Summer Camp

*Updated Tuesday, March 23, 2021*

The Chester Bowl Summer Day Camp is based on a philosophy of nature play, positive social interaction with peers, teen mentors, and adult staff, and immersion in nature. We see campers thrive in an environment where they are given age-appropriate amounts of choice, responsibility, and risk. A typical day may include unstructured play time on the playground, group games and activities with both their full pod and in smaller groups, arts and crafts, hiking through Chester on the way to a local field trip destination, fort building, making boats from natural materials, playing in the creek, smiling, laughing, making new friends, and asking “do I really need to go home now?” at the end of the day.  Our promise to parents is to return your camper each day tired, dirty, and happy!

We were able to successfully run camp in summer 2020, and anticipate a stellar 2021, getting campers outside with friends in a safe and COVID friendly program model that will be similar to how we ran camp last summer.

DAYS AND TIMES:  We offer programming four days a week, Monday through Thursday.  Children can be dropped off between 8:00 and 9:00, with the day’s structured activities starting at 9 AM.  All children must be picked up by 5:00 PM.  Camp will run in weekly sessions from June 14th, 2021 through August 19th, 2021. Registration is by full week again this summer to allow us to maintain weekly “pods”, and you can register for as many or as few weeks as you would like. Campers may choose not to attend days within the week, but families must select and pay for full weeks.

CAMP ACTIVITIES: Each day at camp we spend nearly the entire day outside, taking advantage of the beautiful park and the trails and creek.  Daily activities in the park can include nature exploration and hikes, group games like gaga, dodgeball, and capture the flag, arts and crafts, fort building, playground time, obstacle courses, and playing in the creek. We also take many walking field trips to nearby outdoor sites such as Bagley Nature Area, Leif Erickson Park, the Lakewalk and Canal Park, and more. Field trips will depend on COVID restrictions throughout the summer.

AGES: Camp is open to children who are at least 6 years old OR have completed Kindergarten, up to 12 years old.  Older children (13+) may be interested in volunteering through the St. Louis County 4-H Incredible Exchange Program.  More information can be found near the bottom of this web page.

CAMP HOME BASES: We are using our “pod system” again to minimize COVID exposure risk and make it easier for contact tracing if needed. Each week, campers will be in one of three locations- Lower Chester, The Chalet, and Upper Chester. Their location may vary from week to week, but within a single week the location and group of participants will remain the same. Our maximum group size for each pod is determined by the State of Minnesota. We do not know exactly what these group size limitations will be for the summer; we are currently planning for the existing size limitations of a 25 person maximum (including campers, staff, and teen volunteers). This may change leading up to or even during the summer. Siblings will be placed together and we will do our best to accommodate requests to have campers placed with friends.

PROGRAM COST: The program cost is $128.00 per child per week.  There is also a non-refundable one-time $50 registration fee per family. Payment of this registration fee is requested upon registration. Once your family is registered you will be given a total. You can choose to pay in full or you can choose a payment plan system, with full payment due by June 1. If needed, you can contact Chester Bowl about an extended payment plan. There are also scholarships available, so please do not let the cost keep you from enjoying camp! You can request a partial or full scholarship during registration. Our scholarships are funded by donations at Fall Fest, our Skis, Suds, & Slices event, and through grants from the Minnesota Power Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth, and Rotary Club 25.


Updated Tuesday, March 23 2021*

Registration for new families has started and camp is completely full as of Tuesday March, 23. There is a chance that COVID-19 group size restrictions will loosen and we will be able to register more campers. If this happens, we will update this page with information about how to register.

Summer Camp capacity is lower again this year based on Minnesota’s current group size restrictions due to COVID; it is actually lower than the group sizes we had last summer. If these restrictions loosen before or during the summer, and we feel like we are able to safely add campers, will we send an email first to all families that are registered for at least one week of camp to add weeks. If spaces still remain, we will then open registration again to new families who are not currently registered. We do not have any information on whether the State is considering changing those restrictions.

As mentioned earlier, families are required to register and pay for full weeks at camp. You could choose not to attend days within that week, but you would not be able to receive refunds for any missed days (we can’t replace your spot with another camper).

SCHEDULE CHANGES AND REFUNDS: No refunds will be given after April 1st. Changes made prior to April 1st to the weeks in which your camper is registered are subject to an administrative fee of $20/child for each week that is being canceled. The registration fee is non-refundable. We WILL provide 100% refunds of daily fees for any children that miss camp days because they are sick with COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms or are in quarantine.

COVID Precautions:

Last summer we found a plan that worked well for us and for our campers. Some details have changed, and we expect that our procedures will continue to evolve leading up to and during camp. You can expect updated detailed guidelines prior to camp opening. Here are some key points of things to expect:

  1. Campers will stay in weekly “pods” with their home base group, with group sizes never exceeding the MN allowable levels
  2. We will be outside whenever possible- but this is nothing new for us!
  3. Campers and staff will follow the current recommended mask and social distance protocols throughout their day
  4. Campers will have a daily “pre-screening” when arriving to camp
  5. Lots of hand washing and hand sanitizing!
  6. Camp activities will be chosen to make sure we can maintain distancing and minimize shared equipment. For example, tag games may be played with pool noodles. All field trips will be walking trips; we will not be taking buses offsite.
  7. Full refund of daily fees for those campers that cannot attend camp due to COVID symptoms or a positive test, or exposure. We are counting on families to make good choices to limit risk at camp, and we hope this refund policy makes it easier to keep your kids home when you need to!

To view our full pandemic plan from 2020 (which we expect to be very similar to our final 2021 plan, and will be updated as we move towards summer) please follow this link:

INCREDIBLE EXCHANGE TEEN VOLUNTEERS: Our teen volunteer program, the Incredible Exchange, is operated by the St. Louis County 4-H program, and is designed for 13-15 year olds. We are working with 4-H to see if we can offer the program through Incredible Exchange in 2021. If not, we will offer a similar volunteer program just through Chester Bowl, as we did in 2020. Watch this space for updates. General Incredible Exchange information can be found at this link.

Thank you for reading through all of our camp information! If you have any questions that remain, please email Sam at or call Chester Bowl at 218-724-9832.

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Duluth, Minnesota