Camp FAQ

2023 CREA Summer Camp OPEN HOUSE

Meet our team, pick up your 2023 camp t-shirt early, see our Ecology Center, explore the surrounding trails, and ask any remaining questions you may have!

Friday – June 23rd | 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Please park at the Ecology Center parking area and walk down the dirt road (Rensenbrink Way) or take the Vernal Pool trail to the red Ecology Center building – we’ll be there to greet your family! 

What hours will camp run each day in 2023? 

           CIT Arrival: 8:30am

Camper Drop Off: 8:30am – 9:00am 

Camp Day: 9am – 3:45pm

Camper Pick Up: 3:45pm – 4:00pm 

CIT Pick Up: 3:45 – 4:00pm

What should my camper bring?

  • Back pack
  • Snack and lunch (due to our off-grid facility, refrigeration is not available)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Clothes that are good for active play and outside exploration (layers work well)
  • Extra change of clothing, including socks
  • Closed-toed shoes that are good for active play and exploration
  • Shoes that can get wet (rain boots, old sneakers, Crocs, etc.) No flip-flops please.
  • Hat & sunscreen (please apply at home prior to arrival)
  • Bug spray (optional)
  • Book (optional)
  • Medications, including inhalers or Epi-pens

How will I receive information about camp?

Since 2019, we have communicated with CREA camp families via text messages through the Remind App. This app allows you to receive up to the minute information about camp, Covid-19-related updates, pictures from the camp day, and changes in schedule for inclement weather days.

 Download the Remind App.

Once you have downloaded the app, search for our class:

CREA SUMMER CAMP 2023 or @creacamp23

We will also communicate via email to reduce our paper footprint at camp.

“We have been too many summer camps. Overnight even. We never really know what our daughter does at camp? That email and those pictures were awesome! Well done! No other camp does that.”

– 2019 Camper Parent

Can I register for camp online?

Yes! Registration for 2023 camp sessions will be through an online lottery system. A link to the lottery registration will be posted on our website as well as provided in the CREA E-Newsletter. Parents and guardians will complete a lottery form, listing the desired weeks (1 or 2) for their camper. Once spots have been allocated the Camp Director will contact families to complete their payment to secure their campers spots for the 2023 camp season.

The lottery has closed. We will be contacting families within the next few weeks with awarded sessions.

  • Lottery available – Monday, January 9th – Friday, January 20, 2023
  • Camper slots allocated – January 23 – 30th, 2023 
  • Registration communication begins – Wednesday – February 1st, 2023
  • Once families are contacted you will have 72 hours to complete your payment in full to secure your camps sessions.

When we receive your completed camp registration and payment, your family will receive a confirmation email. This email will include links to additional forms that must be completed and submitted prior to June 1, 2023.

During the day while my child is at camp, how can I reach camp staff?

We highly recommend emailing the Camp Director with any questions or concerns prior to the camp day. If you need to contact our staff during camp hours, please call (207) 331-3202 extension 4. The Camp Director will have access to this number during the camp day.

You can also message the Camp Director through the Remind App with a quick note – see details above.

The Camp Director plays an active role with groups during the camp day, so please leave a message if they do not answer right away. They will return your call as soon as they are able.

Can my child arrive late/ get picked up early from camp?

Please contact the Camp Director to talk about these specifics. We make an effort to accommodate parents’ needs whenever possible given the day’s activities. If you know in advance that your child needs to leave early for an appointment, we will work with you to find a time when we will be at the Ecology Center to make pickup easy and quick.  Families should not show up without notice and expect to find their child right away.  Groups are often hiking in the woods and it takes some time to bring them back to the Ecology Center.

Please note that the morning gathering and end-of-day closing time are key parts of the camp experience, particularly for coming together as a group. At “Morning Circle,” we discuss plans for the day, play group and name games. At “Closing Circle,” we debrief about the day, share suggestions and hopes for the next day, recognize individuals who made a special contribution during the day, and more. These rituals are key to your child’s camp experience and help her/him feel like part of the group.  Please try to ensure that your child misses as few of these as possible.

Departing early from camp on Fridays is not an option due to our tradition of adventuring to Clay Brook for mud wallowing!

What kinds of camp activities can my child expect at camp?

Science & Art & Nature, oh my! Campers will experience multiple hands-on science projects and creative nature-based art adventure related to the weekly theme. We fill the day with active group games and nature exploration. Campers are also given the opportunity to choose their preferred activity during afternoon “Choice Time”! 

Choice time activities include additional arts and camp craft projects, active games, naturalist hikes, exploring the Heath while blueberry & raspberry picking, fishing in the Cathance River, and more.

Adventure activities include: Hiking on the Cathance River Nature Preserve, scooping for invertebrates in the vernal pool, catching frogs, cooling off in the Cathance River, and exploring the mud bogs, just to name a few!

