Frequently Asked Questions
Day Camp Discovery
Sports and Specialty Camps:
Sticks for Stars: Field Hockey and Lacrosse Developmental Camp
SSA Stay and Play
If I have a child entering the C.I.T. Program, do they need to attend all six weeks of Camp Ren?
Although we'd love to have your children for six weeks, we understand that it is not always possible. The C.I.T. program, in essence, prepares kids to enter into a volunteer position at Day Camp Discovery the following summer. Each two-week session of C.I.T. life at Camp Ren will culminate in a special product for day campers. Thus the experience will be reasonably complete after a two-week session. Nevertheless, priority for staffing decisions in upcoming summers will be first given to full-six week C.I.T.s.
How are Camp Ren campers grouped?
We group in co-ed squads of similarly aged campers. When possible, we make sure that friends from particular schools are able to remain in the same squads.
What is a typical day like?
Campers arrive on campus before 9 a.m. After hearing each squad's daily schedule, the campers move from activity to activity with their group. Our day is broken up by a "Morning Choice" period, where campers can choose which special event they would like to participate in, as well as an "Afternoon Special" period, where the entire camp comes together for a fun and social activity.
Is the food any good?
Not only do Camp Ren campers get to enjoy more advanced activities than Day Camp Discovery campers, but the food gets better. Instead of the "kid's meal" portions enjoyed by campers before grade 5, all Camp Ren campers enter into the "older" food line, where they graduate from chicken nuggets and pizza sticks to cheese steak hoagies, gourmet chicken sandwiches, and a full soup and salad bar!
Is the Camp Ren program the same for each two week session?
Not at all! In fact, we have designed the sessions so that a child could spend the entire summer here. Although each squad will have the same counselors throughout the summer, some our specialty areas will only last for two week segments. Furthermore, we will have exciting field trips and end-of-session celebrations that differ for each session. Therefore, although there is a consistent Camp Ren experience, we are always changing to keep the program fresh.
Day Camp Discovery
What are the qualifications for counselors in the program?
All camp staff members are certified in first aid and CPR, and are experienced high school graduates, college students and professional educators.
Are there certified lifeguards on your staff?
Yes, the aquatics director and supporting staff at the Olympic-size indoor pool are all lifeguard certified and water safety certified.
Do the campers choose their own activities?
Yes. Although Day Camp Discovery has a very structured program with certain pre-programmed activity periods, we also allow campers and parents to select “majors” for each week. Majors are essentially electives that change every week of the program. Majors are longer periods of each afternoon where campers receive more specific instruction or attention in a certain activity. We offer a broad range of athletic, artistic and engaging classes often instructed by outside professionals. Majors are chosen after campers register and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register early in order to get your top picks! Certain classes have specific restrictions on size and/or age.
Should my child pack a lunch?
A full, well-balanced lunch is provided every day in the dining hall on campus. The cost is covered by your camp tuition, and there are always healthy choices. Some campers may pack their lunches due to food allergies or for specific dietary reasons. The decision to pack or receive the camp lunch is totally yours!
What are the camp operation hours?
The camp day is programmed to run like a typical school day, approximately from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, we do offer early drop-off and late pick-up services that are built into the cost of tuition, which run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Yes, you read correctly, this is a FREE service. However, if you are late in arriving for pick-up (past 6 p.m.) you will be charged a late fee.Is there swimming every day?
Yes, your child is guaranteed at least one 40-50 minute period of swimming every day. Also, there is an option to sign up for the swimming major, which is offered every week. Majors are longer periods each afternoon with more specific instruction (see above).
Will my child be with children his/her age, as well as,in a co-ed setting?
Yes, every camper will be assigned an age-specific, co-ed squad that has two primary counselors. One male and one female counselor are responsible for each squad. Squad sizes are approximately 12-15 campers, and if a squad exceeds those numbers, additional support counselors are added to the squad.
Sports and Specialty Camps:
Sticks for Stars: Field Hockey and Lacrosse Developmental Camps
What if I know very little about the sport of field hockey or lacrosse?
Then this is the perfect place to start! Our directors have over 65 years of experience between the three of them in coaching local independent high school and middle school field hockey and lacrosse teams. College players round out the staff ~ many of them having started playing here in Western Pennsylvania! They can provide individual as well as group instruction in a fun environment.
