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Summer Camps

We set the bar “high” for our camps and that is why more and more families continue to spend their summers with us.
Your child will have a chance to get a little dirty, make new friends, build self-esteem, spend time every day in the great outdoors, be part of a team, and have a sense of belonging. And, most importantly your child will have a chance to just “be a kid” getting the most out of summer!

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Camps are structured with a variety of activities and outdoor play to maximize the fun and contribute to your child’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.  Our camp staff is trained to reinforce the value of friendship, good sportsmanship, celebration of achievement, and “Can Do” attitudes.

So, what are you waiting for…. come explore the Park District of Highland Park summer camps….

Find Your Camp!

From the arts to sports, from outdoor adventures to circus – this coming summer your child has the opportunity to jump out of his/her comfort zones and into exciting, healthy and safe new worlds to explore and discover!

With over 50 summer camp options, you can be sure to find that special camp to fit your child’s unique interests and your family’s busy schedule.  And, you can’t beat the Park District for a truly terrific camp experience at affordable prices!

Make summer camp a breeze for you and your family. Take advantage of the following options:

Camp length options…7 Week Session, 4 Week Session, 3 Week Session
Busing… Door-to-door bus service is available for many of our camps
Extended Care… Before & After Camp offers convenient care in the mornings and afternoons when you need to extend the day a little longer.

Age Requirements

  • When choosing an age-appropriate camp for your child, please to sure to use the grade that your child will be entering in fall 2017
  • Preschool campers must be of age by the first day of camp
  • Five-year olds must be entering Grade K in 2017

Staff Supervisiond7117d27-bf2a-437f-a596-7e62b767d45f

  • Each camp is supervised daily by a qualified adult director.
  • Some camps, depending on size, also have an assistant director.
  • Each camp’s high school- or college-age counselors are chosen carefully by the Park District for their demonstration of maturity and enthusiasm.

All camp staff members complete an extensive training program, which includes supervision and safety techniques, activity development and first aid.

Camp Session Refund Policy

Full Camp:
1. A full refund (less a $50 service charge per camp session) will be given if a camp refund form is properly submitted to the Park District before 5pm, Feb 29. This cutoff date also applies to the second session of camp.
2. A full refund (less a $200 service charge per camp session) will be given if a camp refund form is submitted to the Park District after 5pm, Feb 29 and before 5pm, May 13. This cutoff date also applies to the second session of camp.
3. No refunds are granted after 5pm, May 13. There are no exceptions to this policy. This cutoff date also applies to the second session of camp.
4. Bus transportation fees for all services are not refundable after 5pm, April 22.

Mini Camp and Extended Camp:

A full refund (less a $50 service charge per camp session) will be given if a camp refund form is submitted to the Park District before 5pm, June 17. No refunds are granted after this date. There are no exceptions to this policy.


  • For all camps, except Heller Nature camps, transfers from one camp to another must be made before 5pm, April 22.
  • Transfers involving Heller Nature camps must be made before 5pm, April 1
  • If additional fees are required, payment is due at the time of transfer.160628_pdhptennis_dsc_6464

Parent Manuals

Parent manuals for camps beginning in June are mailed at the end of May.  Manuals contain all of the information you’ll need to know about camp, including lunch, field trips, swimming activities, camp clothes, hours, busing schedules, and more.

Camp Location Changes

Please note that a camp location may be changed from time to time due to unforeseen building repairs and construction schedules. The Park District of Highland Park would like to recognize and thank School District 112 and 113 for use of their facilities.

Communicating with Us

  • Contacting the Office… If you need to leave a message for staff members or call in for a sick child, call 847.831.3810 beginning at 8 am, Monday – Friday, June 20-August 5.
  • Contacting Your Child’s Camp Director…  All camp directors are equipped with a cell phone.
    Peace of mind and the safety of your camper are only a phone call away!
  • Reporting Safety Concerns… We are committed to providing a safe place for recreational activities and encourage you  to report safety concerns about our facilities and parks by calling 847.831.3968.  Leave a message any time of the day, seven days a week. We want to know if you see something that concerns you.
  • Camp Newsletter… In keeping with the Park District Green Initiative, our camp newsletters are paperless. The newsletters will be emailed to you and most camp newsletters are available on the Park District website.

Health and Safetyimg_1963

Emergency Form
The Park District does not require children to have a medical examination to attend camp. However, it is important to accurately complete the emergency form that is included in your parent manual. If your child has special needs such as allergies, phobias or medical alerts such as epilepsy or asthma, please include this information with home and work phone numbers on the form we provide. These forms must be returned to your camper’s director on the first day of camp.

