Camp Frequently Asked Questions

/Camp Frequently Asked Questions
Camp Frequently Asked Questions 2023-12-21T16:17:07-05:00

Updated January 2024

Essential Information

Location: 358 Springside Ave, New Haven, CT
Phone: (203) 389-4333 ext 1213
Drop off time: 8:30 – 9:00 Pick-up time: 2:45 – 3:00
Latest pick-up time from extended day: 5:30
Due date for payments and doctor’s physicals: May 31, 2024

Important Camp Links
Financial Aid Application
Typical Day at Camp
Medical Form
Behavior Policy
Refund Policy
A Letter to Parents
Who is eligible to enroll?
  • Children ages 4 – 14 may be enrolled in camp. Sprouts campers must be 4 by their first day of camp order to be eligible. 
  • Children ages 14+ may be enrolled as Junior Counselors. JC’s are wonderful helpers in our groups for younger children! Please be sure to read the JC program description to see if this role is a good fit for your child.
Schedule and Prices

See the CAMP HOME PAGE for session dates and prices

Is lunch or transportation provided?

We do not provide lunch or transportation

Where is the camp located?

Our address is 358 Springside Avenue in New Haven. 

How soon do I need to register?

Registration is available until all spaces are filled. We are usually full within a few days of opening registration, and in recent years we have filled the same day that registration opens. There is no cost and no obligation to joining the waiting list if a session you are interested in is full. Registration will open for returning families on Feb 28, 2024 and for new families on March 1, 2024. A returning family includes any family who has registered a child for a drop-off program at Common Ground since Summer 2019.

See the CAMP HOME PAGE for the online registration link when it is posted.

Is Financial Aid Available?
  • Financial aid is available to qualified applicants from any town. Apply online HERE. The application deadline for priority consideration for financial aid is February 16, 2024.
  • A non-refundable deposit of 20% of camp fees is required at the time of registration.
  • A payment plan option is available for the balance, with payment in full due by May 31, 2024.
What does a typical day look like?

Over the course of their 2-week session, camp groups will enjoy time in all of our activity areas as well as hikes and adventures in West Rock Park and time for unstructured free play time. 

Activity areas include:

  • Woodshop
  • Wetland
  • Honey bees
  • Children’s garden
  • Mud kitchen and sandbox
  • Field games
  • Fort building
  • Campfire cooking
  • Chickens, ducks, and turkeys
  • Sheep and goats

See a typical day schedule HERE!

How does extended day work?

Extended day is supervised recreational time with activity choices including outdoor play (including garden and animal time), field games, and an activity tent with art supplies and games.

Day-by-day scheduling may be available on a space-available basis. Single day slots are opened at the beginning of each session if space remains and are $30 per child, per day.

We do NOT have a nurse on campus during extended day, but extended day staff are trained in first aid and CPR as well as any needed emergency medication administration procedures.

You may pick-up anytime from 3 – 5:30. Tuition is $230 per 2-week session. Refunds or credits are not available for days not attended.

Is it fully outside?

We will be *almost* fully outside. We prioritize outdoor activities and each group has an air conditioned classroom they can use for cool down breaks on especially hot days, and as an activity space during thunderstorms.

What do you do in very hot or very rainy weather?
  • Campers should come prepared for the weather. We will be outside in any weather as long as it is safe (including rain). Campers usually love rainy days – it is not so hot, and they are allowed to get all wet!
  • During thunderstorms, campers will be indoors in their assigned classrooms. 
  • When it is very hot we take frequent water breaks and make sure that all campers have a filled water bottle. We also turn on the sprinklers for campers (and staff!) who want to cool off in the water. We may also take short indoor breaks to cool off in the air conditioning on exceptionally hot days, but will not spend all or most of a day indoors.
Who are the staff?

One of the strengths of Common Ground Camp is our amazing staff team! Our camps are staffed by teachers, assistant teachers, counselors, and junior counselors.

Our teachers are professionals who have significant experience with children and lots of enthusiasm for outdoor play and exploration. Our teachers represent a diverse range of ages and backgrounds, and they all share a love of child-centered adventure and learning. 

Assistant teachers are often folks who are exploring the possibility of a career in teaching or environmental education. The assistant teacher helps with activities and may lead their own activity with the mentoring of one of the teachers. 

Counselors are high school students who have earned a job working in camp by volunteering with children’s programs during the school year and/or by being an amazing Junior Counselor or counselor in a previous summer. Many of our counselors are Common Ground High School Students. Counselors assist teachers with activities, sing songs, play games, help make sure that hands are washed and water bottles are filled, and bring lots of fun to each camp day. They are learning about child development and are not primarily in charge of leading activities, guiding behavior, or caring for first aid needs (the camp teachers are responsible for these roles).

