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FAQs

WHAT IS YOUR REFUND AND CANCELLATION POLICY FOR SUMMER 2024 PROGRAMMING?

Please refer to our 2024 Polices page for information on refunds and cancellations.

If you have any further questions regarding on-site camp, please contact our Customer Experience team at (202) 625-1921 or email us at customercare@headfirstcamps.com

WHERE ARE YOUR CAMP LOCATIONS?

Our camps are located at the premier facilities of St. Albans School and National Cathedral School in Cathedral Heights, NW D.C., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Palisades, NW D.C., Mater Dei School in Bethesda, MD, Flint Hill School in Oakton, VA, The Woods Academy in North Bethesda, MD, and Catholic University in Brookland, NE D.C.

WHAT ARE THE CAMP HOURS?

Camp goes from 9:00am–3:00pm, with optional Extended Day available before and after camp from 7:30am–9:00am and from 3:00pm–6:00pm.

WHAT DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BRING TO CAMP?

It depends on the camp program. As the summer gets closer, we will post a list of what each camper should bring to camp. Please clearly label all of your child’s belongings with their full name to ensure that all belongings can find their way home at the end of the day. You will receive a pre-camp email the week before your first session of camp with links to more detailed information about what to bring. Contact our Customer Service Team at (202) 625-1921 or customercare@headfirstcamps.com for more information.

WILL MY CHILD SWIM AT CAMP?

Mater Dei School, Bethesda, MD:

  • 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.

Woods Academy, Bethesda, MD:

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

St. Albans School and National Cathedral School, Cathedral Heights, DC:

  • Campers in Junior Day Camp, Day Camp, and Multi-Sport I (Rising K – Rising 1st) will participate in daily instructional swim. The pool will be closed for maintenance the weeks of August 5th and August 12th, so all campers will participate in daily water play these weeks.
  • Campers in Innovators, Inc. and Sprouting Scientists will participate in daily water play.
  • Campers in Multi-Sport II+III+IV (Rising 2nd – Rising 7th) will participate in recreational swim 3 times a week and water play 2 times a week. The pool will be closed for maintenance the weeks of August 5th and August 12th, so all campers will participate in daily water play these weeks.

St. Patrick’s School, Palisades, DC:

  • 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.

Flint Hill School, Oakton, VA:

  • Campers in all programs will participate in daily water play.

Catholic University, Brookland, NE DC:

  • Campers in Multi-Sport I (Rising K – Rising 1st) will participate in daily instructional swim.
  • Campers in 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 weekly for campers who participate in instructional swim.

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.

Water play is a fun way for campers to cool off in the middle of the day. The water play activity will vary throughout the week, but will always be an active way for campers to cool down from the summer heat.

DO YOU SEPARATE CHILDREN BY AGE AND GRADE?

Yes. During the registration process, you’ll be asked to enter your camper’s current grade. This will select their age group and the available programs at that grade level. This is to ensure a developmentally-appropriate curriculum and experience for campers of all ages.

IS HEADFIRST SUMMER CAMPS A GOOD FIT FOR A CHILD WHO HAS ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS?

  • Headfirst Summer Camps programs are designed as group experiences. Headfirst aims to be able to provide care for children with mild support needs, provided they can make safe choices, and follow basic directions (with reminders appropriate for their age and developmental stage) in a group setting. Headfirst is not able to provide continuous and regular 1:1 support of any camper. For more information, please see our Participant Inclusion & Reasonable Accommodation Policy.
  • Additional support needs may include but are not limited to an identified or suspected learning difference (e.g., ADHD, ASD, Auditory or Visual Processing Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder)
  • It sets everyone up for the best chance of success when we have the key information in advance, so we ask that if your camper receives 1:1 support at school and/or you believe they would need extra support in the camp setting, please be sure to provide details during the registration process.  
  • If you would like to request that your child attends camp with a family-provided aide/paraprofessional, we ask that you reach out to the Headfirst Summer Camps Customer Experience team as soon as possible to receive access to our Aide Request Form and directions prior to the start of camp. Headfirst must have on file all required information and documentation on/from each family-provided aide accompanying a camper (including successful completion of a Headfirst-approved background check and signed waiver/code of conduct forms) before an aide will be permitted at camp.

DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BE POTTY TRAINED?

Yes, we ask that all campers attending Headfirst Summer Camps are potty trained and can use the restroom with minimal assistance.

SHOULD MY CAMPER ENROLL IN MULTIPLE WEEKS OF CAMP?

