Girls on the Go Camp and Boys on the Go Camp (Summer and Winter)
Q: I’m registering Friday night and camp begins on Monday. How will I know what to bring to camp or where to go?
A: If you register after Friday 2pm, your registration is considered last minute. Your confirmation e-mail will have links to the camp week’s session letter and our last minute instructions. These will have information that you need to prepare for camp. Bring a copy of your registration receipt and a camper form to camp.
Q: I have already attended a camp in the past. Do I need to fill out a new form?
A: Some information is kept in our system, while some forms need to be updated each season, so once for summer camp, and once for school break camps each year. But, we have some great news that some information will be copied over from the previous season for you to review and update as needed.
Q: Can I register for camp via the internet, phone or email?
A: Registration is open online for our programs and is the only way to register at this time. There are some forms to fill out online in order for registration to be complete. If you are not very tech savvy, we suggest asking a friend who can help you navigate.
Q: Do you offer single day registration?
A: Yes, for our school break camps, camp is open to daily registration. For our summer camps, no, we do not, with the exception that if your child has attended before and the particular week is not full, please inquire with the office about dropping into a day or two.
Q: Can I add more camp after my initial registration?
A: Yes, you can log into our online registration system to add more camp. Contact the office if you have added enough to qualify you for a discounted rate, and we can apply that retroactively. Registering early guarantees you the early registration incentive rate. Rates rise the closer we get to camp. We do understand sometimes people need care last minute, so if there is room you can add days up to the last minute.
Q: Will I get a confirmation and will it give me more info about camp?
A: Yes, you receive an automatic confirmation e-mail upon completion of your registration, which will include a link to a parent info packet, with details about camp location, parking, what to bring, etc, as well as a link to a youth leader packet, if your child is registered for that program. A session letter with parent info packet details, additional information on specific activities and staffing will be sent the Wednesday prior to each week of camp. You can log in to your account at any time to see your registration details. Please make sure your confirmation matches with your records and that you have signed up for the correct days or weeks, as we cannot make exceptions to our policies for errors in your planning. Please contact our office if you need help.
Q: Do the morning and afternoon extended care need to be reserved in advance, or can I add that later if I find out that I need it?
A: We do not always offer care outside our basic day, but if we do, you may add extended care through our online system up to 2pm the Friday prior to camp. After that time, you may drop in to extended care, which will be charged to your credit card on file based on your sign in/out times. Daily drop in rates are more expensive, but sometimes a better choice if you only need extended care for a short time.
Drop In Fees: $13/hour; $7/half hour; $4/15 minutes. Office will review sign in sheets for your sign in and out time and charge your credit card on file. Fee will be determined by rounding to nearest quarter hour, e.g. 4:54pm sign out will be charged as though pick up was at 5pm or 8:06am drop off will be charged at 8:00am. If there is no sign in or out time, or if handwriting isn’t legible, office will charge you for drop-off of 8:00 or pick up time of 6:00, or whatever is the start or end time of camp, if there is no extended care.
Q: Can I transfer to different days or weeks and can I do it myself online? Yes, if you are giving one month’s notice or more, and there is room, we can transfer registrations for a fee of $25/week (summer camps) or $5/day (school break camps). E-mail or call the office to make changes, as you cannot make the changes yourself. See our policies for more details about transferring between programs or to another person. You cannot make changes yourself, so please e-mail or call the office to make changes.
Q: How do I know if there is room available for a particular day or week of camp?
A: Online registration closes once spaces are full and will show a waitlist option.
Q: If your camp is full, do you have a wait list?
A: If a camp is full, a wait list option will appear. If a space opens up, we will send a message to families on the wait list for the specific age and session hours that opened, and give them 24 hours to respond. Then we will give the space to the respondent who joined the waiting pool first. If a space opens up more last minute, whoever we reach first on the wait list will get the space. We often have spaces open up! Feel free to check in with our office.
Q: Can I set up a payment plan to pay for camp?
