BASE Camp

BASE Camp for 2017 is over. Check back for 2018 info this fall.

Get an overview of camps

Get an overview of camps

Just getting started? The Planning Guide gives a camp overview, by age and by week.

Read camp details

Read camp details

Found some intriguing camps? Read the full camp descriptions below and all about our BASE Camp teachers.

Register for camp

Register for camp

Ready to register? Once you've narrowed down your choices, go to our registration website.

See our FAQs

See our FAQs

Have questions? See our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about OPEF and BASE Camp.

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Summer BASE Camp 2017 Information

What you need to know to have a great summer!


1st-2nd Grade Camp Descriptions

All camps at this grade level are held at Longfellow Elementary. Read more about our amazing BASE Camp teachers.

AM Camps

Experimentation Station (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120

1-wk session Conduct hands-on experiments with things gooey, strange, stinky, colorful, eruptive, surprising and always fun! Hypothesize about the science behind the reactions you see. You’ll finish camp with a lab book of experiments that you can do again at home. You may register for multiple sessions; each session will have some new and some repeated experiments. Please note, some experiments will involve small servings of candy (nut free), and we will make ice cream (with a non-dairy option). Ingredients can be provided upon request.

Explorers & Map Makers (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Think you know maps? Think again. Learn all about map reading and the art of map making, creating your own crazy maps like “a day in the life of me,” an imaginary trip, neighborhood walks, and a reimagined map of Oak Park/River Forest/Forest Park. We’ll take walking tours in the neighborhood and a field trip to the Oak Park Conservatory to explore, research and design our maps. Learn to think and reason visually and spatially, and have fun doing it! Content will be the same each session. Wear comfortable shoes for our daily walks. Parents are welcome to accompany us!

Fairy Tale Engineering (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Want to design modern endings to classic fairy tales? Get creative and engineer new solutions to old problems. Build a strong, sturdy house so the wolf (a.k.a., hair dryer) doesn’t blow down your piggie’s house. Re-design baby bear’s bed for Goldilocks. Create a raft for the three billy goats to cross the river and escape the hungry troll. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Content will be the same each session.

Fiesta Mexicana (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  There’s more to love about Mexico than just its food! Celebrate Mexican arts and culture with a field trip to the colorful and vibrant Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. Explore Mexico’s native foods — and then make some salsa or guacamole yourself! Learn about beautiful and storied Mexican folk art like retablos and amate paintings and create some gorgeous Latin-inspired masterpieces of your own. ¡Sí, por favor! You may sign up for both sessions; explore different Pilsen landmarks, make different foods and art!

Junior Detectives (1st-2nd)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Solve the mystery of the stolen art with science! Become a crime scene investigator and get eyewitness accounts, analyze fingerprints and DNA (are these hair fibers our thief’s or leftover cat hair?), and match ink samples through chromatography. Each day, you’ll uncover new evidence until you find the culprit! Share your analysis with a real-life crime fighter to earn your junior detective badge. Content will be the same each session.

LEGO Landmarks (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Use your creativity and problem-solving skills to construct celebrated natural and man-made wonders using LEGOs! Projects will build on ideas from famous Chicago-area architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Jeanne Gang, and Frank Gehry. Kids will work both individually and in small groups. We’ll document our projects and share them with friends and family at the end of camp. You may register for multiple sessions; campers can build different landmarks each session!

Origami Movie Shorts (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Did you know that the word origami comes from the Japanese words “oru” meaning to fold and “kami” meaning paper? In this camp, you’ll work in small teams to make a short film using origami characters! Learn about the Japanese art of paper folding. Create your own origami characters and write a story script, film, and edit a short film making your characters come to life with iMovie and iPads. We will end the week with a film festival for friends and family while enjoying a Japanese snack! You may sign up for both sessions; create a new movie each week!

Space Rangers (1st-2nd)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Blast off on an intergalactic adventure! Get up close with outer space as you create constellations, moon craters and balloon rockets. Step into the shoes of an astronaut and simulate walking, writing and working in a spacesuit, and skype with a NASA astronaut doctor to learn more about space careers. You’ll even sample astronaut food! Content will be the same each session. Please note this camp will include a selection of freeze-dried foods, with allergy-friendly options. Ingredients provided upon request.

Toy Factory (1st-2nd)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Be your own toy maker! You will create one-of-a-kind mechanical contraptions and toys from recycled materials like wheels, pipes, and other reusable odds and ends. Using hand cranks and gears, how can you make your toys move? Collaborate on ways to improve your designs for maximum fun! Show off your cool creations to friends and family. You’re welcome to bring in your own recycled materials to add to ours. Content will be the same each session.

PM Camps 

Art Around the World (1st-2nd)

Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Every day you will explore a different part of the world. Find each location on a map, learn greetings in the local language, hear exciting stories from these exotic lands, and create art inspired by your “travels.” Destinations will include Greece, Egypt, Japan and more, and each stop earns a stamp in our passports. Invent your own country and imagine its art and culture as you build a landmark of your own design!