Camp Nurse
The camp nurse is accessible to staff during camp hours by cell phone and reviews all emergency forms, medical forms and accident reports, assists in medical distribution, checks first aid supplies and assists in other areas.

Special Accommodations ADA Information
The Park District of Highland Park encourages participation by everyone! If you or a family member have special needs and would like to participate in a program, we will be happy to make reasonable modification(s) to meet your needs. Please indicate on the registration form or online if you would like information regarding our inclusion programs and/or specifically identifying any need for and request for reasonable modification(s) according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Park District of Highland Park provides recreational opportunities for all residents of Highland Park. People with and without disabilities are encouraged and invited to register for all Park District of Highland Park programs of interest. People with disabilities will not be discriminated against in the delivery of Park District of Highland Park programs.

To discuss our policies, programs or services or to raise a claim of discrimination on the basis of disability, contact Liza McElroy, our ADA Coordinator, at 847.831.3810.


Friendship requests may only be submitted for:

  • Junior & Senior Crew
  •  Junior Varsity & Varsity Sports
  • Girls Play Strong
  • Coast Guardians
  • Sand Trackers
  • Junior & Senior Spotlighters
  •  Camp Big Top/Little Top (Session I only)

In the spirit of teaching children adaptability, friendship requests serve to join a pair of campers rather than separate them.  Due to the unique structure of activities at all other camps, children are placed into camper groupings and friendship requests are not available.

Guidelines for friendship requests:
The Friendship Request Form is located in the center spread insert of the 2017 Summer Camp brochure

  • Only one friend may be placed with your child, and both must be entering the same grade in the fall and be of the same gender
  • You may only request one friend, and that friend must also request you (you may turn in your requests separately)
  • Friendship requests that list more than one friend will not be honored
  • Friendship requests are only accepted if the form in the brochure is completely filled out
  • Friendship requests are not accepted after 5pm, May 13
  • Friendship requests cannot be submitted online. Requests must be dropped off at West Ridge Center before May 13 at 5pm for online registration

Camp Sunshine | (Ages 3-5)img_4920
A perfect “first camp” experience

Ravinia Elementary School |3-4 year olds
Length: 4 weeks or 7 weeks
Days of the week: 3 or 5 days
for details and registration, click here

West Ridge Center | 4-5 year olds
Length: 7 weeks
Days of the week: 5 days
for details and registration, click here

Extended Care Sunrise & Extra Sunshine:
for details and registration, click here

Activities- NEW THIS YEAR! 3 year-olds attend swim lessons once/week, 4 & 5 year-olds attend swim lessons two times/week at the Recreation Center of Highland park indoor pool (30 minute lessons taught by trained swim instructors). Campers follow a schedule of 30-45 minute activities throughout the day. We travel to Centennial Ice Arena, Hidden Creek Aqua Park, Rosewood Beach, Heller Nature Center, Recreation Center, Sunset Woods Park, Highland Park playgrounds. Campers take part in indoor & outdoor art projects, songs, games, show and tell, visits from professional entertainers, and a all-davids-planets-4camp special event. Lunch is always brought from home by the camper.

Swimming- All campers attend several field trips to both Hidden Creek Aqua Park, and Rosewood Beach. The Camp Director, Site Directors, Counselors, and Camp Nurse attend all water field trips. The pool and beach managers are also notified prior to our arrival to ensure the safety of our campers by staffing their facilities appropriately.

Camp Groups & Camper/Staff Ratios- Camp Sunshine groups are divided by age at each facility, with a maximum of 18 campers per group. NEW THIS YEAR! Mixed age group of 4 & 5 year-olds available at West Ridge Center, great for easy pick-up & drop-off for siblings! No friendship requests needed, campers registered for the same section are guaranteed to be in the same group. Camper to staff ratio is a maximum of 6:1. This ratio decreases to 4:1 on field trips to Hidden Creek Aqua Park and Rosewood Beach.

Staff- All camp staff goes through a selective interview process, background check, and thorough training process prior to camp. The Camp Director (and year-round Early Childhood Teacher) oversees the camp.

Each group’s staff consists of:

  • A college-aged Site Director with experience and/or educational background with young children
  • Camp counselors who are finishing high school and in college with previous childcare experience
  • Supervised Counselors-In-Training offer our staff assistance in facilitating daily activities

Contact- Cathy Fiori, 847.579.3121,

Spotlighter Camps| Grades 1-2 & Grades 3-7  img_2311

(formerly known as S.W.E.A.T. Shop)

Take a look at the fun Spotlighter activities from last year… Click here!