A: Yes, you can set up a payment plan during online registration, unless very close to actual camp dates. We offer this at no cost to our clients!
Q: How do I apply a gift certificate or coupon to my registration?
A: Register online at the regular price to guarantee your spot at camp, and do one of the following within one week of registration.
- For a gift certificate, call or email us with the code in the lower right corner, and we will credit your account with a refund or update your payment plan.
- For a physical coupon, write your child’s name on the coupon and mail it to us within one week, and we will credit your account with a refund or update your payment plan.
- For a mobile coupon, hit “redeem” yourself to be shown a secret phrase, which you can enter online when registering for an instant discount. If you have already registered, email or call us with the code within one week and we will credit your account with a refund or update your payment plan.
Q: Do you have any registration payment incentives?
A: We often have a “register by a certain date” or “register for a certain number or more days/weeks” incentive, so check our website’s details for the particular camp to see what is currently being offered. The registration page will also have any details.
Q: Do you offer financial aid? If so, how can I apply?
A: Visit this page for financial aid our application. We offer partial scholarships, first-come, first serve, usually the maximum being about 50% of the camp fees. Some weeks might not be open to scholarships. We would love for anyone who wants to come to our camp to be able to join us.
Q: Can I contribute to your scholarship fund?
A: If you would like to donate to the fund, you can do so when registering for a camp, choosing to Round Up your tuition or you can send a check. We are not a non-profit, so donations are not tax deductible. We double all “round up” donations. In addition, 100% of our shirt and other camp gear sales profits are donated to our scholarship fund. to help kids attend camp. We give away as much as $4,000 per year to help kids attend camp. We are grateful to everyone who helps support us making our camp more accessible to families with less financial means.
Q: Can I get a receipt for my child’s camp and a dependent care form filled out?
A: Receipts are available to you within your registration account when you log in HERE. All pertinent information including your payment history, camp enrollment dates and our Tax ID# are available to you 24/7 by signing into your account. We will email receipts about two weeks after program end, for example in mid-September for all summer camp families. If you need us to sign a dependent care form, please e-mail or mail it to our office, so we can process it there. On-site staff cannot sign.
GENERAL PROGRAM QUESTIONS
Q: My child is gender non-binary. What support will they get at your camp?
A: We aim to be inclusive and respectful of our campers’ genders, including those who identify outside of the gender binary. There is a space for parents to add detail about this on our Camper Info Form and staff will review before camp. In our trainings, we talk about inclusivity, and ways we can actualize this, by being sensitive to saying things that stereotype by gender, and at times hiring staff that are non-binary.
Q: What is the group size?
A: Average size is about 16 campers, with some weeks a bit less or more. Usually 2-3 times/summer, we have large group of 24 at Girls on the Go, and always hire another staff in that case.
Q: What is the counselor: child ratio?
A: They are usually 1:8, but sometimes go as low as 1:6 or up to 1:10. 1-3youth leaders will help support the counseling team.
Q: What field trips will my child take during the week we want to register?
A: Please see our weekly schedules on the program pages on our websites for details, so that you can choose weeks that fit best with your child’s interests. We do like to keep some surprise as part of this program, so not everything will be spelled out in advance. The Wednesday before each week of camp, we will send out some final details, so you know what to bring – socks for ice-skating, for example.
Q: Can you explain how the day works?
A: Our meet up areas always have a climbing structure, swings, and counselors bring a variety of items, like drawing supplies, playing cards, board games, and balls. On the weekly schedules we send out Wednesdays before camp, we will list the time by which we need you to arrive each day, as we need to leave for our destinations in timely manner. We have a morning gathering to meet and greet, play games, and get to know one another. Afterwards we usually head off for a trip, unless we have a food, craft or movement playshop with a special guest at park before the trip. We plan a mixture of trips, some indoors, some outdoors, some thought-provoking, and some more playful. Kids help with handing out and collecting BART tickets and we share some navigation tips, so they can try doing on their own at some point in the future. During the week, we practice simple random acts of kindness and talk about what that means and ask them for ideas. We talk a lot about gratitude and remind ourselves during the day what is going right, rather than what is going wrong. As we wait for trains or buses and while at the park, we often play games, as it is so fun and gets everyone knowing one another.
