Summer Camps

 

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2021 MSU Tollgate Farm Summer Camp 

Camp Registration Open: Click here to register! 

(All 9-11 year old camps are at capacity. Vet Science camp for 12-14 year old's still has openings!) 


 

A camp where everyday is a new adventure! 

Each week of camp features an exciting different theme and is filled with educational and fun activities that fit this theme. In addition to the unique weekly themed activities, a typical Tollgate farm camp day will include eating nutritious snacks in Garden Kitchen, caring for farm animals, sowing and harvesting in the garden, engaging in a creative week-long STEM project, and investigating the natural world of field, forest and pond. Depending on the camp week, other activities include canoeing, fishing, and horseback riding.

At our camp, campers get a better idea of STEM concepts, the process of science, social and emotional skills, and leadership opportunities, all while having fun and making new friends. By allowing campers to “do, reflect, apply”, young people are empowered to be in charge of their own learning, instilling a passion for self-directed, life-long exploration. All camps are farm-based and fun-filled.

 Low child-to-adult ratios make camp weeks fill quickly, so register early.


 

As always, the health and safety of our community and staying true to our mission are our highest priority. We will continue to update our website as we learn more and have a clearer vision of what 2021 summer programs will look like for us. Below you can see our most recent update for what summer programs will look like this year.   

COVID-19 Update (updated May 2021): As always, our top priority during the pandemic is to protect the health and safety of our staff, guests, and community. We, as MSU Extension, recognize the important role that summer camp has on the lives of children-- including supporting their social, emotional, and physical development. However, we also understand the importance of taking action to lower the risk of COVID-19 spread. This is why we have developed a plan to host a modified MSU Tollgate Summer Camp at a reduced capacity. 

As of May 18, 2021 Summer Camp at Tollgate is approved to happen at a reduced capacity. Early next week (date to come) registration for all of our summer camps will be open to the public. Due the the low camp-to-staff ratios and reduced capacity, camps will fill quickly! 

What can families expect at MSU Tollgate Farm Summer Camp 

  •  Outdoor mask wearing will not be enforced except for special situations where physical distancing is difficult 
  • Camp will take place 100% outdoors
  • Camp size will be reduced
  • Camp group sizes will be reduced
  • Garden kitchen will be simplified and moved outdoors
  • Aftercare will not be offered this year
  • Increased sanitization measures will be made

Campers will still..

  • Participate in themed, hands-on, place-based activities
  • Work in the gardens and with the animals
  • Work on a weeklong STEAM project
  • Get sweaty and dirty while exploring and learning
  • Have an absolute BLAST!  

 Summer Camp Schedule

FULL: July 5-9 Green Science Adventure Farm Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a week on the farm? Our flagship farm camp offers a great taste of farm life. Campers gain a deeper sense of environmental stewardship as they spend their days feeding critters in the barnyard, tracking animals in the forest, playing cooperative games, designing and building STEM projects, and preparing garden fresh snacks they help grow.

FULL: NEW THIS YEAR! July 12-16 Sprouts Farm Camp ($175) 
Ages 4 - 5 
Calling all 4 & 5 year old's! Come visit MSU Tollgate farm for three hours each day for a week of farm fun! You'll get to meet animals, learn about where food comes from and dip your toes in the pond. This camp is a great introduction to camp where our young campers will gain important social skills while they enjoy the excitement of being on a working farm. All campers must be toilet trained and ready for a fun week of new adventures on the farm.

FULL: July 19-23 Horse Camp 1: Equine Science ($375)
Ages 9 - 14
Geared toward the scientist, this version of Horse Camp will explore the wonders of the equine body! Campers will dive into the anatomy and physiology of horses, explore specimens under a microscope, learn about veterinary procedures, and much more! Campers will also work on basic horsemanship skills, acquire horse husbandry knowledge, and experience the day-to-day operations of a working farm! You do not need a horse to participate.

FULL: July 19-23 Earth Explorers Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
During this week of camp we will use our curiosity and imagination to explore nature and the world around us. From studying the soil composition in the forest to the water quality of the pond the campers will learn the importance of environmental diversity and the inter-connectivity of humans and nature. Throughout the week campers will be immersed in interactive and environmentally focused activities that promote sustainability, including a week long STEAM project turning 'trash' into a new invention.

July 26-30 Tollgate Vet Science Camp ($375)
Ages 12 - 14
Explore the Tollgate barn and pastures as you investigate the worlds of veterinary science and animal medicine. Collaborate in teams as you participate in various hands-on learning adventures related to the world of farm and domesticated animals. Gain animal handling experience, learn about veterinary tools & technology, practice physical exams, and have the opportunity to explore various animal-related career fields with visiting vets and animal care specialists.

FULL: August 2-6 Animal Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
During this camp week our adventures will take us to the barnyard and beyond as we investigate animals and their behaviors. Throughout the week we will visit and interact with our animals on the farm as well as the animals and critters we find as we explore the diverse habitats found within the pond, forest, and fields. Discoveries, collaboration, and play are in store for this fun-filled animal-focused week!

FULL: August 2-6 Horse Camp 2: Equine Industry ($375)
Ages 9 -14
Imagine yourself learning all about the equine industry. Horse behavior and training, horse care management and career opportunities are just some of the interesting topics at Tollgate Horse Camp 2. Of course, you will be able to enjoy the horses up close and personal as you gain knowledge and hands on experience during your equine adventure on the farm! Campers will expand their horsemanship skills and experience the day-to-day operations of a working farm! You do not need to participate in Horse Camp 1 to participate in this camp. You do not need a horse to participate.  

