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Summer Daycamp FAQs


  • Who runs your camps and what is your philosophy? Our camps are hosted by the staff and volunteers of Nearby Nature, a non-profit education organization founded in 1992 and based in Eugene, Oregon’s Alton Baker Park. We believe that people of all ages, from the tiniest tots to the wisest elders, thrive when they connect with nature nearby. We believe time outside in nature is especially beneficial to the health and happiness of kids. Every year, kids in our programs spent 30,000+ hours outside!
  • Where are your camps located? Most of our camps are based in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park and Nearby Nature’s amazing Learnscape Garden and Outdoor Classroom (next to the City’s Community Garden). Campers spend all of their time outside, both in the Learnscape and out in the park. We have one camp based at the Cascades Raptor Center, three at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, and several camps with special field trips that have alternative drop-off and/or pick up locations. See individual camp descriptions for details.
  • What are your camp hours? Our camps operate between 9 am and 4 pm. Some camps are half day camps (9 am-noon or 1–4 pm) and some are full day camps (9 am-4 pm). Camps for five year olds and younger are all half day camps. Lunch care is available from noon-1 pm for an extra fee of $7 per day. Pre-camp care is available for camps in Alton Baker Park from 8:30-9 am for an extra fee of $5 per day. New this year, after camp care is available from 4-5 pm for camps in Alton Baker Park for an extra fee of $7 per day. Note -- if there is not sufficient enrollment for after camp care on a specific week, we may cancel this service for that week.
  • What ages do you serve? We have camps for kids ages 3-13: Minnows (ages 3-4), Dragonflies (ages 4-5), Tree Frogs (ages 6-8), Blue Herons (ages 8-11), and two camps for Owls (ages 11-13). Note: Children enrolled in Minnows camps need to be potty trained.
  • How many children and instructors are in a group?  We limit our camp groups to 12 children. Each group has a paid lead instructor, an adult volunteer, and a teen Outdoor Leader.
  • Who are your camp instructors and volunteers? Each Nearby Nature lead instructor is an experienced outdoor educator. All lead instructors are certified in First Aid and CPR and have passed background checks. Short biographies are posted on our website. Our adult volunteers and teen Outdoor leaders are trained assistants from all walks of life. Many of our volunteers also work with our school programs and some of our teen assistants were once campers themselves!


  • What do your camps cost? Half day camps cost $115/week for members and $135/week for non-members. Full day camps cost $230/week for members and $270/week for non-members. (Camps on the week of July 4th are pro-rated since they last only four days.) You can sign up for membership (which gets you a camp discount as well as free entry into lots of programs throughout the when you register for camps. A few camps have an extra fee of $10-$25 for special activities or locations. Lunch care, pre-camp care, and after camp care are also available for most camps for a small extra fee. See online registration process for details.
  • Do you have scholarships and how do I apply? Nearby Nature believes that all children should have access to outdoor adventures in nature nearby. Camp scholarship assistance is available thanks to Nearby Nature's Youth Scholarship Fund. To apply, fill out the Scholarship section on your daycamp registration form online. Scholarships are granted on a rolling basis. We will call or email regarding your eligibility. If you choose to decline our offer, we will return your deposit minus a $10 application processing fee.
  • What is your cancellation policy? If you cancel by noon on Monday two weeks before your camp starts, you qualify for a full refund less the non-refundable $35 deposit. If you cancel by noon on Monday one week before your camp starts, you qualify for a 50% refund. No refunds for cancellations after noon on Monday a week before camp starts. Cancellation by us may happen if there is insufficient enrollment seven days prior to a camp. You will be notified promptly and your full payment refunded.


  • How do I register? Registration for 2018 is online here. We can also mail you a form or you may arrange to stop by the office to pick one up if you do not have access to a computer. Completed registration forms can be mailed to Nearby Nature at PO Box 3678, Eugene, OR 97403 or emailed to You can contact us by phone at 541-687-9699.
  • What should I do if I think my child would do better in an age group other than his or her own? Our policy is to keep children together with their age level peers, however, we are willing to listen to your concerns. Exceptions to this policy are made on a case by case basis.
  • What if my child wants to attend camp with a friend? As long as the kids are in the same age group, this is fine. Please note your child’s friend’s name on your registration form and we will be sure to keep the kids together.