Q: Are there many kids who come without knowing anyone in advance?
A: Yes, many kids come without knowing other campers in advance. Staff works on creating a friendly community, where campers can meet and get to know each other.
Q: How do you travel?
A: By public transportation. We love to coach campers on how to safely explore the Bay Area via foot, train, bus and boat. Many former participants have communicated with us about how this encouraged them to continue to do so after camp. One camper went to a high school in San Francisco after building confidence from camp, another travels all over the East Bay on their own. We meet at locations close to BART and AC Transit, so that we can travel on many modes easily.
Q: How do you manage special needs, whether medical, social, or behavioral?
A: Thanks for checking in advance. We have a ratio of 1 staff for every 6-10 campers, so kids need to be able to operate within those ratios most of the time. While we would love our staff to be able to manage all situations, it is not possible. Some kids need more behavioral or emotional coaching or physical support than our regular staff can provide. You are welcome to check in with us about your child’s aide/coach coming to camp to assist your child, so they can have that social experience and get the support they need. Often kids will grow into more independence with time and support, and often be able to manage without that coach/aide later on. It is important to remember that there are new kids and occasionally staff each week, so there is a lot more change than at school, which contributes to making it more challenging.
Q: My child doesn’t have strong English skills, as we are from another country. We would like to come to your camp, to hear and speak English a bit more and have fun experiences. Do you think this will work out?
A: Yes, we have had many experiences with this in the past. Usually some of the kids have a little English, but at quite a variety of levels. It is very possible to do most of camp with low skill level. It can be really interesting to watch how kids figure out other ways to communicate with each other. Sometimes we even have other campers or staff who speak the child’s native language. If you are planning to come with more than one friend, please check in with our office, as, in this case, it sometimes is challenging, for our staff and program, if a group of 3 or more comes with very minimal English skills. Many staff speak another language besides English, which we find a support when international families enroll, which is a wonderful addition to our camp.
Q: How do you group the kids?
A: Great question. Here are details about how we group kids at our different programs:
- Girls on the Go program and Boys on the Go program for ages 9-13: All ages spend day together.
- Tilden Park co-ed Summer Camp for ages 4.5-10: All ages arrive to the same location and spend the free play and snack period from 8:00-10:15 together. After that time, the camp splits into two distinct groups (our Strawberry Bananas: ages 4.5-6 and Mango Coconuts: ages 7-10) for most of the remainder of the day, except for lunch and post lunch free play from 12-1, PM extended care from 3:30-6:00, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon all camper celebrations, when all ages are once again together. For swim days, campers are together all day.
- Winter, Feb, and Spring Camps for ages 4.5-10: All ages arrive to same location for AM extended care 8-8:30. After that time, the camp splits into two distinct groups (our Strawberry Bananas: ages 4.5-6 and Mango Coconuts: ages 7-10) for remainder of the day, except for morning outside free time, lunch and post lunch free play from 12-1, PM ext. care from 3:30-6:00. There are days of lower enrollment, like Christmas eve, when all ages spend entire day together and split into age groups sometimes for activities from 11-12 and 2-3.
- Pre-K co-ed camp for ages 3-4: All ages spend day together.
Q: Do you provide lunch or snacks? If so, what do they consist of?
A: Parents send snacks and lunch for the basic day. When running PM aftercare fun, we provide an afternoon snack for those staying into PM extended care, which consists of fruit or vegetable, crackers, cheese. We sometimes have cooking projects, like making fried wontons or ice cream or treats while out and about town. Our commitment is to use almost 100% organically grown items and to plan alternatives for common allergies and sensitivities and to serve low sugar options. All food items that we provide are vegetarian, kosher, and nut free. If your child has food allergies, restrictions or sensitivities, make sure to note on your child’s Medical form. We list items there that are part of our food program.
