Camp Guide – Palisades, NW D.C. (St. Patrick’s)

Contact Us

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Contact Us

Have questions or want more information? We’re standing by to help you!

Preparing for the Day

Click to Expand. Please label all items your camper brings to camp.

How to Arrive

Campers should arrive:

    • Wearing Sunscreen
      • Apply sunscreen before arrival at camp and pack sunscreen for your camper if you are electing not to use Headfirst sunscreen
    • Wearing Sneakers or closed-back shoes
      • No flip flops or sandals
    • Wearing a Bathing Suit

Please leave cell phones, iPads, gaming devices, other electronic devices, trading cards, toys and stuffed animals, sports equipment and irreplaceable items at home.

What to Bring

What your camper should bring:

  • Lunch
    • See more information under the Lunch topic.
  • Water Bottle
    • Campers will be outdoors for a large portion of the day. Please be sure to send your camper with a water bottle to refill throughout the day.
    • Water coolers are available throughout the day for refills.
    • Campers will not be allowed to share water bottles.
  • Change of Clothes
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
    • If you would like your camper to use a specific type of sunscreen or has any allergies to common sunscreen, please send your camper with their own sunscreen in a labeled Ziploc bag for multiple reapplications throughout the day.
    • In case of forgotten sunscreen, Headfirst will provide sunscreen for campers
    • Sunscreen will stay in camper backpacks and taken out for use.

Lost & Found

Please be sure to label all items that are sent to camp with your camper(s). Any item with a name tag will be sent home, and any lost items will be tracked down to the best of our abilities.

Please leave all non-camp related items at home. Including cell phones, iPads, gaming devices, other electronic devices, trading cards, toys and stuffed animals, sports equipment and irreplaceable items.

Any items without a name tag will be posted on the Campanion app each Thursday. Please contact customer care if you recognize any items as yours and we will send it home with your camper.

Don’t have the Campanion app? Download it HERE to easily view camp photos, fill out forms, and stay up-to-date with your camper’s summer!


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Swim Information

  • Campers in Junior Day Camp, Day Camp, and Multi-Sport I (Rising K – Rising 1st) will participate in daily instructional swim.
  • Campers in Innovators, Inc. and Multi-Sport II+III+IV (Rising 2nd – Rising 5th) will participate in daily recreational swim.

Instructional swim has goals that are kid-specific, from jumping into the deep end to side breathing. Campers will be carefully supervised at all times, with a 3:1 child-to-staff ratio in the pool. Swim progress reports will be sent home to parents, so you can track your camper’s progress!

Recreational swim is an opportunity to engage in safe, supervised free swim and pool-based games. Campers will be assessed for use of permitted areas of the pool.

Campanion: Mobile App for Photos, Forms, and More!

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Campanion Download

Want to view photos, verify enrollment, and complete forms all from your phone? Headfirst is happy to team with CampMinder to make registration a breeze, and now we use their Campanion app to easily send important alerts, required forms, and thousands of camper photos directly to you!

As an option, Campanion can use facial recognition software to notify you when we upload a picture of your camper! Learn more about the Face Finder feature and how to upload a reference photo here!

Campanion is available for download at this link. You can use the same email and password as your registration account.

Carpool and Authorized Drivers

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Arrival & Dismissal

We’re located at 4700 Whitehaven Pkwy NW, Washington, DC 20007, on the campus of the St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School. Drop-off and pick-up will be at the same location. Once you arrive, simply follow the Headfirst signs.

Our regular camp hours are 9:00am – 3:00pm.

Morning Arrival (Drop-off): 8:30am to 9:00am

Please arrive on campus no earlier than the designated drop-off time. Grown-Ups, we ask that you stay in your vehicle to make the transition as efficient as possible, unless otherwise directed by a Headfirst team member!

Afternoon Dismissal (Pick-up): 2:30pm to 3:00pm

Please don’t arrive early for afternoon pick-up, as your camper(s) will still be in programming and not easily available for pick-up.

To help us keep the line moving, be sure to place a completed carpool Pick-up Placard (Available to print in Forms & Documents) on the passenger side of your dashboard during afternoon pick-up, and ensure that all persons who will pick-up your camper are listed as Authorized Grown-Ups in the Forms section of your parent dashboard.

