Santa Cruz Day Camp


Choosing the right summer camp is a major decision, and we honor the trust you place in us. We are eager to speak with you so don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t see your question? Email our office.

Did you know Day Camp tuition is often claimed as a tax deduction? Check with your tax professional. Our tax ID is 82-3028192.

What is your current COVID policy?

Please click over to our health policy page for the latest update for Day Camp.

What is the difference between 1 and 2 week sessions?

We are constantly thinking of ways day camp can be your child’s second home: a place where they feel 100% accepted and thrive. Two week sessions are a time investment in helping your child increase their self-esteem, independence, and social skills. Check out this study from the ACA or one from a Stanford parent alum to read more on these important life skills. With these things in mind, we created two weeks sessions.

The most basic difference is that in a two week session campers grades 2+ choose their own activities each 1st period. And for a change of pace, counselors may lead the campers in activities not offered during one week sessions like sling shots, dance, fun science, and whatever fun activities our counselors dream up.

There are so many deep benefits of a two week session. Groups meet on the first day and then are allowed to develop without the interruption of other kids joining the group later. In one week sessions, groups and counselors change from week to week. All parts of camp are fun and provide opportunities for returning campers to take a leadership role. However, in a two week session, the rules, orientation, and get to know jitters on opening day only happen once. Same thing with the Founders Day talk, returning camper awards, and group photos. Instead that time is used for more free choice activities. Campers also move from a checklist “I’ve done that” type of mentality to a challenge by choice mindset. That’s where growth happens. Campers don’t just shoot the arrow, they start to actually hit what they’re aiming for. Campers don’t just cross the high ropes course, they do it blindfolded or with a partner or for speed. Campers don’t just build a fort but they eat lunch in it. Campers don’t just know each other’s names and schools but build real relationships. Groups are more than just a name, they develop an identity. Two week sessions are not just twice the amount of time, they’re a fun and growth multiplier.

When will my camper get their t-shirt?

Campers are fitted for t-shirts on Tuesday right before we take their group photos. Campers bring their shirts home at the end of the day. If for some reason your camper does not come home with a shirt call the office and we’ll try again the next day.

Does my camper really need snacks and a water bottle?

Yes. We do not provide snack or paper cups. Camp is very busy.  Our goal is to send your kids home dirty, tired, and full of stories to tell.  To keep the energy going kids need to have snacks.  We recommend sending a morning snack and an afternoon snack with you camper.  For the lower grade campers a snack time in built into the morning and afternoon.  For the older campers they will need to tell the counselors if they are hungry or need a snack/water break.  Having a water bottle to carry with them is the best way to have the kids stay hydrated.

Does camp provide lunch?

No. However, if lunch was not sent we will make a peanut or sun butter and jelly sandwhich for your camper.

Will my camper have any free time?

Yes. The second half of our one hour lunch is “free play” on the Quad and Courts. Our staff supervise the areas and organize mini-tournaments and other fun activities including the always popular “dance party”. Campers grades 2+ also choose their own activities during Friday “free choice” mornings. Two week campers get an additional “free choice” morning on the second Wednesday. Campers grades K-1 stay with their group during “free play” and “free choice”.

Do you allow screens or smart phones?

No. As with all of our programs, we truly believe that periods of time away from screens and technology is developmentally appropriate for children and teens. Now more than ever, camp is the antidote to our screen-dominated world. Campers appreciate real “FaceTime” and the simplicity of enjoying the present moment with friends both at camp and on the bus.

Do the buses have seatbelts?

Yes. We contract our with Michael’s Transportation who provides an updated well-maintained fleet.

Can my camper take a different bus home during the week?

No. Since space is limited, we ask that campers stick to the same bus and the same stop each week.

Can I drop off my camper late or pick up early?

Yes, during the lunch break from 12:30-1pm Monday-Thursday or 11:30-12pm on Friday. Otherwise groups are all across camp making it difficult to arrange the rest of the day. If you do need to pick up or drop off late, we ask that you email us in advance so we have it in writing and can avoid any confusion.

What is a group request?

Some campers choose to come to camp with a friend.  If campers come to camp together they can request to be in a group together.  Groups are formed based on the rising grade. Grades are grouped as follows: K-1, 2, 3-4, 5-7, 8-9, and 10. To complete a group request, enter the information during registration or go to your account online, click on Forms and Documents. Group requests must come from both families and must be done two weeks before the start date of camp.

My camper was not put in a group with their friend. What happened?

We honor group request that are made two weeks before the camp session starts and are made by both families. If we cannot honor a request, we will contact you so there is time to have a conversation at home with your child. There are several reasons why a group request might not be honored.  One reason is if both families did not make the request.  If you want your camper to be in a group with a friend make certain you are in contact with the family.  Another reason is the campers grades may not fit into our group structure of K-1, 2, 3-4, 5-7, 8-9, and 10. If your requests falls somewhere in between those groups, the older camper can move down to the younger camper group but not the reverse. These divisions in large part are established as a part of our accreditation process with the American Camp Association. The most important thing to remember is that camp is a fantastic experience and part of the experience is meeting new people and making new friends.  If your camper is in a group without their friends they will have the opportunity to make new friends.  Our counselors are trained to help kids make new friends and work in a group dynamic with new people.  Making new friends can be one of the best parts of summer camp.

Where do your staff come from?

About 75% are from the US and 25% are from countries around the world. Interacting with staff from other cultures is an eye-opening and powerful experience for our American campers and staff alike. During the summer, our international staff live with a cabin group at our overnight camp just a mile away.

How do you hire the staff?

Very carefully! We are fortunate to have a very strong reputation, so we have far more applicants than open positions. US staff apply to us directly and go through the interview process, reference and background checks before being hired. International staff apply through an agency, that conducts the interviews, handles reference and background checks, provides us with verifications, and facilitates special working visas for the summer. We select candidates via the agency database, as well as through in-person job fairs worldwide. We also interview each candidate to ensure a good fit for Kennolyn.

What is the ACA or WAIC?

ACA is the American Camp Association, and it offers the only nationally recognized accreditation program for camps. About 25% of the camps in the USA decide to pursue this standard. Kennolyn is proud to be an ACA accredited camp. WAIC is the Western Association of Independent Camps, a professional network of the very best camps in the western states.

What will happen if my camper is sick at camp?

As a part of our American Camp Association standards, we always have a nurse or trained health professional on staff. While they are often out and about with the campers, they have a room with a bed to provide care and give campers a place to rest. We also have access to two health professionals at our overnight camp a mile away along with a nurse and doctor on-call. Anytime a camper has a visit of any significance to the health center, we will call home so there are no surprises (or crazy stories) once your camper comes back home. If needed, parents may also pick up campers early. In the days of COVID, we request that campers are kept home when showing symptoms of illness. We do not give make up days but welcome your call to determine if we can make an accommodation.

We've signed up, what next?

We will reach out with emails and announcements as the summer draws near. Want to get ahead? Visit our Enrolled Families page.