Nature Discovery Camp – FAQ

Most questions are answered in the Camp Policies document. Some of the most common questions are repeated below. If you still cannot find an answer to your question please contact camp staff at 717-428-1961.

When is the first day I can register?

Park members can register online starting January 19th, 2021. Non-members can register online starting February 2nd, 2021. To become a park member go to .

Online registration isn’t working for me, what can I do?

If you are unable to register your camper online, please plan to complete your registration in person at Nixon Park Nature Center. Please call ahead to make an appointment.

Why is my camp not showing up on the registration calendar?

If the camp you are looking for is FULL it may not show up on the calendar. To join the waiting list for your camp week, please call (717) 428-1961 x6656.

How do I join a waiting list?

Please call the John Rudy Park Administrative Headquarters at (717) 840-7440. You will be contacted to register online if a spot opens up.

Can my camper attend a week that is not their current age? 

To be fair to all campers, we operate under the strict rule that your camper must turn the age of their camp before the first day of camp. If a special situation arises due to special needs or learning adaptations, please contact the camp staff to discuss options.

Can we be refunded if we have a COVID exposure in the household last minute?

Yes, in order to keep all campers and staff as safe as possible, we encourage you to please keep your camper home from camp if there is a known exposure or COVID-19 positive test result in your household. We will work with families individually to give refunds for the number of days of camp that will be missed.

How many kids are in each camp group?

Pollywogs (ages 5-6): 10 campers per camp group

Fledglings’ (ages 7-8): 10-15 campers per group, depending on the week.

Explorers’ (ages 9-10):  12-15 campers per group, depending on the week.

Adventurers’ (ages 11-13):  15 campers per group.

Pathfinders’ (ages 14-16):  One group of 12 campers.

How many staff are with each camp group?

Each camp group has two full time paid camp staff, plus additional teen or adult volunteers.

What qualifications do the Nature Discovery Camp staff have?

The NDC staff is comprised of full-time York County Parks Naturalists plus three seasonal educators currently studying in the education or science fields. Seasonal educators have previous experience working with children and an enthusiasm for getting children into the outdoors. All camp staff have current CPR and First Aid training. All camp staff have state and federal child safety background checks. Any adult volunteers working with campers are also required to have state and federal child safety background checks. Teen volunteers working with camp have completed an application, interview, and training process provided by the park staff.

What does a typical camp day look like?

Although camp days vary by day and age group, in general each camp day begins with a morning activity while campers are arriving. Then students will have a morning meeting that includes the schedule and group ice-breakers. Each day is then made up of various outdoor walks, investigations, scavenger hunts, games, and projects. Throughout the day campers will engage in physical activity, problem-solving, social activities, and hands-on interactions with the natural world. Through fun games and challenges, camp staff aims to give students a positive memorable outdoor experience, while making new friends, and increasing their curiosity and wonder about nature. Specific daily schedules will be sent to parents prior to the first day of camp.

What can I do if my camper is afraid to attend camp?

To prevent first day blues, we encourage shy and new campers to attend the Nature Discovery Camp Launch Day. This is a special day before the start of camps for hesitant campers to get to know the place, the staff, and what to expect on their first week of camp. The camp staff will be available to answer any questions you or your camper has in person, as well as providing some sample camp activities. The Camp Launch Day is Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021. Please click here for the event flyer.

Can parents stay with campers until they are comfortable?

Unfortunately, once camp begins parents and guardians must leave camp due to the safety procedures in place. If you are concerned about your camper’s willingness to stay at camp, we encourage you to visit the park in advance, set up a meeting with camp staff in advance, and/or attend the Camp Launch Day activities.

If a parent/guardian is interested in volunteering for a whole week of camp, in order to support camp staff and help provide all campers with a positive outdoor experience, parents/guardians can apply to be camp volunteers. Volunteers are required to obtain federal and state child safety background checks, and complete volunteer training. Because of this, parents/guardians cannot decide to volunteer last minute. Please contact the camp staff at 717-428-1961.

My child’s camp says “drop-off/pick-up at multiple parks” – what does that mean?

If you register for a camp that says drop-off/pick-up at various parks, your camp takes place at various York County Parks throughout the week including any of the following: Nixon Park, Rudy Park, Kain Park, and Rocky Ridge. Mondays and Fridays always take place at Nixon Park, unless in rare cases boating is rescheduled for Friday due to weather. If you are not able to drop-off and pick-up your student at various parks on Tues, Wed, and/or Thurs, please do not register for a camp that takes place at various parks. The specific locations for each week of camp varies. Please contact the camp staff for details at 717-428-1961.

My camp includes boating – what kind of boats will the campers be using? 

All boating during NDC takes place at William H. Kain Park at Lake Redman. Boats available to campers include canoes and kayaks. Campers are fitted and required to wear a personal floatation device (PFD) at all times while on the dock or in a boat.

Pathfinders’ Camp says “includes optional biking” – what does that mean?

Pathfinder campers will have the opportunity to take a bike ride on the Heritage Rail Trail. Bikers must provide their own bike and helmet on biking day. Campers that don’t wish to participate in the bike ride will walk at the Heritage Rail Trail County Park instead.

Can I make sure my child is placed in the camp week with their friend?

These requests can generally be honored as long as you note this during registration. There is a question during the registration process to address friends attending camp. Once camp begins, we may not be able to adjust the camp groups due to COVID-19 precautions.