Yes! Headfirst has a wide variety of camps for every interest and our average camper enrolls in 4 to 5 one-week sessions per summer. Many of our Day Campers enroll for 7 to 8 one-week sessions giving them the chance to build long-lasting friendships and develop new skills including swimming and the Headfirst Super Six. We offer the flexibility of one-week sessions to allow families to tailor their summer camp experience to their schedule.

WILL I RECEIVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT CAMP AFTER I REGISTER?

Once you register and pay for your camp program(s), you will receive a confirmation email for your own records. In addition to that confirmation email, you will receive a pre-camp email the week before your first session of camp. This email will provide you with all necessary information including what to bring to camp, directions, links to our blogs and more.

During the camp week, you’ll receive a number of emails from us as well, including blog updates, dress-up day reminders and more.

CAN WE REQUEST THAT MY CAMPER BE PLACED IN A GROUP WITH ANOTHER CAMPER (BUDDY REQUESTS)?

Absolutely! Buddy requests can be made during the registration process until June 1. We always do our very 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:

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

WHAT IS THE COUNSELOR TO CAMPER RATIO AT HEADFIRST SUMMER CAMPS?

In each Headfirst Summer Camp program we provide a unique environment where campers are able to benefit from individual and small group learning and instruction. Each individual program is supervised and run by a leadership team member to ensure consistency and proper supervision. For our younger campers, we aim to maintain an in-group ratio of approximately 6:1. For rising Kindergartners and 1st graders, that ratio is 8:1, and for older campers it is 10:1.

In addition to the group counselors, each location has a Leadership Team as well as additional team members dedicated to each program.

While campers are at the pool for instructional swim, the additional pool staff, lifeguards, and Aquatics Lead contribute to a ratio of approximately 3:1.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE INCLEMENT WEATHER?

Safety is our number one priority at all times, and we are extremely mindful of the weather. If we see or hear a thunderstorm approaching, outdoor camp programs are immediately brought inside as we take extreme precaution to ensure that all outdoor camp programs are safe.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS DO YOU TAKE TO HANDLE THE SUMMER HEAT?

We’re well aware that the summer heat can drain a camper throughout the day. Water is always available for each camp program and campers are encouraged to take water breaks approximately every 15-20 minutes. We take the heat, the humidity index, and the air quality index seriously. On extremely hot days and for those campers spending the majority of their time playing outdoors, participants will take mandatory and extended breaks throughout the day, an extended lunch break, plenty of water, and lower impact activities during the day.

In addition, we ensure that sunscreen is re-applied on your camper multiple times throughout the day. We always have sunscreen on-site if your camper forgets or loses their sunscreen. All sunscreen applications are logged in Sunscreen Logs so that we can easily monitor all campers. Please see our sunscreen policy for more information.

CAN HEADFIRST ACCOMMODATE CHILDREN WITH PEANUT OR LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES?

Headfirst Summer Camps is a Peanut and Tree Nut Free Camp. Families with children who have life-threatening allergies can feel safe and comfortable at Headfirst Camps. We are aware of the dangers and concerns with severe allergies and have crafted our allergy procedures, policies, and training with the utmost care and attention.

Our Process
If your child requires an EpiPen at camp, we ask you to place the EpiPen in a clear plastic bag, noting the name of your child on the outside of the bag. This bag (and any necessary instructions) should be presented to the Headfirst Safety Coordinator on location, upon check-in on Monday morning. Upon registration (and in the morning of each camp day), the Leadership Team takes special note of our campers with allergies by placing a red bracelet around each child’s wrist, as well as placing their EpiPen or other medication in a marked First Aid pack kept either in our monitored on-site Safety Office throughout the camp day, or in their counselor’s staff bag. We highly recommend that all EpiPens and any additional medication stay on location throughout the week, to be returned to families at the end of the camp session on Friday afternoon. Camper medication will be stored and locked in the Headfirst camp office each night.

Our Peanut & Tree Nut Free Camp
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 parent’s 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.

What is the illness & lice policy?

Headfirst Camps should be notified by phone (202) 625-1921 or email if a child is ill, especially if the illness is communicable (e.g. fever, pink eye). Internally, we keep track of the instances of communicable diseases at camp, and when appropriate will notify the parents of all children that may have been exposed, while respecting the confidentiality of campers and families involved.

Communicable Diseases
Campers who have communicable diseases will be sent home and may not return to camp until the illness has been treated successfully and the camper is symptom free for 24 hours.

Lice
Campers who have signs of head lice (itching, head irritation, etc.) will be removed from their group and escorted to the camp office by the Safety Coordinator. If we believe there is a possibility of head lice, we will ask the family to pick their camper up from camp. In order to return to camp, a camper must have had all active lice removed from their hair and no longer show any signs of infestation, itching or irritation.