Camp DASH Frequently Asked Questions

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Camp DASH Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does the REG, EXT and SA stand when registering online? 

A: Camp DASH provides different options for working families to best suit their needs:

  • “REG” = Regular Care: 8:45am– 3:15pm
  • “EXT” = Extended Care:7:30am-5:30pm                             
  • “SA REG” = Summer Academy Regular Care: 12:00pm to 3:15pm 
  • “SA EXT” Summer Academy Extended Care: 12:00pm to 5:30pm 


Please be aware that the Summer Academy options are exclusively available for Waterford Public School students who are enrolled in their Summer Academy program. We maintain close collaboration with the Summer Academy coordinator to ensure enrollment verification. If a Camp DASH camper is not enrolled in Summer Academy but is registered under the Summer Academy options, additional fees will be charged.


Q: What group will my child be in? 

A: Camp DASH organizes its groups based on the grade your child is entering. Here's a breakdown of our structured groups:

  • Happy Trails: This group is designed for campers who will be entering a preschool or kindergarten program. We create a nurturing and age-appropriate environment where our youngest campers can have a fantastic camp experience. Please note, all Happy Trail campers must be potty-trained before coming to camp. 
  • Base Camp: Campers entering 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade are grouped together in Base Camp. This group provides a fun and engaging program tailored to the interests and abilities of these early elementary school students. 
  • Summit Camp: For campers entering 4th or 5th grade, we offer the Summit Camp group. Here, we provide age-appropriate activities and challenges that encourage personal growth, teamwork, and exploration.
  • DASH Academy: Our DASH Academy group is designed for campers entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. We offer a dynamic program that fosters independence, leadership skills, and personal development. DASH Academy is structured differently than other camps. 
    • Find out more information on DASH Academy here.
  • Hybrids: Hybrids are DASH Academy students that have demonstrated they are ready for the next step at Camp DASH. Part camper, part volunteer, Hybrids shadow our staff and learn the ropes so next summer they are ready to become a full fledge volunteer and in the future, a paid staff member. ul>
    • Find out more information on our Hybrid Program here.
  • Volunteers: Our Volunteer Leadership programs is designed for youth entering 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. The program focuses on developing communication and leadership skills within our Camp DASH. Volunteers are trained alongside our staff and are the backbone of our camp. We are incredibly proud of the work and commitment our volunteers demonstrate, and that many volunteers become staff members.

At Camp DASH, we recognize the importance of grouping campers based on their grade level to ensure that they have age-appropriate experiences and opportunities to connect with peers of similar ages.

Q: Is there nap time for Happy Trail Campers?

A: Yes, we have a designated "quiet time" scheduled for 45 minutes after lunch at Camp DASH. During this time, our staff sets up comfortable cots, and campers are encouraged to take a nap or simply relax. It's an opportunity for campers to recharge and rejuvenate for the rest of the day's activities.

For those campers who choose not to nap, we have a separate area in our Happy Trails room. This area is specifically designated for quiet activities, allowing campers to engage in peaceful and calm pursuits. It provides a serene space where campers can read, draw, or participate in other quiet activities of their choice.

 Q: Is there transportation for Summer Academy students? 

A: Yes, we take great pride in our collaboration with Waterford Public Schools and our valued partners at First Student. Together, we have closely collaborated to develop policies and protocols that ensure smooth transportation services from the Summer Academy at Clark Lane to our camp locations at Oswegatchie Elementary and Quaker Hill Elementary. Beginning on July 10th, when Summer Academy begins, a Camp DASH site director will be present at Clark Lane Middle School, working in coordination with the Summer Academy staff to ensure that all Camp DASH campers board the appropriate buses. Campers will be met at their camp sites by our front desk clerk, checked in and brought to their camp groups. Please note that there will be no morning before care or transportation provided from our camp sites to Clark Lane for Summer School.

Q: What does my child’s day look like?

A: Drop-off and Welcome: You'll bring your child to the camp location in the morning, where our friendly staff will greet you and your child with a warm welcome. They will assist with the check-in process and answer any questions you may have.

Morning Activities: Once your child has been signed in they will be brought with their things to their home base classroom. From there, we head to the gym where we have our morning meeting. During the Morning Meeting, campers receive important announcements about the day's schedule, highlighting the activities, workshops, and special events that await them. Counselors share valuable information, ensuring everyone is aware of safety guidelines, any changes in routine and key instructions for the day's adventures. After morning meeting we then move on to our morning activities. 
 Each week has a theme and our games and activities correspond to this theme. These activities are designed to keep your child active, entertained, and learning new skills. They might include team sports, creative arts and crafts, science experiments, music and dance, outdoor games, and more. Our experienced counselors and instructors will lead and supervise the activities, ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.

