BASE Camp

For all kids from any school!

Summer 2017 Registration<br> (June 19-July 14, 2017 -- no camp July 4)

Summer 2017 Registration
(June 19-July 14, 2017 -- no camp July 4)

Summer 2017 registration opens the week of 1/30. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates.

See our FAQs

See our FAQs

Check out our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about OPEF and BASE Camp.

Highlights from summer 2016

Highlights from summer 2016

Enjoy lots of photos and videos from BASE Camp 2016. Share them with your friends!

BASE Camp News

Big turnout for Maker Day 2017 on MLK Day

We had a big turnout for Maker Day 2017 on MLK Day with more than 200 kids participating! From the intricate […]

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Sign up for summer 2017 BASE Camp updates

By January 30th, we’ll be able to give you all the details about the 2017 BASE Camp schedule for 2017 […]

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Spend MLK Day with us for hands-on maker fun!

It’s going to be a fun-filled day for grades K-8 with unique projects using materials in unexpected ways. You’ll make […]

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Oak Park Science Mural Tour

If you haven’t seen all the beautiful murals around town created by OPEF BASE Camp students for the past six years, we’ve got them plotted on Google Maps.

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VIEW ALL BASE CAMP NEWS >>

<span style="color:white;">BASE Camp Parent</span>

BASE Camp Parent

“Our daughter had an amazing time this summer... We were so impressed by the teachers, students and materials. We are already looking forward to next summer. Thanks!”

<span style="color:white;">BASE Camp Parent</span>

BASE Camp Parent

“My son had a wonderful experience thanks to the BASE Camp scholarship. And he's starting to understand if he really wants to do something all he has to do is keep trying.”

<span style="color:white;">District 97 Principal</span>

District 97 Principal

“Thank you for showing my daughter the unknown can be fun, exciting, and educational.”

<span style="color:white;">BASE Camp Teacher</span>

BASE Camp Teacher

"We know kids are having a good time when they don't ask what time it is and don't want to go home."

<span style="color:white;">BASE Camp Parent</span>

BASE Camp Parent

"What a great camp on every level! Love it. Fantastic job!"

BASE Camp Administration

Lindsay Bruce

Lindsay Bruce

BASE Camp Director / lbruce@opef.org

Lindsay Bruce joined OPEF in 2015 to help co-lead BASE Camp. In 2016, she was promoted to BASE Camp Director. Lindsay’s background in higher education administration has prepared her well to support BASE Camp’s growing programs. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Tufts University, Lindsay worked in college and high school admissions, connecting families with the right educational environments for their children. Lindsay earned her master’s degree at Harvard, where she studied access and success in education, higher education management and student development. Most recently, she ran the Student Success Center at University of Massachusetts Boston, working to increase graduation rates of STEM students through learning communities, academic support, and peer mentoring.

 Angie Hawkins

Angie Hawkins

BASE Camp Assistant Director / ahawkins@opef.org

Angie Hawkins, a 13-year veteran art teacher, worked primarily at Burnham Elementary School in Cicero. In addition to teaching, she collaborated with colleagues on various committees aimed at using data analysis to increase student achievement and parent involvement. She also brings several summers of experience working in a north suburban park district as a camp coordinator providing a safe and fun outdoor learning environment for children of all age ranges. Angie holds a BFA in Art Education from Michigan State University as well as a Master of Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois. She has been a part of the Oak Park community for four years with her husband and two young children.

Amy Struckmeyer

Amy Struckmeyer

BASE Camp Operations Coordinator / astruckmeyer@opef.org

Amy Struckmeyer, worked in the field of architecture for more than a decade, taking on many design and management roles. She has been active in the Irving PTO, developing and growing their relatively new after-school enrichment program. From programming and establishing a budget to facilitating enrollment and managing day-to-day operations, she was involved in overseeing all aspects of the now thriving program. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Washington in Seattle. Amy and her husband, Jim, have lived in Oak Park since 2000. Their two children attend District 97 schools and have enjoyed many BASE Camp experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

More Info about BASE Camp

BASE Camp Summer 2016 Highlights
What a great summer! BASE Camp campers dove into challenging hands-on projects, made real-world connections, ventured out on exciting field trips, and learned from visiting experts.

BASE Camp Summer 2016 Policies
Organizing more than 40 different camps this summer has the BASE Camp team with a lot of information to distribute, expectations to share, and policies to explain. We’ve got everything you need to know so your kids have a great experience. Questions? Contact BASE Camp Director Lindsay Bruce / 617-291-5418).

Who can go to BASE Camp?
BASE Camp is open to any elementary or middle-school student from any school, public or private, in Oak Park, River Forest, Galewood, Forest Park, Berwyn, Riverside, Chicago, and beyond! Have your grandchild or other relations visiting from out of town? They are also welcome to join us at camp!

