Below are some frequently asked questions about our program and facility. If you do not find the information you are looking for, please contact your school’s lead teacher. If you are the lead teacher, please contact the AstroCamp Program Office.
What is the typical weather like?
The weather at AstroCamp is extremely variable. Because of the elevation, temperatures here are typically cooler than in the rest of Southern California. It is generally clear and sunny during the day, but temperatures drop rapidly at night. It can snow or rain anytime between October and early June. Please check the Idyllwild weather conditions at noaa.gov before packing. If road conditions are severe, we will contact your lead teacher directly.
What do you do if it rains?
During rainy/snowy days, we try to continue with program as planned. We are able to run almost all of our programs in the rain or snow. If the rain/snow is too heavy (or includes lightning) and does not permit the scheduled program, we always have fun and exciting indoor alternatives.
Will I encounter wildlife?
AstroCamp is located in a forested area, so it is possible to encounter wildlife such as deer, snakes, and squirrels around camp. While these are all wild animals and we cannot control their presence, instructors and administrators thoroughly educate guests about local wildlife and how to appropriately behave around or respond to these animals.
How are AstroCamp instructors hired and trained?
We take pride in employing a well-trained staff of the highest quality. Our instructors come to AstroCamp from all over the United States and occasionally from overseas. We have approximately 28 instructors on staff at any given time. All instructors have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field (typically in physics or astronomy), a strong desire to teach, and a love for working with children. Instructor training consists of two weeks of intensive program and teaching training. Additionally, instructors receive Lifeguard training through the American Red Cross, which includes CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, First Aid, and Emergency Oxygen Administration.
Do you screen your staff and do background checks?
All staff must satisfactorily complete a criminal history record check before beginning work. This screening includes a self-disclosure form, a public records check, and annual check of the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. These criminal history records are reviewed by the Guided Discoveries Human Resources Director prior to the employee beginning work and must conform to Guided Discoveries’ hiring thresholds.
What are your considerations for transgender campers?
At AstroCamp, we believe strongly in creating an inclusive and supportive environment. We want to allow campers and staff to be their authentic self free of judgment and harassment. Please review our Camper & Staff Inclusion Policy.
Can I send food with my child?
Other than a lunch for arrival day (if needed), we discourage you from sending your child with extra food or snacks. Our kitchen staff will prepare plenty of food to keep students feeling satiated and energized throughout their stay. If you have specific concerns about your child’s dietary needs, please read our Dietary Needs letter, and then contact our Kitchen Director if you have any further questions.
Do you serve vegetarian alternatives?
We provide a vegetarian option at every meal. We also have a salad bar at both lunch and dinner. Dietary information is gathered upon the students’ arrival so that our kitchen staff can prepare appropriate options at meals.
How do you deal with a severe food allergy?
We deal with food allergies every day. We have provided a letter from our Kitchen Director that explains the accommodations we are happy to make for children with food allergies. The best course of action is to read the letter, and then contact our Kitchen Director if you have any further questions. The earlier we know about severe food allergies, the better we can serve an individual’s specific needs.
What are your housing accommodations?
Guests are housed in heated dorm buildings with several dorm rooms and bathrooms. Each dorm room contains 4-6 bunk beds with mattresses, and the bathrooms contains several sinks, toilets, and showers. More information can be found on our Dorms page.
Are there gender-neutral bathrooms?
Each dorm contains individual ‘chaperone bathrooms’ with toilet, sink and shower, which are gender neutral and may be utilized for students on an as-needed basis.
Do you provide bedding?
No, we do not provide bedding. Guests should bring their own sleeping bag and pillow.
Do you have a nurse or doctor on-site?
We do not have a nurse or doctor on the premises during our school year operations. Our staff hold certifications in First Aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, and Lifeguarding. For any medical emergencies, we contact the local paramedics who will travel to camp to provide the necessary care and arrange transport to the local clinic or hospital if needed. The typical EMS response time to our facility is 6-10 minutes.
Can I participate if I have asthma?
Students and chaperones with asthma participate in our program all the time. It is critical for individuals with asthma to bring their inhalers with them to every program, including programs such as Microgravity and Day Hikes. Without an inhaler, participation in the program may be limited.
FOR LEAD TEACHERS
How many chaperones am I allowed to bring?
AstroCamp considers a chaperone to be any adult that accompanies your school on their trip, whether they are a teacher, administrator, or parent. Each school is required to bring at least one male and one female chaperone for housing purposes. All schools bringing 2 research groups (32 students) or less are required to have two chaperones. If you are bringing more than 32 students, you must bring one chaperone for each research group (approximately 16 students).
It is not required, but we recommend that you bring one more chaperone than the number of groups that you have. This allows one adult to float from group to group, give other chaperones a break as needed, or provide an adult to supervise any children who for a variety of reasons may not be participating in a program. If additional chaperones are necessary to meet student needs, please contact our business office to discuss special accommodations.
What are my options for paying my school’s final bill?
We prefer to obtain payment in a single check at the time of the school’s visit. If this is not possible due to your school’s policies, we ask that payment in a single check be made to our business office within the 10 business days following your trip.
Why is it necessary for school chaperones to supervise students outside of program time?
Adult leaders are our greatest allies and an integral part of our program. By having the chaperones supervise the students outside of program time, our staff is able to prepare for the next activity and address other camp needs. It is also a wonderful opportunity for teachers and other adult chaperones to get to know their students outside of their typical school setting.
Can I get cell phone reception?
The majority of people will be able to get cell phone reception. Everyone’s cell phone plan is different, so cell phone reception may vary between individual providers. We suggest that students do not have access to their cell phones for the duration of their trip – being unplugged is a valuable part of the camp experience!
Do you have wireless internet?
There is wireless internet available in the Chaperone Lounge. Due to the limited bandwidth available, the internet is only available to our adult leaders and not to our students.
Can I contact my child at camp?
We discourage parents from contacting their children while they’re at camp – being unplugged and away from home is part of the camp experience! Prior to your child’s trip, please talk with your school’s lead teacher to find out what procedure they would like you to follow if you need to contact them in the case of an emergency.
Can parents visit their children?
No. Due to the remote location of our facility, and for the safety of all of our guests, we do not allow visitors to camp.