Frequently Asked Questions

Summer 2024 Information

The American Youth Foundation is so excited to welcome more participants to Miniwanca and Merrowvista in summer 2024!  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 Programs

Merrowvista Programs


2024 Registration Process

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What is the registration process for 2024?

Summer 2024 registration will return to a first come, first served model (pending medical review), and waitlists will be created when programs fill.

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. 

Will 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 to make camp more affordable.

What is the payment schedule for 2024?

A $300 fee is due upon registration. Families must pay 50% of tuition by Feb. 1, 2024, and the remaining balance is due by April 1, 2024.

If registering after April 1, 2024, full tuition is due at the time of registration.


What is the AYF’s cancellation policy for 2024?

A $300 fee is due upon registration. If cancellation is necessary prior to April 1, 2024, any tuition paid above the registration fee will be refunded (minus at $35 processing fee). After April 1, there is no tuition refund.

If a 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, for example, if a camper exits program due to homesickness or not being prepared for the physical and mental demands of a trip, 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 2024.

There are also alternative program offerings to consider, including different session lengths, dates, and options.

2024 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 camper 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. Learn more about Health & Wellness at camp.

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 campers with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities. We value each person’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?

The AYF can offer transportation to and from airports, as well as bus transportation to and from and from St. Louis for Miniwanca and NLC participants for an additional fee. Please indicate your interest via your enrollment form.

How do families communicate with their campers?

Campers love to hear from their families while at camp! They are encouraged to write letters during the session, and families 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 campers, our directors are always willing to speak with parents on the phone.

What kind of food do Miniwanca and Merrowvista serve?

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?

Miniwanca will offer programming during the transition weekend between Session A and B this year. The cost for the weekend program is $500 per camper.

Merrowvista will not offer lodging or programming for campers during the transition weekend. 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.