Frequently Asked Questions

Summer 2022 Information

The American Youth Foundation is so excited to welcome more campers to Miniwanca and Merrowvista in summer 2022!  We are committed to sharing  positive, life-shaping experiences in the outdoors and inspiring youth to aspire nobly, adventure daringly, and serve humbly.

Please carefully review the information and FAQ below to learn more about next summer’s program offerings, rates, registration process, and vaccination requirements.

Miniwanca 2022 Programs

Merrowvista 2022 Programs

NLC 2022

2022 Registration Process

2022 Program Questions 

COVID-19 Questions



2022 Registration Process


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What is the registration process for 2022?

Summer 2022 registration will return to a first come, first served enrollment model (pending medical review), and waitlists will be created when programs fill. Registration will take place in two parts:

Sunday, Nov. 7: Priority registration for existing camp families will open at 6 p.m. ET.

Monday, Nov. 15: Registration for new camp families will open at 8 a.m. ET.

There is a $300 fee due upon registration. The AYF is committed to making summer camp accessible to all youth through financial aid and scholarship. Learn more here. 

Why has the cost of camp increased from previous years?

Our costs for the summer ahead have risen dramatically this season, and as a result, the rates have increased more than in recent years. This is not a decision taken lightly, as it is part of our mission to be able to welcome a wide range of campers to our programs.

Some factors include:

  • Higher costs for summer staff, including an increase to seasonal wages
  • Higher costs for food, fuel, and program supplies
  • Higher costs for transportation, van rentals
  • A return to full camp programs, including off-site trips, with many associated costs
  • The move from 2021 tuitions, which were held at an artificially low cost as they were offset by a federal PPP loan

With all these increased costs, the 2022 rates ultimately do not cover the actual cost of the campers’ experience. As a nonprofit foundation, the AYF offsets the true cost of every camper’s experience by about one-third. This year we are passing along a higher tuition, and we’re committed to offering more scholarship assistance as well. We welcome you to apply for additional discount through the financial aid process.

Will scholarships and financial aid be available this year?

Yes. The AYF is committed to making the camp experience possible for as many youth we can. As a nonprofit foundation, the AYF funds a portion of all campers’ experience. In addition, you are invited to apply for financial aid or scholarship to make camp more affordable.

What is the payment schedule for 2022?

A $300 fee is due upon registration. Families must pay 50% of tuition by Feb. 11, 2022, and the remaining balance is due by April 15, 2022. For more information, please contact Registrar Lisa Boucher at lboucher@ayf.com.

What is the AYF’s cancelation policy for 2022?

If you decide the 2022 programs will not fit your camper’s needs after registration, the AYF will fully refund your registration fee and any additional payments if you cancel on or before Feb. 11, 2022.

If cancellation is necessary on or prior to April 15, 2022, any tuition paid above the $300 registration fee will be refunded. There is no tuition refund after April 15, 2022.

If camper must withdraw prior to the beginning of camp due to illness or injury, all payments except the registration fee will be returned upon receipt of a written report from a physician. For withdrawals during the camp season due to illness or injury, a refund will be prorated.

No refund will be granted in case of dismissal or voluntary withdrawal from camp, and the family will be responsible for transportation costs incurred. There is a minimum $35 processing fee for each refund.

The program my camper wants to enroll in is full. What can I do?

If your chosen camp program is full, we encourage you to register for our waitlist. We will contact you if a spot opens up in early 2022.

2022 Program Questions


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Is an AYF summer program at Miniwanca or Merrowvista right for my child?

Our goal is to empower as many participants as possible, help them to pursue their goals and to realize their full potential within our program objectives, staffing model and resources.

Registering your child does not automatically enroll them in an AYF program. Once your registration form has been received, we will review it for appropriate program placement. We may contact you with questions to ensure that AYF will be a positive, fun experience for your child and that we can accommodate their physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs. During this call, families can ask any questions they may have while we learn about your child and how to set them up for success.

Click here to learn more about our general admission guidelines and medical review process.

What safety measures does AYF take?