Junior counselors are our hard working volunteers! They are former campers, ages 14 and up, who love working with young children and may be interested in earning a counselor position in the future. They primarily help in camps for ages 4 – 10. Junior counselors are great friends – they read stories, tie shoes, fill water bottles, and hold hands on challenging hikes!

How big are the camp groups?

Each group has 24 campers with 4 staff. Some groups are also joined by Junior Counselor volunteers who are ages 14 and up.

Refund policy

If you register and then cancel for any reason up until May 31, 2024 you will receive a refund of 80%, and the remaining 20% is not refundable. Starting June 1, 2024 through two weeks before the start of your camper’s session we will issue an 80% refund for cancellations IF we are able to fill your camper’s spot before the start of the camp session you are canceling. Cancellations with notice of two weeks or less are not eligible for a refund.

No refund will be issued for missed days of camp.

My child has an inhaler or epipen. What documentation do you need for camp?

We need an Authorization for Administration of Emergency Medication Form that is signed by the parent and the child’s doctor. Medication must be in its original container, in a clear plastic bag with the camper’s name on the outside. It is most likely the same paperwork and packaging that you are required to do for your child’s school.

My child has a medical, emotional, behavioral, or developmental need that is different from typical peers. Will Common Ground Camp be a good fit?

We welcome children with many different kinds of needs. All children with a need that requires support beyond what is typical for a child of their age have a Special Care Plan that is developed in collaboration with the parent and is shared with our nurse and your child’s camp teachers so that we can have a shared plan to help your child have fun and be safe. Our groups have one staff person for every 6 campers. Our planned staffing accounts for children being able to share attention and direction from staff according to that ratio. Campers are safest when they are able to stay within physical space boundaries in a large, unfenced campus (with age appropriate orientation and supervision around boundaries given to all children). Campers are happiest when they enjoy a mix of structured and unstructured time, as each camp day includes time for free play and child choice as well as times that campers are asked to join their groups planned activities. Please contact us at if you would like to discuss your child’s needs.

What are your food policies? Is camp nut-free?

Please send a lunch each day for your camper and use an insulated lunch bag and an icepack if your child’s lunch needs to be kept cold (refrigeration is not available).

You may pack any foods you wish in your child’s lunch – we do not restrict any specific foods. If your child has a food allergy that could be triggered by being in the presence of a specific food, please contact us so we can discuss how to best provide for your child. 

We have many children with food allergies and take their safety seriously! We do not believe it is enforceable to truly have a “nut free” campus, for nuts or other common allergens. We practice allergy awareness and good surface and hand hygiene as one of several strategies for keeping all kids safe.

Do you provide snack?

Snack is not provided. Packing one or two small snack options in addition to lunch is helpful so that your camper has the option for a quick snack if needed before or after lunch. Campers who are staying for afternoon extended day will need a snack, too, so please send an additional item in your child’s bag if they will be staying past 3 PM. Sprouts Campers always need a snack – a pause for an afternoon snack from home is built into the Sprouts Camp day.

What does my child need to bring to camp?
  • Backpack (with camper’s NAME on the OUTSIDE is helpful!). We often take our lunches with us on the trail, so a backpack your child can comfortably carry is important. 
  • A full water bottle (32 oz size is highly recommended) with your child’s name on it. You may use the provided camp water bottle (we will label it with their name and group!) or a different water bottle if preferred.
    • Packed lunch, in an insulated bag if necessary. Lunches are not refrigerated.
    • A small snack or two that your camper is welcome to eat before or after lunch if they are hungry
    • a change of clothes in a plastic bag (in case of serious messes or uncomfortable wet clothes)
  • Wearing sneakers, boots, or closed toes sandals (no flip flops or slides/open backed shoes)
  • Dressed for mess and for the weather
  • Long-lasting bug-spray and sunscreen applied (optional)
Do you have a policy on electronics or other items from home?
Please do NOT send your child with:

A cell phone or smart watch. We regularly contact families about camper needs and find that campers who are texting their parent rather than expressing their needs to staff have lower success in actually having their needs cared for.

Any other form of electronics (tablets, hand held gaming devices, cameras, etc)

Whittling knives, matches, lighters, or other “outdoor equipment”. We provide these things if they are part of an activity!

Sports equipment of any kind. We have limited places where it is appropriate to use bats, balls, gloves, etc and we will provide this equipment when needed.