Camp FAQs

Questions about Camp Registration:

  • What information do I need to have ready before I can complete the Calleva summer camp health form?
    You’ll need the dates of your child’s most recent tetanus shot and physical examination. If you attend a school outside of the US, you’ll have to upload a digital copy of your camper’s immunization records.  (A pdf or jpg file.)
  • Does the health form need a doctor’s signature?
    Our health form is a series of basic questions and is completed online so there is no need for a doctor’s signature. Some of those questions include Emergency Contact, Health Insurance Details, Physician Contact Information, Dates for Tetanus Shot and Physical Exam, Allergy and Medication Details.
  • I provided this information last year and nothing has changed. Don’t you still have it on file?
    The State of Maryland requires us to collect new health forms every year.
  • My camper attends school outside of the US and you require a digital copy of the immunization records. I only have a paper copy. What can I do?
    If you have a paper copy you can scan it and upload the files that way. You could always take a picture with your phone and email it to us as well!
  • My campers have their annual physical right before camp; can I complete the health form after that visit?
    Since the health form is required to complete your camp registration, you will need to complete it with the most recent information you have available. If anything changes prior to them attending camp (new tetanus shot date, physical date, medications, etc), send the updates to office by e-mail (office (at) calleva.org).
  • When/Why do I need to provide the Medication Authorization Form?
    Due to Maryland State Health Laws, If your camper requires any type of medication while attending a Calleva Camp, we will need to have a Medication Authorization Form on file for each medication. This will be “required” during the registration process.
  • Medications and Prescription Drugs Policy:
    Prescription drugs shall be self-administered by the camper after written parental permission is provided via authorization form.
  • Counselors will keep hold of medication at all times then observe the camper taking the medication. Counselors will document in the medical notebook; the date​, amount, and time the medication is taken.
  • The medication should be clearly labeled in the original pharmacy container with the prescription name, prescribing physician’s name, name of medication, directions for taking the medication, and the camper’s name. Parents must ONLY send the amount needed in the original container.
  • Non-prescription drugs can only be given when accompanied by a written medical authorization note signed by a doctor. Ibuprofen (‘Advil’) Acetaminophen (‘Tylenol’/ Non-aspirin) and Diphenhydramine (allergy meds like Benadryl) can NOT be given to a camper unless provided by parent with accompanying authorization letter OR when verbal authorization has been provided over the phone from camper’s parent/guardian.
    The exception is in the case of a suspected anaphylactic shock when Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be given under guidance of health professional as an emergency medication.
    • For campers in Adventure Camps, VA Sampler, High Adventure and LIT:
      Emergency medications will be carried by the camper and administered by Calleva Head Counselors if needed in an emergency. Inhalers can be self administered if permission is given in Medical notes. All use is documented in Medical log. When in the water, waterproof protection (such as this) must be provided by the camper for the medication. If no suitable case/container is sent from home, then the group counselor will carry the emergency medication.
    • For All Explorers and Sampler Campers:
      Counselors for campers in these programs can hold emergency medications on their behalf and will ensure they are kept close to the individual.  They are administered by Calleva Head Counselors if needed in an emergency. Inhalers can be self administered if permission given in Medical notes.
  • Other Maryland State Health Laws to be aware of: New State policy require all campers to bring their own Sunscreen and Bugspray to camp each day WITH their name clearly written on the bottles. Staff will also no longer be able to apply antibiotic creams, lotions or other topical ointments to wounds and rashes.
  • What is your Refund Policy?
    Full payment is required for on-line registration. New this year (2021) is how we handle refunds and cancellations. Please make sure you understand before registering for Calleva. Upon registration, Calleva keeps 10% of your tuition for administration fees that cover the costs of cc processing, database, and staffing fees associated with registration. This 10% will only be refunded if Calleva cancels the camp your child is registered for.

    If your family decides to cancel for any reason AFTER April 1st, you will receive a 50% refund for the programming. NO REFUND WILL BE GIVEN AFTER MAY 1st unless for a verified medical reason.

    After April 1st, if there is a need to cancel for a verified medical reason (doctors note is required), you will receive a refund minus 10%.

    In 2021, CALLEVA WILL NOT ISSUE NEW CREDITS TO BE USED FOR FUTURE PROGRAMMING. We are able to accept donations in support of our mission, and will provide receipts to donors for their tax purposes.

