Frequently Asked Questions


Common  Questions

I’m nervous about sending my little ones to camp… He/she is only 5-8 years old...who watches them and what’s their day like?

Understand that the campers are divided into groups by age…so the 5s and 6s stay with the 5s and 6s…the 7s and 8s stay with the 7s and 8s etc. as they go from activity to activity. Each group gets its own adult counselor (usually a certified teacher) and then usually 1 or 2 other college/high school age counselors. The counselors stay with their campers all day…escorting them from program activity to program activity, down to the waterfront, up for lunch, out to the basketball court, across to the field, into the Rec. room etc. Furthermore, each program [i.e. Activities Program, Waterfront Program, etc] has its own adult director [ALL of whom are certified teachers]. For example, if your child is 5, he/she would be in the “red group”. The red group head counselor is a CT. certified teacher. There are typically 2 other counselors also assigned to the red group on a daily basis. [The State of Connecticut mandates a ratio of1 counselor for every 12 campers]. Our Activities Director would then be overseeing the head counselor and other counselors during whatever activity the campers were engaged in. The same holds true for the waterfront. We have an entire staff of Red-Cross certified lifeguards and small craft safety (boating) instructors manning the waterfront at all times, but then our Waterfront Director or I oversee the lifeguards and boating instructors. I’m proud to say that as Camp Director for the past 18 years, either my Waterfront Director or I have been on the waterfront every minute that a child has been in the water. At the Recreation Camp, we take safety very seriously, have had a flawless safety record for 105 years, and have earned our reputation as the safest place to swim in the Valley.

Are weekly rates available? What about day rates?

Absolutely…  $175 /week  and / or $35/day *Note: multi-child discounts do NOT apply to weekly or daily rates.

What's the cancellation policy?

 Sadly, we’ve had to the modify this.  No refunds after the 5th week. Otherwise, we’re pretty good about it…

How are my kids supervised in the river?

First, it’s important to realize that our swim area is cordoned off from the rest of the river. [See photo gallery] The deepest part of the swim area is 4ft. Red Cross certified lifeguards are positioned at the edges of the docks. Older campers have to pass a rigorous swim test in order to gain access to the raft which lies slightly beyond the swim area. Lifeguards are positioned on the raft at all times. Campers can only enter the water with a swim buddy and corresponding name tags are placed on a buddy-board to insure an accurate count of all swimmers at all times. Every 5-10 minutes the head lifeguard blows the whistle, swimmers must stop what they’re doing, find their buddy, and hold their hands up to be counted. This is known as a BUDDY CHECK. The count is then cross referenced with the corresponding name tags on the buddy board to maintain safety. This process repeats every 10 minutes or so…hour after hour…whenever there are children in the water.

What should the kids bring to camp?

  • lunch… in an “old-school” brown paper bag. [The new fangled containers take up too much room in the fridge!] FRIDAYS the campers may buy pizza slices [$1.00] courtesy of Apollo Pizza…we also have a soda machine.
  • a bathing suit
  • a towel
  • sandals [don’t bother with socks…your kids will lose them …sandals are versatile and can be worn right into the water, on the basketball court and at the field]
  • sun block … we also have extra just in case

What do the kids do all day? What about when it rains?

  • First, they are divided into groups by age. Counselors are assigned to each group. The day is divided into 4 main program activities. Swimming, boating, sports, and Arts & Crafts / Academics. The campers participate in each activity for an hour, and then rotate. At 2:30pm, we have what’s called “free choice” and the campers can pick whatever activity they liked the best, and do more of that! There’s a great chart on the summer program page…take a look! As for the rainwe offer a full rainy day schedule and our building has 3 levels of floor space. In the main rec room we typically get a movie going with board games. On the bottom floor we set up hockey goals and put the kids on scooters with mini foam hockey sticks…and they play scooter hockey…and/or beat each other senseless with the foam, and then we convert the hallway on the second floor into a bowling lane and in the changing rooms usually do casino poker games with minimal buy-ins….usually lunch bag items like green grapes, juice boxes or pretzel sticks…or they just play UNO or GO FISH!

Do the campers in the red and yellow groups [ages 5-8] do boating?

