Frequently Asked Questions – ELM Nature Sanctuary Summer Camps
How can I be sure to get the camps I want?
Register as early as possible. You will receive a registration confirmation when we receive your completed form and payment through our online registration system. You can also register in person at our offices. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted. Our camp sessions typically sell out by early May.How can I find out which camps are available?
Check the camp listings at houstonaudubon.org. We will show the registration status of each camp on our website as follows: open, almost full, or sold out. You may also contact the Camp Director, Bethany Foshee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.Can I register my child for more than one camp session?
Yes. However, our Nature Explorers 1-5 sessions are nearly identical each week. So we recommend you register for our theme camp sessions in addition to one Nature Explorers session.How do I make sure my child and their buddy/sibling get in the same camp class?
Register as early as possible. On your child's form, list their "buddy." We will ensure your child is placed in the same group as their buddy, provided they are within the same age grouping. (The age groups are typically 5-6yrs, 6-7yrs, and 8-10yrs, with some flexibility depending on registration demographics.)Why do you only offer half-day camps?
In our experience, three hours is an appropriate time length for active, hands-on, outdoor camps. We also have limited facilities and therefore cannot offer lunch programs, before/after care, etc.Do you accept children with special needs in your camps?
Absolutely. All children deserve a chance to learn about the wonders of nature and the world around us. However, we maintain the requirements that 1) your child be able to attend camp without your supervision, and 2) be able to follow camp rules in a class setting that encourages socialization and independence. Lastly, your child should be able to respect the inherent risk of learning in an outdoor setting without the tangible barriers of four walls. Contact Camp Director, Bethany Foshee, to discuss your child's attendance further: 713-464-4900.
Getting to Camp
Where do I park and drop-off for camp?
Park in the Memorial Methodist Church lot at 12955 Memorial (map) each day, and walk your child to/from their camp teacher at the nature sanctuary entrance on the west side of the church lot (across from church playground).
How should my child dress for camp?
In comfortable clothes, suitable for the outdoors and for getting messy. For safety, we require closed-toe shoes. Campers should also be sprayed with insect repellant before you arrive at camp if they are sensitive to insect bites. (We also have insect repellant available at camp if needed.) Raincoats should be worn on rainy days. (Umbrellas are not allowed.)
Where does camp take place?
Camp classes meet at the Edith L Moore Cabin each day. Art projects and science activities take place on the cabin porches. Nature hikes, ecology games, and pond dip-netting take place on the sanctuary grounds. This is an active camp: 90% of the camp day is spent outdoors.
What do campers do on a typical camp day?
Our 5-10yr-old camps begin each morning inside the cabin for our morning lesson based on that day's theme. After our morning lesson all together, camp classes split up for craft time and science activities. We meet live animals each day of camp, make 1-2 crafts, and play one outdoor game. After our snack, we go on a nature hike and/or dip-net at the pond for aquatic animals. The camps are engaged and active, and time will fly by very quickly each day.
What are the qualifications of your teachers and assistants?
Our Camp Teachers all have BS or MS degrees and years of experience in environmental education. Our camp teachers include a school nurse, certified teachers, and professional naturalists. They all have years of experience developing and leading outdoor, hands-on, engaging science and art activities.
Our Junior Counselors (JCs) are middle and high school students who submit competitive applications for the opportunity to volunteer at our summer camp program. Junior Counselors with several years of experience and strong recommendations based on previous camp years are promoted to paid Senior Counselor status, and these Senior Counselors act as mentors for the younger JCs. Many of our JCs are former campers. Your child may apply to become a JC at 13 years-old.
How are campers supervised?
Campers are supervised at all times and are escorted on restroom breaks by their Camp Teacher or a Junior Counselor. For your child's safety, all campers must be escorted to and from their camp teacher by a parent/guardian each day, and must be checked-in and signed-out every day. You should verify your emergency contact information on the Monday morning check-in board for your camp session when you arrive.
May parents stay at camp?
No. Parents are not allowed to remain with their children during camp. If you feel that your child is unable to remain at camp without you, it may be best to wait a year before you send him/her to camp.
What are the behavior expectations for campers?
Camp Rules are introduced by the camp teachers on Monday morning and are emphasized throughout the week. In the event of a serious behavior problem, we will call you to pick up your child. At our discretion, your child may be allowed to return to camp the following day.
Whom can I contact during the day if I need to leave an emergency message concerning my child?
Please call the Houston Audubon Office at 713-932-1639 and a staff member will deliver your message to the camp director, Bethany Foshee.