  • Where should I park to drop off my child for camp? If your camp is at Alton Baker Park, park in front of the Alton Baker Park Community Gardens and follow the path to the left to Nearby Nature’s entry gate. The registration table, where you will sign in on the first day of camp, is right outside the gate. For Google maps, our street address is 622 Day Island Road, Eugene, OR 97401. (Note this is NOT our mailing address. See mailing address under Registration Questions above.) For camps at the Cascades Raptor Center or Mount Pisgah Arboretum, drop off directions will be provided in your confirmation materials. For special field trips, again, directions will be provided in your confirmation materials.
  • Is there a safe place for my child and/or me to lock up a bike at camp? In Alton Baker Park, there is a covered bike rack just outside of our Yurt (on the road in front of our site). Be sure to bring a secure lock.
  • What should my child bring to camp? Whatever your child brings should fit in a youth-sized backpack. Approximately a week before your camp, you will get an email with specific directions about what your child should bring to camp. Please be sure to read this carefully. In general, for half day camps, send a water bottle and a substantial snack. If your child is staying for lunch care, please be sure to send a lunch. For full day camps, send the same plus a lunch. Also send a hat, jacket, and extra clothing as needed. Kids should wear close-toed shoes and dress in layers. If your camp includes water play, you will also need to send water-friendly shoes and extra clothing. You may apply sunscreen before camp or send it with your kids if they are allowed to apply it themselves. Please DO NOT send toys or electronics. If a child brings a cell phone for photos or communication, he or she must take full responsibility for this item and it is not to be used unless it is needed for a special activity.
  • What happens if there is rain, very hot weather, or poor air quality? While we plan to go out rain or shine, our covered Discovery Lab, handy pop-up tents, and Yurt can provide shelter if it ever gets really wet. In extremely hot weather we spend most of the time in shady places or set up sprinklers in the Learnscape. In case of smoke from forest fires, will most likely run camps regardless, but will do our best to find alternative activities or places to meet that are inside for at least part of the day. We will alert you promptly if we change the location for a camp. The decision to cancel a day or more of camp due to extremely unhealthy air quality conditions will be made on a case by case basis. We encourage you to decide what is best for your child's health when deciding whether or not to send him or her to camp on poor air quality days.
  • May I visit my child at camp? Parents/guardians are always welcome, but please let the instructor know in advance that you plan to visit. Also note that we will not ask you to supervise activities as a visiting parent/guardian because all of our officials volunteers need to go through a background check and training process. Visits are best at the beginning of the day since we often take children out to explore in the park during camp and they may not be on site if you arrive partway through a class.
  • What is your behavior policy? In our experience, when kids are outside, and engaged in activities that allow them to move their bodies, use their voices, and exercise their minds, behavior problems often disappear. We also believe that inappropriate behavior can be minimized with clear expectations. We have a few simple but firm behavior guidelines that we discuss with the kids on their first day of camp, as well as a clear set of consequences for not following these guidelines. We also ask each child to sign a behavior contract stating that they will follow these guidelines. You will get a copy of these policies when you register for a camp. To see a copy now click here. If your child has identified behavior challenges or normally has a dedicated one-on-one aid at school, please alert us in your registration materials or by calling us before your register. Your heads-up will allow us to discuss these issues with you in advance, make sure that our camp is an appropriate match for your child, prepare our staff for how to address issues appropriately, and know how to best call on you for support if needed.
  • What happens if my child is sick or injured at camp? Depending on the level of sickness or injury, we will contact you (or your emergency contact if you cannot be reached). In the event of a serious incident we’ll call emergency services and then contact you. Our instructors all have First Aid and CPR certification and are trained to evaluate illness and injury.
  • What if we need to arrive late or leave early? Please be sure to let your child’s instructor know in advance if your plans require a late arrival or early departure. Our campers frequently hike out into the park on adventures, so the instructor will let you know if the group will be at the Learnscape or elsewhere in the park when you arrive/need to pick up your child.
  • What if I’m late picking up my child? Your child’s safety is a priority and we will never leave him or her unattended. Please arrive on time, however, because our instructors work hard and need their evening breaks. If you are more than 10 minutes late and we haven’t been able to contact you, we will call the authorized pick up and/or emergency contact numbers listed on your registration to make arrangements with one of them to pick up your child. If you are more than 10 minutes late more than once, we reserve the right to charge a late fee to help pay for the additional staffing required to supervise your child.
  • If I need to get in touch with someone at Nearby Nature during camp, what number should I call? Please call the office at 541-687-9699. If our staff is outside on site, and no one answers, please leave a message. We will check for messages periodically during the day. If you have an emergency and need to speak with someone immediately call the Camp Director’s cell at 541-232-4706. We will also provide instructor cell phone numbers for emergencies with each.


Updated 2-24-18


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