Q: I would like to order a T-shirt, sweatshirt, hat or bag with your logo. How do I do that?
A: We will have camp gear on sale on site at least once a week. Payment options: Fill out slip authorizing us to charge your credit card on file (no need to have your actual credit card with you) or bring cash or a check. 100% of all sales profit goes to our scholarship fund, so while you shop, you can know you are supporting a great cause.
Q: I would like to carpool to camp. Would it be possible to get a list of families interested?
A: We love to help support carpooling and will compile a list of families who have opted in on the online registration system. The list will include parent, street address, and email addresses, and will be sent 2-3 weeks before each camp session. Please be sure to add carpoolers to your list of adults authorized to pick up your child by 2pm the Friday before camp.
Q: Do you offer transportation to and from camp?
A: At the current time, we do not offer transportation. We have researched and found the cost is prohibitive. If things change, we would post information on our website and in our group e-mails. Please consider joining our carpool list as an alternate option, so you can share the driving with another family or two.
Q: What are your rainy day plans?
A: We will continue our plans if there is only drizzle/heavy fog. We like the saying, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” That said, we usually alter plans slightly if it looks like rain and the entire day was supposed to be outside. Extended care would also be relocated to an indoor site, either a staff person’s house or a local cafe. If there are any changes to the drop-off location, we will contact parents as soon as possible via e-mail, so please do check there for messages.
Q: Are there any extra costs? Can I send some extra money?
A: All field trip costs and entrance fees are paid for by camp. Please do not send any extra money. Occasionally someone has given money and said they want to treat the entire camp to something or someone has baked a treat for the camp, but otherwise, please count on us to provide for any costs of camp.
Q: Is it possible to pick up my child before the pick-up time or while they are out and about?
A: It is VERY challenging for the staff to coordinate different pick up times than our usual pick up. Please plan on only being able to pick up at that time. We try to get back to the park a half hour before pick-up, but cannot guarantee that.
Q: Can staff be reached during the day at a cell phone number?
A: Yes, we will send you the number in the Wednesday session letters sent each week before camp.
Q: Will my child be able to have their cell phone?
A: We require that campers turn off/put on airplane mode their cell phones and leave in the bottom of their backpacks, as we are making this an unplugged time! Occasionally, we will do memory moments, when campers can take out and take photos.
Q: Can I drop off my camper at one of the locations and pick up at another? I see that sometimes you run programs at more than one location?
A: This will not be possible, as the groups will be separate for the entire camp.
Q: Do you split the group into ages?
A: No, we find that it is very nice to have a mixed age. Of course, kids naturally break down by age at times.
Q: I have a very mature 8-year-old. Can they participate?
A: We usually are fairly strict about the age limit, as we already have a large age range. That said, there are some kids with late birthdays for the grade they are in (with other 9 year olds), so we are happy to consider accommodating in this case. This works best for kids who are almost 9, are used to being around older kids, and attend camp with a friend. Please contact our office before registering to check in. In case it does not work out now, we hope you will sign up for our e-mail newsletter, so we can stay in touch!!
Q: How many 13 year olds do you have at camp?
A: There are usually a few less, so it would be best if they enjoy being a role model and playing with younger kids and/or organize a few friends to come together. We aim for it to be a great time with the variety age group.
Q: Can my 14 year old participate?
A: Sure, as long as they knows will be with kids in the 9-13 year old age range and be positive about it. Often, we have had former campers who have turned 14, but still wanted to come, and it has worked out fine. If your child wants to help staff make the program amazing, and help begin learning about being a counselor, you may want to look into our Junior Counselor program for ages 14-16. Find info on the pages for each program.
Q: My child has a food allergy and gets a severe reaction to nuts. They will be bringing an EpiPen. What are your policies and experience with this?