Explorers & Map Makers (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Think you know maps? Think again. Learn all about map reading and the art of map making, creating your own crazy maps like “a day in the life of me,” an imaginary trip, neighborhood walks, and a reimagined map of Oak Park/River Forest/Forest Park. We’ll take walking tours in the neighborhood and a field trip to the Oak Park Conservatory to explore, research and design our maps. Learn to think and reason visually and spatially, and have fun doing it! Content will be the same each session. Wear comfortable shoes for our daily walks. Parents are welcome to accompany us!

Jungle Yoga (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Stretch your mind and body as you explore the rainforest with stories, music, art, jungle movement and meditation. Build and decorate a giant rain stick to transport yourself into the wild. Learn to use your breath to both calm and energize your body, and build coordination, balance and strength. Content will be the same each session. To participate fully in the class, children should wear comfortable clothes (e.g., leggings/sweats, not dresses, tights or jeans). In partnership with YogaKids of Oak Park.

LEGO Pre-Engineering (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Use LEGO Mechanisms to take on exciting challenges – building machines that carry the most weight, roll the farthest or the fastest! Working in groups or individually, you’ll build vehicles, mini-robots, catapults and contraptions of all sorts. Sketch, design and create small machines, figuring out along the way what works and what doesn’t. Some projects will incorporate instructions to follow while others will be free-form design, bringing out your inner inventor! You may register for multiple sessions; campers can build different machines each session!

LEGO Stop Motion (1st-2nd)

Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Make an animated movie using LEGOs! Create your storyboard, build your LEGO scenery and characters, capture the action with the camera, and put it all together through iMotion software, making your video appear seamlessly animated. End the week with a film festival, and share your videos family and friends. Bring simple, recycled materials to create your movie set (more information given during the first day of camp). You may register for multiple sessions; campers can animate different stories each session!

Mini Meteorologists (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Are you wild about weather? Learn about the science behind wind, rain, clouds, storm through hands-on experiments. Make it rain in a jar, build an anemometer to measure air speed, see centripetal force in action with a tornado in a bottle, and simulate earthquakes with a shake table. Finally, you’ll discover the TV weatherperson’s “green screen” trick – and create your own weather forecast video complete with a cool background of your choosing. Content will be the same each session.

Run Play Eat! (1st-2nd)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session The recipe for feeling great is to eat healthy and move more! Play some high-energy, fun games and sample yummy, fresh food every day, keeping active and fueling our bodies. Ride a school bus to the Sugar Beet Schoolhouse kitchen garden at Cheney Mansion to identify, sample and harvest garden foods. On another day take a field trip to feed, milk and care for nearby goats and sample goat milk products.Content will be the same each session. In partnership with Sugar Beet Co-op and Cheney Mansion.

Theater of the Wild (1st-2nd)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Tell your story with no boundaries. Explore our local wilderness with a trip to Wolf Road Prairie, build camp spirit with theater games, and get inspired by nature. Then through improvisation and collaborative writing, create an original performance with costumes and scenery of your own design. Gain stage skills and confidence while becoming the next generation of sustainable caretakers for the earth. You may register for multiple sessions; campers will write different plays each session. In partnership with the West Cook Wild Ones.

Tinker Time (1st-2nd)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120

1-wk session Become an innovator the old-fashioned way – by tinkering! Learn how things work with cool materials, real tools, and time to explore in a fun, safe space. You can build a marble run, construct ramps, plan a maze, or come up with your own original creation from scratch. Work in a team or by yourself, learn problem-solving skills, and follow your own interests. You may register for multiple sessions; campers can build different innovations each session!

3rd-5th Grade Camp Descriptions
All camps at this grade level are held at Longfellow Elementary. Read more about our amazing BASE Camp teachers.

AM Camps 

Art Around the World (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Every day you will explore a different part of the world. Find each location on a map, learn greetings in the local language, hear exciting stories from these exotic lands, and create art inspired by your “travels.” Destinations will include Greece, Egypt, Japan and more, and each stop earns a stamp in our passports. Invent your own country and imagine its art and culture as you build a landmark of your own design!

Coding for Kids (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Learn to code by exploring a variety of different coding sites, including MIT’s Scratch. Explore programming and design, then create animations and games in sites such as Scratch, building up from wherever your skill level begins. Apply math, problem-solving, critical thinking, reasoning, and computational skills to create digital projects in a fun educational environment. Content will be the same each session.

Comics Creator (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Write and design your own digital comics! Learn about the history of visual storytelling, starting with the classic comic strip, and discuss what makes a compelling character — from superheroes to villains, and everything in between. Create your own characters and write your own storyline. During the week, you’ll use increasingly complex online tools to put it all together and design your own comics. Take a field trip to a local comic shop to talk about what it takes to get a comic published! The completed creations will be printed in a colorful comic book form to take home.
Content will be the same each session.