Miniwanca and Merrowvista are fully accredited by the American Camp Association and meet or exceed state health requirements and industry safety standards in both our in-camp and adventure trip programs. American Red Cross standards guide our waterfront activities. We have a team of committed, onsite health professionals, staffing multiple fully equipped health centers and hospitals a short distance away from both sites. Miniwanca and Merrowvista campers are supervised throughout the day and maintain a 1:6 staff to camper ratio so that we can provide a fun, safe summer for our campers.

Will my child feel included at camp?

Miniwanca and Merrowvista enthusiastically welcome children with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities. We value each child’s right to fully experience camp free from prejudice and harassment. All staff are trained to supervise children and to prevent and address incidents of conflict or bullying based on any aspect of a person’s identity, including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.

What qualifications do staff members have?

Staff members strive to be excellent role models by aspiring nobly, adventuring daringly, and serving humbly. Our senior staff members are caring professionals who work with children year-round in camp, school programs and conferences.

Our cabin leaders have completed at least one year of college or post-high school work experience, are certified in first aid and CPR, and go through two weeks of extensive training at camp prior to the arrival of campers.

Most Four Trails adventure trip leaders are experienced staff members, participate in a rigorous training, and are certified in high-level first aid as Wilderness First Responders. All staff have background checks run against multiple local and national databases.

Will the AYF provide bus transportation or pickups from the airport?

We are hopeful we can offer transportation to and from airports, as well as to and from St. Louis and Cleveland for Miniwanca and NLC participants. We are working to secure transportation from a more limited supply of vendors this year, but we are optimistic we will be able to offer our usual transportation options. Please indicate your interest via your enrollment form. Final plans regarding transportation will be announced in early 2022, prior to the nonrefundable deadline of Feb. 11, 2022.

Will there be any Four Trails programs, field trips, or day trips outside of camp?

The AYF is committed to offering challenging adventure-based programs that enable experiential learning. During the ongoing pandemic, our traditional Four Trails experience will be affected by supply chain limitations, transportation and travel restrictions, and the continued care of our campers’ health and safety. This season’s adventure trips will involve hiking, canoeing, or kayaking, as well as service learning. As we continue to evaluate the global landscape, we will finalize specific destinations and itineraries and share this information in early 2022.

How do parents communicate with their children during camp?

Children love to hear from their families while at camp! Campers are encouraged to write letters during the session, and parents are also welcome to send letters or packages to their camper, or send emails through our one-way email provider, which our office staff print and distribute every day.

If families have an urgent message, question, or concern about their child, our directors are always willing to speak with parents on the phone.

What kind of food do Miniwanca and Merrowvista serve?

Following our Food Program guiding principles, we aim to serve a variety of healthy options, including a balance of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables incorporated into a child-friendly menu.

Can my camper stay at camp between sessions if they are registered for both Session A and B?

No. Miniwanca and Merrowvista will not offer lodging or programming for campers during the transition weekend between Session A and B this year. Families will need to pick up their camper on the last day of Session A and drop them off again on Opening Day of Session B.

COVID-19 Questions


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Will the AYF require COVID-19 vaccinations for campers and staff in 2022?

Yes. The health and safety of our AYF community is our top priority. All summer 2022 staff and participants eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are required to be fully vaccinated before their session starts. Proof of vaccination will be collected before arrival at camp.

What additional COVID-19 precautions will campers and staff be expected to take while at camp?

The health and safety of our AYF community is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the circumstances around the pandemic and announce any additional precautions as we get closer to the start of the camp season.

What will you do if someone shows COVID-19 symptoms?

If staff or campers exhibit any symptoms or have knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID, they will be quarantined from others. They will not participate in any camp activities, go to the dining hall, or be present in other public places while test results are pending.

What will the AYF do if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at camp?

The person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be isolated. Per CDC guidelines, the camper needs to be picked up by family and brought back home by private transportation.

The camper or staff member’s living group will be quarantined from the rest of the camp community until COVID-19 test results are received. The living group may continue activities during that time, while they stay separate from everyone else.

Once the appropriate quarantine has passed and they received negative COVID-19 test results, they will resume normal activities with the rest of the campers and staff.