FAQs

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 or professional educators. All staff members have current, valid background checks and clearances, as required by the state of Pennsylvania to work with children.

Are there certified lifeguards on your staff?

Yes, the aquatics director and supporting staff at our Olympic-size indoor pool are all lifeguard-certified and water safety-certified. A registered nurse is on duty each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Do campers choose their own activities?

Yes. Although Day Camp Discovery has a structured schedule with specific activity periods, we also offer campers Choice Time every other day. During Choice Time, campers can choose from a variety of electives that change each day. Choice Time is a slightly longer period, allowing campers to receive more specific instruction in a certain activity. We offer a broad range of athletic, artistic and engaging activities.

Should my child pack a lunch?

A full, well-balanced lunch is provided every day in the dining hall on campus. Lunch is included in your camp tuition, and there are always healthy choices. Some campers choose to pack their lunches due to food allergies or for specific dietary reasons. The decision to pack or receive the camp lunch is totally yours! Please be detailed on your camp health form about any dietary restrictions your child may have.

Please note that our campus is 100% nut-aware, so if you send in snacks or food with your child, please check the labels to ensure it does not contains nuts or was processed in a facility with nuts. Failure to abide by the nut-free guidelines can result in dismissal from camp and loss of payment.

What are the camp operation hours?

Our camp day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with optional before and after care. Before care is free and begins at 7:30 a.m. in the camp office. After care is $10 a day and takes place in our gym and camp office. You can register for after care when you register online for camp.

Is there swimming every day?

Your child is guaranteed at least four 40-50 minute periods of swimming every week. Swim periods consist of brief lessons and free play.

Will my child be grouped with kids his/her own age?

Yes, every camper is assigned to a grade-level, co-ed squad with two primary counselors – one male and one female. Squad sizes are approximately 10-16 campers, and if a squad exceeds those numbers, additional support counselors are added.

East End Explorers

What are the qualifications for counselors in the program?

All camp staff members are certified in first aid and CPR, and are primarily Junior School teachers, experienced high school graduates, college students and other professional educators. All staff members have current and valid background checks necessary in the state of Pennsylvania to work with children.

Do the campers choose their own activities?

Yes. Although East End Explorers has a very structured program with certain pre-programmed activity periods, we also offer campers free time where they can choose to receive more specific instruction or attention in a certain activity. We offer a broad range of athletic, artistic and engaging activities.

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! Our campus is 100% nut-aware, so if you do send in snacks or food please check the labels to make sure nothing contains nuts or is produced in a facility that may produce nuts. Please make sure to be detailed in all camper health forms for any dietary restrictions. Failure to abide by the nut-free guidelines can result in dismissal from camp and loss of payment.

What are the camp operation hours?

The camp day is programmed to run like a typical school day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, we do offer early drop-off and late pick-up services, which run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Before care, beginning at 7:30 a.m. in the camp office is free. After care, in our gym and camp office, is $10 a day and can be registered for through the normal registration process on a daily or weekly basis.

Will my child be with children his/her age? In a co-ed setting?

Yes, every camper will be assigned an age-specific, co-ed squad that has two primary counselors. Squad sizes are approximately 10-16 campers, and if a squad exceeds those numbers, additional support counselors are added to the squad.

Camp Ren

If I have a child entering the LIT 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 Leaders In Training (LIT) program, in essence, prepares kids to enter into a volunteer position at Day Camp Discovery the following summer as a fellow. Each two-week session of LIT 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 LIT.

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. for early care. 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 activity they would like to participate in, as well as an Afternoon Special period, where the entire camp comes together for a fun, social activity.

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.

Summer School

Who teaches the classes?

Summer School classes are taught by Shady Side Academy teachers whenever possible. If an SSA teacher is not available, the course will be taught by a certified teacher. Many Summer School instructors are veteran teachers from the Pittsburgh area.

Will my child have homework?

Yes, you should expect your child to have homework every day. Elementary and middle school students should expect about 60 minutes of homework. High school students should expect lengthier assignments. Students have the opportunity to seek support from their Summer School teacher or a school librarian as needed.

How do I pick up my child from Summer School?

If your child is not enrolled in SSA Stay & Play, and will be picked up following the Summer School course, we kindly ask that you come into the building to sign him/her out each day. You will find your child seated a table near a sign-out sheet with a space provided for your signature.

Who should I contact when my child is absent or we have transportation changes?

Please call 412-968-3037 or email summerprograms@shadysideacademy.org to alert the Summer School staff of any absences, vacations or transportation changes that may arise during your child's Summer School session.

Will I have a conference with my child's Summer School teacher?

While we do not set aside specific times for parent-teacher conferences in the summer session, our instructors will be in contact with parents regularly during the session, and they are available by appointment for phone or in-person conferences if a particular situation warrants them.

SSA Stay and Play

How will my child move between Summer School and day camp?

Counselors will be on hand to escort campers back and forth between classes and camp activities. We ensures that kids are always supervised, while also helping kids arrive at the correct places on time. Camp Ren campers will be bussed to the Middle School from the Senior School following classes.

What are the age limits for Stay & Play?

Students entering grades 2-8 can register for the Stay & Play program for six weeks.

Can Stay & Play students attend day camp field trips?

Absolutely! You may choose to have your child attend the field trip after they have completed their Summer School class. A shuttle is provided that will pick up your child(ren) and take them to the designated field trip location. You may also choose to have your child be absent from the Summer School class on the day of the field trip. Please call 412-968-3037 or email summerprograms@shadysideacademy.org to notify staff of your wishes.

Still Have Questions?

Please complete the request information form and we'll be in touch. Or, you can contact us at 412-447-2230 or summerprograms@shadysideacademy.org.

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Contact Us

Nate Verbanets

Nathan Verbanets
Director of Programs

Testimonials

"My daughter was ecstatic to learn she was able to attend the East End Explorers camp again. Each day she came home, she poured out the day's events like a faucet. She was extremely happy. It was truly a blessing to know that it was made possible because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you so much for all your assistance. Somehow I don't feel thank you is quite enough."

"Our son has been attending [camp] for the past six years. He has enjoyed every summer attending Discovery Camp and Camp Ren and looks forward to coming back year after year!"


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