Claymation (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session  Make an animated movie using clay! Learn how to create an armature (framework), handle the camera, create your storyboard, build your characters from clay and create stop-motion animation. Then we’ll put it all together, making your clay character move so it appears seamlessly animated. Wear only clothes that can be ruined – clay is messy! – and bring simple, recycled materials to create your movie set (more information given during the first day of camp). You may register for multiple sessions; campers can animate different stories each session!

Guerrilla Artist (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Share your creativity with the community. Create a variety of outdoor art projects and then stealthily distribute them around the neighborhood to surprise and delight recipients. You’ll yarn bomb a tree, paint beach stones, design mini journals, and more. Each student will make one to keep and many to give. You may register for multiple sessions; campers can create different projects each session! In partnership with The Little Bits Workshop.

LEGO Engineering (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Identify challenges in your world and build solutions, on a miniature scale! Build a LEGO bridge, a mobile medical truck, a rocket – think big! Using LEGO Motorized Mechanisms, design and create vehicles, mini-robots, and motorized contraptions of all sorts. Some projects will incorporate instructions to follow while others will be free-form design, bringing out your inner inventor! Indicate buddy requests at the time of registration. You may register for multiple sessions; campers can build different machines each session!

LEGO Entrepreneurs (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Your job is to engineer the perfect bridge in an imperfect world. You will plan, design, build, and test a bridge structure out of LEGOs. But here’s the twist: you must also meet the engineering specs (size of the bridge and requirements for a minimum load weight) and manage a budget for materials amid limited resources. Working together, you will build, test, and rebuild multiple times. Content will be the same each session.

Run Play Eat! (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session The recipe for feeling great is to eat healthy and move more! Play some high-energy, fun games and sample yummy, fresh food every day, keeping active and fueling our bodies. Ride a school bus to the Sugar Beet Schoolhouse kitchen garden at Cheney Mansion to identify, sample and harvest garden foods. On another day take a field trip to feed, milk and care for nearby goats and sample goat milk products. Content will be the same each session. In partnership with Sugar Beet Co-op and Cheney Mansion.

Science Olympiad (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)9:00-11:30 AM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 149:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session By land, by sea, or by air – build a balloon car, a floating boat, or a bottle rocket to learn about the physics of transportation. Work collaboratively in pairs and small groups, and learn about aerodynamics and Newton’s Laws by using air pressure to power your creations. Experience the impact of air resistance and terminal velocity by adding a deployable parachute to your bottle rocket in order to safely bring an “egg-o-naut” back to the ground. Design and build a straw replica of a skyscraper with high structural efficiency capable of supporting a weight. Indicate buddy requests at the time of registration. Content will be the same each session.

Story Quilts (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 239:00-11:30 AM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 309:00-11:30 AM$145

1-wk session Tell a story — in fabric! Draw inspiration from your community – the people, places, and history that make it special, then weave together your stories into a collaborative piece of art. Learn techniques like fabric dyeing, felting, embroidery and machine stitch to create a quilt that will be displayed in a public location. Bring home some mini samples of your work in a textile journal. You may register for multiple sessions; campers will make different quilts each session!

PM Camps

Build a Business (3rd-5th)

Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$255

2-wk session  Money, money, money — saving, spending and earning it. How can you become a successful entrepreneur to make money? You’ll work in teams to develop your own cool company, conducting focus groups, creating the products, and buying and selling to each other. Experiment with what makes a business successful, analyzing profit and loss and supply and demand. Learn about the concept of stocks, looking at real companies, and buying stock in each other’s companies. You will need to be a creative problem-solver to maximize profits!

Coding with Ozobots (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Ozobot Bit is the world’s smallest smart robot. Build both creativity and coding skills by programming your bot to do cool stuff. Use a computer program called Ozoblockly and code using colored patterns to make the tiny robot follow directions, dance, and move. Advance from basic color coding to intermediate block-based programming with Bit. By the end of the week, your robot will complete a maze designed by you and your fellow campers. Content will be the same each session.

Critter Science (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120

1-wk session  Inspect insects, mammals and other living things up close and personal! Analyze and dissect real specimens, learning all about insect parts, animal bones and muscles, a variety of chicken tissues, and lots more. You’ll learn how living organisms are built and what makes them function. Use microscopes for a closer look into the wonders of these small critters. Document your observations in a sketch journal just like a real scientist, and bring it home to continue your adventures. You may register for multiple sessions; critters will be different each session.

Eco Chefs (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 712:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  The summer garden is full of bright and delicious flavors and you’ll experiment with them in this hands-on cooking class. Explore what is in season, using herbs to make a sauce for handmade pasta, and delicious berries for a jam to top fresh-churned ice cream. Take a trip to Sugar Beet Schoolhouse’s new home to explore the greenhouse and cook in its commercial kitchen. Learn tips about sustainable gardening and kitchen techniques that will inspire a lifetime of good cooking and eating habits. Content will be the same each session. In partnership with Sugar Beet Schoolhouse.

Fairy Tale Engineering

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Want to design modern endings to classic fairy tales? Get creative and engineer new solutions to old problems. Find a better way for Rapunzel to escape her tower, invent a parachute for Jack and the Beanstalk, or re-design baby bear’s bed for Goldilocks. Experiment and work together to imagine solutions that don’t require a prince or a Fairy Godmother! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Content will be the same each session.

