Frequently Asked Questions

Data and guidelines around COVID-19 continue to change daily, requiring us to be agile and adaptive in our planning. All of our camps will be offered in person. Vaccinations will not be required for all camp staff and campers, per the most recent Oak Park Public Health Department information. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and the latest guidance from federal, state and local health officials.

Who can go to base camp?

BASE Camp is open to any 1st-8th grade (as of Fall 2022) elementary or middle-school student from any school, public or private, in Oak Park, River Forest, Galewood, Forest Park, Berwyn, Riverside, Chicago, and beyond! Have your grandchild or other relations visiting from out of town? They are also welcome to join us at camp!


Do I register my child based on their grade this year or next year?

As with most camps, you should register your child based on their grade level the next fall. So a child who will enter second grade the fall after camp would register as a second grader.

Who teaches at Base camp?

We have a blend of beloved D97 teachers and partnerships with expert community members who bring passion for their subjects to the camps. They are supported by mature and fun high school and college-age youth counselors. All BASE Camp staff have cleared background checks to ensure a safe, positive environment for kids.


My Child has an IEP and receives classroom supports; can they participate in base camp?

BASE Camp strives to be an inclusive environment for all children in our community. While we staff our camps with certified teachers along with certified teaching assistants and a social worker, we cannot guarantee the assistance of a one-on-one aide. We do our very best to ensure it is a positive experience for all campers, and we encourage you to contact us at to discuss any questions or concerns about whether BASE Camp is right for your child. When registering for camp, please share information in our camper form (accommodations) about your camper’s learning, physical, emotional and/or behavioral needs. This will help us to make BASE Camp a great experience for your child.


What is your food policy at camp?

BASE Camp is nut-free. All families are notified in advance of camp to send only nut-free foods (that do not need refrigeration) for the safety of our kids at camp with severe nut allergies. Teachers will not provide any food to campers unless food is already a stated part of the camp program, or unless you receive advance notice by email. If food is part of a camp, accommodations can be arranged in case of an allergy. You may of course send a substitute food if your child is not able to eat the food to be provided.

Campers who are registered for both a morning and afternoon camp will eat lunch and enjoy a supervised, unstructured recess during the midday break (an hour for elementary campers; 45 minutes for grades 7-8).

At this time, we are not expecting to offer/sell boxed lunches. Detailed lunch and snack procedures will be finalized closer to the start of camp.


How are your prices determined?

Several factors are involved:

  • Our staffing costs are higher than most summer camps. We are committed to hiring experienced (often certified) teachers, and we pay them a stipend comparable to what they would earn if teaching summer school for the school district. We also offer our enthusiastic Youth Counselors a competitive hourly rate.
  • We have continued to expand our scholarship offerings to a larger number of families, given the new financial hardships many families in our community are facing.
  • We rely on revenue raised by BASE Camp to support our free in-school and after-school enrichment programs in all D97 schools.


What is the cancellation policy for Base Camp?

Refunds, less a $25 fee per camper per session, must be requested no less than 14 days before the first day of registered camp sessions. No refunds will be issued after that date. Contact us at to cancel a camp registration. In the unlikely event that we cancel a BASE camp session, we will issue a refund or offer a spot in another session.


Are their scholarships available for Base Camp?

We offer both full and partial scholarships. Families who live in Oak Park, attend D97 schools, and qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for full scholarships. Partial scholarships are also available to other families who need extra support to afford summer camp. Please visit this page for more information or contact us if you have questions.


If the camp is full, should we sign up for the waitlist?

If a camp you are interested in is full, you may add yourself to the wait list through our registration system. Should an opening become available, BASE Camp staff will contact the names on the wait list in the order received. If your name is next up, you will be contacted by email right away and offered the open spot with no obligation to take it. You will have 48 hours to reply before the next name on the wait list is contacted. While we do not have an online way to share your place on the wait list, feel free to contact us at any time for a status update. Openings to the list are, as you might guess, difficult to predict!

For questions, please contact Tara Oetting, Program Director at

How will you handle drop off and pickup this year?

As in past years, teachers and youth counselors will spread out on the playground/blacktop outside with signs about 10 to 15 minutes before camp starts and again right after camp ends. Parents/campers will check in outside with either the teachers or youth counselors as soon as they arrive. Late arrivals should be escorted to the camp office, typically at the front of the school.

Are you offering extended camp for working families this year, and how will this work?

We will offer extended hours for an additional fee. Early drop off will be available from 8 to 9 am, and extended camp runs from 3 to 6 pm. Extended camp features a mix of structured activities and games and unstructured play.  Whenever possible, extended camp will take place outdoors.

If the camp is full, should we sign up for the waitlist?

YES! As people’s plans for the summer change, we often find we have space in previously full camps. We also might open up new spots or sections of popular camps depending on demand.

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