Summer Discovery Camps FAQ
What are Maymont’s Summer Discovery Camps all about?
Maymont’s summer camps are filled with activities, crafts, games and exploration. Animals are a major part of the learning experience. We also have the benefit of one of the most beautiful settings in Richmond as our playground! While fun is the ultimate goal, our campers learn about nature and the environment in a fun and safe setting.
Who are the camp teachers?
Our camp teachers are either permanent Maymont education staff or summer staff. The Maymont staff has several years of camp and teaching experience. Our summer staff includes certified teachers from local schools. Camp interns from colleges and universities are selected based on their major and experience working with children. All adults have had background checks. Each camp will have at least one adult that is CPR and First Aid certified. In addition, most camps will have trained volunteers, typically from local high schools.
How many campers and adults will be there for each camp session?
Typically 14 campers is the maximum for our camps. One staff and one college intern is the minimum number of adults that will be with the kids. We usually have one or two high school student volunteers assist as well.
How do I register?
Online is the best way to register your child(ren) for camp. If you are unable to register this way, please contact our Environmental Educators at 804-358-7168.
Do I have to be a Maymont member to sign my child up for camp?
Maymont camps are open to everyone; however members receive early registration and a discount! Family memberships start at $60. If you are signing up multiple children, your membership may be paid for in camp discounts! You can become a Maymont member on our website.
I signed up 2 or more children for camp, but my confirmation email only names one. What’s going on?
For some reason, our automatic confirmation email will only list one child’s name. Please look at the receipt amount – if the number corresponds to the number of children you registered, then we have their information. If you would like verification, please contact our Environmental Educators at 804-358-7168.
Can I sign up my child for a camp that’s above or below their age/grade?
The camp activities for each camp are designed for kids in that grade or age range. The lessons are not only academically appropriate, but mentally and physically appropriate for each specific camp. Please register your child for camps that match up with their actual age or grade. For the youngest camps, we ask that the child is 4 years old at the start of the camp session.
What does my child need to bring to camp?
We encourage all campers to bring a water bottle (full). Backpacks are optional, but handy for carrying those water bottles on hikes. We provide a snack break mid-morning. Campers attending a full day camp need to bring a lunch.
What about sunscreen and/or bug spray?
Please apply sunscreen prior to camp. Camp staff will not apply sunscreen on the campers. We (fortunately) haven’t experienced the need for bug spray in the past, but if your child is prone to bites, they may apply it outside of the classroom.
When do I need to send in the Health Form?
Please mail or fax your Summer Discovery Camps Health Form at least 2 weeks before the start of camp. You can also drop off your form(s) at the Nature Center front desk. Mail is sorted at our main office, and may take a few days to get to the Education office. Two weeks will give your child’s instructor time to review and contact you about any concerns. Forms can be mailed to:
Attn: Environmental Education
1700 Hampton Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Fax number: (804) 254-4685
My child has allergies, do you need to know?
YES! Please alert staff on the health form about allergies that need to be known. We do not purchase snacks containing nuts or peanut butter to err on the side of safety. We will have the snacks available for parents to check ingredient lists on the first day of camp if necessary. If your child carries an Epi-pen, please make sure you connect with the camp staff
prior to the first day.
My child has a learning disability or other special needs. Would camp be a good fit for him/her?
Absolutely. Our camp teachers have had experience teaching children on all learning levels. To help provide the best experience for all our campers, we ask that you offer any guidance for your child’s specific needs on the health form. Teachers can arrange to meet with you prior to camp as well.
My child has a helper at school, should he/she have one at camp?
Yes. Our camps are designed for campers to have a fun and educational experience. We have found that kids who have a helper in their daily school routine adapt much more quickly to the camp routine with a helper. Please contact our education manager at 358-7166 ext 308 prior to camp if your child will be bringing along an adult helper.
Do I need to get the health form signed by a doctor?
No. The health form should provide staff all the information needed. Please include any information about your child that would be helpful for the staff.
Where do I drop off/pick up my child?
Some camps meet at the Nature Center, others at the Children’s Farm. Please refer to the camp description for location. Camps at the Children’s farm begin and end 15 minutes later than the Nature Center camps so parents with children in both sessions can drop everyone off in time.
What should we expect on the first day?
If your child is in the Nature Center, a staff member will be in the lobby before 9am to open the main doors. If you are at the Children’s Farm, you will walk your child to the Farm Classroom, which is past the barn to the right. The gates are opened by 9am. You will check in your child with the head instructor in the classroom. Your child will be given a camp tee shirt that the campers need to wear each day. Camp begins once all campers have arrived. Occasionally some campers have a difficult time with drop off the first day, but almost always quickly settle in and get involved with camp
I need to pick up my child early/drop off late. Is that okay?
We ask that all campers are picked up within 10 minutes of the camp’s ending time. Early pick-ups can be arranged that morning with the lead instructor. We are often out on the grounds with the campers during camp hours, so it’s best to have some notice. If it is an emergency, please contact Maymont’s receptionist at 804-358-7166, ext. 310, and she can locate us over the radio.
How early may I drop off my child for camp?
The Nature Center is closed to the public until 10am. Someone will open the doors for campers at least 5 minutes before the camp time starts. The staff and volunteers are often still gathering materials and preparing for the day, and often are not able to monitor children that are dropped off any earlier. At the Children’s Farm, the parking lot gates are typically opened by 9am. Our staff has to keep the gates closed until the “all clear” is given by the animal keepers to ensure a safe environment. The camp doors will open at least 5 minutes prior to the start of camp.
What if it’s really hot or rainy?
If there is a heat advisory in effect, we can alter our plans to limit the time we spend outdoors. When we are outdoors, we stick to shady areas for activities, and encourage lots of water consumption! If it is heavy rain or if there’s lightening, we will put our “rain plan” in operation and stay inside. However, if it’s drizzling or even light rain, we may still go outside for a bit. Your child is encouraged to bring a raincoat on these days, not an umbrella.
Our family had a change of plans and needs to cancel or switch camps.
If you need to cancel, contact the Environmental Education department as soon as possible. Your camper can be transferred into a comparable camp at no additional cost if space is available. 50% of the registration fee will be refunded for cancellations made at least three weeks prior to the start of the camp session. No refunds will be available for cancellations made less than three weeks prior to the session. Allow three to four weeks from the time of cancellation for a refund to be issued.
What is the minimum number of campers needed for a camp?
We require at least 5 campers to be registered for a camp to proceed. If the registration is below 5 for your child’s camp, we will contact you four weeks prior to the start date to make you aware of the possibility of a cancellation. If we don’t receive enough campers 2 weeks before the camp’s start date, we will have to cancel. We can either transfer your child to a comparable camp or offer a full refund at that time.
If you have additional questions about Maymont’s Summer Discovery Camps, please contact our Environmental Educators at 804-358-7168.