Kinetic Contraptions (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  With ingenuity, a paper cup, some twine, a ping pong ball and domino tiles, some totally new contraption will come to life! You’ll spend the week collaborating to configure this and other “found” stuff into the Rube Goldberg device of your wildest imagination. Creativity
and knowledge of simple machines come together in this fun and wacky exercise of solving a problem in the most complicated way possible! Indicate buddy requests at the time of registration. Content will be the same each session.

LEGO Stop Motion (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Make an animated movie using LEGOs! Create your storyboard, build your LEGO scenery and characters, capture the action with the camera, and put it all together through iMotion software, making your video appear seamlessly animated. End the week with a film festival, and share your videos family and friends. Bring simple, recycled materials to create your movie set (more information given during the first day of camp). You may register for multiple sessions; campers can animate different stories each session! Content will be the same each session.

Making Zines (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Share your unique voice with the world by publishing your own zine! You’ll participate in observational drawing exercises, workshops, personal journey map-making and haiku hikes in a process that’s been used with artists and students of all ages. Creating a zine is your opportunity to express your ideas and passions through original writing, drawing and maps. The culminating event will be a field trip to create our own public art installation. Campers may sign up for multiple sessions; content will be different each session.

Minecraft (3rd-5th)

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$145
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session  Join fellow campers in a secure Minecraft world for unique design challenges. We will be using teamwork and problem-solving skills to create and read maps, tackle environmental challenges, and virtually explore architecture from different places and times. We’ll create our own adventures, build societies and systems, and plan treasure hunts in the immersive and creative world of Minecraft. Previous experience with Minecraft is helpful, but not necessary. Content will be the same each session.

Oak Park GO! (3rd-5th)

Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$255

2-wk session  “Gotta catch ‘em all!” It’s not Pokemon you’re looking for, but the amazing people, places and stories and that make Oak Park famous. Develop a kid-friendly scavenger hunt of area historic landmarks, highlighting what you think is cool about your community. Visit Pleasant Home, Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District, Heritage Tile and more, then create a digital tour and unveil it to your family and friends on the final day of camp. In partnership with Pleasant Home Foundation, Heritage Tile, and the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society.

Spoken Word (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Have a lot to say? Express yourself through spoken word and dance. Explore the ways acting, storytelling, writing and rap unite to form poetry. Analyze poetry and the lyrics of your favorite music to see the power of well-chosen words. Incorporate movement and even break dancing to put your poetry in motion. You will build a community of friends and finish the week with a poetry slam performance. Content will be the same each session.

Theater of the Wild (3rd-5th)

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$285

2-wk session Tell your story with no boundaries. Explore our local wilderness with a trip to Wolf Road Prairie, build camp spirit with theater games, and get inspired by nature. Then through improvisation and collaborative writing, create an original performance with costumes and scenery of your own design. Gain stage skills and confidence while becoming the next generation of sustainable caretakers for the earth. In partnership with the West Cook Wild Ones.

Wandering Artists (3rd-5th)

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:00 PM$120
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:00 PM$145

1-wk session Get out of the studio and get creative. Walk every day to various Oak Park locations, including the Oak Park Conservatory, and take a bus to Pleasant Home. Design your own sketchbook from recycled and found materials. Fill its pages with fun drawing and writing exercises. In the studio, experiment and expand your ideas through collage, altered photographs, transferred images, paint, pen and inks, and other drawing materials. Content will be the same each session.

6th-8th Grade Camp Descriptions
Locations of camps for these grade levels are at Brooks Middle School and Julian Middle School, as indicated below. Read more about our amazing BASE Camp teachers.

AM Camps 

Architectural Photography (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session  Discover new ways to look at the architecture that surrounds you every day, from local historic landmarks to your own home. Using an SLR digital camera, practice basics of composition and exposure and apply them to different architectural elements. Visit Unity Temple, Pleasant Home, the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District and more. Learn how to do simple touch-ups or dramatic manipulations of images with photo editing software, and share photos online. Wear walking shoes for our frequent outings, and we will take one bus field trip to a local point of interest. Kids are encouraged to bring their own SLR cameras or digital point-and-shoot. In partnership with Paul Goyette Photography, Unity Temple Restoration Foundation and Pleasant Home Foundation.

Comics Creator (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:45-11:45 AM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 308:45-11:45 AM$170
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 148:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session Write and design your own digital comics! Learn about the history of visual storytelling, starting with the classic comic strip, and discuss what makes a compelling character — from superheroes to villains, and everything in between. Create your own characters and write your own storyline. During the week, you’ll use increasingly complex online tools to put it all together and design your own comics. Take a field trip to a local comic shop to talk about what it takes to get a comic published! The completed creations will be printed in a colorful comic book form to take home. Content will be the same each session.

