BASE Camp Arboretum Adventures

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 8 AM - 3 PM


One-Day BASE Camp, Columbus Day 2015 (K-5th). Three different age-appropriate adventures led by a BASE Camp teacher and Morton Arboretum experts:

Tree Detectives

Hit the trail and uncover the life cycle of trees through games, role play, and guided observation. After our picnic lunch, we’ll explore Nature Connects, the exhibit of larger-than-life animals and plants made entirely of LEGOs. We’ll finish with a visit to the Children’s Garden to use science tools to inspect the wildlife in Wonder Pond, play in the tree houses of Adventure Woods, and take advantage of hands-on fun as part of the Fall Color Festival.
max 30 kids

Eco Explorers

Get up close with nature in the field and in the lab! Hike through woodland, wetland and prairie to see the foodweb in action. After a picnic lunch, inspect your findings under a microscope in the Arboretum education laboratory to examine how plants adapt to different ecosystems. We’ll finish with a visit to Nature Connects, the exhibit of larger-than-life animals and plants made entirely of LEGOs.
max 30 kids

Geocaching Scavenger Hunt

Learn to use hand-held GPS units as you navigate the Arboretum, finding geocaches and exploring fascinating ecosystems. Picnic by the lake and check out Nature Connects, the exhibit of larger-than-life animals and plants made entirely of LEGOs. In the afternoon, we’ll have fun with outdoor games and learn about eco-conservation -- how can you help save more than 8,000 tree species worldwide.
max 30 kids

Open to all children in grades K–5, from any school. COST: $100* [ Extended camp available 3-6 PM, +$25 ]

Drop-off, pick-up and extended camp at Brooks Middle School, 325 S. Kenilworth, Oak Park. Bus transportation is included, as well as a peanut-free snack and BASE Camp cinch sack. Dress your child for the weather – our program is happening rain or shine. Children should bring a peanut-free picnic lunch and comfortable shoes for walking. Schedules are subject to change.

Registration deadline has been extended to 10/8!

* All scholarships for children participating in the District 97 free and reduced-lunch program have been allocated at this time. You may add your name to the waitlist.


Register Now

BASE Camp delivers one-day camps throughout the school year, plus week-long summer camps, to create fun hands-on learning for all 1st to 8th grade kids from any school!

Summer 2015 BASE Camp

Learning in Action



<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 News

NEW - BASE Camp Arboretum Adventures on Monday, Oct 12

Oak Park Education Foundation is excited to introduce BASE Camp's newest offering, Arboretum Adventures.

Read More

Summer BASE Camp 2015 breaks all records!

Completing its sixth year, BASE Camp served more Oak Park area kids than ever -- with a broader array of unique camps.

Read More

Chicago Tribune: Robots welcome new District 97 superintendent

New D97 superintendent Dr. Carol Kelley visited Summer BASE Camp 2015, seeing various camps in action.

Read More

BASE Camp Public Art 101 participants create Science Mural Tour

The murals and tour were created by 6th-8th grade students participating in OPEF BASE Camp’s public art projects between 2011-15.

Read More


BASE Camp Coordinators

Jenny Roen

Jenny Roen

BASE Camp Coordinator /

Jenny Roen joined OPEF in 2012 as the BASE Camp Coordinator. Her background is a mix of volunteer projects, non-profit consulting and corporate marketing. Locally, she has been closely associated with Girl Scouts, Parenthesis, and Hatch School. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Advertising, Jenny relocated to San Francisco, Boston and the NYC metro area. She has lived in Oak Park with her husband, Dave, and two children since 1990.

Lindsay Bruce

Lindsay Bruce

BASE Camp Coordinator /

Lindsay Bruce joined OPEF in 2015 to help co-lead BASE Camp. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

More Info about BASE 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. 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).

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.

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 program coordinators Jenny Roen or Lindsay Bruce with additional questions.