Go to Camp FAQ
Q: How old does my child need to be to attend camp?
The grade level listed for each summer camp refers to the grade a camper will enter in fall 2014. For spring break camp, the grade level listed refers to the camper's current grade. Activities are planned for specific grades, and campers will benefit from being with their own grade level. Please note: children must be a minimum age of 6 and a maximum age of 18 to attend 2nd–12th grade camps.
Q: How do we get to camp?
Transportation is provided from Portland for 2nd–12th grade camps and is an important part of the getting-acquainted process. In most cases, buses leave OMSI at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and arrive back to OMSI at 5p.m. on Friday. Programs that differ from these departure and arrival times will be noted in the confirmation packet. If necessary, parents can drop their children off at camp or meet the bus at designated places en route by making arrangements in advance. Your confirmation packet will contain an alternate transportation form that must be completed and faxed to Program Sales and Registration prior to camp (fax: 503-239-7800). For family and adult camps, you will be responsible for providing your own transportation to camp.
Q: How is your staff screened?
OMSI Science Camps are accredited by the American Camp Association. All staff go through an extensive interview and reference check process. Criminal background checks are performed on every employee and volunteer, which includes a review of the national sex offenders registry and a fingerprint check against the national database and the databases of seven western states.
Q: How are your instructors trained?
All of our instructors have a minimum of 48 hours of program-specific training. They also have 80 hours of Wilderness First Responder training and certification, possess lifeguard certification, and commercial driver licenses with passenger endorsements.
Q: What is your staff to student ratio?
We adhere to a 1:7 staff to student ratio at camp.
Q: Do you have insurance?
A limited health insurance policy covering all participants is provided by OMSI and is included in the total cost of the program.
What about meals?
Food is provided for all OMSI camps. Professional cooks and kitchen staff design and set menus that support nutrition and health. Vegetarian options are always available, and special dietary concerns, such as lactose intolerance or food allergies, are accommodated with advance notice. OMSI staff is not responsible for campers’ dietary choices while at camp. On occasion, participants will provide and prepare their own meals as they relate to specific program activities.
Q: What does a sample day look like at OMSI camp?
For residential camps, our days typically follow this schedule:
6:30 a.m. Optional morning walk
7:00 a.m. General camp wake-up
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Field activities
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the field
2:00 p.m. Rest and relaxation
3:30 p.m. Interest groups
5:00 p.m. Recreation and free time
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:15 p.m. Evening activity
8:30 p.m. Campfire
9:15 p.m. Return to cabins/prepare for bed
9:30 p.m. Lights out
Q: What does a sample packing list look like for OMSI camp?
Our packing lists vary by site, age group and program, but here is an example of the typical items you will need to bring:
Raincoat and rain pants or poncho
Boots or tennis shoes (well-fitting, broken-in and waterproof)
Synthetic or wool socks
Daypack to carry lunch and field gear
Two water bottles
Sunscreen and lip balm
Sack lunch for the first day
Field guides (birds, insects, rocks and minerals, etc.)
Q: Can students receive school credit for attending an OMSI science camp?
OMSI’s camps are designed to be highly educational, as well as active and fun. We will provide a certificate for successful completion of the science camp program that lists the number of hours of instruction provided. This letter can be submitted to the camper’s school, along with the course syllabus from the confirmation packet, to request school credit. Please check with your school regarding their credit policy.
Q: Can I call and/or write my child at camp?
We ask that you do not call your child at camp, nor encourage him or her to call you. This often increases homesickness. In most cases, our counselors are able to interest the child in the exciting activities at camp and the homesickness disappears. You can send mail to most camps, however, it is wise to mail it the day before your child leaves home to ensure it arrives during the camp week. Camp addresses will be included in your confirmation packet. Mail with a return address and first class postage that arrives after the child has left will be returned. Please do not mail money or snacks. Campers in San Juan Islands, in the Redwoods, and on traveling programs are not able to receive mail.
Q: What if my child left something at camp?
Lost and found items with names and phone numbers will be held at OMSI for two weeks following each camp. Please label all gear with participant’s name and phone number. Please call 503.797.4545 immediately after camp to arrange for their return. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity after two weeks. We are not responsible for lost or stolen property.
Q: What if my child is not feeling well before leaving for camp?
If your child is ill please do not send them to camp. Please call the registration office at 503.797.4661 to let them know your child will not be participating.
Q: My child requires injections, can your staff help with that?
Generally, OMSI staff are not trained to administer injections or other medical procedures. OMSI policy is to allow individual staff to voluntarily act under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 and administer requested injections or other medical procedures, should they individually choose to do so on a case-by-case-basis. Instructions as to requested injections or medical procedures must be provided by the physician. Please notify the registration office if you would like to inquire whether there are staff who are willing to consider acting under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 on a case-by-case-basis should your child need an emergency injection or other medical procedure in the manner described in the physicians orders. OMSI cannot guarantee that it will find willing staff to act under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 or that such staff will so act in every case.
Q: Is there financial aid available?
Yes. Submit a financial aid application and registration form accompanied by 1) a letter of interest from the applicant, 2) a letter of recommendation from a teacher or adult mentor, and 3) a $75 deposit per camp. All applications must be submitted at least one month prior to start of camp.
Q: I've already registered my child, but I need to update their authorized pick-up list. How do I do that?
If your child's program is more than 7 days away, you are welcome to make changes to your registration by logging back into the registration site. However, if the program is 7 days away or less, please call the registration office to make any and all changes. Adding additional persons to any child’s authorized pick-up list must be conducted by the Primary Contact person listed on the registration form, or by the Secondary Contact if approved by the Primary Contact at the time of registration.