Summer Camp FAQs


Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about summer day camp.

General Information
Hours of Camp

Health & Safety
Camp Counselors
Inclement Weather 
Medication Administration
Water Safety

Preparing for Camp
Items From Home
Sunscreen & Insect Repellant  

At Camp
Daily Activities
Field Trips
Lost & Found
Parent Visits
Sign In/Sign  


General Information

Location - Where is the camp located?
Irving Park Ymca is located at 4251 West Irving park rd Chicago, IL 60641  The entrance to Day Camp is on Kildare.

Hours of Camp - What time does camp start and end each day?
Regular Day Camp hours are from 9am to 4pm. Extended care hours run from 7am-9am and from 4pm-6pm. Please note that you may not drop your camper off after 9am or pick them up before 4pm.

Newsletter - How can I stay updated about upcoming camp activities at the YMCA?
Every Friday a newsletter/schedule for the following camp week will be handed out at the sign out table. Also dont forget to check out Summer Camp updates page!

Registration - How do I register for day camp?
Registration can be done at the Front desk starting March 5th. All paperwork must be received by June 1st. Your completed registration form along with a $25 deposit is required at the time of sign up for each week of camp you wish your child to participate in. Checks should be made payable to the Irving Park YMCA. Payments must be made at the front desk. Camp staff is not permitted to handle cash or assist you with payments. Your balance of the fee per week is due by WEDNESDAY the week prior to the session beginning. Any payment afterward will be assesed a  $25 late fee.  If payments are not made the Friday before the week of camp attendance your child's spot may be given to another camper on the waitlist. DEPOSIT AND CAMP FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. If you are interested in transferring a week you will need to let the Summer Camp Director know 3 weeks in advance in writing.  However be aware that the deposit is non refundable or non-transferable, therefore you will need to make another deposit for the week(s) requesting. If your child not attend a week of camp and fail to follow cancellation policy then you will be responsible for full payment of that week, and will not be permitted back into camp until payment is received.

Refunds - If I cancel a registered week of camp, will I be refunded?
All cancellations and week changes must be made in writing 3 week's prior. No refunds will be given without a 3 week’s notice. A $25 service fee will be charged if you request a credit card refund. You will also forfeit your $25.00 Deposit.

Health & Safety

Accreditation - Is YMCA camp accredited?
Yes, our camp is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). This is your assurance that our day camps are committed to the highest standards established for the camping industry. Accredited camps have their operations scrutinized and reviewed by camping professionals who know and value quality camping.

Camp Counselors - What are the qualifications of your camp counselors?
Our counselors are trained in over 40 hours of CPR, First Aid, child abuse prevention, emergency procedures, water safety, and our camp curriculum including songs and games that incorporate values and education. 90% of our counselors are over the age of 18 years and have completed at least one year of college. All Unit Leaders are 21 years of age or older with YMCA experience.

Illness/Injury - What happens if my camper is sick or gets hurt?
Parents will be notified by camp personnel if their child has not been feeling well for a period of time and does not seem to be getting any better. Moderate injuries will also be communicated to the parent once proper first aid has taken place. In the case of a severe injury needing professional medical attention, the parent or guardian will be contacted immediately.

Inclement Weather - What is the procedure for bad weather?
In the event of thunder and lightening or other severe weather, campers will be brought indoors and into safety. Rainy day field trip ideas will be considered for those camp days with a scheduled outdoor field trip.

Medication Administration - What is the procedure for when my child needs to take prescribed medication while at camp?
Parents/Guardians must have a signed medication authorization form on file for day camp staff to administer medication. The Authorization to Administer Medication form can be obtained during registration and a copy is placed in the parent packet you receive upon registration. You can also ask any camp director for a copy during the summer. Medication MUST come in the original pharmacy container. It must list clearly the camper’s name, the doctor’s name, the name of the medication, the correct daily dosage, and the correct time of the day the medication is to be administered. Please indicate whether the medication needs to be taken with or without food and/or water.