  • Can my Camper with Special/Extra needs come to camp?
    Calleva strives to provide positive camp experiences for children with various needs wherever possible. However we do not specialize in serving children with special needs, including children with significant physical, emotional, social, or behavioral difficulties. Please talk to us if your camper has extra or special/specific needs at camp. We can always provide a better and safer experience for your child if we know about potential challenges ahead of time and can be prepared to fully assist and support each individual camper. Please call the Calleva office on 301-216-1248 or email [email protected] In some cases, after talking with families, our camp directors may feel it is necessary for an individual camper to have 1 to 1 support for behavioral or medical needs. If this is decided, then the family will be asked to pay extra for an additional member of Calleva staff.*
  • Diabetic Campers**
    We can accommodate most diabetic campers, however, depending on the camper’s needs, they may not be able to go on week long high adventures. Our camp nurse is available to be on site at both our Riley’s’ Lock and Farm location for daily ‘checks ins’. Diabetic campers who are able to self carry and self administer may be able to join our traveling adventure camps after talking through their needs with camp directors and medical staff.* Overnights for campers with specific medical or behavioral special needs may not always be possible** Additional paperwork signed by the campers’ physician is required for insulin dependent diabetic campers.
  • Can I save the health form and come back to it at a later point?
    No, you can’t save the form and come back to it. Once you’ve started it you’ll need to finish it. To make sure you don’t run into that problem, please have handy: the last tetanus shot date, last date of physical exam, and a digital copy of your immunization records (if your child is enrolled in a school outside of the US).  For any other questions regarding Calleva’s Health Form please contact us at the office (301-216-1248) or by e-mail (Office (at) calleva.org).

General questions about Camp:

  • There are so many camps, how do I know which to sign up for?
    Well lots of it is dependent on age and whether or not your child is ready for an overnight experience. Our camps are designed as stepping stones to build skills and confidence. Much of the scheduling depends on time spent within each of our activities. Camp will always be fun, however lesson time grows as campers get older and more proficient and interested in adventurous activities.  For instance, Cubs Camp activities are broken down to 25 minutes; Explorers Camp spend 55 minutes per activity; Sampler campers spend a full day on each activity; Adventure Camp focus on one specific activity for the entire week and end with a Thursday overnight; High Adventures spend typically 5 days and 4 nights on an adventurous activity; and LIT’s activity is primarily “discovery of self” with some activities that help achieve discovery! Of course each Camp’s activities differ  and are designed with the appropriate age range in mind!
  • What is your summer camp philosophy?
    The Markoff brothers grew up at camp.  Our grandmother started Valley Mill Camp (in the 1950s!) and for as long as we can remember we have been a part of the DC area’s outdoor adventure camp community. We know that individual attention is key to a successful summer camp experience.  Calleva’s summer camp staff share our passion for introducing kids to the outdoors.  We train our staff to meet each child at their level and lead them into challenges with the primary goal of building self confidence and encouraging individual initiative.  We love to help kids discover new talents, new courage and new friendships as they experience Calleva’s unique brand of outdoor fun.  Calleva’s core, year-round staff set the tone and train seasonal employees in the Calleva Way.   We are committed to running the best programs in the area for both camps and schools. Although we are a small company, chances are we have run a program for a school or friend that you know.
  • Safety at Calleva?
    Safety is our #1 priority. Although the nature of our activities have the potential for risk, we strive to provide our staff with the knowledge, tools, and resources to run empowering camps. Health concerns are  overseen by our Health Care Administrator and reviewed with staff at the beginning of the week. In situations where campers have specific medical needs, staff are encouraged to take further steps and use their resources, and to ensure all medical needs are met and that each camper feels comfortable and safe throughout their camp experience. Our philosophy is prevention, through organizing and planning strong programs. In the event of any injury, staff are trained in CPR/First Aid and will seek external medical assistance if necessary.
  • What discounts do you offer?
    Campers registering for 9 weeks or more receive a 15% discount*. Campers registering for 4 or more weeks receive a 5% discount*. Two or more members of the same family enrolled at the same time receive a $25 discount off each additional camper*. * The discounts are only applied during a single transaction. If camper weeks are added to the original transaction, no discounts will be applied.  You can find information about our scholarship program on the Summer Camp page.
  • How do I know if there is room?
    Our Schedule shows availability in real time, but will only be marked “full” or “open”. If you need to know how many spots are available for friends, you will have to contact the office.
  • How does your Waitlist work?
    If your desired camp activity and week is “full”, you can call the office and add your name to the waitlist. We contact “parents” on the waitlist in the order in which they join. We give each “parent” 24 hours to accept the availability. The office manages this waitlist until April 30th. On May 1st, all openings that appear on the schedule, are available to anyone on a first-come first-serve basis.
  • What is “council”?
    Our morning bus routes bring every camper to Riley’s Lock, where we separate into CAMPS, sing, play games, have contests, awards, and — most of all — have fun!  Every afternoon, camp groups return to Riley’s Lock for council before the bus routes take off for the return trip home.  There are “councils” for each Camp:  one for Explorers, Epic Sampler, & Adventure Campers.
  • What are your activity/group sizes?
    Staff to camper ratio? Camper ages? Each activity has a Head Instructor, Head Counselor and Junior Counselor or Assistant Instructor. Campers are ages 9-15 (Adventure Camp), 8-14 (Sampler Camp) and 5-8 (Explorers Camp).  Groups are co-ed (boys & girls together).
  • What are your sessions?
    At Calleva, most campers register for one week at a time. The exception is our NEW Epic 2 week Sampler Camp!  This makes it easy to build a summer of activities that includes one or more weeks of Calleva camp. Calleva families can register for 1 week or as many as 12 weeks of camp . . . whatever suits your schedule.
  • Do you provide transportation?
    Yes, for Calleva Cubs, Explorers & all Adventure Campers, transportation is provided to Riley’s Lock from Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, & Washington DC Area pick up points. Transportation is included in the cost.  Bus routes are finalized on the Tuesday BEFORE your camp week.  We cannot make changes after that time.
  • Do you provide food?
    Yes, Calleva provides all the food for overnight in Adventure Camp, but we encourage parents to pack snacks to keep their hungry camper satisfied and full of energy throughout Friday. In addition, parents can purchase lunches through Calleva for $40/week. This is done through the registration process. If you would like to add lunches, you must call the office the Monday before your camper is enrolled. Lunch consists of Deli-style sandwich (no choice), Salty Snack, Fruit/Vegetable, and a home-baked dessert. If your camper has any allergy or dietary restrictions, we highly suggest that they bring food from home.
  • Is Calleva a Peanut-Free camp?
    No, Calleva is not peanut free. Calleva is however a “Peanut-AWARE” camp. Our staff pay special attention to allergies listed in camper “Health Issues,” including food-related special needs. We DO NOT PROHIBIT nuts or other allergens across-the-board at camp. We travel and use park picnic benches and public areas that may have
  • What does it mean to be a mobile camp?
    Are their restrooms available?  Is there a central, indoor facility for campers to access?  Our mobile philosophy enables awesome adventure for our participants at a different location every day!  It also requires us to be creative about communication, planning logistics and other aspects of camp.  Our office, the main hub for camp activity, is a small building located at Riley’s Lock in the C&O National Historic Park.  We do not have any indoor facilities for summer camp and we rely on porta-potties for bathroom facilities both at Riley’s Lock and Calleva Farm. When in the field, campers learn & practice Leave No Trace principles for every aspect of life in the outdoors!
  • Do you allow animals/pets at your Camp?
    While there are lots of animals on the farm, and other visitors in Parks may have pets; Calleva campers and Staff are NOT allowed to bring pets to Camp.
  • Will my camper(s) swim in the Potomac River and other natural waterways?
    Yes, as much as we can or are allowed to! Any water related program or activity, campers and parents should expect that their campers will be in the water (rivers/creeks). Watercraft instruction is not complete without teaching river swimming skills. As with all watercraft, campers can fall or come out of their boat and be in the water, and must know how to properly handle themselves. All Campers wear PFD’s (Personal Floatation Devices) that are properly sized and fitted by our staff and when there are rapids they wear helmets.
  • Can my camper bring cell phone/portable electronics?
    No, time to unplug!
  • Additional ACA Standards: Standards that require being addressed. We support and are an accredited ACA Camp.