Snack and Break Time: Mid-morning, there will be a designated break for your child to enjoy a healthy snack and take a breather. It's an opportunity for them to recharge and socialize with fellow campers. Campers are encouraged to bring their own snacks, but we can also provide them if necessary. 

Continued Activities: After the break, the day continues with a fresh set of activities and adventures. Depending on the camp's offerings, your child might have the chance to explore nature, drama or theater activities, try out different sports, develop their artistic talents, or participate in recreational games.

Lunch and Free Time: Around midday, it is time for a well-deserved lunch break. We do not provide lunch at Camp DASH. After lunch, there is often a period of free time where campers can choose from various supervised activities, such as board games, reading, or socializing with friends.

Afternoon Activities and Special Events: In the afternoon, the campers will have the opportunity to dive into more exciting activities and events we call “Specials”. These may include guest speakers, themed days, talent shows, water-based activities, field trips, or other unique experiences. The specific events and activities will vary based on the camp's schedule and themes.

Pick-up and Departure: Towards the end of the day, you'll return to the camp to pick up your child. Our staff will be available to provide feedback on your child's day, share highlights, and answer any questions you may have. You'll take your child home, where they can share stories and memories of their day at Camp DASH.

Q: Does my child have to participate in all camp activities?

A: No. Although we encourage all campers to take part in our planned activities, we do not force participation on anyone. The decision to participate in our activities ultimately lies with the camper. We strive to offer a diverse range of activities while respecting each child's individual preferences and choices. There is always plenty of things to do at Camp DASH, but if your child expresses dissatisfaction about the camp activities, kindly inform us promptly so that we can explore alternative options that align better with their interests.

Q: What are “Specials”? 

A: Specials at our camp are exciting events and activities that take place every afternoon, led by our camp leadership. They are designed to add a touch of magic to our campers' experience. While many of these activities align with the weekly theme, we also organize "just because" events that surprise and delight the children. 

For example, we have the Waterford Fire Department coming to Camp, where campers have the opportunity to learn about fire safety and explore the fire trucks. It's an interactive and educational experience that our campers truly enjoy. Additionally, we sometimes have the pleasure of hosting Robin's Ice Cream Truck, treating everyone to delicious ice cream flavors. It's a delightful surprise that brings smiles to the faces of our campers. 

In addition to these special events, we make sure to have dance parties with a DJ every week, creating a lively and energetic atmosphere where campers can showcase their moves and have a blast. Furthermore, we organize trips to Waterford Beach, giving our campers the chance to have fun in the sun, build sandcastles, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. At our camp, we believe in providing a diverse range of activities and events that keep the children engaged, entertained, and excited throughout their time with us.

Q: Do you provide lunch to my child?

A: Yes but we only offer lunch only on Wednesdays for our “Wednesday Pizza Yays” Pizza Parties. If you happen to forget to pack a lunch for your child, we've got you covered at Camp DASH. In such cases, we will provide your child with a delicious Kraft Macaroni and Cheese cup. We understand that sometimes things slip our minds, so for the first two instances, this service will be offered to you free of charge as a courtesy. However, to ensure the availability of this option and encourage preparedness, starting from the third instance, a nominal fee of $5 will be charged for each forgotten lunch. 

Q: Do you provide my child with sunscreen?

A: Yes. We provide your child with Coppertone kids SPF 50 sunscreen. We have staff that is trained to apply our sunscreen, you are also permitted to send your child with their own sunscreen. We encourage all parents to apply sunscreen before the start of camp. 

Q: Do Camp DASH campers go to the Beach?

A: On Wednesdays and some Tuesdays, Oswegatchie Campers will have the exciting opportunity to visit Waterford Beach, while Quaker Hill Campers will have their beach day on Fridays. It's a fantastic chance for campers to enjoy the sand, surf, and sunshine. However, please note that the beach outing may be subject to cancellation at any time due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances. The safety and well-being of our campers is of utmost importance, and we will always prioritize their welfare in making any necessary adjustments to the schedule. Find the full schedule here.

Q: What is DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) at Camp DASH?

A: Back by popular demand from last summer, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a role-playing game that allows campers to embark on epic adventures in a fantasy world using their imagination. The campaign is a long magical mystery that starts the second week of camp and finishes the last week of camp. 

Each week Campers assume the role of a unique hero and then are then are led by the Dungeon Master (Mr. Joe) who serves as the storyteller and guide. Mr. Joe creates a world with an age-appropriate dilemma and narrates the story, while the players use their characters to interact with the world and make decisions. During gameplay, campers engage in storytelling, problem-solving, and strategic thinking. They may explore treacherous castles, interact with non-player characters, solve puzzles, engage in battles with monsters, uncover mysteries, and if so inclined, do their best accents as they speak as their character. The game encourages cooperation, teamwork, and creative thinking, as campers often need to work together and use their character's unique abilities to overcome obstacles. DnD at Camp DASH is a free opt-in program for campers in Summit Camp and DASH Academy that runs on Tuesday mornings for Oswegatchie Campers and Wednesday mornings for Quaker Hill Campers. 


