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. Last year, kids in our programs spent 30,000+ hours outside!
Where are your camps located? All except five 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, four 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 $5 per day. Pre-camp care is available for camps in Alton Baker Park from 8:30-9 am for an extra fee of $3 per day.
What ages do you serve? We have camps for kids ages 3-13: Minnows (ages 3-4½), Dragonflies (ages 4½-5), Tree Frogs (ages 6-8), Blue Herons (ages 8-11), and one camp for Advanced Blue Herons (ages 9-13). 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. Resumes are available upon request and 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!
2. COSTS and SCHOLARSHIPS
What do your camps cost? TO BE UPDATED for 2019 in FEBRUARY Half day camps cost $110/week for members and $130/week for non-members. Full day camps cost $225/week for members and $265/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 throughouth the when you register for camps. A few camps have an extra fee of $15-$30 for special activities or locations. Lunch care and pre-camp care are also available for most camps for a small extra fee. See registration form 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 the Nearby Nature’s Youth Scholarship Fund. To apply, fill out the Scholarship section on your daycamp registration form.
What is your cancellation policy? If you cancel before noon on Monday a week before your camp starts, you qualify for a full refund less the non-refundable $35 deposit. No refunds for cancellations after noon 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.
3. REGISTRATION QUESTIONS
How do I register? Registration for 2019 is on-line! 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. Forms can be mailed to Nearby Nature at PO Box 3678, Eugene, OR 97403 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
4. CAMP LOGISTICS
Where should I park to drop off my child for camp? Park in front of the 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.)
Is there a safe place for my child and/or me to lock up a bike at camp? 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. For half day camps, send a water bottle and a substantial snack. 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. 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 in case of bad weather? 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.
May I visit my child at camp? Parents are always welcome, but please let the instructor know in advance that you plan to visit. 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. If your child has identified behavior challenges, please alert us so that we are prepared to address them appropriately and know how to best call on you for support as needed.
What happens if my child is sick or gets 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.