Questions about Explorers Camp:

  • Are you an overnight camp or a day camp?
    Explorer Camps are your normal “day camp” and are transported home at the end of every day.

Questions about Adventure Camps:

  • Are you an overnight camp or a day camp?
    We are both!  Adventure Camp is a traveling day camp Monday-Wednesday, with regular bus routes before and after camp.  On Thursday, Adventure Campers go on an overnight campout (within a two hour’s drive from DC).
  • Where are your overnights for the Adventure Camps?
    Overnights vary according to activity, and often vary from week to week within that activity.  Each week, instructors select overnight locations based upon their group’s interests, skill level and team dynamics (as well as weather!). Parents are notified by Wednesday about where their child will be overnighting.  Calleva has an Emergency Action Plan for every area we visit.  Instructors and Counselors carry cell phones and can contact our directors in the event of an emergency.
  • Can my camper bring cell phone/portable electronics?
    No, they are not permitted. Time to unplug!
  • What policies will you have in place for camping during COVID?
    While we believe that overnights will be allowed, we are prepared to make any necessary changes to follow the camping rules issued by the State.  We are now planning on camping under the stars and using rainflys instead of tents if the weather dictates. We may possibly offer some tents to campers that share a covid bubble; or if the State allows we could choose to put 2 campers in a 4 person tent. Campers are also able to bring their own tent or hammock if they wish.

Questions about High Adventure Camps:

  • What is a High Adventure?
    Calleva offers a variety of adventure trips for teens (ages 12-17).  For a list of trips, go to the Summer Camp section.  Trips integrate Leave No Trace wilderness camping, adventure sports instruction, and leadership training for teens. While participating in physically challenging activities, CLS students reach beyond comfort zones to experience incredible personal and team success while building strong skills in their chosen activities. CLS trips enable increased confidence and self discipline which contributes to success in school, sports, friendships and family relationships. Some trips include volunteer service activities that enable students to earn Student Service Learning hours.
  • Can my High Adventure Camper ride the Calleva buses?
    Calleva provides all logistical needs once the trip has started, however parents are responsible for dropping off and picking up students before and after the the trip. Depending on the trip, parents will need to drop off students at the Calleva Office between  7-8am on Monday Mornings, and pick them up between 5-6pm on Friday Evening at Riley’s Lock. There will be a light breakfast and pizza dinner served for families, campers, and staff.
  • Can my camper bring cell phone/portable electronics?
    I know that while we are gone for a week it seems very tough to go without our electronics… but it is possible! Help us be cell phone/electronics free and LEAVE it all at HOME! We can talk and sing on the drive. Take mental pictures, and live in the moment. If we need to communicate with you, our staff or office will do it. Please no cell phones.

Questions about Calleva:

  • Calleva is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, offering summer camp, school field trips, and programs for other youth and adult groups. We’re known for our unique, mobile summer camp programs.  Our campers visit the best, most beautiful wilderness areas in our region.  In addition, we use two Calleva locations for some of our activities:
  • Riley’s Lock (C&O Canal National Park) – is great for water-based programs like kayaking, canoeing and fishing.  Safety lessons and other introductory activities happen here, especially when groups are getting acquainted with gear for their excursion.  Riley’s Lock is also the “hub” for our mobile adventure summer camp.
  • Calleva Farm (Dickerson, MD) – is the hub for our agricultural education and horseback riding programs.  Growing Green, Building Green and Calleva horse adventures take place on our 165-acre working farm, where we grow hay, vegetables and livestock (including bees!).  Schools, scouts and other community groups have found Calleva Farm to be a great venue for enabling groups to discover how a farm interacts with its surrounding environment.
  • Calleva’s unique blend of fun and learning makes every Calleva program unique and excellent!  Calleva provides highest quality instruction, customized & goal-oriented itineraries, and high-energy facilitators.

What else do you offer?  We hear all the time, “My child participated in a Calleva camp, what else do you offer?”

  • Outings for groups, businesses, and schools.
  • Farm to table dinners called “Dirty Dinners”
  • Local kayaking instruction, race training, and trips to rivers in our area, Canada and Mexico
  • Our annual benefit performance, Markoff’s Haunted Forest.

Camp Form

Questions specifically regarding Summer Camps