Without this Pick-up Placard, proper Authorized Driver status, or a photo ID, our staff will be required to go through our pick-up authorization process, which will add wait time to your pick-up experience. To print a placard or add authorized grown-ups to your account, please go to the “Forms” section of your parent dashboard account. If you do not have your carpool Pick-up Placard during afternoon carpool, you will be required to show a photo ID that matches a name on our Authorized Driver list.


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Lunch at Camp

Lunch and Snack

  • Please note that Headfirst is now Nut Free! See the Nut Free Campus section below for more information
  • Pack in a sealed lunch box with your camper’s name, plastic/disposable utensils, and napkins
  • Lunch boxes will be kept indoors in a cool place but will not be refrigerated – please include a cold pack
  • Campers may not share food items so please pack unique items for each child if siblings are present
  • Each camper will have one snack provided daily
    • The provided snack will be Goldfish crackers. Campers are welcome to bring their own snack if you would like. We recommend families with campers who have specific food allergies or sensitivities pack their own snack to eat.

We do not have a fridge on-site for our campers to store their lunch boxes or a microwave on-site for our campers to heat up their lunch. Lunches will be stored indoors during the camp day, but may be outside briefly during morning carpool. Therefore, if you are sending your camper with food that needs to be kept at a cooler temperature, we ask that you include an ice pack in your camper’s lunch box.

Also, please include any utensils or other items your camper may need to eat their lunch, as we do not supply utensils.

If your camper has food allergies, please refer to the Life-Threating Food Allergies section below for more information.

Life-Threatening Food Allergies

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Nut Free Campus

For camper safety, Headfirst Summer Camps has become a Nut Free Campus for 2024. Headfirst will continue to provide nut-free snacks, and we ask that your camper’s lunch not contain any nuts.

  • Beginning summer 2024, Headfirst is a peanut and tree nut free camp. Due to this update, there will not be an allergen free table as in previous summers. All campers who bring medication to camp will receive a red wristband and all group counselors will be aware of their camper’s allergies. During the early implementation of this policy, Headfirst staff will be checking lunches prior to the start of the lunch period – any camper that brings a lunch including peanuts or tree nuts will be removed from the lunch space to consume their food and their guardian will be reminded of the nut free policy.
  • Headfirst implements a no food sharing policy and counselors are trained to monitor lunch rooms spaces with vigilance. At the end of each eating period, all tables are wiped down and we require all campers to wash their hands with soap to ensure they are thoroughly clean prior to their next activity.
  • If you have any questions about our policies, or if your camper has allergies outside of peanuts and/or tree nuts, please feel free to contact the Headfirst Customer Service Team at (202) 625-1921 or customercare@headfirstcamps.com.

Medication and Health Forms

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Medication Administration and Authorization

For campers who bring medication that needs to be administered on-site

Please follow the instructions below carefully. If you have any questions, contact us at (202) 625-1921 or customercare@headfirstcamps.com.

If your child is bringing medication to camp, please follow these instructions so we may ensure your child’s safety at all times at our camps.

  1. Clearly mark the medication with your child’s first and last name.
  2. Print out and complete the Medication Administration Authorization Form in the Parent Dashboard. This form must be signed by a doctor and re-uploaded to CampMinder.
  3. Complete the Medication and Allergy Action Plan form (online, no printout required).
  4. Place the medication and Medication Administration Authorization Form into a one-gallon resealable bag.
  5. With a permanent marker, please neatly write your child’s first and last name on the outside of the bag.

Upon your arrival at camp on Monday, hand the bag – with both the medication and completed form inside – to the person who greets you at your car or check-in table. We will then walk your child directly to the camp Safety Coordinator.

  1. If your camper’s medication must be with them at all times (e.g., an EpiPen or inhaler), the Safety Coordinator will place it in an Emergency Fanny Pack and give it to their counselor, who will wear it on his/her person at all times. If your camper changes groups or transfers into another activity that is supervised by another counselor, the medication will be transferred to the counselor supervising your camper and his/her group. The Safety Coordinator will also provide your child with a temporary red bracelet (this will happen each morning at check-in). We will mark the bracelet with your child’s name on it so his or her identity can be matched to the medication for the duration of the camp day.
  2. If your camper’s medication does not need to be with them throughout the entire day, the medication will remain with our Safety Coordinator so s/he may supervise the medication administration at the appropriate time(s) of day.