Camp Length Options… 7 & 4 week options (4-week campers do not perform in final show)
For details and registration for Junior Spotlighters, click here.
For Details and registration for Senior Spotlighters, click here.

Camp Activities – Weekly workshops offer campers exposure to  unique art forms such as beat-making, artistic fusion, break dancing, song composition and more! Taught by professionals in each field. Weekly field trips to: theater performances, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Rosewood Beach, Sunset Woods Park, etc. Campers create their own production with music and choreography through performance based classes complete with costumes, technology, and an on-stage set made in their visual arts classes. One sleepover (undernighter 5-7pm) planned for the first session of camp. Campers perform in a mid-session showcase and an end of camp show (7-week camp only).

Camper/Staff Ratio – The staff to camper ratio for Junior Spotlighters is 1:8 and for Senior Spotlighters is 1:10.

Staff – All camp staff goes through a selective interview process, background check, and thorough training process prior to camp.  Additionally, all of our camp staff have extensive experience in world of visual and performing arts including: dance, art, ceramics, acting, and musical theatre. The Camp Nurse travels around and is available throughout the day, every day, to ensure the safety of your camper.


Contact – Mariana Henriques, 847.579.3120,

fancy-and-noamBig Top/Little Top| (Grades 4-8)

Camp Length Options… 7 & 4 week options (4-week campers do not perform in final show)
for details and registration, click here.

Camp Activities- Campers will have the opportunity to learn a wide variety of circus skills in a safe and positive environment, including bareback horse riding, tight-wire walking, stilt walking, juggling, acrobatics, lyra, unicycle, globe balls, clowning, and circus art painting. Campers also enjoy trips to Hidden Creek AquaPark or Rosewood Beach. They will be tested for swimming ability on their first visit to Hidden Creek Aquapark. Camp culminates with a spectacular show for our 25th Anniversary!

Camp Groups/Staff Ratios-  Camp groups are only formed for the first 2 weeks of camp (or less) by camp staff. Subsequently, this camp structure allows the campers to move about camp independently or with friends. Due to this camp’s uniqueness, friendship requests are no longer honored.  Camper/staff ration is 10:1.

Staff- Our established camp staff is extensively experienced in the circus disciplines. All staff have campers’ safety as their top priority.

Contact- Diane Jerklin, 847-579-3123,

img_2470Sand Trackers | Grades 1-2

Embark on a summer adventure along the shores of Lake Michigan. Sand Trackers campers will learn about and develop an appreciation for this valuable fresh water resource.

Camp Length Options…. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities- Field trips to Park District facilities (Hidden Creek AquaPark) and other fun locations that tie into the theme of the week. Campers will spend time exploring and looking for treasure at Rosewood Beach everyday. Each week will have a theme such as: Wonders of Water, Treasures of the Beach, and Animals of the Lake. Campers will do educational experiments and crafts with nature and celebrate special days like “Pirate Day” or “Hawaiian Day”.

Swimming- Each child will enjoy instructional intro-to-swim lessons at the indoor pool at the Recreation Center of Highland Park. Campers are supervised by a certified lifeguard while swimming at the beach.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios- Staff members are certified in Red Cross First Aid and CPR  and the camper to staff ratio is 8:1.

Location- Rosewood Beach, 883 Sheridan Road

Contact- Robin Remer, 847.579.4185,

Coast Guardians | Grades 3-4

7Spend the summer by the shores of Lake Michigan!

Camp Length Options…. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities- Field Trips are taken weekly may include biking and hiking at local ravines and beaches, Park District facilities (Hidden Creek AquaPark), and other local area attractions. Campers will heighten their awareness of the beach surroundings, become expert environmentalists and scientists while discovering the importance of water and Lake Michigan. Active games and hands on activities help with team building and strategy creation while getting an education of the natural world.

Swimming- Campers will enjoy instructional Intro-to-Swim lessons at the indoor pool at the Recreation Center of Highland Park. Campers are supervised by a certified lifeguard while swimming at the beach.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios- Staff members are certified in Red Cross first aid and CPR and the camper to staff ratio is 8:1.

Location- Park Avenue Beach, 8 Park Avenue

Contact- Jessica Reyes, Naturalist, 847.579.4183,

_dsc4552Trekkers | Grades 5-6

Adventure seekers delight!