Q: What if my child needs to take daily medication at camp?

A: We prioritize the well-being of every camper at Camp DASH, especially when it comes to their medication needs. To ensure their safety, we have a dedicated staff members on-site who is certified in Med-Admin, ready to administer your child's medication as prescribed. It's our responsibility to closely follow the proper protocols and guidelines. Please note that self-administration of medication is only permitted if we have written approval from your child's primary care provider. We understand the importance of fostering independence, but the utmost care and caution must be exercised when it comes to medication management.

During the registration process, kindly provide us with a detailed list of your child's daily medication requirements. Our team will reach out to you to discuss the necessary additional paperwork that will be needed to administer the aforementioned medication effectively.


Q: Who should I talk to if I have questions or concerns?

A: There will be a site director on site at all times that you can voice your concerns or questions to, feel free to ask for them at the front desk. They may direct you to the director of camps, the program coordinator or Human Service Administrator for further consultation. 

  • Dani Gorman, Human Service Administrator: 860-984-8844
  • Joseph Trelli, Program Coordinator: 860-449.2742
  • Brandon Smith, Director of Camps: 860-910-5837 

Q: What are the drop-off and pick-up procedure?

A: At Camp DASH, the safety and security of our campers are our top priority. To ensure that all campers are properly accounted for, we require that each camper is signed in by an adult each morning and turned over to our Camp DASH staff. Please note that we do not assume any responsibility for campers who arrive before the start of the camp day.

During pick-up, all campers must be signed out by individuals authorized in the Registration / Participant Agreement. To ensure the safety of our campers, we require that all authorized individuals present a photo ID and know their Family Safe Word. Please be advised that children will only be released to authorized individuals. Anyone under the age of 18 will not be permitted to sign out a camper.

Additionally, please note that no camper will be allowed to leave by themselves, regardless of written permission. We take the safety of our campers seriously and appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that each camper is properly signed in and signed out each day.

 Q: What is DASH Academy? 

A: DASH Academy is democratic summer program for middle schoolers that provides a unique framework that empowers participants to actively participate in planning, running, and deciding the goals and structure of the program. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and autonomy among the youth, enabling them to take on leadership roles and make decisions collectively.


In this program, middle schoolers are encouraged to engage in open discussions, brainstorm ideas, and propose activities or projects that they find interesting and meaningful. They have the opportunity to express their opinions, voice their concerns, and contribute to shaping the overall direction of the program.


The program operates on democratic principles, allowing participants to vote on decisions that affect the program. This includes selecting activities, designing schedules, and establishing rules and guidelines. The goal is to create an inclusive and cooperative environment where every participant has a voice and their ideas are valued.


Our DASH Academy group directors play a supportive role in guiding the participants through the decision-making process and providing necessary resources and assistance. They foster a culture of respect, collaboration, and shared responsibility, emphasizing the importance of active listening, compromise, and consensus-building.


Through this democratic structure, middle schoolers gain valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving. They develop a sense of agency and learn to take ownership of their experiences and outcomes. This approach promotes self-confidence, independence, and a deeper understanding of the democratic process.


Q: What is the “Hybrid” program that is a part of DASH academy? 


A: We are committed to developing the leadership potential of our DASH Academy students. Our Hybrid program is designed to give DASH Academy Campers an opportunity to take on the role of Volunteer-In-Training while still enjoying their camper experience.


The Hybrid program is exclusive to DASH Academy Campers who have demonstrated a high degree of responsibility, empathy, and maturity. These campers will split their time at Camp DASH between being a regular camper and participating in this program, where they will receive training and guidance from our volunteers and camp staff. Campers will learn leadership on how to become full-fledged volunteer with the goal of becoming a full fledge staff member at age 15


Through the Hybrid program, DASH Academy Campers will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, build confidence, and gain experience in working with younger campers. We are excited to offer this unique opportunity to our DASH Academy Campers and look forward to seeing them grow and thrive as leaders at Camp DASH. Eligible campers will only be given hybrid status at the executive director’s and/or program coordinator’s approval after conferring with camp leadership.


Q: If my child is accepted into the volunteer program. How many hours can my child volunteer at Camp DASH?

A: Our volunteer program is vital to Camp DASH, and we greatly value the commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers. Many volunteers go on to become excellent staff members in subsequent summers, making our program stronger. We refer to our volunteer program as a summer-long job interview since it serves as a pathway to potential staff positions. To accommodate the needs of our volunteer program, we have a restriction on hours. Typically, volunteers are allowed to up to 40 hours per participant. However, we prioritize inclusivity by allowing all volunteers to sign up, keeping the number of volunteers per shift limited to 14. If volunteers wish to exceed the 40-hour limit, they may request approval from their Site Directors and the Director of Camps.