Summer Camp

***UPDATE MAY 18***

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have been working to navigate the Governor’s Executive Orders and the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines as they pertain to summer camps and childcare. Staff, the Chester Bowl Improvement Club’s Board of Directors, and the Programs and Finance Committees examined the feasibility of our summer camp and have developed pandemic plans to modify the program as it relates to COVID-19.

After careful consideration we have made the decision to cancel camp through July 2. As the situation evolves we will be evaluating the feasibility of running camp beyond July 6. We hope to be able to make a decision for July and beyond by mid-June, but the exact timing will depend on the timing of the guidance from the various governmental offices involved. We are so disappointed to have to make this decision, but we think it is the right one and in the best interest of our campers and our community.

The virus has affected all our families. So much has changed in the last three months- many of us have found ourselves in different financial situations and with different child care needs than where we were at in March when our camp registration opened. Our existing refund policy (no refunds after May 1) only reflected a situation where campers would withdraw from camp, not a situation where we were unable to offer camp. Therefore, we revisited this policy and are offering full refunds for any days of camp that are cancelled due to COVID-19.

We feel like this is the right thing to do, but it does come with some financial risks for Chester Bowl. We have already incurred some costs for camp that we can not recover. For example, we will still have to pay the online processing fee to Active for camp registration, even if we refund registration, and even if the family hasn’t paid yet. And although we would not have hourly camp staff to pay without camp running, camp proceeds do cover a portion of permanent staff salaries and general organizational operating expenses. As part of the refund process, we hope that you will consider donating a portion of the daily fee to Chester Bowl to help us cover these costs and ensure the organization’s long term financial stability.

Here are some options for you to consider right now:

Wait for now. As mentioned previously, we anticipate making a decision in mid-June about having camp in July. You can defer determining your refund choice until we make that determination. The same refund options would be available throughout the summer, and would be retroactive to past cancelled days. If we do need to cancel additional weeks of camp, this would minimize the time spent to process multiple refunds.

Request a refund immediately, covering the period of June 8-July 2. We know some families are in a situation where they need the refunds in their bank accounts as soon as possible, and we are happy to provide that. We are asking families to consider donating a portion of their refunds to the Chester Bowl Improvement Club. Here are some suggested refund levels and how it would impact Chester Bowl- you can also choose a refund level not listed here.

  • A full refund of $30 per day registered.
  • A donation of $2 per day registered, with a $28 refund. This amount would offset the costs that we have paid towards our online registration system. If everyone chose this level, it would go a long way to making sure Chester stays strong for summers to come!
  • A donation of $5 per day registered, with a $25 refund. This amount would offset a portion of the costs that we have already taken on.
  • A donation of $8 per day of camp registered, with a $22 daily refund. This is the amount we would need for each family to donate in order to allow us to fully break even for the summer.
  • A full donation of the entire $30 daily fee- thank you for your incredible generosity!
  • For those requesting refunds who have paid in full, you will receive a check mailed to you from Chester Bowl. If you are requesting a refund but have a balance due for the rest of the summer, we would first apply the refund to any balance due (and issue a check for the rest if any refund remains).
  • All donations are tax deductible, and we will send donation receipts to all donors. Thank you in advance to those of you who are in a position to and are willing to financially support the long-term health of Chester Bowl.

Request a refund immediately for the entire summer. If you know that, for reasons related to COVID-19, you would not want to send your child to camp this summer regardless of if programming is offered in July or August, you can request a refund for all days that you are registered for. See options above.

If you are requesting any level of refund, please email and let him know what option you have selected. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you are in the “wait for now” scenario.

Many families are on our payment plan. For those that are, the registration software will automatically charge your credit card for the third and final installment on June 1. For us to change this, staff must go into the system and manually stop the charge before June 1. If you would like for us to stop that charge from happening, please contact Sam at BY MAY 27.

Thank you all for your patience while we worked through our decision-making process. We realize for some, this creates yet another disruption to your lives. We are disappointed to have to make this decision and we will miss all of our campers during what should have been the start of camp.

We will continue to evaluate the situation moving forward and will report back when we have more information regarding the remainder of the summer.


Sam & Dave


Registration for 2020 Summer Camp is now open!

Please read on for more information on our summer camp; information regarding the camp, the schedule, how to register, and the registration link are included in the information on this page.

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 the full group and smaller groups, arts and crafts, hiking through Chester on the way to a local field trip destination (or taking the DTA or other bus for a farther trip), 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!

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 Monday through Thursday from June 8th, 2020 through August 20th, 2020. As always, you can sign up for as many or as few days as you want, and only the days that you want, with no minimum or maximum. Please note that this year there is an extra week of summer vacation, so there are TWO weeks between the end of our camp programming and the start of school after Labor Day.

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 field trips off site by foot, by DTA bus, and by Voyager Bus.  Anticipated trips this summer may include the Mount Royal Library, the Lakewalk and Canal Park, many of the various city parks including Leif Erickson, Enger Tower, and Twin Ponds, Bagley Nature Area, Jay Cooke State Park, Great Lakes Aquarium, Park Point, and many more! Our tentative schedule is posted below, and can be found at this link in a larger font. Please note that this is our planned schedule, but it is likely to shift as the summer progresses.  The schedule of activities can change due to shifts in availability and weather.

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 here.

PROGRAM COST: The program cost is $30.00 per child per day.  There is also a non-refundable $50 family registration fee.  Payment is processed upon registration; you can also choose a payment plan system, with up to three installments, due on April 1, May 1, and June 1. 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 and Rotary Club 25.

REGISTRATION: All applications are through an online system, and are processed through two waves. Registration occurs directly through the online portal; there will be no paper registration option this year. A registration guide can be found here: Registration is now open! To register follow this link:

All applications are processed immediately on a first come-first served basis through the online system. You will know immediately what availability there is for your campers this summer. Registration is open until filled and then names are added to a waitlist. To ensure camp quality and the appropriate staff/camper ratio, we have a registration cap for each day of camp. The days that are full will have the word “Waitlist” listed in blue text on the grey bar next to the daily price.

If you do not have access to a computer for registration, or would otherwise like assistance, you can come to the Chester Bowl Chalet to use a Chester computer for registration. Please make an appointment in advance with staff for assistance by calling 218-724-9832 or emailing

SCHEDULE CHANGES AND REFUNDS: No refunds will be given after April 1st. Changes made prior to April 1st to the days in which your camper is registered for are subject to an administrative fee of $5 for each day cancelled. The registration fee is non-refundable. A payment plan will be available upon checkout with payments due due on April 1, May 1, and June 1. Camp should be paid in full by June. If needed, you can contact Chester Bowl about an extended payment plan.

Additional days may become available throughout the summer due to other campers cancelling. These are first filled through the waitlist, but if there is no waitlist for that particular day, registration is through the online system as usual. If you want to add days as the summer progresses, check the registration software periodically to see if desired days have opened up.

If you have any questions, please email Sam at or call Chester Bowl at 724-9832.

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Duluth, Minnesota