FULL: August 9-13 Nature's Engineers Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
Calling all nature engineers! Professions such as architects, engineers, and scientists often look to nature to inspire and answer questions. Organisms all around us are using engineering principles to build structures and/or modify the environment for their benefit. During this week of camp we will investigate various nature engineers on our property and become one ourselves through participation in various outdoor packed activities and our week long STEAM project.

FULL: August 16-20 Survival Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
Let your child's adventurous spirits run free as they learn about the natural environment and the important tools of survival during this week of summer camp. Survival Camp is the perfect camp for those who want to get down and dirty and put their survival skills to the test. This camp week will be filled with exciting skill building experiences like fire building, forest exploration and navigational tools, and a week-long STEM project focusing on shelter building.

FULL: August 16-20 Outdoor Adventure Camp ($375)
Ages 12 - 14
Take survival camp to a whole new level and challenge yourself with exciting wilderness skill-building experiences. Test your limits in the forest and fields of Tollgate as you develop a survival mindset. Try your hand at fire-building, wilderness first aid, outdoor cooking, shelter-building, climbing, and team-building trust initiatives.

FULL: August 23-27 Splish Splash Water Camp ($375)
Ages 6 - 12
Dive into the world of the pond to investigate the animals, bugs, and plants that call it home. This week is perfect for the camper who is interested in fishing, canoeing, and pond dipping for macroinvertebrates. Learn about water conservation and water ecology. What happens to the rain that falls on MSU Tollgate Farm? How do the plants and animals impact our water? We will close our week with a full day of outdoor water inspired games! 

Steward and Steward in Training Leadership Program ($180)
Ages 13 - 19
The Steward and Steward-in-Training (SIT) Program is a progressive Tollgate youth development experience for teens ages 13-19 who are interested in gaining experience working with campers in agriculture and the natural sciences. Stewards-in-Training are 13-14 years of age, serve as role models for campers during activities, and commit to at least one full week of camp. Stewards are 15-19 years of age and serve as assistants to the educational leaders and mentors for both SITs and campers. Stewards must commit to at least two full weeks of camp. For more information on this program email koehle43@msu.edu.


 

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Tollgate strives to provide opportunities for youth and adults of all income levels and welcomes a broad cross-section of participants to experience farm-based experiential learning. The goal of the Tollgate financial aid process is to provide as many youth and adults as possible with the opportunity to enrich learning and broaden their experiences. Funding is limited and applications are reviewed based on the needs of the participants, potential impact on their learning, cost of the program, and potential for meaningful collaboration.

To learn more about how to apply for financial aid, visit the Tollgate financial aid webpage.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will registration open?

Registration will open late May for all camps. 

What will drop off and pick up procedures look like?

New drop off/pick up procedures will be put in place to reduce contact. More information will be given prior to the first day of camp. 

Why have the prices increased?

With fewer campers per camp session we needed to increase camp price to help cover the expenses of running camp. We understand the price increase can be a barrier for many families, which is why we offer financial aid for families who qualify. 

Will aftercare be offered this year?

We are disappointed to say that in order to maintain in compliance with camper cohorts and to reduce risk of spread we have decided that aftercare will not be provided this year. 

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 July 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. 

Is there a multi child discount this year?

Because camp size is reduced this year, no multi-child discount will be offered. We understand this can be a difficult change for some families, we do offer financial aid for those who qualify. 


 

COVID-19 Update and Questions.

All campers, volunteers, and staff will be required to follow policies and guidelines recommended by the CDC and MSU Extension to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  We are confident in our knowledge and ability on how to best keep campers and staff safe, with wearing masks, cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces and equipment, social distancing, and COVID-19 screenings. 

What are you doing to keep campers safe?

In short, we will be.. 

  • Social distancing 
  • Screening campers for symptoms/exposure 
  • Grouping in cohorts 
  • 100% outdoors
  • Increased sanitization measures of equipment and spaces
  • Handwashing stations

Will masks be required?

Yes and No. Current best-practice guidelines from the CDC and MSU do not require a mask during outdoor events under 100 participants. Campers will be required to bring a mask in the case of inclement weather, for when using the restrooms, drop off/pick up and any activities where physical distancing is difficult. 

What does social distancing look like at camp?

Luckily we are already an outdoor based camp so outdoor activities and distancing is in out nature. However, in addition to our usual we will.. 

  • Reduce the size of camp groups so that 3-6 feet of social distancing between campers. 
  • Mark high traffic areas such as restrooms, barn, handwashing stations, and dining areas to demonstrate appropriate distance. 
  • Limit indoor activities that inhibit our ability to practice social distancing

What if my child becomes sick at camp?

Our main priority is to keep all our staff, campers and volunteers safe and healthy and keep COVID-19 out of out camp. It is our responsibility to handle potential COVID cases swiftly and aggressively. During the camp day staff and volunteers will monitor campers for potential COVID symptoms. If a camper is experiencing COVID symptoms, they will be immediately quarantined and the parent/guardian will be contacted to immediately to pick up their camper. 

Campers who were sent home due to COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to return to camp until they provide camp staff with a doctor’s note with an alternate diagnosis or they provide a negative COVID-19 test. 

The camp director will communicate with parents and guardians of those exposed to another camper with symptoms so that they are aware and can continue to monitor their child.