Summer Animal Camp F.A.Q.

1. Where is the Humane Education entrance?

The Humane Education entrance is located at 243 Alabama Street. The SF SPCA is located in the Mission District near the Potrero Shopping Center. The major cross-streets are Harrison & Bryant. This entrance is where both drop-off and pick-up of campers will take place.

2. What are the camp hours and camp fee?

Summer Animal Camp runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday and the standard camp fee is $400 per week. Extended Care is available from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM for $75 per week.

3. What is the camper check-in process?

Parents/guardians are required to escort children into camp on Monday morning only. Please plan to arrive at 9:00 AM if you are not registered for Extended Care or 8:30 AM if you are registered for Extended Care.

If you are NOT already registered for Extended Care but wish to register on Monday morning, please bring your form of payment (cash or check only) on Monday for us to process during check-in. We are not able to accommodate campers in the Extended Care program that are not registered for Extended Care.

We aim to provide each child with an enjoyable camp experience and look forward to meeting you on the first morning to discuss how we can best support your child. We will also review topics, including who is authorized to pick your child up from camp and medication authorization and administration, if applicable.

4. What is the process for picking up campers at the end of the day?

Camper pick-up takes place at the 243 Alabama Street entrance. Parents, guardians, and/or approved custodians must sign each camper out at 4:00 PM. If you are registered for Extended Care, campers must be signed out no later than 5:30 PM. Please note: No campers may be picked up between 3:30-4:00, as this time is reserved for check-out preparation and it is imperative that all attending are accounted for. If you anticipate needing to pick your camper(s) up early on any given day please communicate that to staff ahead of time and plan on picking your camper(s) up before we prepare for check-out at 3:30.

Anyone who has not been authorized to pick up a camper will not be allowed to check that camper out until we have cleared that person with the campers parent/guardian/approved custodian.

If an unavoidable delay arises and you arrive late, press #55 on the callbox to alert us you have arrived, or you may call our camp cell phone at 415-760-2573. Please note that a penalty late fee may be assessed if you are late. Please ensure that your child has all of his or her belongings before leaving.

5. What items should campers bring to Summer Animal Camp each day?

  • A large, labeled bottle of water
  • A hearty, nutritious lunch and morning snack (afternoon snack is provided)
  • Layers of clothing for indoor and outdoor activities, or foggy/cold weather
  • Closed-toed shoes for walking and working with animals
  • Sunscreen and/or a hat
  • Any medications (labeled, and with a signed letter regarding how and when to dispense medication)
  • Optional – Camera

6. What items should NOT be brought to Summer Animal Camp?

  • Cell phones
  • Electronic toys, mp3 players, or video game devices
  • Heely's (shoes with wheels on the sole)
  • Open-toed or slip-on shoes
  • Personal pets
  • Umbrellas
  • Knives or other weapons

7. What is Extended Care?

Extended Care is supervised playtime designed to accommodate working parents or guardians who need additional time to pick their child up from camp. Extended Care is available between 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM for a weekly flat fee of $75 per child.

Extended Care takes place in one of the Humane Education classrooms, where campers may watch movies, play games, or draw and color. If your child is participating in Extended Care, please alert us that you have arrived by dialing #55 on the callbox at the 243 Alabama Street entrance.

For efficiency and convenience, you may register for Extended Care when you register for Summer Animal Camp online. Alternatively, you may bring form of payment (cash or check only) for Extended Care on Monday morning when you drop off your child at camp. We are not able to accommodate campers in the Extended Care program that are not registered for Extended Care.

8. Do you offer financial aid and scholarships?

Yes, financial aid and scholarships are available for qualified applicants. Please note that each child is eligible to receive financial aid for one (1) session of camp per summer. The deadline for Summer Animal Camp financial aid requests is May 1. Please click here for more information.

9. What is the cancellation and refund policy for Summer Animal Camp?

To assist everyone in finalizing camp plans, please notify us as soon as possible if your child will not be able to attend camp this year. This will give the SF SPCA time to notify families on the wait list of the opening.

  • All cancellations must be in writing (email or fax).
  • For cancellations received prior to May 1, we will provide a 100% refund of the total tuition (or adjusted financial aid tuition).
  • Enrollment cancellations made on or after May 1 will not be guaranteed a refund. A partial refund of 50% will be given only if we are able to fill the space after the cancellation.
  • We require one month's notice in writing if you would like to switch your registration to a future program date.

10. My child has food allergies. What types of snacks and candy are provided at Summer Animal Camp?

Many of our campers have a variety of food allergies, some of which may be life-threatening. We take food allergies very seriously and strive to serve healthy snacks that are free of the most common allergens. Snacks include baby carrots, oranges, apple slices, bananas, and raisins (processed and packed in a nut-free facility). We also provide 100% fruit juice at each afternoon snack time, and water is available throughout the day.

Candy may be offered to campers as prizes for games. Because of our focus on healthful eating, candy is given very sparingly and may only be eaten after camp hours. For campers with food allergies, we provide candy that is free of the top common allergens (wheat gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish). NOTE: this candy contains trace amounts of soy oil. Campers without allergies are offered a small assortment of other candies. Allergen-free candy is stored in a separate, sealed container.

11. What's the difference between RED and BLUE weeks?

This summer we are excited to offer two types curriculum for each age group to accommodate campers who will be joining us for multiple weeks. Your camper will be meeting the same animals no matter which camp week they are registered for, but RED and BLUE weeks differ in the types of games, activities, crafts, and lessons that are included. Please reference the colors attached to each camp session – if you'd like your child to attend more than one week of camp, consider signing them up for both a RED and BLUE week!

