Camp FAQs

What camp benefits do I receive if I become a member?

Members can join anytime and receive access to an early, member-only registration period for camp. In addition, members receive 15% off camp prices. Please visit our membership page for additional information on becoming a member.

What information will I need during the registration process?

You will be required to fill out the Penn State Youth Program Consent for Treatment form — this is mandatory for all youth programs at Penn State. Along with general health-related questions, you will need to provide emergency contact name(s) and phone number(s), health insurance plan information, and the name of your family physician.

In addition, you will need to read and consent to the camp-specific field trip form and/or risk waivers (if applicable), provide names and phone numbers of individuals who are authorized to drop off/pick up your child, and, if applicable, complete the self-transportation consent form for older campers.

It is helpful to streamline the process if you have this information on-hand when you begin the registration process.

Please note that you will need your NEW FOR 2019 username and password to log in to your membership account and complete registration during the members-only period.

What is my new username and password?

Due to the implementation of our new registration system in 2019, your previous username and password from 2018 and earlier will not work. For all new accounts, if you have purchased a membership and need to access your username and password, please follow the reset prompts below:

  1. click here for Recover Password page
  2. Enter your email address in the Email Address field and click Continue.
  3. Follow directions on the password reset email you receive.
  4. Make a note of your username and password.
  5. To change your username and/or password, login to your account and select the “profile” tab at the top right.

How do I access my account?

You will be able to follow a link on our camp page when registration opens that allows you to register for camp. If you need to access your account at any other time, please click here.

Why aren’t my children/spouse showing up in my profile?

We are working hard to determine a solution to this, but for now as long as you entered additional members when you purchased your membership, your account should be all set for camp/program registration, and your family will receive membership benefits. If you entered an email address for your spouse/partner, they can follow the prompts above to access their account. If you did not enter all additional members, or if you do need to make adjustments, please contact the membership coordinator to make those changes.

To see everyone included on your membership, please follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Login to your account (if you are having trouble, please follow the password reset instructions found on your membership receipt, or on our membership page)
  2. Click on the “registrations” tab at the top of the page
  3. You should see your 2019 membership listed. Click on “view details” which should list everyone you included on your membership.

What is a “zero-waste lunch”?

A zero-waste lunch is a healthy lunch packed in a reusable container. Putting a jelly sandwich into a reusable container, for example, creates less waste than putting it into a baggie that will be thrown away. Another example is packing whole fruit instead of prepackaged fruit slices. A reusable plastic or metal water bottle creates less waste than a single-use juice box or pouch. Here at Shaver’s Creek we strive for zero waste and no longer have a dumpster! Please note that whatever is left over after the meal is over (food scraps, wrappings, other trash) will be returned to the lunch bag. Also please note that we are a nut-free camp; do not send any nuts or nut butters/products to camp.

Do I have to bring a backpack?

Yes. Many groups have lunch out on the trail. You will need to be able to carry your full water bottle, lunch, and other materials mentioned in the packing section each day in your backpack. Please choose a backpack that is sturdy and has comfortable straps that will not dig into your shoulders (not strings or rope for straps).

How early may I arrive at camp in the morning?

All camps begin at 9:00 a.m. The earliest a camper may be signed in, on-site at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, is 8:45 a.m. Prior to that, our staff is busy preparing for the day and unable to supervise campers. Campers are always welcome to come a little early and explore the gardens, watch for hummingbirds, or enjoy a trail together, as long as they are with a guardian or carpool driver.

If you are signing your camper in at the bus in State College [that will then transport your camper to Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center], the earliest a camper may be signed in is 8:00 a.m. Prior to that, we be preparing for camper sign-in and are unable to supervise campers.

How do I sign in or sign out my camper?