Camp Length Options…. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities- Each session has multiple overnight campouts ranging from 1-3 nights (weekends excluded). Field trips are at Park District facilities (Hidden Creek AquaPark) and other adventure-based locations where social skills such as respect and responsibility are key. Campers will be Canoeing, Biking, Caving, Hiking, and SCUBA diving, learning survival skills such as: starting a fire with one match, identifying edible wild plants, camping, and orienteering. Activities will challenge campers both mentally and physically in a safe environment.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios- Staff members are certified in Red Cross first aid and CPR and the camper to staff ratio is 8:1.

Location-Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road

Contact-Jessica Reyes, Naturalist, 847.579.4183,

Outdoor Adventure Camp (OAC) | Grades 7-9

img_5874_1A perfect first away-from-home camp for those who love the outdoors and adventure.

Camp Length Options…. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities- Campers will be canoeing and camping in the Wisconsin wilderness, rock climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park, whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers, surfing on Lake Michigan, caving at Pop’s Cave, and SCUBA Diving in Kankakee. 7-week camp features 2 overnight trips of 2 nights and 4 overnight trips of 4 nights. Campers will learn independence, teamwork, self confidence, and responsibility.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios- All OAC staff members are 21 years or older and are certified in Red Cross first aid and CPR. Qualified instructors are used for various activities such as rock climbing and kayaking. The camper to staff ratio is 7:1.

Location- Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road

Contact, Leah Holloway, 847.579.4184,

img_3722Junior Crew | Grades 1-2  (for details and registration, click here)

Senior Crew | Grades 3-7 (for details and registration, click here)

A typical day is anything but!  Crew  is filled with adventures, opportunities to make new friends, try new things, and enjoy the great outdoors!

Activities – Campers participate in a variety of activities including: theatre, cooking, martial arts, science experiments, sports, nature activities, water activities and themed days. We also enjoy field trips to the Amusement Parks, Dinner Shows, water parks in the Chicagoland Area, Rock Climbing, and more!  For fun in the sun and swimming we head to Hidden Creek Aqua Park and Rosewood Beach: Heller Nature Center to experience the Teams Course: Centennial Ice Arena for gymnastics; and the Recreation Center for swim lessons (Junior Crew only).

Camp Groups & Camper/Staff Ratios – 
Friendship requests must be completed correctly, mutual, and turned in by May 12 to West Ridge Center in order to be honored. Due to the unique structure of this camp, please note that groups will not be changed after the first day of camp. The staff to camper ratio for Junior Crew is 1:8 and Senior Crew is 1:10.

dscn0673Staff – Before hiring, all of our staff goes through a selective interview process, background check, and thorough training process prior to camp.Each staff member has different hobbies and experience in activities to make our camp staff just as well rounded as the camp program. The Camp Nurse travels around and is available throughout the day, every day, to ensure the safety of your camper.

Contact – Mariana Henriques,  847.579.3120 or

Choose from a wide selection of sports camps. For more details click on the camp title.

Varsity Sports (variety sports camp)
Girls Play Strong (“girls only” variety sports camp)
Highland Park Golf Academy

img_1309Junior Varsity | Grades 1-2  Grades 3-4

The joy of sports starts here! Camp Length Options….. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities – Each week is dedicated to a different sport (basketball, football, soccer, tennis, and golf). Campers work on skills and fundamentals in each sport and learn good sportsmanship, teamwork, and learning from mistakes.  We also enjoy weekly field trips to Key Lime Cove, Rinkside Sports, pro-stadium tours similar to Wrigley Field, and professional sporting events

Swimming – Grade 1 & 2 campers benefit from Learn-to-Swim lessons at the Recreation Center of Highland Park indoor pool.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios – Camp Coaches bring sports experience and serve as great role models. The camper to staff ratio is 8:1, this helps the staff connect with campers and promote a positive environment.

Contact – Chris Maliszewski, 847.579.3131 or

img_3912Varsity Sports | Grades 5-8

Players are divided into teams and learn the basics of traditional and non-traditional sports. Camp Length Options….. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities – Campers work on different skills, fundamentals of different sports,  sportsmanship, teamwork, and learning from mistakes. Field Trips include team ropes course at Heller Nature Center, ice skating, roller skating, rock climbing, geocaching, and trips to other area attractions.

Staff & Camper/Staff Ratios – Campers are divided into teams and receive instruction from professional and high school coaches, the camper to staff ratio is 10:1.

Contact –  Brian Dumas,  847.579.3124 or

Girls Play Strong | Grades 3-6

Girls spend the summer sampling a wide variety of sports and activities while building leadership skills, self-confidence, healthy relationships and teamwork. Camp Length Options….. 7, 4, or 3 weeksimg_1326

Camp Activities – Campers learn from the best instructors in the field with weekly clinics dedicated to different sports. Field trips include: horseback riding, rock climbing, water parks, amusement parks, pro sporting events, paddle boarding, and a variety of trips to other Park District Facilities. An emphasis is on building strong girls by engaging in fun adventures and competitions in a safe environment.