Ratios - What is the counselor to camper ratio?
The ACA guidelines for counselors to camper ratios are as follows: 1:8 (6 to 8 years of age), 1:10 (9 to 14 years of age)

Water Safety - Does my camper need to know how to swim?
All campers will be participating in swim lessons. Campers are tested to determine swim ability and if they will be allowed to utilize the deep end of the pool. All lifeguards, both at the pool and at all water parks are certified.


Preparing for Camp

Clothing - What sort of clothes should my camper bring?
All campers are required to wear closed toed sneakers only to camp. Flip flops are only permitted on water park field trip days. Campers are also required to wear their Day Camp Tshirts on Field Trip Days. 

Items From Home - May campers bring toys and similar items from home to camp?
Children are not allowed to bring possessions from home (i.e. cell phones, iPods, toys, Gameboys, PSP, action figures, dolls, trading cards, etc). The YMCA is not responsible for any item that is broken, lost, or stolen during camp.

Lunch/Snacks - Does my camper need to bring lunch/snacks to camp?
Each child needs to bring a lunch and a beverage every day. Lunches cannot be stored in a refrigerator, so please pack food that will not spoil easily. Freezing juice boxes the night before and using ice packs for children’s lunch is suggested. Please pack a water bottle every day and 2 healthy snacks for morning and afternoon snack time.

Orientation - Is there an orientation?
 Mandatory Parent Orientation for all day camps is on Friday June 21st at 6:30 pm. This is an informational meeting in regards to the summer camp program, activities, policies, and procedures. Parents and their children will get a chance to meet their counselors ahead of time, as well as ask questions. Kiddie kamp Orientation is on Thursday June 20th at 6:30pm. 

Sunscreen & Insect Repellant - What additional items should my camper bring each day?
Campers should keep insect repellant and sunscreen for everyday use. Your child will not be permitted to come to camp without sunscreen! For insect repellant, we suggest a lotion or roll-on brand.  Please apply sunscreen to your child before coming to camp each day. Throughout the day, your child will have frequent opportunities to reapply sunscreen.  Please look at for SPF enhanced clothing for those who may be prone to sunburn.  Also, campers should bring a bag lunch, swimsuit, towel, water bottle, and extra change of clothing.


At Camp

Absences - What should I do if my camper will be absent or late?
Please leave a message for the Camp Director at (773) 326-2627.

Daily Activities - What is a typical day like at camp?
You will be given a complete schedule with weekly themes and activities along with a field trip list for the entire summer during orientation.

Field Trips - Does the camp offer field trips as an activity?
Campers will experience a variety of field trips throughout the summer. These field trips vary from museums, forest preserves, and nature education, and water parks. All Field Trips are scheduled for Wednesdays.  Fridays campers will be at the Caldwell Woods forest preserve for that traditional camping experience.

Groups - Will my camper be placed in a group with other campers of the same age?
Campers are assigned to groups according to age. 3-5 years (kiddie kamp), 5 years all day camp (Explorers Camp), 6 (Adventures Camp) 7-8 years (Junior Discover), 9-11 years (Discovery), and 12-15 years, (Teen Camp).

Lost & Found - What if my camper loses an item while at camp?
To minimize the chance of misplaced clothing and other items, PLEASE LABEL ALL CLOTHING AND OTHER PROPERTY CLEARLY.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST OR MISSING ITEMS. There will be a lost and found container at the sign out table. There is also a lost and found at the YMCA’s front desk.

Parent Visits - Are parents allowed to visit our children while they are at camp?
The YMCA has an open door policy for the parents or guardians of all campers.  Please first speak directly with a camp director to let them know you are visiting.  Parents are invited and encouraged to visit the program sites at any time, but must take care to no interfere with or disrupt the on-going activities.

Sign In/Sign Out - What is the procedure for campers checking in and out of camp?
ALL campers MUST be signed in and out DAILY by a parent/ adult guardian or authorized person. All authorized persons will be asked to show a photo ID everyday. If the person wishing to pick up a camper is not on the authorized pick up list we will not release your child to them without written and verbal consent from you the parent.