Girl Writes (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 148:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session  Calling all girls! Tell your story your way in this creative journaling camp. Travel around Oak Park for inspiration, and even visit a Chicago literary destination. Workshop each other’s writing and celebrate female voices to create a collective chapbook (a small paperback booklet, containing poems or fiction). Chapbooks will be distributed around town on the final day of camp. Make an impact on your community through the power of the pen. Wear walking shoes for our frequent outings.

Lift Off: Aeronautics (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:45-11:45 AM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 308:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session  Investigate and test the dynamics of flight by building different aircraft models and learn first hand about combustion and trajectory by launching your own rockets. Investigate physics concepts such as energy conservation, buoyancy and the forces of flight. During the week you’ll design, build, and test airplanes, rockets, Chinese lanterns and more. The sky’s the limit as we explore the science of aeronautics. Content will be the same each session.

Peacemakers (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 148:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session “The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Become a part of a movement of social activists helping your community and the world be a better place. Identify the issues that matter to you. Learn about the power of protest art, and get creative with your own art, music, words, and actions. Participate in a peace circle, meet local activists, foster friendships, and serve your community. You may register for multiple sessions; you can work on different topics each week.

Photo Workshop (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 2June 26 to June 308:45-11:45 AM$170

1-wk session Discover the transformational art of photo editing. Learn how to consistently produce superior-quality images, as well as how to easily fix image issues. And then take your photos to the next level by creating cool memes, filters, and gifs. By the end of the week you’ll have a polished photography portfolio to take home and showcase to your friends and family. Kids are encouraged to bring their own SLR cameras or digital point-and-shoot. In partnership with Paul Goyette Photography.

Tech Studio (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:45-11:45 AM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 308:45-11:45 AM$170
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:30 PM$170

1-wk session Tinker with the latest maker technology to design and build a water piano, a racing inchworm, a self-driving car and more! Working in small teams, you’ll boost your circuitry, coding and problem-solving skills using Makey-Makey and Little Bits kits as you complete new projects each day. On the final day of camp, it’ll be a maker extravaganza as you play each other’s games and test your creations. Content is the same each session.

VEX Robotics (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 308:45 to 11:45 AM$335
Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)8:45 to 11:45 AM$305

2-wk session Learn to design, build, and program robots from scratch. You’ll work in teams, taking on a series of exciting challenges that will build both mechanical and programming skills in creating bots. This is a great opportunity for those with no experience, as well as kids with previous experience, to experiment, learn and have fun! You may register for multiple sessions; you will take on new challenges with each.

VEX Robotics Intensive (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 1-4June 19 to July 14 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$635

4-wk session  Do you have competitive robotics experience and want to take it to the next level? During this four-week intensive, hands-on camp, you will work with other experienced builders to design, create and program a competition-style robot, testing your bot and programming prowess with scrimmages. This camp is a great opportunity for you to amp up your technical and teamwork skills! You need to commit to the full four weeks; you may not join or leave part way through camp.

VEX Robotics (6th-8th) – Julian

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 308:45-11:45 AM$335
Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$305

2-wk session Learn to design, build, and program robots from scratch. You’ll work in teams, taking on a series of exciting challenges that will build both mechanical and programming skills in creating bots. This is a great opportunity for those with no experience, as well as kids with previous experience, to experiment, learn and have fun! You may register for multiple sessions; you will take on new challenges with each.

VEX Robotics Intensive (6th-8th) – Julian

Weeks 1-4June 19 to July 14 (no camp July 4)8:45-11:45 AM$635

4-wk session  Do you have competitive robotics experience and want to take it to the next level? During this four-week intensive, hands-on camp, you will work with other experienced builders to design, create and program a competition-style robot, testing your bot and programming prowess with scrimmages. This camp is a great opportunity for you to amp up your technical and teamwork skills! You need to commit to the full four weeks; you may not join or leave part way through camp.

PM Camps

Bionics Builder (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 3012:30-3:30 PM$335
Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$305

2-wk session Love tech? Want to change the world? Harness the power of 3D printing to design and build a range of items from whimsical to practical. You’ll start by learning to design with TinkerCad and Thingiverse and will print your own projects like picture frames, bracelets, key chains, personalized avatars created with a 3D printer and 3D doodlers. By the end of the camp, work up to printing and assembling a prosthetic hand to give to someone in need of a “helping hand.” In partnership with the nonprofit e-NABLE.

Film Shorts (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$305

2-wk session Join us for this hands-on movie-making camp! Work solo and in small teams to create your personal 4-minute original film. Collaborate and get creative on storyboard development, scene design and staging. Take turns acting out the story and filming it, working both sides of the camera. Using iMovie software, edit your own final cut to take home. A film fest of all works will end the session. Use of your own digital video camera is encouraged (no cell-phone cameras), or you may share camp-provided ones. In partnership with Oak Park River Forest High School.

LEGO Mindstorms Robotics (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:30 PM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:30 PM$170
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:30 PM$170

1-wk session New to robotics? Learn to design, build and program cool robots using LEGO’s most advanced robotics technology – MINDSTORMS® EV3. Work as a team to complete projects and games created specifically for EV3. You can build robots like a raptor arm, space tracker, electric guitar, robodozer, and more. Through the engineering design process you will gain the skills needed to build and program robots, and understand how technology works in real-world applications. You may register for multiple sessions; you will take on new challenges with each.