Click here for more information and registration.

Contact – Tina Ginter,  847.579.3198 or

img_1760Highland Park Golf Academy | Ages 8-15

A premier golf camp for budding young golfers.   Focuys is on improving fundamentals and knowledge of the game. Camp Length Options…. 7, 4, or 3 weeks

Activities –  Immerse your young golfer in the world of golf.  We work on perfecting the  correct golf  swing, driving, putting, golf etiquette and rules of the game

Contact – Rob Saunders, 847.579.4162 or


img_4231Deer Creek Racquet Club Tennis Academy | Ages 7-16

 Tennis Plus and Junior Excellence camps are now combined!

Whether you are a serious player or picking up a racquet for the first time, the Academy is a great way to learn the fundamentals and improve your game in a short period of time.

Daily Instruction is headed up by our USTA Professional Team. Training is based on each player’s age and level. Drills, game situations and match play are used to improve player skills and strategies.

Junior Excellence and above skill-level players have the opportunity to:
-Play in one USTA Tournament per session* (transportation provided to and from the local tournament up to 5pm)
*USTA membership and tournament fee not included
-Opt out of the afternoon alternate activity to get more time on the court and additional instruction from the pros.

The Junior Director has the right to evaluate each student and assign the student to go on the activity portion of the day even if the student was in a Junior Excellence class during the indoor season.

Activities –  Movies, bowling, Laser Tag, Pool, Beach, Canoeing, and Matches with surrounding tennis clubs.

Contact – Jennifer LaGuidice, 847.579.4124 or


Deer Creek Racquet Club High School Extension Camp | Ages 14-18

 Camp is the 3rd annual extension of the High School tennis camp run by Coach Redman. Camp Length Options…. 1 week sessions

Activities –  Improve your tennis game with the Highland Park High School coach. Get ready for tryouts by crafting your game and getting visibility with the HPHS coach

Contact – Chris A. Wilsman, 847.579.4122 or

shannons-stars-3Mini Camp Sunshine| Ages 3-5

Activities- Children have fun through arts and crafts, show and tell, indoor and outdoor playtime, songs, games and trips to a local park. Located at West Ridge Center, our experienced site director and counselors will make this a fantastic, positive experience for your young campers!

Contact- Cathy Fiori, 847.579.3121,


Space Camp Grades 1-2

Activities- Three, two, one…BLAST OFF! Campers  build a model of the solar system and learn about astronauts! Join the fun in this learning experience.

Contact- Cathy Fiori, 847.579.3121,


dscn0667Mini Crew | Grades 1-5

Activities- Here’s a mini camp packed with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities sure to keep your camper playing strong for an extra week of summer excitement. Activities include arts and crafts, cooking, sports, games, field trips and swimming at Hidden Creek AquaPark.

Click here for more information and registration.

Contact- Mariana Henriques, 847.579.3120,



Girl’s Outdoor Challenge | Grades 4-6

Activities- Challenge yourself (& your new best friends!) to lots of new experiences including canoeing, rock climbing, camping & horseback riding. This camp culminates in an overnight camping trip!

Contact- Leah Holloway, 847.579.4184,


20160810_104256Hook, Line & Sinker | Grades 4-8

Activities- If you’re a fish-fanatic, this camp is for you! Perfect for both boys and girls who love to fish, or who would like to learn!

Contact- Jessica Reyes, 847.579.4183,


160628_pdhptennis_dsc_6371Tennis Plus Mini Camp | Ages 8-14

Activities- If you’re looking for an intense week of tennis, register for one (or two) of the Tennis Mini camps. Tennis Plus Mini camp offers field trips and tennis. Junior Excellence Mini camp offers a full day of tennis and conditioning.

Tennis Plus- Jennifer LaGuidice, 847.579.4124,
Junior Excellence- Richard Watson, 847.579.4127,

shannons-stars-10Before Camp & After Camp | Grades 1-5

The Before and After Care atmosphere is relaxed but still fun. Gear up for camp or wind down after the day is done. The fun and playing doesn’t stop at camp! Register early… this camp fills quickly!
For details and registration, click here

Activities- Activities range from free indoor and outdoor playtime to organized activities such as crafts, movies and board games. Snacks and drinks are provided for After Camp.

Contact- Cathy Fiori, 847.579.3121,