Common Ground campers will come home happy, dirty, and tired, full of stories of adventure and discovery.

Summer Camp
Each day is spent making friends and learning about how all things are connected, from the food we eat to the air we breathe, throughout the farm, the forest, and the city.
Summer Camp
Common Ground camps emphasize children’s connection to nature, as well as the spirit of summer time fun – mud, frogs, sprinklers, and sun.
Summer Camp
Common Ground campers explore and play, growing in independence and discovery in a safe and educational environment.
Registration for Summer 2014 is open!
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Summer 2014 Camp Options
Sprouts Camp: ages 4 – 5

Our youngest campers will spend the week seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and exploring the farm as we learn about where our food comes from. We’ll learn to hold a baby chicken, bring food scraps to the piglets, and pick sweet peas in the garden. Sprouts campers will also go on short hikes in West Rock Park, wade in the stream and chase minnows, picnic under shady trees, make farm and nature crafts, and learn silly farm songs.

Special themed days might include a daytime camping adventure with a campfire, marshmallow roasting, fort building, and time for creative play in Common Ground’s cabins in the woods and a Garden Tea Party Day with snacks made by campers with fresh foods from the farm.

Specific activities follow the cycles of farm and forest, and each week is a unique adventure, so Sprouts campers may be signed up for any number and combination of sessions. Our Sprouts Camp teachers are professionals who have lots of experience with early childhood education and lots of enthusiasm for outdoor play and exploration. Our four teachers are joined by one college-aged intern, four high school student counselors, and four junior counselors, so we have lots of hands available to help our youngest campers navigate the farm and forest.

Choosing Sprouts vs Eco-Explorers Camp: Sprouts Camp has a slightly lower child to staff ratio than Eco-Explorers Camp. It is based out of our farmhouse, meaning that Sprouts Campers do not share bathrooms or hallways with older campers. Sprouts Camp will have a combination of active, energetic activities and plenty of built-in quieter periods to the day. It might be the best choice for 4 and 5 year olds who have never attended a summer camp before or who are shy about warming up to new situations.
Eco-Explorers Camp: ages 5-8 (grouped by age: 5 – 6 and 7 – 8)

Creative play and active exploration are the starting point for each week of Eco-Explorers Camp. Fort building, nature arts, wading in the stream, and caring for farm animals are typical weekly activities. Special themed days will follow seasonal events of the farm and forest and can include making snacks from the garden, hiking in West Rock and climbing through Judge’s Cave, seeking and learning about bugs, following wildlife signs in the woods, or a day full of chicken themed activities!

Eco-Explorers Campers will spend most of their time in small groups so that children really get a chance to explore and experience hands-on activities and engage all of their senses in summer on the farm!

Our Eco-Explorers teachers are professionals who have lots of experience with early childhood education and lots of enthusiasm for outdoor play and exploration. Teachers are joined by one college-aged intern, three high school student counselors, and three junior counselors, so we have lots of helpers available to read stories, make art projects, tie shoes, fill water bottles, or hold hands on a hike!

 

 

Ecology Camp: ages 6-12 (grouped by age)

Explore the farm and forest in Ecology Camp! Campers will pick juicy strawberries from the garden, hunt for box turtles in the forest, build a fort from sticks and leaves, help feed and care for our family of farm animals, go on hikes throughout West Rock Park, and enjoy a summer’s worth of adventures, stories, and memories. Most days include free time to play and explore on the farm and in the forest, lesson and activity time focused on science, farm, and nature themes, and special, choose-your-own-activity sessions including cooking from the farm, nature exploration, farm animal care, science investigations, natural arts, music, and more!

Ecology Campers also go one one or two off-site field trips during their three week session. Trips might include exploration of other area parks, a visit to a science or nature center, canoeing, or learning about the night sky. Parents will receive a detailed trip letter at the start of the camp session.

Note: this is our only 3-week camp (all other camps are one week per session). It is ok if your child misses some days of camp, but we cannot pro-rate or split the 3-week sessions.

Choosing Ecology Camp vs. Eco-Explorers, Cooking, Animal Adventures, or West Rock Rangers Camps:

Many children do one session of Ecology Camp and one or more sessions of the week-long camps and enjoy the different structure that each provides. Some families/children may specifically prefer the many choices and many new faces of Ecology Camp OR the smaller group setting with more structure and fewer choices in each of the week-long camps. Ecology Camp is our oldest and longest running camp. It is great for kids who want to do a bit of everything. The structure of a typical Ecology Camp day allows campers to make lots of choices – twice each day, campers sign-up for the activity of their choice (anything from hiking to cooking to animal care to games and more!). This means that campers meet lots of staff and children as they move through the activity groups of their choice. Ecology Campers are assigned to counselor groups of 2 staff and 12 campers who they get to know well over their 3-week session, and they may interact daily with any of the 18 staff and 108 campers enrolled in Ecology Camp.

Campers in each of the one-week long camps interact primarily with the smaller group of staff and campers who are part of their specific camp (usually about 24 children and 4 staff per camp). The one-week camps provide fewer choices about daily activities and a smaller, more consistent home-group. Please contact our camp director if you have any additional questions.

