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.

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 (minus a $35 processing fee) 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 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, 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?

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

Before arriving at Miniwanca or Merrowvista, all summer 2022 staff and participants are required to be fully vaccinated and against COVID-19 and have received their COVID-19 booster, if eligible. This will ensure all campers/staff are up to date with their COVID-19 immunization.

• Fully vaccinated means a person is at least 2 weeks past their primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine (one injection of Johnson & Johnson or 2 injections of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

• All campers and staff 12 years or older who are eligible to receive their COVID-19 booster dose must do so before arrival at camp. Individuals are eligible for the booster dose 5 months after completion of the initial series (Pfizer, Moderna) and 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

• All campers and staff must upload proof of vaccination and booster, if eligible, before arrival at camp.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

Will campers and staff be required to test for COVID-19 prior to camp?

All summer 2022 campers and staff are required to participate in pre-program COVID-19 testing. Each camper and staff member must upload a photo of a negative COVID-19 test administered 48 to 72 hours prior to arrival at Miniwanca or Merrowvista. At-home rapid antigen tests or PCR tests are accepted. The camper or staff member’s name and date of test must be written in ink on the test result and must be clearly visible in the photo.

Free rapid antigen tests are available through the U.S. Government and can be ordered online. If you have difficulty procuring tests for the required pre-arrival testing, please notify us in advance and we will work with you to locate a test.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

My camper had COVID-19 recently. Will they still be required to test?

If a camper or staff is diagnosed with COVID-19 within 90 days of the start of camp, they must submit proof of a positive COVID-19 test. At-home rapid antigen tests or PCR tests are accepted. The camper or staff member’s name and date of test must be written in ink on the test result and must be clearly visible in the photo.

At this time, campers or staff who have submitted a proof of a positive COVID-19 test before camp do not need to submit a negative test result before camp or be tested on Opening/Arrival Day. You will be notified if this changes.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

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

We are committed to partnering with our families to ensure their children arrive at camp healthy. As guidelines from the CDC and State Departments of Health continue to evolve, the AYF staff will continue to collaborate with the American Camp Association and outside experts to prepare for a safe 2022 camp season.

In addition to being fully vaccinated, pre-camp COVID-19 requirements will include a negative COVID-19 test taken 48 to 72 hours prior to arrival at camp, and indoor masking with those outside a camper/staff’s living unit.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

Will camp programs run as planned?

We hope to run our programs as planned. However, our goal is the overall health and safety of the AYF’s program participants, families, and staff. We will adapt our programs based on current health guidelines surrounding the ongoing pandemic, and it may be necessary to alter our program and trip offerings. We will continue to update this page as our guidelines, policies, and procedures are finalized.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

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

If staff or campers exhibit symptoms, they will receive an antigen test and will be isolated from others pending test result. 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. Follow-up testing may be performed if symptoms persist, and another cause is not identified.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

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

If someone tests positive for COVID-19 during program, they will be required to go home and may not be eligible to return to camp. While awaiting pickup, the positive individual will be isolated from other campers and will be supervised by staff.

 

For 10 days after the camper or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, their living unit (village and/or cabinmates and leaders) will not quarantine or isolate from others. They will adhere to current CDC guidance and:

• Mask indoors when they are unable to distance and when they are with others outside their living unit.

• May be rapid tested for COVID-19 on Day 5.

• Be monitored for symptoms and be tested for COVID-19 if they become symptomatic.

If anyone else in the living unit tests positive during this 10-day period, the day of exposure returns to 0 and the living unit will follow the above guidance for another 10 days.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

Will families be informed if someone at camp contracts COVID-19 during the summer?

Yes, we will immediately contact families if someone in their camper’s living unit tests positive for COVID-19.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

How will the AYF monitor camper health?

Campers and staff will be regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Our on-site medical staff will follow specific protocols if any camper or staff member has an elevated temperature or exhibits COVID-related symptoms.

You can review all our 2022 COVID-19 Policies & Procedures online.

How will the AYF handle non-COVID illnesses?

Health care staff will handle illness and injury at camp as they always have, while taking added precautions against COVID-19. We will implement modified procedures at the health center, but likely it will look and feel much as it always has.

What if a camper needs medical care outside of camp?

We will aim to minimize trips to outside clinics, when possible, by using telehealth appointments. For medical needs requiring a local urgent care or emergency room, a brief assessment or treatment, such as an X-ray or sutures, we will follow appropriate COVID-19 safety protocol while off-campus and upon return to camp.

Extended off-site medical visits may result in a camper or staff member having to leave the community.