Frequently Asked Questions

How many campers are in a group? How many counselors?

Groups at Camp Helping Hands are organized by age, and the number of campers in the group varies. However, there will always be at least one counselor for every eight campers per age group. Staff are to maintain this 1:8 counselor to camper ratio at camp headquarters, during field trips, at other locations such as parks, during lunch, and the swimming pool.

What are the Summer Camp program rates?

We offer a discounted rate for the four-week package. Cost for this package is $1650. We strongly encourage parents to commit to the entire four-week session. One-week session rates are also available for all age groups. Our one-week session rate is $450. Additional fees only apply for our extended care program. Those rates are $10 per day per camper for early drop off, and $20 per day per camper for late pick up. Early drop off is from 7:30 -9:00 a.m, and late pick up is from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. We hope to offer scholarships in the future. Please inquire directly to learn if funds are available.

What is your payment/refund policy for Summer Camp?

To reserve a spot at camp, a $100 non-refundable deposit (which is applied to the cost of tuition) is required. For customers who pay in full at the time of registration, we still consider a $100 of your full payment for each camper as your non-refundable deposit. For customers who reserve a space with just a deposit, full payment is due on or before June 1, depending upon your registration date. Balances for registrations made during the months of January and February (or earlier) will be automatically charged to your card on March 1. Registrations made in March and April, the remaining balance will be automatically charged May 1. Remaining balances for May registrations will be charged June 1. On or after June 1, full payment will be required at the time of registration.

If a camper has to cancel enrollment within 30 days of the program’s very first start date; that is, the very first date that camp begins for the program in which you are enrolled, there will be a 100% refund of all tuition paid minus the $100 non-refundable registration fee. Again, even if you paid in full at the time of registration, a non-refundable fee of $100 still applies. If a camper has to cancel enrollment within 21 days of the program’s very first start date, there will be a 50% refund of all tuition paid, minus the $100 non-refundable registration fee. If a camper has to cancel enrollment within 14 days or less of the program’s very first start date, there will be no refund or credit of tuition.

Do you offer bus transportation to and from summer camp?

Camp Helping Hands offers a commuter bus for its Northridge location. Currently the bus stops in Woodland Hills at the MacDonald’s off the 101 at Valley Circle and at the Millie’s on Vanowen just off Balboa in Van Nuys.

How do you engage your older, teen campers?

Our oldest campers (ages 12-14) are part of our Chief Aides, who are Junior Counselors-in-Training. If your child is 14 and has already completed their Freshman year of high school, and has been previously enrolled in our Jr. CIT program, they may qualify for our Counselor-in-Training program, which is by invitation only. Chief Aides are campers, but are also given roles and responsibilities. These roles and responsibilities may include, having a junior buddy, helping our younger campers with hands-on projects, and leading our sports and games. We do our best to meet the child with what they are ready to do. Some of our Chief Aides prefer to just be campers, while others want to help out in every situation. These campers also participate in age appropriate team building, team leading, and other engaging activities so they will develop skills and feel equipped to help out when ready.

Do you offer Extended Care for your camp programs?

Camp Helping Hands offers Early Drop-off from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM and Late Pick-up from 3:00 PM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Cost for Early Drop-off is $10 per day per camper, and for Late Pick-up $20 per day per camper.

Who are my camper’s counselors?

The Camp Helping Hands counselors are college students and other adults who work in education, psychology, child development, and other related fields. They were selected after completing a vigorous interview process, and most have previous experience working with children. All of our staff participate in a three-day training program and have passed criminal background checks before becoming part of our team. Our Counselors-in-Training are high school students who have completed their freshman year, have been previously enrolled in our Jr. CIT program, and are hand-picked and invited to enroll by our staff. They always train under the direct supervision of our team counselors.

Is there any religious affiliation with Camp Helping Hands?

Camp Helping Hands has no religious affiliation. Some of our community partners are faith-based, but no prayer or religious songs of any kind will take place during the course of summer camp.

What do the campers do when the weather is too hot?

We make sure our activities are a mix of indoor and outdoor so campers are not out in the heat all day. Staff remind campers throughout the day to drink water, apply sunblock, and wear their hats. Field trip days our campers may spend more time outdoors, so we take many water breaks, shade breaks, and re-apply sunblock throughout the day.

What should my child bring for lunch to Summer Camp?

Campers must bring their lunches to Camp Helping Hands every day. We do not have refrigeration, so please remember to place an ice pack in their lunch box. Snack will be provided and served twice daily. During our summer program, organic fruits and vegetables are served for morning snack.

Are there trips during summer camp?

Camp Helping Hands takes field trips twice weekly during its summer program, and at some locations campers will also ride a bus for recreational swim. We use Durham School Services as our transportation provider for all field trips and for transportation to offsite pools when needed. All buses are insured, have seat belts, and follow the American Camp Association standards for safety preparedness.

What happens if my child gets sick while at camp?

At the camp director’s discretion, the parents of sick or injured campers will be called during the day. Sometimes the call is just to inform the parents of the child’s condition and sometimes it is a request to have the child picked up. If the child is infectious, they should not return to camp until healthy.

What should my child wear?

At camp, children will participate in a variety of activities. Many of them may be messy and camp can get hot, so we recommend lightweight play clothes. Campers must wear closed-toe shoes, and if pants are required for a particular field trip, you will be notified by e-mail. We advise sending a hat and plenty of sunscreen, and don’t forget a towel for swim. Please remember to label all of your child’s belongings.

What is involved with the swim program?

All campers are automatically enrolled in our recreational swim program. Swim days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. After our service field trips, campers will go to a nearby city or county public pool for lunch in the green space and swim after. All county and city pools follow state guidelines, have trained lifeguard staff, and will evaluate each camper’s swim ability to ensure only those ready can swim in the deep end. CHH staff also swim. We maintain a minimum 10:1 camper to counselor ratio in the pool. If campers choose not to swim, they will enjoy free play in the adjacent park with CHH staff.

My child is not a very good swimmer. Is the pool safe?

The pool is a safe and fun place for campers and counselors to cool off and have a good time! At least one counselor in your child’s group will get in the pool to play with the campers. In addition to the counselors, there is a trained lifeguard staff on duty at all times. Lifeguards will evaluate each camper’s swim ability to ensure only those ready can swim in the deep end. If your child is not a strong swimmer, they will have to stay in the shallow end or you can choose to not have them swim. Non-swimmers have fun playing in the open space with CHH staff while the others swim.

What is an average day like at Summer Camp?

Every day starts with the entire camp community participating in Opening Circle where we will sing songs together and prepare the for the day’s activities. After Opening Circle, each group will follow their daily schedule of activities which may include art, swim, games, service-learning projects, and sports. On field trip days (Tuesdays and Thursdays), we will board the bus immediately after Opening Circle so we can spend most of the day providing service at our local service partner facilities. Each day will conclude with more songs and daily reflection activities at Closing Circle. Then we say goodbye until the next morning. For more detail, View a Sample Schedule.

Will my child do activities with older or younger children?

For the most part, your child will rotate through camp activities with children his/her own age. However, there are many activities that groups will do together such as swimming, several of the service projects and field trips, and opening and closing circle on some days. If two groups do an activity together, the groups are usually only one year apart in age. Occasionally the oldest and youngest groups do an activity together so the older campers can mentor the younger campers. Campers will often eat lunch with all other campers too.