activity in our Ecology Center (perhaps photography, watercolors, or sculpting with clay). Everyone comes back together for lunch at the ecology center and plenty of group games afterward. The afternoon is spent in “choice time”, during which campers can choose from a few options (popular options include river-walking, frog-catching, forest games, or art projects– these “choice time” activities are often dictated by the interested of individual campers).
Our “Field Science Camp” program is new this year, and is meant to serve campers who are looking for a more “science-y” camp experience. We will still begin our morning with group teambuilding activities, but for the rest of the day we will head out in the woods to investigate our research question for the day. Each day will have a specific ecological topic to explore, and students will learn how to use a variety of tools and fieldwork techniques to approach the topic and collect specific data. Some days we might bring our lunches with us, as our schedule will be dictated by wherever the river (or bird or turtle, etc) leads us, and we may not come back to the Ecology Center until after lunch. Campers who enroll in this program should have an interest in learning more about the plants, animals, and ecosystems at CREA. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary; just a desire to explore, investigate, and get dirty!