11. What is included in the Summer Animal Camp curriculum?

The camp curriculum emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking, and the exchange of ideas with fellow campers. Campers are encouraged to find solutions to many of the challenges animals face in our society today. All Animal Camp sessions include age-appropriate animal care and behavior learning activities, team projects, games, physical activities, crafts, and hands-on interactions with animals such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, farm animals, chinchillas, birds, reptiles, and rabbits. The collaborative activities offered at Animal Camp are designed to encourage respect for all living things.

Age-appropriate games and activities have been created to tailor the curriculum for each grade level. This will help the parents of multi-age children better plan their camp schedules. Summer Animal Camps are now designed as follows:

Grades 1-2: Kind Kids

This exciting camp is designed to teach young children about pets and being responsible pet guardians. Campers will learn about proper pet care, animal needs, dog bite prevention, and kindness for all living things. Most importantly, Kind Kids Camp also includes an abundance of animal interactions with a variety of animals. The interactive, activity-based learning process helps campers make connections between animals and their own life experiences.

Grades 3-4: Pet Pals

This camp celebrates our relationship with animals, with a focus on how we can make animals feel safe and comfortable. Students have ample hands-on learning opportunities and will work with a variety of animals. This camp also features lots of age-appropriate games, physical activities, and fun projects. Pet Pals Camp encourages respect and empathy for all living things through fun activities and plenty of animal interactions.

Grades 5-6: Furry Friends

This camp involves extended hands-on opportunities and collaborative activities designed to promote the next generation of animal friends. Each day there will be games and activities that relate to the care and responsibility of having a pet, including veterinary services and training. Campers will learn behavior and training tips, animal care, and proper handling techniques utilizing a variety of animals.

Grades 7-8: Animal Advocates

This camp is intended for young animal advocates who wish to build on their training skills and increase their knowledge of animal welfare. Through interactive, hands-on lessons, campers will have the opportunity to explore animal-related careers, learn about animal welfare issues, and spend time with an array of animals. As an added highlight, campers will work with staff members from our animal hospital and spay/neuter clinic to learn about providing medical care for animals, including the optional activity of observing an animal surgery.

12. How much time is spent directly with animals each day?

We strive to provide an enriching learning experience and ensure the safety and comfort of all animals and participants in our care. As such, we must limit the time spent with the animals to approximately 2 hours per day. We have a limited number of animals with which our campers may interact, and the animals need time to relax and recuperate from the excitement of our hands-on sessions. Camper interactions with animals may include feeding, grooming, walking, and cuddling.

The majority of the animals who are included in Animal Camp have been loaned to us by their guardians or they are being fostered by the Humane Education department for the summer. Because it is ideal for puppies and kittens to be placed in homes as soon as they are healthy enough to leave the shelter, we cannot make an absolute guarantee that they will be included in your childs camp session. We understand how important it is for our campers to socialize with puppies and kittens and we make every effort to include them in camp.

A note about animal safety: Campers will interact only with animals that have been approved for safety and disposition by SF SPCA animal welfare professionals. Campers will not interact directly with adoptable adult dogs in the shelter due to safety and liability restrictions. Instead, campers will interact with dogs belonging to staff and volunteers, many of which are Animal Assisted Therapy certified dogs.

13. What is the camp discipline policy?

To help maintain the safety and wellness of campers, staff, volunteers, animals, and the general public, the following discipline policy has been established.

Disciplinary action may be taken if a camper displays undesirable behavior that interferes with or disrupts the camp program. Examples of this behavior include inappropriate language, making fun of or insulting others, bullying, using profanity, harming or frightening the animals, physically harming others, not following directions, or unwelcome actions that make other campers feel uncomfortable.

Consequences to undesirable behavior are as follows:

  • First offense: Verbal warning from staff
  • Second offense: 10-minute time out; follow-up call to parent/guardian
  • Third offense: Discipline report filed; meeting with parent/guardian
  • Fourth offense: Removal from camp; no refund will be given in this occurrence

In the event of extreme infractions, the SF SPCA reserves the right to remove a camper from the program immediately without prior warnings.

Every effort is made to accommodate campers with special needs, including campers with behavioral challenges. Parents/guardians of children who need special attention or have behavioral challenges must notify us of the issue in the "additional notes" section of the online registration form. Camp staff is trained to manage many common health and behavioral disorders; however, campers with severe behavioral disorders that may continuously interfere with or disrupt the camp program must have an aide present.

14. What should I do if the camp session I'm interested in is full?

If your preferred camp session is full, you may add your child to our wait list. Please complete our Wait List Request Form below for the grade your child will be entering in the Fall.

When a spot becomes available in camp, we will send an email with a link to register for that session to the first five (5) people on that wait list. The first person to register will get the spot. You will have the opportunity to stay at the top of that wait list by responding to the email to let us know you are still interested. We will NOT be contacting you by phone to alert you that a spot has become available, so please keep an eye on your email!

Kind Kids (incoming grades 1-2) Wait List Request

Pet Pals (incoming grades 3-4) Wait List Request

Furry Friends (incoming grades 5-6) Wait List Request

Animal Advocates (incoming grades 7-8) Wait List Request

15. Who should I contact if I have questions?

  • Phone: 415-554-3065
  • Fax: 415-946-0129
  • Cell: 415-760-2573 (for immediate needs during the camp day only)
  • Email: humaneeducation@sfspca.org