Here are some frequently asked questions about life at MSU Tollgate Farm Camp in Novi

Which camp is the best option?

Each camp is a special theme, but they are all farm-based and fun-filled. The week's description offers a glimpse into the daily activities. Campers may attend one week or many weeks of camp. 

What type of activities will they do?

Check out the daily camp blog to see pictures and information about the activities in which campers participate.

How large are the groups?

Campers spend their weeks with a team of qualified and caring adults. Your child will be in a group with 10-12 other young people of the same developmental age and stage. We find that although smaller groups may limit our attendance, this is a necessary step in fostering positive, hands-on learning opportunities throughout camp.

Who are the staff?

Each group experience is led by an Educational Leader and a Steward (15-19 years old) and/or a Steward-in-Training (12-14 years old.) The Educational Leaders are a highly qualified team of educators consisting of certified teachers, biologists, environmental educators, and agronomists all trained in the Experiential Model of Learning and positive youth development principles. Stewards are older youth who have an interest in developing their leadership skills and they act as role models for the campers. Our model of small group sizes, expert teaching staff, and positive role modeling assure that campers have a fun, safe, and educational experience.

What is 4-H and how does it play a role in camp?

MSU Tollgate Farm Camp and Stewards Program are part of Michigan 4-H youth development. By enrolling your camper or steward, you also agree to register as 4-H Member in Oakland County for the current 4-H enrollment year, September 1st 2022 - August 31st 2023. 

4-H is a learn-by-doing, fun, educational program, helping youth in their growth and development and compliments experiences received at home, school and other organizations. With the help of caring adult volunteers, 4-H helps young people gain the skills they need to be successful. As a member of 4-H, there are many other opportunities to get your camper or steward involved, including approximately 50 4-H clubs in Oakland County where members work with a large variety of project areas including agriculture, aerospace, community service, horses, science and technology and more. Questions regarding 4-H? Contact Deb Morgan at morgan194@anr.msu.edu.

How often do I need to enroll in 4-H?

The 4-H year begins September 1st and runs through August 31st. There is no fee to enroll in 4-H. 

What forms do I need to bring to camp on Monday?

We require that all campers bring with them a completed copy of the 4-H Youth Medical and Media Release Form and a signed C.A.R.E.S Contract. Please have these filled out prior to Monday morning drop off.

What about lunch?

Each day will be very active and even with nutritious snacks throughout the day, campers will need sufficient and nutritious sustenance. Please provide a healthy, balanced sack lunch that will help your child endure a rigorous and fun day.

What should my camper wear each day?

Since we spend all our days outside, closed-toe shoes and socks with comfortable clothing are necessities. Choose comfortable, rugged clothes, shoes or boots that can get muddy and mucky. Sunscreen should be applied in the morning before camp and we will continue to re-apply as needed throughout the day.

What is your camper to staff ratio?

Each camp group is led by an experienced educational leader. With the addition of teen stewards, the ratio is no more  than 5:1.

What do you do on very hot days?

Our camp schedule remains the same on warm days. Some activities may be minimized including hiking (though the forest is naturally air conditioned) or planting in the garden. All of our other outdoor activities are under or near a tree or other shade, which helps when campers need to cool off. Additionally, camp groups are encouraged to slow down and drink more water. Water fun is often added to our very hot summer camp days! 

Is there financial aid available?

The goal of the financial aid committee is to provide as many individuals, families, and schools as possible with the opportunity to enrich learning and broaden their experiences by time spent on the farm. Funding is limited and applications are reviewed based on the needs of the participants, potential impact on their learning, cost of the program, and the potential for meaningful collaboration. To learn more, go to our financial aid website page.

When will registration open?

Registration for next year's camps will open in December. 

What will drop off and pick up procedures look like?

The camps start at 9:00 a.m. with drop-off beginning at 8:45 a.m. There are childcare options before camp. However, aftercare is available from 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. for $60.


To best accommodate the safety and needs of our "after campers," pre-registration for aftercare is required. If a camper who has not be pre-registered requires aftercare due to a late pick up, there will be a $5 per five minute charge.

Why have the prices increased?

In order to provide a more competitive wage to all our seasonal employees we needed to raise the price of all our camps.  We understand the price increase can be a barrier for many families, which is why we offer financial aid for families who qualify. 

Drop off/Pick up times?

For all camps except Sprouts Farm Camp drop off is at 9:00am and pick up is at 4:00pm. Sprouts Farm Camp has two session options where drop off/pick-up is at 9:00am/12:00pm or 1:00pm/4:00pm. We will communicate more about possible staggered drop off and pick up times to reduce contact between families. 

What is your refund policy?

If cancellation is needed, please be prompt. Cancellations from June 1 through 2 weeks prior to your first day of camp result in a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds 14 or fewer days from first day of your camp week. For all cancellations made prior to June 1st full refunds minus a $25 processing fee will be given. 

Is there a multi child discount this year?

Unfortunately, there will still not be a multi-child discount this year.