Campers will be introduced to some of the ongoing ecological research underway at CREA. Water Quality Monitoring at the river, Bat Detectors in the field, motion-sensor Wildlife Cameras in the forest, Turtle Traps in the pond.

6th – 8th Grade camper weeks will include longer hikes and more advanced science investigations.

Group games and camp songs are an integral part of our day. Our staff is dedicated to creating a welcoming atmosphere, and building confidence and friendships is always a major focus.

What is a typical day of camp like?

Each day varies based on the theme of the week and the weather of the day. But in general, you can expect the following schedule:

  • Camper & CIT Drop off 
  • Morning Circle & Games 
  • Snack
  • Science Activity
  • Art Activity
  • Lunch
  • CIT Leadership Hour (CIT’s only)
  • Nature & River Exploration
  • Choice time
  • Closing Circle 
  • Camper & CIT Pick up 

Can my child bring electronics to camp?

We unplug! We ask that electronic devices be left at home. Electronics are strictly forbidden at camp. CREA is not responsible for any lost or damaged items and to avoid this, please do not bring any to camp. If an electronic device is found with a camper, the Camp Director will place it in a locked area in the camp office for the remainder of the camp day until pick up.

Are there ticks?

Ticks are very abundant! We will have campers check themselves throughout the day for ticks. If a tick is found walking on a camper it will be brushed off, if a tick is found embedded on a camper’s body it will be safely removed by our team, and put into a plastic baggie. The tick will be sent home with the camper for the family to follow up with testing if they so choose. For more information on ticks in Maine and testing click HERE.

I’ve seen kids in these cool CREA t-shirts! Will my camper get one?

Each camper will be given one awesome camp t-shirt for the summer on their first week of camp! T-shirts are typically handed out on Wednesdays and campers are asked to wear them to camp on Fridays for our t-shirt yearbook and hike to Clay Brook.

What are Wilderness Wisdom Wednesdays?

Each Wednesday a speaker will join us at camp to share their field of expertise! Speakers will join each group for a discussion and engaging  activity.  2022 speakers included, Carrie – Growing to Give, Tom – Leave No Trace, Sarah – CREA Educator/Herpetology, Steve – Wildlife Biologist/Mammals, Carol – CREA Volunteer/Nature Sketching, and Emily – Wild Seed Project/Pollinators!

What is your cancellation policy?

Once your child is registered for camp, no refunds are available. If you alert us of your need to cancel prior to June 1, 2023 a credit will be issued for a 2024 camp session. If CREA has to cancel camp for any reason during the 2022 season, families will be granted a pro-rated or full credit depending on a partial or full week cancellation. 

Contact Camp Director Jenny Mueller, or (207) 331-3202 with questions.

How do you deal with challenging behaviors & discipline at camp?

Our mission is to provide rich, nature-based experiences that cultivate delight, curiosity, respect for diversity and a strong sense of collaboration and stewardship in youth. Our goal is to help all children who attend CREA Camp to be successful in our programs. Therefore, we reserve the right to remove any camper from camp for violent or inappropriate behavior that causes risk to the camper, others, or the environment.

Conduct While Attending Camp

We work to maintain an atmosphere of mutual caring, respect, and understanding at CREA. Proper participation and conduct by your child is expected and includes the following rules:

        • Respect others feelings and beliefs
        • Respect the Cathance River Nature Preserve’s natural environment, CREA Ecology Center facilities, and the personal property of others
        • Listen to the camp staff & stay with your group
        • No fighting or inappropriate language
        • Tell a counselor if someone/something is bothering or upsetting you
        • Clean up after yourself, pack-in/pack-out
        • Follow social distancing and masking protocols to ensure the health and safety of everyone at camp

Please discuss and reinforce these behavioral expectations with your child. The camp staff is trained to help children resolve conflicts and problems as they arise. However, if a child continually disrupts a program, or poses a safety risk to himself/herself or others, then a written behavioral notice or phone call will be sent home explaining the issue to be addressed. In the event that multiple behavior notices are sent home, then program supervisors reserve the right to suspend and/or dismiss the child from the program without reimbursement.

Discipline Policy

Inappropriate behavior of a few campers can have a dramatic impact on the experience of the entire group. Every camper has the right to an excellent camping experience in a safe and fun atmosphere. Discipline will be handled in the following manner, or as otherwise decided by the Camp Director in more serious cases.

First Offense– Verbal warning

Second Offense–  Camper/counselor/Camp Director meeting, family alerted of the situation

Third Offense– Written Documentation and a call to the family from the Camp Director. At this point the camp staff may ask you to pick up your child. 

After the third offense, for the camper to return to CREA Camp, a meeting with the family, camper and the Camp Director must take place before the child can return. If the camper returns to camp and a further offense occurs, the camper will be suspended from camp for the remainder of the summer. Before being allowed to return the following summer, the family must meet with the Camp Director. Please note that if the issue is severe, such as those involving physical violence, some steps may be skipped.