Important Notes:

  1. Headfirst Summer Camps will supervise medical administration but will not administer medication directly, with the exception of campers who bring their own EpiPen and are suffering from anaphylaxis, and campers who bring their own inhaler and are suffering from an asthma exacerbation.
  2. All medication will be returned at the end of each week. If your camper is attending multiple weeks, please bring the medication back each Monday.
  3. If you believe your camper’s medical condition requires additional consideration beyond what was previously outlined, please contact us directly so we may discuss the establishment of a tailored medical management plan.

To complete the Medication Administration Authorization Form:

  • In the Parent Dashboard, select the “Forms” tab
  • Click on your camper’s name, and then select the form named “Medication Administration Authorization Form”
  • Click on the “Download Medication Administration Authorization Form” link
  • Print and complete the document
  • Scan and upload the document by following the same uploading steps (in the Forms section), and selecting the “Choose File…” button to select completed and scanned copy to upload
  • Include the copy you printed out in your camper’s zip lock bag with his/her medicine

Extended Day

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AM and PM Extended Day

Extended care is offered on a weekly-basis in the morning and afternoon. Campers can be dropped off as early as 7:30am and picked up any time before 6pm. The children in our Extended Day enjoy a variety of activities, including sports, crafts, and board games, so they’ll come home happy (and tired!).

Snack will be provided by Headfirst – Goldfish crackers. Campers are welcome to bring their own snack if these don’t meet their needs. We recommend families with campers who have specific food allergies or sensitivities pack their own snack to eat.

To enroll, just add the Extended Day option through the Parent Dashboard on your Camper Application or over the phone.

Available by the week only.

  • AM Extended Day Tuition: $90/week
  • PM Extended Day Tuition: $180/week


Time Activity
7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m Story time, Arts & Crafts
2:45 p.m.–3:30 p.m Transition & Snack
3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. First Activity
4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Second Activity
5:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Wind Down Time

AMX and PMX Pick Up & Drop Off Instructions

Pull through the usual carpool lane and someone will greet you.

For drop off, be sure to place a completed carpool Pick-up Placard on the passenger side of your dashboard, and ensure that all pick-up people are listed as Authorized Grown-Ups. We will bring your camper to your car.

Dress Up Day

On Wednesday of each week, we invite campers to participate in a themed Dress-up Day to encourage team spirit and allow campers to express their creativity.

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2024 Dress-Up Wednesdays by Week

Week Theme
Week 1 (June 10th-14th) Crazy Hat Day
Week 2 (June 17th-21st) Wacky Tacky Wednesday
Week 3 (June 24th- -28th) Tropical Day
Week 4 (July 1st- 5th) Favorite Sports Day
Week 5 (July 8th-12th) DIPG Awareness Day (Wear Yellow)
Week 6 (July 15th-19th) When I Grow Up Day
Week 7 (July 22nd-26th) Crazy Sock Day
Week 8 (July 29th-August 2nd) Olympic Day
Week 9 (August 5th-9th) Tie Dye Day!
Week 10 (August 12th-16th) Earth, Wind, Fire, Water Day

Buddy Requests

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Buddy Request Information

If you’d like to request that your camper be in a group with another camper, you are able to submit a “Buddy Request” anytime between registration and June 1st. To submit a buddy request, fill out the form titled “Buddy Requests” in your Parent Portal.

Each year, we are joined by campers who come to camp with friends, those who come to camp not knowing anyone and many campers who are new to the area altogether. For all categories of campers, and the many in between, we strive to create a culture and group dynamic that aids each child in achieving their personal best and in expanding their social comfort zone.

Our Buddy Policy allows families to make limited requests for their child to be paired with friends — while also ensuring that each camp group can be arranged thoughtfully and balanced in such a way that every member of that group is set up to enjoy and make the most of every day with us.

We do our best to accommodate buddy requests as we know how important this can be to our campers. The number of buddies that we guarantee varies by both camper age and the program for which you’re enrolling.

  • Day Camp & Jr. Day Camp: 2 buddy requests guaranteed
  • Innovators, Inc., Multi-Sport, & Sprouting Scientists: 1 buddy request guaranteed