Summer Camp FAQs


What are the payment options?

Camps may be paid for in full by cash, check, or credit in person or by mail. Online registration requires a credit card.

A partial payment plan is available to Winnetka residents. With this option, $100 will be due at the time of registration with the remaining balance due on May 25. If paying via check, two checks are required at the time of registration: one for $100 and one for the remaining balance dated May 25.

Partial payment must be indicated on the registration form, is only available to Winnetka residents, and is not available with online registration. For additional payment plan options or scholarship opportunities, contact the Winnetka Park District administrative office at (847) 501-2040.

Are there any discounts available when registering?

Early registration: Discounts for early registration are available for select camps now through April 3. These camps include Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, and Adventure camp.

Multiple children: A 10 percent discount will be given to Winnetka residents that enroll two or more children from the same household in the full programs of Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, or Adventure Camp. This discount is only valid through May 1. It may be combined with the early registration discount, but is not valid with the select weeks scheduling option.

How do I cancel my enrollment? Will I receive a refund?

Refunds are issued in full, less a $10 service fee (per person), if the cancellation is made prior to May 25 at 12pm. After this date and through the third day of camp, a full refund less a 5 percent service charge (per person) will be granted. No refunds will be granted after the third day of camp.

Can I transfer to a different week or session after signing up?

We encourage you to register for camp after you have determined your summer schedule, however, we understand that things come up and schedules change. If you need to change the week(s) your child will be doing camp, we will accommodate the request as long as enrollment for the week(s) you are transferring to have room for more campers. The earlier you can notify us of your schedule change, the better.

Can my child be grouped with friends?

Campers may request one friend of the same age/in the same grade to be placed with in camp. Friend requests can be made by filling out a friendship request form at the Winnetka Park District administrative office by 12pm on May 25. Only reciprocal friend requests will be honored, and only one friend request per camper is allowed. Park District staff will make every attempt to honor friend requests, but cannot guarantee all friend requests will be fulfilled.

Can my child join his/her sibling or friend in a camp for older children?

As our camp structure and activities are designed specifically for each age level, we strongly discourage campers from enrolling in a camp outside of their age group. If your camper is concerned about not seeing friends who are in a different age group, remember that a big part of summer camp is meeting new friends and having new experiences.

What are the age/grade requirements?

The ages listed for each camp reflect the camper’s current age at the time of registration. The grade listed for each camp is the grade campers enter in the Fall of 2020.

Do your camps serve children with special needs?

Winnetka Park District is a partner with Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), and offers inclusion services to residents with special needs at no additional cost. Inclusion services may include, when necessary, staff training, camp modifications/adaptations, modified equipment and program observations to accommodate children with special needs.

If your child requires inclusion services, we strongly encourage you to sign up for camp as early as possible so that NSSRA can accommodate your request and the necessary inclusion services can be put in place prior to the start of camp. This process takes six weeks or more, so any requests received after April may not be accommodated. If you would like more information or have questions, please contact our Summer Camp Recreation Supervisor, Toby Ross, at

What extended care options are available?

Early drop off: This option is available as a supplement to Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, and Adventure Camp for an additional fee. Parents may drop off their child at any point during the early drop off time frame. Registration for early drop-off is accepted in-person, online, by mail, or fax. Additional details regarding specific drop off procedures will be provided prior to the start of camp with your parent manual. If you are interested in earlier drop off than what is listed with each camp, contact Toby Ross at or (847) 501-5071. Please note, that this is not a drop in program and requires advanced registration.

Late pick up: This option is available as a supplement to Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, and Middle School Madness, and is the perfect opportunity to extend your child’s enjoyable camp experience. Parents may pick up their child at any time between 3 and 6pm. If the day camp location is different from the late pick up location, park district staff will transport campers. Registration for after camp is accepted in-person, online, by mail, or fax. Please note that there must be a minimum of four campers enrolled or the program will be cancelled. This is not a drop in program and requires advanced registration.

What do the kids do during early drop off and late pick up?

Early drop off and late pick up activities vary depending on the camp and are more flexible time periods where campers can participate in different activities based on their interest. Activities may include playing on the playground, playing a group sport of their choosing, playing board games or cards, or doing crafts.

What if we can’t attend the entire summer?

With our select weeks scheduling option, you may register your child for select weeks that work with your summer schedule. This option is available for all camps, excluding Counselors in Training and Junior Counselors. Select week registration for Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness and Adventure camp is only accepted in-person at the Winnetka Park District administrative office. Early drop off and late pick up add-ons are also available for select weeks and can be added at the time of registration.


How do you deal with serious allergies at camp?

All parents whose child has a severe allergy must fill out the required form and submit it to us before camp starts so staff are aware of the allergies their campers have.

Our staff members are trained in how to recognize the signs of anaphylactic shock and administer an epi-pen if required. Campers with tree nut and other food allergies enjoy lunch and snacks at a nut-free table, supervised by a staff member. After eating, all tables are wiped down and children are asked to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water to ensure no potential allergens can be transferred through touching.

What level of medical care can you accommodate for my child?

If your child takes any oral medications throughout the day, please complete our Medical Dispensing Form and submit it us prior to the start of camp. If your child requires any medical care above and beyond oral medications or administering an epi-pen, please contact our Summer Camp Recreation Supervisor, Toby Ross, at so that he can evaluate your needs and determine if it is something we can safely and feasibly accommodate.

What is your camper to counselor ratio?