A: We have a lot of experience with this in all our years of camp, and have never had any issues arise where we have needed to use and EpiPen, even though we have had hundreds of kids with EpiPens. Our on-site staff review details weekly from your child’s online Medical Form which you fill out once and review after you register, so you can give details about allergies, sensitivities, and medications. We have many campers with severe nut allergies, so we have a no-nut or nut butter policy, although items made on shared equipment are fine to bring. Staff gets practice with a tester epi-pen in the first aid training. We serve organic items like Trader Joes’s popcorn, Annies’ Cheddar Bunnies, Lundberg Rice Cakes, Tortilla Chips, Barbara’s gluten free Puffins, Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzels, Whole Foods Organic Pretzel Sticks and Rounds. We keep aiming toward goal of making each item we serve and use in cooking, work for as many children as possible. If your child cannot eat products processed in facilities that also process nuts, or if you are at all concerned and just want to make sure your child eats only what you provide, please bring alternate snacks/treats with you on the first day and give to the site director.
Q: My child does not eat gluten and will be staying all day into PM extended care, since you are offering it the week they are coming. Will they be able to eat the snack? Also, will they be able to participate in cooking projects?
A: 90% of our PM extended care snacks are gluten free, and there is always a gluten free alternate. For cooking projects, we do our best to plan for food allergies and sensitivities and have alternates. We cannot always guarantee it, but there are always lots of fun activities besides the food project, so your child will be able to participate in other fun. When you register, in the medical form, you can view foods we serve, and make any notes for staff.
Q: My child is rather shy and will not be coming with any friends. Do you have experience with this?
A: We do have campers who come with friends, so this can be an issue for those who do not. On the first day, we talk about this at our first circle on Monday before heading out. We do “get to know” games, as well as just general fun games, where kids get to know each other. That said, we also want those kids who do come to camp to spend time with their friends, as that is often why they signed up together, so it is a balancing act.
Q: How do you deal with cliques?
A: This is an issue with kids of this age, at times. We do all we can to create an inclusive community, including playing games that bring about more cooperation and less competition, and talking with the kids about how camp is about hanging with friends you might know from past, but also about meeting new friends. Most parents and kids have shared with us, after attending, that this is one of the things they appreciate most about our camp! That said, we are not miracle workers. Please do share with our on-site staff if you notice any issues that do not seem to be resolving, so we can work toward creating a better outcome.
Q: What do you do to insure my child’s safety?
A: Safety is number one for all of us at camp. Of course, playing entails a certain amount of bumps and bruises. When the kids are gathered and given clear, organized instructions, we can really enjoy ourselves and minimize dangers. We are proud to say that since 1999, when we first began, our safety record is stellar. Staff receives in house training, get First Aid and CPR certification from outside accredited organizations, and keep things structured and clear on site. For any medical information provided by parents, staff review before camp, so they are aware of details.
Q: Do you have any parent feedback I can read?
A: Yes, we do. There are quotes from parents available on our websites: Girls on the Go and Boys on the Go and Facebook pages: Girls on the Go and Boys on the Go, and on YELP. We have been operating camps in the Bay Area since 1999 and parents chose Girls on the Go for GOLD for Best Teen Camp in Alameda since 2015 in the Parent’s Press Awards. Most children who come to our camp enjoy their time with us, and for any challenges during camp, with support from parents communicating to on site and support staff, we help address and usually resolve issues. We have found communication to be so helpful and a great example to the kids.
Q: Who will staff the camp? How do you screen and train your staff?
A: We have a main Site Director who has extended experience with recreation programs, as well as a Group Leader and if group size is larger a Counselor, who is newer to the field, but still experienced at camp. Our search for a qualified, fun, diverse, caring, safety-conscious team is very rigorous. It includes a phone interview, individual interview, a multiple employer reference check, background check, and detailed training. Teams meet weekly to keep things organized and creative. You can always see the staff bios and photos on the staff pages of our websites. The Wednesday before each week of camp, we share about the daily schedule and staffing and youth leader crew for upcoming week.
Thank you for checking in about camp! We hope to see you soon!