What if I don't have any of the necessary equipment to participate?
Please do not go out to purchase a lot of equipment ahead of time if you don’t currently own anything. If you contact Betsy Gorse by email or by phone (412-968-3107) she can help set up the necessary equipment for you when you arrive at camp, whether it is a field hockey or lacrosse stick or the necessary eyewear for lacrosse. You just need to have a mouth-guard and sneakers. If you have soccer-style cleats, bring those along as well!
What if my daughter only wants to concentrate on one (of the sports)?
For the younger girls, we want to introduce them to both sports and they will receive instruction on alternating days on either field hockey or lacrosse. For the older girls, they have the option of also receiving instruction in both sports (morning session in one and the afternoon session for the other) or they can choose to concentrate only on one sport~ it is completely their choice.
When does camp start and when does it end?
On Monday, the first day of camp, registration begins at 8:15AM and the morning session will begin at 9AM. The morning sessions will end around 11:30AM and girls involved in the half day sessions can be picked up at the field at that time. Girls who stay for the entire day can be picked up at 3PM at the fields. After Monday, the girls can arrive shortly before 9AM (but someone will be at camp around 8AM for parents who need to drop off the girls before work).
What if I would like my daughter to be able to participate in the full day, but she is only in 4th grade?
We have suggested that girls in grades 3 through 6 participate in the morning sessions, but ultimately the decision is the parent’s. While the day is not strenuous in nature, if you think your daughter is capable of participating for the entire day, then we would love to have her!
What if my daughter is going into 8th grade and has other afternoon commitments. Can she still participate in the morning session?
Similar to the above question, there are a number of the older girls who can only sign up for the morning (or the afternoon) session due to other commitments. Again, we will work with you and your daughter’s schedule!
Can I switch to the full day after the first day of camp?
By all means! If you would like to switch to the full day session as camp gets underway, contact Betsy Gorse (or by phone: 412-968-3107) and she will make the necessary adjustments.
How do I know what kind of stick to get for my daughter?
At some point in the camp, usually on the Wednesday or Thursday, we try to have a local vendor of field hockey and lacrosse equipment come to camp to show some of the equipment that is also available for purchase. Parents are welcome to come in to look at the offerings with their kids. We will send word home to you before this will happen.
What should I bring to camp?
If your daughter owns her own stick, that is obviously the first thing! If she doesn’t, see the information listed earlier on this sheet. Also, a mouth guard is required of all players for either field hockey or lacrosse and lacrosse players will also need specific eyewear (that also can be provided by the camp). Sneakers and soccer style cleats will allow your daughter to be prepared for either indoor or outdoor facilities. Also: sunscreen, a water bottle or two (Gatorade/Powerade is also fine), a change of socks and possibly a change of clothing (check the weather reports each morning). Occasionally, for the full-day campers, we get the opportunity to go swimming at the senior school pool, so bring a bathing suit and towel if you would like to attend (an optional activity). A brown-bag lunch also needs to be brought for the full-day campers.
What about lunch for full day campers?
The morning session wraps up around 11:30AM and those girls participating for ½ days are then free to go. We ask that the full-day campers bring their own lunch and drink from home and we eat in the gym until 12:45PM (the afternoon session begins at 1PM). This allows us to give the girls a longer break to sit down with other girls and relax without having to transport them to and from the dining hall. Snack and drink vending machines are also available to purchase snack items. On Friday, the final day of camp, we will have a pizza party beginning around 11:15AM for all of the campers, so that we can hand out some awards and wrap up details with the girls. Camp ends around 12 noon for all campers on the Friday.
SSA Stay and Play
How will my children know when they should move between Summer School and Day Camp?
Counselors will be on hand and will escort campers back and forth between classes and camp activities. This ensues that kids are always supervised, while also helping kids arrive at the correct places on time.
When are the children tested to decide their class placement?
Students can consult with the head of Shady Side Summer School, Dr. Michael O'Neil, in advance to make sure that they are placed in the correct class. However, we are flexible in the first few days of courses to make adjustments to accomodate the students' needs.
What are the age limits for Stay and Play?
Since Camp Ren is now 6 weeks long, students ranging from 5 to 14 years old can enter into the Stay and Play program.
Still have questions?
Please fill out the contact us form and somebody from the Office of Summer Programs will be in contact with you soon to answer and address any & all of your questions and concerns.