1. Open House For those of you who are new to CREA camp or just want to reorient your child to the camp setting, we will be hosting an Open House on Friday, July 10 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Feel free to stop by and meet our camp staff, see the space where camp will take place, learn about our plans for the camp week, and have a chance to ask any questions.
2. Drop off / pick up
If you have attended CREA camp in past years, please take note: We are no longer using the shuttle bus. You can drive directly to the Ecology Center parking area.
Camp is based at the CREA Ecology Center, which is adjacent to the Highland Green community in Topsham. If you need directions to Highland Green, please click here. Once entering the Highland Green community, continue on the winding main road (Evergreen Circle) for 1.4 miles. Once you see Junco Drive on your left, the parking area for the Ecology Center will be just ahead on the left. You won’t be able to see the Ecology Center from the road, but you can see the sign that marks the visitor entrance.
There is very limited parking at the Ecology Center and parking on the adjacent streets of Highland Green is prohibited, so we ask that you do a reasonably quick drop off to free up a parking space for the next arriving family. Camp staff will be at the bench next to the visitor entrance sign from 8:30 to 9 a.m. each day to welcome campers, check them in, and escort them to the Ecology Center, which is a 2-3 minute walk down a dirt road. If all parking spaces are occupied, you can pull up alongside the sign/bench for a moment to drop off. Take care not to park on the opposite side of the road from our parking area, since it impedes traffic flow.
We understand that families want to make sure their children feel comfortable about going to camp, particularly on the first day. Please consider coming to the Open House if you’d like to see the space where camp will take place and help your child feel comfortable. While we don’t typically have families accompany children to the Ecology Center when dropping off in the morning, we can be flexible if your child is having a hard time. Just let a camp staffer know. EXCEPTION FOR DISCOVERERS WEEK (campers entering 1st or 2nd grade): Because most of our Discoverers are new to CREA, you are welcome to park and walk your child in to the Ecology Center during any of the mornings.
For pick up, camp staff will be at the bench next to the visitor entrance sign from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. each day. Campers will be playing a game nearby while waiting to be picked up. Please feel free to arrive anytime between 2:45 and 3:15.
We designed this system to be more convenient and provide more flexibility for parents on varied schedules who may prefer to drop off / pick up a little later or earlier. Please bear in mind that you are driving through a residential community and obey the posted speed limit.
If you know other families who are coming to camp, we encourage you to carpool. In fact, for each day that you bring two or more campers in your carpool, we’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a CREA t-shirt or mug at the end of the week!
3. Packing list
Snack and lunch (no refrigeration available)
Refillable water bottle
Clothes that are good for active play and outside exploration (layers work well)
Extra change of clothing, including socks
Shoes that are good for active play and exploration (sneakers are fine)
Shoes that it’s o.k. to get wet (rain boots, old sneakers, Crocs, etc.) Just not flip-flops!
Medications, including inhalers or Epi-pens
Any medical supplies must be clearly labeled in a bag with your child’s name, including detailed instructions on dosage and use. Please make a point of talking directly with the Camp Director on the first day of camp if there are any medical instructions we should know about (or feel free to give a call in advance of camp).
Optional: hat, sunscreen, bug spray (we encourage you to apply at home)
The Ecology Center serves as our home base, but we’ll be outside for much of each day, even if it rains, so please help your child to dress for the weather.
4. Schedule & Activities:
Each day includes a mixture of active games, hikes, science explorations and art projects. Sample activities: scooping for bugs in the pond, making a birdfeeder, fishing, catching frogs, making clay birds, turtle-trapping, dissecting an owl pellet, and playing group games like ‘Bat &Moth’ or ‘Arrow Stalking’.
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 5 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.
Every child will do at least one science activity/ hike & one art activity each day, as well as group games. During most afternoons, campers are given “option time”, to choose between (for example) going on a river exploration or making a birchbark picture frame.
5. Emergency Contact Info: Camp Director Matt Dubel can be reached during camp hours by calling or texting 745-3554. For delivering info that does not require a conversation (e.g. “We’ll be late dropping off today.”), text works well.
6. Ticks: Just as in your backyard and any other outdoor area in southern Maine, there are ticks at the Cathance River Preserve. We remind the campers to check for ticks throughout camp, but you should spend a minute each night doing a more thorough check with your child. Bug spray is not an effective deterrent against ticks; careful inspection each night is the best prevention.
Between now and your camp, feel free to contact Camp Director Matt Dubel at email@example.com or 331-3202 x 0 with any remaining questions or needs.