Summer Camp

***UPDATE January 2021***

Snow is falling, but we are planning for summer camp! We are still working on our exact program model, including locations, group sizes, and costs for camp. It is very likely that we will be following very similar COVID protocols as we were in 2020. We hope to open registration in March, as we usually do, but we are also waiting to find out what the guidance will be for summer programs this year. Please check back for an update in late February. And be sure you are on the Chester Bowl email list so you know right away when we release new information! Look for “SUBSCRIBE” on the right side bar. The information below was for 2020 and is left here for information only.

***SUMMER 2020 information below***

For families that have not yet registered for Camp: The message below went out to families that had already registered, and contains general information about what camp will look like this summer. New families will be able to register for any remaining spots on June 29th. Check back here for a link to the registration materials. Read on for the letter….

For everyone: We have outstanding news! Day Camp starts July 6th!

Thank you for your patience as we worked through the many different factors that have impacted camp for this summer. Many of you know that we had canceled programming for June with the hopes of starting summer camp in July. We are delighted to announce that we have developed a plan that will keep both campers and staff safe, and will be moving forward with camp starting the week of July 6th!

We do want to be very clear that camp will look drastically different this summer. In order to safely run camp, we did need to make several significant changes to our program model, including registration, and this will require your immediate attention. The most important item is that your child is NOT automatically enrolled for days they previously signed up for- every family MUST re-register to attend camp. Please read through the following information carefully to make sure that you are prepared for the next steps. Our Pandemic Preparedness Plan is based on regulations and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), City of Duluth, American Camping Association, and the YMCA of the USA.

If you are receiving this email, your children are currently registered for camp at Chester this summer. You had registered your campers by selecting the individual days that you wanted them to come to camp. Unfortunately, this model does not comply with MDH or CDC guidelines for camper and staff groupings. Both the MDH and CDC have required that campers are separated into cohorts of staff and campers that must remain consistent day over day for at least a week at a time. Therefore, campers must register for and pay for an entire week (Monday through Thursday) at a time. We know this is a difficult change, as our program prides itself on its flexibility, but we simply would not be able to hold camp with our previous daily registration model.

These groups cannot exceed 25 people when outside and we cannot exceed 10 people when indoors during weather events. This drastically reduces the number of campers we can serve on a daily basis from 65 campers a day to less than 50 campers a week.

Because of these two factors, we will be opening a new registration that would allow us to meet the requirements listed above. Because we have already accrued fees associated with our first online registration, we are unable to run registration online for this summer (doing so would incur more fees). Moving forward, all registration will be completed using paper forms that parents must return to Chester in order to register their children.

Registration will open first to parents who are deemed “critical employees” as defined by the Minnesota Department of Health as an employee working for critical infrastructure:

If you are a parent who works within one of the “critical” infrastructure fields listed on the webpage above, please email to receive a registration form immediately. Parents who fall into this category will have until Monday, June 22 to register for camp.

After parents who are deemed to be critical employees, parents with campers who had signed up for 22 or more days for at least one camper in their family will receive an email from Sam with a registration form. This form will be emailed out on Monday, June 22. Parents have until Wednesday, June 24 to register.

Finally, registration will open up to all other families who have registered to participate in camp this summer but with less than 22 days. This form will be sent out on Wednesday June 24.

If there are any additional spots available registration will open to the general public on Monday June 29.

Once you receive a registration form we will need you to:

  1. Print the form (if needed you can get a paper copy at the Chalet)
  2. Complete the form
  3. Return the paperwork to 1801 E Skyline Parkway, Duluth MN 55812
  4. No payment is due with registration

New registration forms will be processed in the order that they are received. Forms can be mailed in or dropped off to Chester during regular business hours: 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. If we are not in the office you may place your registration form in the mailbox underneath the deck.

Payments and Refunds

Many families have already paid for camp in full. The balance paid will be applied to new registrations. Any difference will be refunded to parents. We recognize that this new camp model may not fit everyone’s needs. Because of this we are offering 100% refunds for families that choose not to participate. To receive a refund please contact Families receiving refunds can always choose to donate a portion of their refund back to camp to help us remain financially stable through this pandemic. A donation of $2/camper/day will cover the non-refundable online registration fees that we incurred.

After completing registration, we will reach out to you and confirm the weeks of summer that your child is registered for. We will also balance your account between costs incurred and fees already paid, and then will confirm additional payments needed or refunds due to you.