Animal Adventures Camp: ages 7 – 9
Just for animal lovers, young naturalists, and aspiring zoologists and wildlife biologists who want to learn to care for and conserve animals of all sorts! Learn about domestic and wild animals as we use the farm and forest to get up close and personal with the animals we share the earth with.
On the farm, help with chores, adopt a chicken, and learn about all the ways that humans depend on farm animals for products we use every day. In the forest, seek salamanders, track animal signs in the woods, and learn about how you can help and protect wildlife in your own neighborhood. Each session will include a visiting presenter who will share a special creature or two with our animal loving campers!
Animal Adventures Campers will also go on hikes, play games, nibble in the garden, and learn silly songs! Activities vary each week, so children may do one or more weeks of Animal Adventures Camp.
Farm to Feast Cooking Camp: ages 8 – 10

Get ready to use farm fresh foods to cook up daily feasts! Build your own pizza from scratch, create your own salsa recipe, and collect fresh eggs from the chicken coop to cook a hearty farm breakfast. Campers harvest fresh ingredients from the farm and garden and shop at our local farmer’s market to gather the basic ingredients for each day’s culinary adventures. Each week includes a special themed day – campfire cooking, homemade ice cream and desserts from the farm, edible food art and more!

Our goal in Cooking Camp is to have lots of fun while introducing campers to cooking and eating food right from the farm. All campers will harvest from the farm, chop, measure, mix, and prepare food, follow recipes, and try new foods over the course of their week. They will also visit the farm animals, play games, make new friends, go on hikes and adventures in the forest, and enjoy music and art projects. Cooking Camp is for boys and girls, and our Cooking Camp staff reflect the diversity of our campers – good food is for everyone!

West Rock Rangers: ages 11-13

In each adventure-filled week, Rangers campers will make new friends and favorite memories as they hike and explore West Rock, conquer the Big Rock Challenge, learn to build and cook over a campfire, use maps to hunt for hidden treasure, visit the farm animals, help with animal and garden care, play games, get wet in Wintergreen Brook, eat a picnic lunch in the woods, create a giant fort, and harvest and cook with food from the farm! Rangers have a special spot as the oldest kids on campus – children who have come to Common Ground for many years can look forward to Rangers as a special way to end their years as campers, and children who are new to Common Ground will find that Rangers camp is a great way to jump into a small group of new friends!

Rangers campers help shape their weekly activities through conversations with their teachers about what they are most excited to learn and explore. Teachers develop each week’s schedule based on what the campers are excited to do! Every week is a new adventure, so Rangers can join us for any number and combination of weeks.

Junior Counselors: ages 13 and up

Our Junior Counselors are enthusiastic, energetic volunteers who learn about responsibility and working on a team as they partner with camp counselors and camp teachers to lead activities, play games, and participate in all aspects of camp. Most JC’s are 13 and 14 years old, but we are happy to have older applicants who love children and nature. Junior Counselors must have attended Common Ground for a minimum of one summer or one academic year of after school programs before joining us a Junior Counselor.

Training and supervision are part of the JC program, however we ask that JC’s have the motivation and maturity to participate as role models for campers ages 4 – 8 years old. All Junior Counselors will receive a camp staff t-shirt, water bottle, and Common Ground camp sweatshirt!

Junior Counselors may be registered for whatever weeks best fit your family schedule – we understand that family summer plans can be complicated! If possible, it is strongly recommended that JC’s participate for a minimum of two weeks, with a preference for three weeks.  This allows them to learn the routines of camp and truly be a part of their staff team. In addition, all Junior Counselors MUST attend an orientation day (date TBD, but it will be the week of June 30 – July 3).

Morning Care and Extended Day

Any camper may be enrolled in morning care and/or extended day, offered daily from 7:30 – 8:30 AM ($10) and 3:00 – 5:30 PM ($15). Parents may choose their dates and register for any number and combination of days. Extended day is supervised recreational time with activity choices including outdoor play (including garden and animal time in the afternoons), crafts, and quiet indoor games and activities. Morning Care and Extended Day registrations must be made and paid for by June 30 to receive the $10/$15 per day price. Registrations added after June 30 will be billed at $15 per day for Morning Care and $20 per day for Extended Day.

Age requirements

Minimum age: Campers must turn the minimum age for a camp within 60 days of the start of the camp session.

Maximum age: We can usually make age exceptions to the upper age limit of most camps based on a discussion with the parent. Please call (203) 389-4333 x 1213 if you would like to ask about making an age exception.

Due Dates for Payments and Forms

For summer 2014, due dates are as follows:
The minimum deposit to hold a camper’s spot is $75 per session, due at the time of registration if paying by credit card or e-check, or within 3 business days if you will be mailing in or dropping off a check, money order, or cash.

June 16, 2014: full camp balance and doctor’s physical are due.
New registrations on or after June 16: full payment due at time of registration unless a payment plan is set-up with camp staff. Please ask if you would like a payment plan option.

Cancellations and Refunds

All cancellations are subject to a $75 administrative fee for each camp session (this is your non-refundable deposit).
Cancellations BEFORE June 16 will receive a full refund (minus the deposit).
Cancellations after June 16, but at least 2 weeks before the start of your camp session will receive a 50% refund.
Cancellations within two weeks of the start of your camp session will not receive a refund.