Minecraft (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:30 PM$170

1-wk session Join fellow campers in a secure Minecraft world for unique design challenges. We will be using teamwork and problem-solving skills to create and read maps, tackle environmental challenges, and virtually explore architecture from different places and times. We’ll create our own adventures, build societies and systems, and plan treasure hunts in the immersive and creative world of Minecraft. Previous experience with Minecraft is helpful, but not necessary. Content will be the same each session.

Mixed Media Makers (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 23 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:30 PM$170

1-wk session Love working with your hands? Use everyday materials and tools to create upcycled masterpieces. Test your physics prowess and create towering roller coasters out of paper, engineer cardboard versions of your favorite video games, or create intricate origami-esque paper masks. Activate your inner creator and complete a mix of structured and freeform design projects, working both as teams and individually. Special note: participants will be working with tools under supervision. Content is the same each session.

Oak Park GO! (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 3012:30-3:00 PM$335

2-wk session  “Gotta catch ‘em all!” It’s not Pokemon you’re looking for, but the trailblazing people, places and stories that make Oak Park one of the nation’s leaders in building an educated, diverse community. Develop a scavenger hunt highlighting noteworthy historical points and people. Visit the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society, and more, then create a digital tour and unveil it to your family and friends on the final day of camp. In partnership with Pleasant Home Foundation, Heritage Tile, and the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society.

Spoken Word (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 2312:30-3:30 PM$170
Week 2June 26 to June 3012:30-3:30 PM$170
Week 3July 3 to July 7 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$140
Week 4July 10 to July 1412:30-3:30 PM$170

1-wk session Immerse yourself in the supportive and electrifying spoken word community. Through music and rap, explore the poetic elements and emotions of song lyrics and be inspired to write your own original pieces. Participate in an editing and performance workshop to perfect your poems and your delivery. Create multi-media artwork that illustrates your writing, with the canvas reflecting the emotions, colors, and theme of your spoken word piece. Finish the camp with a snap-worthy live performance and artwork showcase. You may register for multiple sessions; you can write new pieces each week.

Urban Biker (6th-8th) – Brooks

Weeks 1-2June 19 to June 3012:30-3:30 PM$335
Weeks 3-4July 3 to July 14 (no camp July 4)12:30-3:30 PM$305

2-wk session On day one you’ll ride 10 miles with this chaperoned group, potentially building up to a fast-moving 26-mile ride on the last day of camp! Practice street navigation and safe group riding in an urban environment, following rules of the road and fixing problems along the way. Learn self sufficiency, independence and navigation! In addition to exploring Oak Park and River Forest, ride The 606 trail in Chicago, the Salt Creek Trail and stop to see the sights in surrounding communities. Required daily items include a road-ready bike with gears (no dirt bikes) and its spare inner tube, bike lock, helmet, snacks, water bottle and closed-toe shoes. Bicycles should be inspected and tuned up at a local shop before the start of camp. While camp content and destinations may be repeated, campers may register for both sessions.

Full Day Camps 

Frank Lloyd Wright: Fix It Up (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 4July 10 to July 148:45 AM-3:30 PM$360

1-wk session  Get hands-on with history! This camp combines architecture, historic preservation and craftsmanship to create a restored masterpiece of your own. Discover how professionals care for details large and small with a visit to the Robie House in Hyde Park. Go behind-the-scenes at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio to see unrestored parts of the house not on the normal tour. Then, take your newfound knowledge and restore an antique chair using professional techniques and tools. Special note: participants will be working with drills, hand sanders, and other tools under supervision. In partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

Mosaic Project (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:45 AM-3:30 PM$380
Week 2June 26 to June 308:45 AM-3:30 PM$380

1-wk session Create a colorful and informative mosaic mural at Brooks Middle School this summer. Designed in partnership with the Brooks school community, the mosaic will be a tribute to poet Gwendolyn Brooks in celebration of her 100th birthday. Learn to use different mosaic techniques: micro and macro pieces, sculptural elements, photo transfer and tile preparation as you work to complete a stunning 600-square-foot exterior work of art. On the last day of camp, friends and family are invited to the mosaic’s unveiling. Lunch supervision is included with this camp. In partnership with District 97 and Brooks Middle School.

REACH Sailing (6th-8th) – Brooks

Week 1June 19 to June 238:30 AM-4:30 PM$545
Week 2June 26 to June 308:45 AM-3:30 PM$545

1-wk session Learn to sail on Lake Michigan and explore the science, technology, engineering and math that sailors use every day! We’ll take a bus each morning to the Columbia Yacht Club. Using REACH, US Sailing’s STEM education curriculum, answer questions like: How does this boat float? What does geometry have to do with sailing? Does the wind pull or push a sailboat? Half your day will be spent inside the yacht club doing hands-on, sailing-related STEM activities, and the other half out on the lake on a J/22 sailboat, five campers per boat, with a US Sailing-certified instructor. You may register for multiple sessions; content will be different each session. Price includes daily bus transportation to and from Brooks plus lunch and supervision at CYC. In partnership with the Columbia Yacht Club.