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). We WILL provide 100% refunds for any children that are sick with COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms.

What will camp look like this summer?

Camp is going to look and feel different than in past years due to the restrictions that are in place to protect staff and campers. We still plan on having crazy amounts of fun and returning your campers tired, happy, and dirty. But they may not be with all of their usual friends, there will be no full-group activities, and some favorite games and field trips will be simply impossible this summer. Please review the information below to make sure that camp will be a good fit. Please also talk with your campers about what we expect the experience in advance to help them set their expectations.

Camper Age

Camp will still serve campers as young as 6 years old (exceptions can be made for children who have graduated kindergarten) up to campers who are 12 years old at the start of camp.

Camp Hours

In order to make camp financially viable this summer we have made the tough decision to limit camp hours, as the new model has a higher staff to camper ratio. Drop off will start at 8am this summer and all campers must be picked up by 3:30pm. No exceptions will be made to these hours and parents that cannot adhere to this change will be asked to not send their children to camp. We apologize for the shortened day, but it was a necessity.


Parents will be asked to screen the health of their family for two weeks prior to the start of camp, especially if there has been a known household exposure to COIVD-19 or travel beyond the immediate Duluth/Superior area into areas known to have an outbreak. We are asking parents to not send campers to camp if they exhibit the signs or symptoms associated to COVID-19. These symptoms are: fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, vomiting, etc.

Arrival Screening

Prior to each day of camp, participants will be screened for signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 as well as having contact with persons known to have COVID-19. If campers are experiencing symptoms, or have had contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19 they will not be allowed to attend camp for 2 weeks from the date of the exposure or from the date that symptoms are no longer experienced. Campers will be allowed to attend camp after 2 weeks from exposure of persons confirmed to have COVID-19 only if no symptoms are present. We will be doing the following in order to conduct screenings

  1. Parent will be given a drop off location for their camper. This location will be communicated via email during registration confirmation and will be marked with a sign.
  2. Upon arrival parents and campers will be required to remain in their vehicle at the designated drop off site.
  3. A staff wearing appropriate PPE will approach the vehicle and ask the parents if the campers:
    1. Are experiencing the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19
    1. If the campers have had any close exposure to individuals known to have COVID-19.
    1. Staff will then take the camper’s temperature using an infrared thermometer.
  4. If the campers pass the screening they will be allowed to attend camp.
  5. If campers are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have a fever over 100.4 degrees F they will be sent home and parents will receive a refund for the week.

Social Distancing and Respiratory Measures

As mentioned above, campers will be split into groups of 25 people or less. These groups cannot be intermingling during the day. As a result, camp will feel more like three separate camps and will have a more intimate feel. In order to achieve this, we will be operating camp out of three locations this summer. The first location will be the garage located at the far part of Chester Bowl that has been used by the YMCA’s Camp Kitchigami. The second location will be the Thom Storm Chalet. The third location will be Lower Chester which is located at 1417 East 5th Street, Duluth MN, 55811. When registering, you may choose your preference for location, and we will honor requests as best as we are able.

We are asking parents to send campers to camp with a mask or face covering. Each camper will be required to wear a mask when indoors on rainy days or when social distancing is not possible.

To reduce exposure, all field trips have been canceled for the summer. Excursions from Chester will be done on foot, will be entirely outdoors, and will not involve the DTA or other bussing.

Campers will be asked to use hand sanitizer or soap and water to wash before and after activities that involve a shared object like crayons, balls, or other items.

Games that encourage being within 6 feet of one another will be avoided.


Our teen volunteer program, the Incredible Exchange, is operated by the St. Louis County 4-H program. They have opted to have an online-only experience this summer. We will be operating a limited Incredibles program on our own this year, unaffiliated with 4-H. If your 13-15 year old was planning on participating, please reach out to us ASAP.

This is a lot to digest, and we know it. We are so excited to be able to offer camp this summer, even as we experience sadness that we have had to make some major changes and it won’t be the exact same camp environment that we all love. But even with all these changes, we are confident that we will have an awesome summer spent playing outside at Chester Bowl. There is a wonderful opportunity to experience some “normal” play with others and new-found opportunities to explore a different part of the park. If you have any questions regarding the information in this email contact To view our full pandemic plan please follow this link:

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