Frequently Asked Questions

More Info about BASE Camp

Who can go to BASE Camp?
BASE Camp is open to any 1st-8th grade (Fall 2018) 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!

Do I register my child based on their grade this year or next year?
As with most camps, you should register your child based on their grade level the next fall. So a child who will enter second grade the fall after camp would register as a second grader.

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.

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, poets, 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 4,300 students each year.

OPEF runs BASE Camp as a way to continue the engaged learning into the summer. 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), 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?
Last summer we conducted an extensive program evaluation of BASE Camp, which included camper and parent surveys, extensive teacher feedback, and in-camp observations by a researcher. Camper engagement and attendance was very high, and 85 percent of all campers said they would like to return to BASE Camp. Among parents, 92% said they are “highly likely or likely” to recommend BASE Camp to a friend.”

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.
  • Please visit our scholarship information page for more details, including lunch access, early morning drop off and extended care.

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 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?
BASE Camp is nut-free. All families are notified in advance of camp to send only nut-free foods (that do not need refrigeration) for the safety of our kids at camp with severe nut allergies. Teachers will not provide any food to campers unless food is already a stated part of the camp program, or unless you receive advance notice by email. If food is part of a camp, accommodations can be arranged in case of an allergy. You may of course send a substitute food if your child is not able to eat the food to be provided. For the boxed lunch program, all food is nut-free with limited dairy and vegetarian options also available. Please contact Angie Hawkins with any questions regarding the lunch program. Staff is trained to use epi pens in case of an emergency. Campers who need them should keep epi pens on their person at all times.

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, 260 Madison St, Oak Park, IL 60302.

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