Camp Add-Ons

Camp Add-Ons

Early Drop-Off

(8:00-9:00 AM, grades 1-5 at Longfellow Elementary only)

To make BASE Camp more convenient for working families, we are now offering early drop-off for campers entering grades 1-5. Early Drop-Off begins at 8:00am at Longfellow Elementary School. Campers will be supervised by adult BASE Camp staff and youth counselors, engaging in a variety of low-key activities, games and playground time. More details will be sent to registered families in advance of camp.

Cost: $40/week ($32 week of July 3)

Extended Camp

(3:00-6:00 PM, grades 1-5 at Longfellow Elementary only)

If your day keeps you busy past 2:45 PM, register your child for our Extended Camp option along with your camp choices in our online form. Available only for children attending afternoon camp at Longfellow Elementary, BASE Camp adult and youth counselor staff will keep your child safe and engaged with weekly themes and activities extending the fun through both structured and unstructured play time. You may pick up your child anytime convenient for you before 6:00 PM.

Cost: $95/week ($70 week of July 3)

Lunch Options

Lunchtime Supervision

When your child is registered for both a morning and an afternoon camp, lunchtime supervision at camp is included! Just add that selection to your camp online registration form. With Lunchtime Supervision, kids at Longfellow and Brooks can bring their own sack lunch or purchase boxed lunches from us in advance. They’ll enjoy a little down time together, inside and on the playground, in the care of our friendly staff. After lunch, campers are escorted to their next camp and the afternoon fun begins!

If your camper is registered for only an AM or PM camp, you may add Lunchtime Supervision for a fee of $40/week ($32 for week 3), and either send a sack lunch or purchase a boxed lunch from us (see below).

Food Options

Bring your own nut-free lunch, or purchase one from us in advance!

Boxed Lunch
Families enrolled in all-day BASE Camp can now purchase daily boxed lunch and two snacks for $30/week ($24 for the short week of July 3rd). The Oak Park Education Foundation partners with the food service group at the Oak Park River Forest High School to provide the lunches. OPRF High School is the same group that provides lunches during the school year to all Oak Park public-school students.

The boxed lunch menu will include a sandwich/wrap, fruit, vegetables, and milk, plus a morning/afternoon snack. All lunches are nut-free, and vegetarian and limited dairy options are available. We’re still putting the finishing touches on this year’s menu. Please check out last year’s menu for reference:

BASE Camp 2016 Sample Menu
Sample Vegetarian Menu
Sample Limited Dairy Menu

The menu is subject to minor changes and there are no substitutions. Boxed lunch with snacks are sold by the week only and must be prepaid; there will not be extra food on-site for sale.

Questions about lunch? Contact Angie Hawkins, BASE Camp Assistant Director.

Camp Locations

Camp Locations

Our camps take place at centrally located Oak Park public schools.

  • Longfellow Elementary School, 715 South Highland, Oak Park, IL, for incoming 1st-5th grade campers
  • Brooks Middle School, 325 South Kenilworth, Oak Park, IL, for most incoming 6th-8th grade campers
  • Julian Middle School, 416 South Ridgeland, Oak Park, IL, for incoming 6th-8th graders participating in Julian VEX Robotics camps*

* Special note for Julian campers: for any campers registered for a camp at Brooks in the afternoon, please note that BASE Camp does NOT provide transportation from one location to another. A Youth Counselor chaperone will be available on the first day of each new session to walk campers needing guidance to Brooks (distance = 0.8 miles), and check them in with BASE Camp lunch staff. Please make arrangements for your camper to walk, bike or be driven from Julian to Brooks the remaining days.

Registration/Payment Options

Registration/Payment Options

Registration Information

Please note that BASE Camp changed registration systems in November 2016. If you have not registered for a camp since last summer, you will need to create a new user account and password, and add each child to the system.

New this year:

  • Payment plans available (see details below)
  • Invoices and registration summaries are organized by family and include all children registered

Wait List Procedure
If a camp you are interested in is full, you may add yourself to the wait list through our registration system.  Should an opening become available, BASE Camp staff will contact the names on the wait list in the order received. If your name is next up, you will be contacted by email right away and offered the open spot with no obligation to take it. You will have 48 hours to reply before the next name on the wait list is contacted. While we do not have an online way to share your place on the wait list, feel free to contact us at any time for a status update. Openings to the list are, as you might guess, difficult to predict!

For questions, please contact Amy Struckmeyer, Operations Coordinator, at astruckmeyer@opef.org.

Payment Plan Overview

Families may elect to pay via payment plan.  

