Camp FAQs

I tried to register my camper for a session that says “Full” Or “Waitlist,” what does that mean?

If you see a camp session marked “full” this means that all camper spots are reserved. 

If a camp week/session is waitlisted, you can still fill out all of the registration form as if you were registering your child.  This does not mean your child is registered. If a spot opens, we’ll call to offer the spots to those on the waiting list (in the order they are received) before sharing it with the general public.  

Do you offer financial aid for camp?

Yes, financial assistance is available through grants from local foundations, organizations, and donations from community members. More information can be found here.

Do you offer any discounts for camp?

Yes, we offer the following discounts. 

  • Early Registration: $20 off if registered before March 31st.  If changes are made after registration, parents will be responsible for paying the current camp fees.
  • Multi-Session Registration: $15 off when registering one child for two or more camp sessions.  This does not apply to children registering for Adventure Leadership Academy or children registered through an agency.
  • Sibling Discount: $15 off if two or more children are registered at the same time and within the same family.  This applies to Adventure Leadership Academy (ALA) when two children are registered for ALA at the same time. This does not apply to children registered through an agency.

Do you offer a payment plan?

Yes, payments will be withdrawn from the credit card provided at the time of registration.  The payment plan is as follows: 

  • 50% of the full registration fees are required at the time of registration.
  • 25% of the remaining fees will be automatically withdrawn on May 1st. 
  • The remaining fees will be automatically withdrawn on June 1st.

What is your cancellation policy?

  • If camp session withdrawals are made more than seven business days before the camp session starts, a refund will be issued less a $25 cancellation fee per camp week/session. 
  • If camp session withdrawal or transfer requests are made within the seven days before the start of a camp session or after a camp session has started, no refund will be given.
  • If a camper has to be excused from camp due to inappropriate behaviors, no refund will be given.

Do you cancel camp for weather or have you ever had to cancel a day/week of camp?

Thankfully no!  If it rains, we still have lots of fun at camp.  We have four shelters that we use for coverage and plenty of rainy day activities on hand to keep them busy and engaged.  If we ever need to cancel a day/week of camp, we’ll send an email message and will make phone calls to all the primary parents or guardians on file.

May I transfer my child to a different week/session of camp?

Parents may transfer their child from one camp session/week to another camp if:

  • There is space available in the desired week/session.
  • They are submitting a request at least eight business days before the start of the camp session for which the child is already registered. No transfers may be made within seven days before the start of a camp session. 

Parents will be responsible for paying the current camp fees at the time of the change and may be subject to forfeit their Early Bird Discount (if applicable).

Please notify us at 440-965-5551 if you intend to transfer your child.

What time does camp begin and end?

Our summer camps run daily Monday – Friday from 9 am – 3 pm.

If you need extended care for your children, we offer Before Care 7:30 am – 9 am, and After Care: 3 pm – 5:30 pm

What transportation options do you offer?

Parents/caregivers can drop off their campers and pick them up or take advantage of our bus service provided by Oberlin City Schools.

Car Rider:  If your child is not enrolled in Before or After Care.

  • Drop Off: 8:45am – 9:05am
  • Pick Up:  2:55pm – 3:10pm

Bus Rider: For a fee of $30 per camper per camp session, we provide drop-off and pick up locations in Elyria, Lorain, and Oberlin.  Please review the Bus Safety Procedures with your child. The Bus Schedule and Bus Safety Procedures can be found here.

What is the process for checking in and checking out my camper?

Drop Off: When dropping off your child to camp or picking them up, please pull in the driveway and follow the directions of the camp staff. You will be greeted by a counselor at your car where you can sign your camper in. No need to leave your vehicle.  

Pick Up: When picking up your camper, follow the same path and please have your photo ID ready to pick up your camper.  If for any reason you are making a change to who is picking up your camper, you must notify us in advance at 440-965-5551.

What if I need to pick up my child early?

Please call us in advance at 440-965-5551. When you arrive at Common Ground, please check-in at the main lodge and we will notify your child’s counselor.  Please have your photo ID ready.

What should we pack for camp?

We suggest that every camper comes with a bag full of the items below.  They will be responsible for keeping track of their items and will have a designated location to keep their items.  Please carefully label all of their items as we are not responsible for keeping track of the personal belongings.  

  • A healthy lunch and drink in an insulated carrier. (Monday – Friday) *Fridays we prepare hot dogs, chips, and watermelon for our camper cookout.  Please feel free to pack your child a lunch if they need one.
  • Morning Snack
  • We provide an afternoon snack for campers. If your child has food allergies, please consider packing an afternoon snack for them as well
  • Water bottle if desired.
  • Swimsuit and Beach Towel every day. We offer a slip and slide as well as other water activities.
  • Extra Clothes – their clothes and shoes are guaranteed to get dirty. 
  • River Shoes/Crocs 
  • Closed Toe & Closed Heel Shoes (gym shoes you don’t mind getting dirty) *NO SANDALS OR FLIP FLOPS are allowed.
  • Raincoat/Poncho Sunscreen and/or Bug Spray (if desired)

Please do not send electronic devices to camp.  If campers bring electronic items to camp, Common Ground staff are NOT responsible for the items.