All youth programs run by Penn State require the minor be signed in and out each day by a legal guardian or someone designated by the legal guardian. This policy means that each day you will need to sign your camper(s) in and out with an official ID. On the first day, this will take place at the main check-in area (in the front yard). On all other days, you will check in and out with your camper’s group counselor/Naturalist. If you have campers in different camp groups, you will need to see each Naturalist leader to check those campers in and out. Thank you in advance for helping to make the safety of the campers our number one priority!

When should campers be picked up in the afternoon?

Wee Wonderers: Monday–Wednesday camp ends at 3:00 p.m. On Wednesday from 3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. there is a camp showcase event for families to enjoy with their campers! We thank you in advance for being at Shaver’s Creek each day (and especially on Wednesday) to pick up your campers at 3:00 p.m. After the camp day ends, there is still a lot left for the staff to do!

Discovery & Explorer Camps: Monday–Thursday camps end at 4:00 p.m. Friday camp ends at 5:00 p.m. We thank you in advance for being at Shaver’s Creek each day (and especially on Friday) to pick up your campers at the time camp ends. After the camp day ends, there is still a lot left for the staff to do — and on Friday we are preparing for all the wonderful evening activities!

Investigators & Boats and Boots:  Monday–Friday camp ends at 5:00 p.m. We thank you in advance for being at Shaver’s Creek each day (and especially on Friday) to pick up your campers at the time camp ends. After the camp day ends, there is still a lot left for the staff to do — and on Friday we are preparing for all the wonderful evening activities!

How will I be assigned to a camp group?

Campers will be grouped according to their age and the grade the will be entering the next fall. We try to keep 6- and 7-year-olds together, 9- and 10-year-olds together, etc. If you request to be with a specific friend but you are younger, we usually place both campers the younger age group. We have found that this works better than plan placing the younger camper in a group of older campers. We try to honor requests to be with friends, but ask that you request only one friend on the registration form.

Who will the Naturalists (staff) be and what are their qualifications?

Tesha (Skye) Omeis is the Camp Director for all summer camps at Shaver’s Creek. Tesha joined the staff full time in the fall of 2017, coming back to Shaver’s Creek after working in the Environmental Education and Summer Camp realm since 2005.

Our Naturalists for all camps are college students or graduates hired either into the Shaver’s Creek internship program or specifically as summer camp staff. We carefully screen applicants and interview folks who have experience working with kids (previous camp experience, student teaching, volunteering, etc.). We also look for people who have a fun personality. The Naturalists go through a two-week training process. All staff are certified through the Emergency Care and Safety Institute in First Aid, CPR, AED, and how to use an EpiPen (for severe allergic reactions). All staff have passed federal background checks and have received Penn State’s Mandated Reporter training. In the spring, you can find the biographies of our Naturalists on our Meet the Staff page.

Weather, Safety, and Communication at Summer Camp

Every day regardless of weather conditions, each group has 2 adult Naturalists present with them at all times; Naturalists, Directors, and the Front Office utilize digital radios to communicate regularly.

On days when we are expecting or experiencing stormy conditions, changes are made by staff and Directors to ensure the continued safety of everyone. These modifications may include, but are not limited to: continual weather updates over the radio, ensuring that each group has its own indoor space to use as needed throughout the day, requiring that groups stay closer to the main building or alternative indoor space, rerouting groups based on trail conditions, changing pick up times (from Whipple Dam on Fridays and other program spaces as applicable), building a fire in a fireplace [if heat is a concern] for warmth physically and mentally, and on Friday’s: entering Whipple Dam potentially only up to our ankles while maintaining a lifeguard on duty, bringing out and giving away camp shirts to replace wet shirts for campers, and decreased beach time.

The Directors spend the vast majority of their time out in the field to ensure that everything is being done to ensure the happiness and safety of everyone involved in our programs. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of this information, please contact the Summer Camp Director, Tesha “Skye” Omeis at skye@psu.edu or (814) 863-8521. If you reach out during the camp day, please note that your inquiry will be returned as soon as possible at the conclusion of the camp day. The Front Desk (814) 863-2000 is available to take phone calls during camp and can reach a Director via radio instantly.