Our camper to staff ratio ranges from 5 to 1 through 8 to 1 (depending on camper’s age level), and all of our youthful and energetic staff are CPR certified. This ensures that counselors are able to provide the direction, encouragement, and positive and safe environment every camper needs to have the perfect summer.

What happens if my child gets hurt at camp?

Our staff does everything they can to keep campers safe and avoid injuries. Our camp staff are CPR certified and trained in basic first-aid. If it is a minor injury, such as a small scrape, staff will administer the proper care to the child and notify you of the injury during pick up. In the event of a more severe injury, staff will call 911, if needed, and notify you immediately.

What kind of training do your counselors receive?

All of our camp staff complete a comprehensive training program which covers a range of topics including supervision and leadership ideals, engaging and fun activities for children, and safety techniques. All of our staff are CPR certified, and all of our camps are staffed with individuals who have received first aid and epi-pen administration training.

How old are your counselors?

In general, camp directors are college students or older, and camp counselors range from juniors in high school through sophomores in college. All of our camp staff go through a rigorous interview process. If they meet our standards of excellence and are hired, they are required to complete our comprehensive training program and all counselors receive ongoing supervision from directors throughout the summer. Many of our camp staff were past campers with us, returning as counselors because they are passionate and dedicated to giving every young camper the same fun, safe, and memorable experience they had.

How do you know my child is going home with the right adult?

Camp staff will only allow children to leave with a parent or other individual authorized by the parent. If a person attempts to pick up your child without you first authorizing them to do so, staff will refuse to let your child leave with them.

Since my child will be outside most of the time, how do you ensure they are protected from the sun?

We ask that all parents apply sunscreen to their child before camp. If your child is old enough to correctly apply sunscreen themselves, you may send it with them. If not, our counselors will utilize spray-on sunscreen and will apply it to your child throughout the day as needed. We also encourage parents to send children to camp with hats and swim shirts to provide additional protection from the sun.

What happens on beach days? How do you ensure my child’s safety?

Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, and Adventure Camp have beach days every week. Our staff take the safety of your child very seriously. Camp staff are rigorously trained on strict procedures they must adhere to while at the beach. In addition, extra lifeguards are staffed at the beach on days when campers are present.

For our younger campers in Happiness Is and Almost Anything Goes, counselors will stand in the water along the shoreline to form a barrier that the children must remain inside of. Children are only allowed in knee deep water for Happiness Is and waist deep water for Almost Anything Goes.

Getting ready for camp

What are the pick-up and drop off procedures for day camp?

The pick-up and drop off procedures vary slightly for each camp and will be detailed in the manual sent out to parents prior to the start of camp. In general, this process is well organized and we make every effort to transfer children to and from the car as safely and quickly as possible. We do ask that all parents in the pick up or drop off line, remain in their cars and follow the flow of traffic to expedite the process. If your child needs assistance getting buckled in, our staff will gladly help.

What are the lunch options? What about snacks?

Lunch service: a lunch service is available for Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, and Adventure Camp. The weekly deadline to order is every Tuesday by noon for the following week. Click here to register for our camp lunch service, Marla’s Brown Bag Lunch, or view the lunch menu. If you have questions, please contact Marla at (312) 320-4049.

Bring your own lunch: If your child is staying at camp through lunch and you are not utilizing the lunch service, then your child should bring a lunch. On field trip days, lunch may be provided. Parents will be notified beforehand if that is the case. Depending on the camp, there may or may not be access to a refrigerator or microwave. For details, view the camp page on our website or call us at (847) 501-2040.

Snacks: Snacks are not provided. Your child should bring a water and snack each day to camp.

Allergies: As a courteous to other campers, we strongly encourage parents to avoid packing food that others are commonly allergic to (e.g. peanuts).

Is there anything I need to do before the first day of camp?

All parents will receive a manual approximately ten days before camp starts. This manual includes detailed drop off and pick up procedures, snacks and lunches, the camp schedule, inclement weather policies, and more important information.

In addition, the packet will include forms that need to be filled out and returned to camp staff no later than the first day of camp.

What should my child wear/bring to camp?

What your child should wear and bring will vary with the schedule for your camp. Prior to the start of camp, you will receive a parent’s manual which includes the daily activities that your child will be participating in (i.e., if they are going to the beach, to a theme park, having a sports day, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted in the camp schedule, all children should bring a lunch (or use our lunch service), snack, water, a change of clothes in case of accident, and wear shoes.

Who do I contact if there’s a change with our schedule and my child can’t make a day or I need to pick him up early?

If you have advance notice that your child will be leaving early or missing a day, we ask that you let your child’s counselor or camp director know via a written note as soon as you are able. If you don’t have advance notice due to illness or an emergency, please call your camp director at the phone number provided in your parent manual.

Can my child bring their cell phone?

We encourage all campers to leave their cell phones and other technological devices at home so they can enjoy the outdoors and socialize with others. If a child does bring a device to camp, it may not be used during camp without the director’s permission and must be kept in their backpack.

Will I have a chance to meet my child’s camp counselors?

We will be holding a parent night in June for Kiddie Camp, Happiness Is, Almost Anything Goes, Middle School Madness, and Adventure Camp. Although not mandatory, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about what your child will experience every day, ask questions, and meet the directors that will be caring for your child during camp.

What happens if it’s raining?

Camp happens rain or shine! If it is raining, then campers will remain indoors. Beach days and field trips may be impacted by weather. If this occurs, the Winnetka Park District utilizes a weather alert system that parents can sign up for to receive notifications of any adjustments made to the camp location or activity due to weather.

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