What makes BASE Camp special?
BASE Camp makes learning fun for kids through hands-on projects that build creative problem-solving skills while connecting kids to their peers and their community. We focus on bringing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts to life in an engaging, playful atmosphere.

BASE Camp is also the Oak Park Education Foundation’s “innovation incubator,” and we are always looking for ways to improve favorite BASE Camps and devise new camps that make kids and parents say, “Cool!” 

How long has BASE Camp been in operation?
Launched in 2010, BASE Camp originally was designed to make our favorite in-school programs available in the summer, hence the title B.A.S.E., which stands for “Build a Summer Education.” The program has since grown to include a wide variety of stimulating camps, and isn’t just for summer anymore. We offer camps not only for four weeks in June and July, but also on days-off during the school year.

What is the Oak Park Education Foundation?
Founded in 1989, the Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately funded, nonprofit organization that brings artists, architects, scientists, and technology experts into K-8th grade classrooms at every District 97 school. Our professional partners share their passion for learning while conducting hands-on projects with more than 4,100 students each year.

OPEF runs BASE Camp as a way to continue the engaged learning into the summer and on days off from school. BASE Camp is also an important source of funds for OPEF’s free in-school programming for District 97.

Who teaches at BASE Camp?
We have a blend of beloved District 97 teachers and partnerships with expert community members who bring passion for their subjects to the camps. They are supported by mature and fun high school and college-age youth counselors. All BASE Camp staff have had background checks to ensure a safe, positive environment for kids.

Where are your camps held?
We are hosted by District 97 schools for our camps. Some camps simply start at a school, and then campers go to a different location for the camp itself (e.g., bused to sailing camp or walk to mural camp), but pick-up and drop-off typically will be at a D97 school. Many camps offer field trips as a part of the enrichment experience. 

How do you ensure the high quality of your programs?
We conduct extensive surveys of participating parents and teachers immediately after each BASE Camp program ends, and the programs consistently receive high marks. For example, last summer 96% of parent respondents said they are likely or highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to a friend, and 100% of teachers said they were highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to parents and kids.

Are there scholarships available for BASE Camp?
Yes! OPEF is pleased to make a generous but limited number of scholarships available to District 97 students. Contact Lindsay Bruce with questions. Our general scholarship policy is below:

  • Only children eligible for the Oak Park District 97 free or reduced lunch program qualify for BASE Camp scholarships.
  • Parents/guardians will be responsible for a portion of camp cost.
  • Those families requesting scholarships can register online, completing camp selections for their child but not paying their portion of the camp fee right away. They will be contacted and, if approved, camp prices will be adjusted to the scholarship levels.

In addition to scholarships provided by BASE Camp directly, the Oak Park Township offers Financial Assistance Scholarships (FAS) for youth, to assist children in participating in activities and/or programs they are financially unable to access. Learn more here.

Can I donate to the BASE Camp scholarship fund?
Yes, thank you! We are so appreciative of families and community members willing to donate. Your support helps make BASE Camp accessible to more kids who might otherwise not have access to high quality enrichment outside of school hours. Please donate here.

What is the cancellation policy for BASE Camp?
Refunds, less a small fee per camper per session, must be requested at least 14 days before the start of the camp session. No refunds will be issued after that date, but forfeited funds will be converted to a tax-deductible donation to OPEF (provided no services were actually received).

The specific cancellation fee varies based on camp type, so refer to the BASE Camp registration system for specifics.

I have a great BASE Camp idea - how can I share it?
We love great ideas — our best ones come from our teachers, families and community members. Please contact our BASE Camp program coordinators Jenny Roen or Lindsay Bruce. And thanks — your energy and ideas help us create awesome camps!

Can I volunteer for BASE Camp?
Thank you for wanting to share in the magic of BASE Camp. It truly takes a village to make BASE Camp great. We are especially happy to have volunteer photographers, experienced educators, and community resources with something unique to offer our campers (e.g., a scientist to visit a hands-on science camp, a field trip to a local site of interest). Please contact our BASE Camp program coordinators to volunteer. All volunteers are subject to background checks.

What is your food policy at camp?
If your child attends a camp where snacks are provided and they can’t enjoy the snacks due to multiple food allergies or dietary restrictions, parents are welcome to provide snacks and a container specifically for your child. Parents will be notified when snacks will be provided.

We are a nut-free program. Please do not send your child with peanut or tree-nut products for lunch or snack. If a child has special dietary needs due to medication, allergies, illness, or special circumstances, please note these needs in his/her registration form.

Depending on which BASE Camp your child is attending, more details about food at camp will be shared directly with parents/guardians via email.

What is OPEF's tax ID?
If needed for your year-end record keeping, the OPEF tax ID is 36-3488162, and the mailing address is Oak Park Education Foundation, 970 Madison St, Oak Park, IL 60302.

Whom can I contact if my question isn’t answered here?
Please contact our BASE Camp Director Lindsay Bruce with additional questions.