Nature Camp FAQs

What qualifications do your instructors and counselors have to lead summer camps? 

kayaking

What is the camper to staff ratio?

When is the deadline for registration?

What is your refund/payment due policy?

Do you offer scholarships for camp?

My child attended camp last year, and he remains in the same age group as last year's camp. Is it worthwhile for him to go to the same camp again?

My child wants to attend camp, but we have a conflict with the dates. Are there other options?

I want my child to go to a camp that is outside their age bracket. Is that possible?

Is transportation provided? 

My child has never been camping. Are the backcountry camps suitable for beginners?

What should my camper bring to camp?

What should my camper NOT bring to camp?

 

1. What qualifications do your instructors and counselors have to lead summer camps?
All summer camp instructors are CPR/First-Aid certified, background-checked, and experienced environmental educators with college degrees. Counselors and counselors-in-training are college students, high-school graduates, or high school students with an interest in working with children in an outdoor setting. If a 15 passenger van is used for camp transportation, the lead instructor will have a commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement. Back to top

 

2. What is the camper to staff ratio?
Our camps have no more than seven campers for every summer camp staff to ensure that campers receive individual attention. Back to top

3. When is the deadline for registration?
We encourage early registration to ensure your child’s spot in camp. There may be open spots leading up to the Friday before camp, but the earlier you register your child, the better. If we do not have enough campers signed up 10 days before a camp, we may need to cancel that camp (there may be interested campers that would bring the number up to our minimum, but we have no way of knowing if they aren’t signed up). Registration will not be confirmed until we have received payment. Back to top

4. What is your refund/payment due policy?
No refunds will be given for one-time classes, trips, tours or special events. Full refunds will be given if TINS cancels a program. A partial (50%) refund is given only if requested 30 days before the first day of camp/class. Or you can receive a full credit towards another camp or a TINS membership. Payment is due at registration to reserve your spot. Please make checks payable to Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. If a camper's cancellation forces TINS to cancel a camp, we cannot refund the fee's for that camper(s). Back to top

5. Do you offer scholarships for camp?
Scholarships are available, but limited. Please contact Michelle Witte at 775.298.0064 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Back to top

6. My child attended camp last year, and he remains in the same age group as last year's camp. Is it worthwhile for him to go to the same camp again?
Yes! Every year, we learn new games, activities, and things about the natural world. Our camps usually have one or two guest instructors that keep the camp content fresh from year to year. While we have our usual pool of destinations for camp, we do like to mix things up with visits to new locations. The individual campers change every year as well, creating a different bonding experience for campers. Lastly, every year, indeed every day, brings a different set of environmental circumstances that presents different experiences with nature that makes a trip to the same location a different experience! Back to top

7. My child wants to attend camp, but we have a conflict with the dates. Are there other options?
We offer camps based on demand and the availability of our staff and we do our best to avoid scheduling conflicts with other popular camps. We have added additional camps in the past and may be able to do so if there is enough interest. We need at least eight campers to make a camp happen. We want to provide high quality, nature experiences for children, so please inquire if we can help make this happen for your child. Back to top

8. I want my child to go to a camp that is outside their age bracket. Is that possible?
Our goal for camps is to create a cohesive group of campers that is capable of handling similar experiences. If we get too wide a range of ages, the attention spans and physical abilities of campers becomes too varied. This ultimately takes away from the great experiences that we want to provide for all of our campers. Thus, we strongly recommend against placing students in an age bracket that is outside of their age range. Back to top

9. Is transportation provided?
Transportation varies by camp:

  • For Junior Entomologists camps, parents need to provide transportation to the park or nature area of the day, which are easily reached within the South Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities. Carpooling with other campers is encouraged.
  • For the Tahoe Explorers camps, campers are dropped off and picked up at the same location each day. Transportation is provided from there during the day.
  • For the Youth Back Country Camps with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, campers are dropped off and picked up at the same location and transportation is provided to the trailhead and back to the pick-up location. Back to top

10. My child has never been camping. Are the backcountry camps suitable for beginners?
You do not need prior backpacking experience before participating in a YBCC program. These camps are intended to introduce teens to backpacking and camping. Back to top

11. What should my camper bring to camp?
Day campers should bring a light pack with sunscreen, lunch (if the camp goes beyond noon), snacks, and plenty of water. Bug spray could be handy as well as this is Tahoe in the summer. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes for exploring nature. Hats are recommended for sun protection. Last, but not least, bring an open mind and your enthusiasm for adventure! Back to top

12. What should my camper NOT bring to camp?
We discourage cell phones, MP3 players, and tablets at camp as they create a distraction from the purpose of camp—getting outside and enjoying nature with other campers! Back to top