The payment plan’s initial deposit includes a $25 non-refundable registration fee per camp, as well as a $10 deposit per add-on item (early drop-off, extended camp, or lunch items), due at the time of registration. A $50 deposit is required for 2-week or full-day camps ($100 for 4-week or Sailing), $25 of which is a non-refundable registration fee.  The remaining balance will be billed in equal installments on March 15 and April 15, 2017 to the credit card on file.  Families will receive a new invoice after each installment is processed.

If the credit card on file is declined, BASE Camp staff will notify you via email and give you 48 hours to respond and update your payment information.

Payment plans not completed by April 15 will result in cancellation of camp registration.  Refunds will be issued for any amount paid beyond the required registration fees per camp.

To take advantage of this payment plan, choose the “installment plan” payment option at checkout.

For questions, please contact Amy Struckmeyer, Operations Coordinator, at astruckmeyer@opef.org.

Cancellation Policy
Refunds, less a $25 fee per camper per session, must be requested no less than 14 days before the first day of registered camp sessions. No refunds will be issued after that date. Contact Amy Struckmeyer at astruckmeyer@opef.org to cancel a camp registration

BASE Camp Scholarships

BASE Camp Scholarship Policies and Pricing:

To be eligible, children must:

  • Attend an Oak Park District 97 school, AND
  • Qualify for free or reduced lunch

Scholarship Award Information

  • Parents/guardians will be responsible for paying $10 of each one-week/half-day camp, or $20 of each one-week/full-day camp or its equivalent.
  • If needed, Lunch, Early Drop-Off, and Extended Day scholarships are automatically approved with camp scholarship approval at no cost to parents/guardians.
  • Scholarships for each child are limited to two weeks of full-day camp or four weeks of half-day camp, or any equivalent. The REACH Sailing Camp will be considered the equivalent of a full-day, 2-week camp scholarship.
  • Refunds, less a $10 fee per camper, must be requested within 14 days of the start of a camp session.  No refunds will be issued after that date.

Application Process

  • Create a BASE Camp registration account and add each child.  On the camp selection page, look for the Scholarship Application section at the top of the page.  Click “Add to List” –  this automatically starts your scholarship eligibility review.
  • Select the 4 half-day camps (or equivalent) you would like for your child(ren), as well as any add-ons needed (boxed lunch, early drop off or extended camp). NOTE: Some camps may appear as full, but still have scholarship spaces available. Select the waitlist option for a camp if it’s your first choice, and we’ll get back to you regarding scholarship slots for that camp.
  • Complete the rest of the registration forms for each child.
  • Do not pay any amount until you have been notified about the status of your application.  At check-out, choose “Scholarship Application” as the payment option (total due will be $0 while scholarship is reviewed).
  • Your application will be reviewed within 3 days and you will receive an email regarding the status of your award and instructions on how to pay to reserve the scholarship camp seats.  

Payment Information:

  • If approved, the camp prices will be adjusted to the scholarship levels.  The maximum amount due for scholarship families is $40.
  • Pay online through the registration system, or via cash or check at the D97 Administration building at 260 Madison Street on weekdays between 8:30-4:30.  Ask for the Oak Park Education Foundation at the front desk.
  • Payment plans are available.  Please contact Amy Struckmeyer, Operations Coordinator, at astruckmeyer@opef.org to arrange.
  • Payment (or the first payment plan installment) MUST be made within 7 days of the scholarship award email to reserve your child’s scholarship and camp seats.  After 7 days, the camp seats will be released and offered to the next child in line for a scholarship.
BASE Camp Staff
BASE Camp employs a team of year-round professional staff, as well as an outstanding seasonal staff of teachers, building managers, teacher assistants and youth counselors.Read more about our teachers’ backgrounds here.
Contact Us:
  • Angela Hawkins
    BASE Camp Assistant Director
    ahawkins@opef.org
    312-802-8755
  • Amy Struckmeyer
    BASE Camp Operations Coordinator
    astruckmeyer@opef.org
    312-282-0139
2017 Policies and Procedures

2017 Policies and Procedures

You can find a complete list of policies about attendance, drop off and pick up, and other important issues here.


Registration is now open!

2017 Planning Guide

BASE Camp 2017 Planning Guide

Click on the image at left to see a full-size 2017 Planning Guide or you can print it out. Be sure to print at “fit to page” or at 75% to fit on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper

Learn more about BASE Camp Scholarships.

Note that all camps are located in Oak Park, Illinois.

BASE Camp News

girl at old fashioned typerwriter

Learn More about Oak Park

One of the best things about BASE Camp is the way it connects students not only to each other, but […]

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Your Clutter Is Needed!

What does it take to have a fun, educational summer? Apparently it takes 35 empty 2-liter soda bottles, golf balls, […]

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National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month* is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, […]

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Your opportunity to participate in an exciting community art project

OPEF is partnering with Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School and OPRF High School’s art teacher Tracy Van Duinen, a nationally renowned […]

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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

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 $25 fee per camper per session, must be requested no less than 14 days before the first day of registered camp sessions. No refunds will be issued after that date. Contact Amy Struckmeyer at astruckmeyer@opef.org to cancel a camp registration.

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 Director 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.

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