Download and print this list here.

What can you tell me about the camp staff?

Our camp staff is comprised of adults that have a passion and desire to work with youth in an outdoor setting.  

They are required to pass a BCI/FBI background check, be CPR and First Aid Certified, and complete one full week of Summer Camp Staff Training to include, but not limited to, creating an engaging atmosphere for learning, camper security, camper behavior management, and care, and child abuse prevention training.  We are confident that our staff are capable of providing your child with an amazing camp adventure they’ll never forget!  

May I come out and visit/tour Common Ground?

We would love to have you visit and show you around Common Ground!  We’re open all year long, so you don’t have to wait until summer camp is in session.  Feel free to call our office to schedule a tour today, 440-965-5551.

Can you accommodate children with disabilities and/or special needs?

We sincerely believe that every child deserves a camp adventure.  Although we’d love to have your child here at camp, our camp facilities and resources are limited to provide services for children with disabilities or special needs.  We have had children with mild behavioral needs here at camp and have been successful. If you believe your child has minor or mild disabilities or needs, please contact our office before registering and talk to Lydia Lee, Programs Manager at 440-965-5551.  Please be prepared to talk over what we can do to assist your child, if possible.

If we’re unable to service your child, we will share a few camps within Ohio that specialize in servicing children with special needs and physical disabilities.

How does Common Ground care for campers?

If your child has a significant accident or incident that is greater than a small band-aid, we’ll be sure to properly address the concern (following our Emergency Action Plan) and notify the parents or guardians immediately.

What is your policy for medicine at camp?

We request all medicine be administered to your child at home. Under no circumstances may a child self-administer medicine at camp.

The information submitted on the registration form will be used to distribute medicine to your child. If there are any changes between the time you fill out this form and your child’s attendance at camp, it is YOUR responsibility to contact Common Ground.

If a child needs to take medicine during the camp day, and that was indicated on the registration form,  it must be turned in to that child’s counselor immediately upon the child’s arrival.

Counselors will then turn the medicine over to the Camp Coordinator. They are the only staff authorized to distribute medicine. Pills must be placed in individual dispensers separated by dosage and day of the week to avoid confusion. Common Ground may only administer medicine in pill or liquid form. We cannot offer injections or administer medicine via alternative methods.

What does a typical day of camp look like?

Every camp and group of campers within the group has its unique daily schedule.  However, the typical schedule is listed below for you to have an idea.

  • 8:50 am Arrival
  • 9:00 am Big Camp Greeting
  • 9:20 am Group Meeting
  • 10:10 am Specialist Activity (Arts & Crafts, PeaceMaking, etc)
  • 11:00 am Lunch Time
  • 11:30 am Specialist Activity (Environmental Education, Horses, etc)
  • 12:20 pm River Fun
  • 1:10 pm Team Time
  • 2:00 pm Optionals (Children make reservations at the beginning of the day to determine
  • what they’d like to do in the afternoon.)
  • 2:45 pm Prepare for departure

What is Common Ground?

A nonprofit organization, Common Ground provides transformational opportunities for individuals and groups to connect with nature, themselves and others through a variety of experiences.  Located on 30 acres in Oberlin, Ohio, Common Ground is the home to summer day camps servicing youth since 1996, a top-rated zipline canopy tour, team building programs and much more.

What is your camp philosophy?

At the heart of our work is striving to enhance young people’s sense of relationship with themselves, each other, and with the world. We believe that children who attend Common Ground Summer Camps gain a stronger sense of the diversity of life and possess new tools to assist them in sustaining relationships with their peers, families, and the community-at-large through understanding diversity, peacemaking, human worth, dignity, and respect, and through their role in the world.

We believe that children should have a safe and nourishing structured environment where they can grow in the company of their peers and under the guidance of positive role models. We seek to provide a space where children are free of bullying, all forms of violence, and negative influences. Common Ground Summer Camps is a place where human dignity and respect are cherished, where children are affirmed and encouraged to grow into their full potential in body, mind, and spirit, and where children can be simply that, children. 

Positive reinforcements are utilized in behavioral management and we talk campers through behavioral issues, helping to understand the natural consequences of their actions rather than responding punitively. We devote energy towards fostering group cohesiveness, in recognition of the importance of community and believing that children succeed in a positive group setting. There are very few competitive elements at camp and we emphasize the ability of each child to succeed in her/his way.

 We are committed to being one of the most diverse youth programs in Lorain County. Common Ground Summer Camps are non-profit summer camps and all revenue generated goes towards operating expenses and providing more children with an outdoor camp experience. Approximately 70% of children attending camp are able to attend with financial assistance. It is Common Ground’s goal to provide a summer camp experience for children of ALL backgrounds.

Do you accept donations to help other children attend camp?

Yes! When donating to camp, your donations go directly to the operation of our camps or providing a camp adventure for a child who would not otherwise have had one.  You can donate through our website, in person, calling our office, or by physically mailing it to us. To donate online go here.  A week of camp costs approximately $250 per week.