The little guys don’t get to go boating…by themselves…they’re not big enough to paddle a kayak, canoe, or sail…etc. We do however load them into canoes from time to time and explore the shoreline…looking for turtles, ducks, fish or lost treasure. ALL boaters wear life vests regardless of age…and a lifeguard paddles the canoe…. Sometimes we even take them out into the middle of the river or all the way across to Shelton and back…Sometimes we take them for rides on the paddle boats while the older kids are doing outdoor sports and not on the waterfront……again, an adult paddles the boat…

Rt. 34 is crazy. How do I drop off / pick up my kids?

We actually now have our own parking lot and turn-a-round directly across the street from the camp. We recommend pulling into the lot, parking, and then walking your kid(s) across the crosswalk, along the new gravel sidewalk, and then into camp. Utilizing the turn-a-round lot across the street eliminates the need to back out onto Rt. 34 into oncoming traffic.

Let me say that again… Utilizing the turn-a-round lot across the street eliminates the need to back out onto Rt. 34 into oncoming traffic.

Speaking of Rt. 34, when the campers play at the field, how do they get across?

We just blow a whistle and tell them to run for it.. kinda’ like a real-life version of the video game “Frogger”!!!


As a gift from the Derby Police, we were given crossing guard vests and stop signs along with a Crossing Guard Certification Course for the staff… So, when the time comes, the adults walk out onto Rt. 34 with their vests and stop signs, stop all oncoming traffic in both directions, and then bring the kids on the crosswalk to the other side. See the video.

Do I have to be a resident of Derby, Ansonia, Shelton, Seymour or Oxford to send my kid(s) to this camp?

No…we’ve had kids from Orange, Milford, Woodbridge, Trumbull, Stratford, Monroe, Waterbury, Naugatuck, etc. So long as you can get them here…we’ll take’em!!!

Do you guys offer early drop-off for parents that work and if so, how much does it cost?

YES!!! We offer what’s called AM care. Starting at 8:00am, parents can drop their kid(s) off and we provide a pseudo-day care service from 8:00am to 9:30am (when Camp officially opens).  Cost is $35.00 per week or $7.00 per day / per child and you can pay as you go or when you register.

Due to my work schedule, there are a few days a week that I will need to pick my son up earlier than 4:00pm..... Is that ok?

You can pick up early any day or time you want…we sign the kids in and out everyday just so we have a record…Parents pick up early all the time….picking up late is another story!

Who are the people running this camp, and do they know anything about kids?

Name Title Years at Camp Qualifications
Mike Drew Camp Director  21

· CT certified Social Studies Teacher [Grade 7-12]

· Red Cross certified Lifeguard, Sailing, Kayaking and Canoeing and Rowing Instructor

Ron Napoli jr. Assistant Director 21

· CT certified Social Studies Teacher [Grade 7-12]

· Dual Master’s Degrees [1-education / 1- political science]

Pedro DosSantos Assistant Director 20

· CT certified Elementary Education Teacher

Master’s Degree in Education

Johnny Coniglio Waterfront Director 8 · CT certified Social Studies Teacher [Grade 7-12]



Scott Hultgren “Special Ops” Classified Classified – last known sighting – somewhere in eastern Connecticut working as a bio-chemical engineer.

Who picks all the cool tunes on Friday afternoons?!?

Well…if it’s anything from the 70s [i.e. Fleetwood Mac, Orleans, America, The Eagles, Elton John, Jackson Browne, AM radio-hits, singer-songwriters, DISCO, easy-listening etc.], Motown classics, The Beatles, or early 80s arena rock, specifically Journey [w/ Steve Perry] or if anyone remembers Connecticut’s hottest modern-rock band, PREZENS, from 1997-1999 and local bars like Tailgators, The Corner Pocket, Eli’s on Whitney, Toad’s Place…then it’s Mike and he’s probably floating out by the raft in some sort of music-induced nostalgic coma…”singer quit, drummer got  married…should have known, they’d never get far”

If it’s something popular today that your good kids may have actually heard on the radio…then it’s Rachel…

If it’s liberals ranting on NPR, Ron somehow got control of the audio system temporarily and we apologize!!!

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