Frequently Asked Questions

What ages and/or grade levels are accepted?
Who attends Science Camps of America summer camps?
How long is each session?
How many places are there for each session?
How much do camps cost?
Are there scholarships available?
Is there a discount for attending more than one session?
Are there discounts for families sending more than one camper?
All of the places are filled. Is there a waitlist?

What are campers doing during the day?
What do campers do in the evenings?
Will campers have free time?
Do campers have a choice of activities?
What is your cell phone policy?
What should campers bring?
What should campers NOT bring?
What is the camp dress code?
What is the camp phone number?

How do parents know their campers will be safe?
Is it safe to hike on or near lava?
How is the camp secured at night?
What is vog and what do I need to know about it?
Can parents call campers during camp?
Will there be a daily report of camp activities that parents can see online?
Where do campers sleep?
What is the ratio of staff to campers?
Do you allow care packages?
What do I need to know about the camp store?
How many suitcases are allowed?
Is there an ATM available if my camper needs cash?

Are travel costs to and from camp included in the registration fee? What are arrival/departure times and procedures?
How far is the camp from the Hilo airport? Kona? Honolulu?
I was on the waitlist but have now made other plans. What is the procedure?
When are payments for camp due?
How do I make payments for camp?

What ages and/or grade levels are accepted?

Camp is co-educational, for teens aged 13-17 and entering grades 8-12.

Who attends Science Camps of America summer camps?

Campers are similar to those in a typical classroom. While grades may range from straight A to struggling, most are somewhere in the between. Every camper has the potential to benefit from the knowledge, skills, and experiences that Science Camp has to offer.

How long is each session?

Each session spans ten days (nine nights). Campers participating in both sessions will be at camp for nineteen days (eighteen nights).

How many places are there for each session?

Each session has space for at least 36 campers.

How much do camps cost?

Each session is priced at US$2,395 and includes transportation to and from designated airport, overnight accommodations, meals, programs, and field trip costs including entry fees, transportation, and meals.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. See the Scholarships page on our website for details and to apply. Both partial and full scholarships may be available.

Is there a discount for attending more than one session?

Yes, campers registering for both sessions are eligible for a discount of $100 per session.

Are there discounts for families sending more than one camper?

Yes, families sending more than one camper are eligible for a discount of $100 per camper per session.

All of the places are filled. Is there a waitlist?

Yes, to be placed on the waitlist, you must complete the registration. If you are placed on the waitlist, and a space does not open up, all deposits paid will be refunded less an administrative fee of $150.

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What are campers doing during the day?

On most days, we will get into our vans after breakfast and clean-up to drive somewhere for a field trip. Destinations include Volcanoes National Park, museums, observatories, alternate energy facilities, nature preserves and more. Field trips will typically take up most of the day with a stop to eat our box lunches.

During these field trips we will at times conduct field labs and exercises, hear lectures from staff, docents, and scientists, visit unique places, encounter new plants and animals, collect samples, and make and discuss our observations.

We will usually return to base in the mid-afternoon. Prior to dinner, there is a combination of planned activities and free time, opportunities for recreation, work on science projects, and art and photography activities.

What do campers do in the evenings?

After dinner and clean-up, there is usually a short presentation about that day’s field trip and/or the field trip for the next day, followed by the evening program. Evening programs tend to have a strong element of Hawaiiana about them - we might learn to play the ukulele, dance a hula, or go outside under the stars and hear stories of Polynesian voyaging.

Will campers have free time?

Campers have a limited amount of free time each morning and evening, and some afternoons.

Do campers have a choice of activities?

Most of the time, campers share the same scheduled activity, as one of the main features of Science Camp is that we will get into the vans and go on field trips almost every day. This is usually done as a single group, although there are some field trips for which we are required to bring smaller groups at a time. Our curriculum for each session includes the Science in Art program which encourages campers to express the science they are learning about in some art form: drawing, painting, photography, music, dance, etc. Campers may choose which of these activities they wish to participate in during times that are set aside in the schedule for them.

What is your cell phone policy?

Our goal is to create a safe, focused and engaging environment with a minimum of distractions. For this reason, all devices such as laptops, music players, TVs, iPads, etc, should be left at home. We expect most campers will travel with their cell phone, so cell phones are collected from campers upon arrival at camp and returned at the end of camp.

What should campers bring?

Essential: daypack, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, underclothes, pajamas, lightweight jacket, sweatshirt, hiking shoes, sneakers, flip flops (“slippers” as we say in Hawaii) or sandals, toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), bug repellent, sunscreen (see below), gloves, towel, bathing suit/trunks, sunglasses, hat, rain gear, spiral bound notebook, pen, medications (supervised by staff), flashlight, laundry bag, and two water bottles.

Optional: water shoes, inexpensive camera, snorkel and mask, stationary and stamps.

Click here for the complete packing list.

All clothing and items should be labelled with the camper’s name.

We recommend a quality sunscreen of 50 SPF or higher as well as face and lip protection, such as the products available from Hawaiian Blend and Bullfrog Sunscreen. Hawaii has few harmful pests but there are mosquitos so be sure to bring a good quality bug repellent. Each cottage has laundry facilities that are free of charge for campers to use (detergent is provided as well). We recommend packing enough clothing so that campers have to do laundry a maximum of only once during each ten-day session.

What should campers NOT bring?

Campers may NOT bring any of these items to camp: computers, laptops, tablets, pagers, radios, TVs, gaming systems, CD/MP3 players, any electronic devices, gum, knives, cigarettes/tobacco, e-cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, fireworks, or firearms. Camp staff reserves the right to confiscate any inappropriate items; if possible, they will be returned to the camper’s parents upon departure.

What is the camp dress code?

All clothing is to be neat, clean, and acceptable in appearance and must be within the bounds of decency as appropriate for SCA events. Articles of clothing which display profanity, products, or slogans which promote tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex or are in any other way distracting, are not allowed. For safety reasons, excessive accessories such as hanging chains and hanging suspenders are not allowed.

Clothing which advertises gang symbols or affiliation or is too baggy or too tight is prohibited. Items of clothing which expose bare midriffs, bare chests, undergarments, or that are transparent (see-through) are prohibited. Tank tops with straps wider then one inch are permitted. Please be advised that spaghetti straps, shirts which expose a bare back, halter tops, and tube tops are prohibited.

Swimming (For all water recreation): Swim suits for men: swim trunks only (No shorts, cut-off pants, or Speedos). Swimsuits for women: One-piece suits recommended, however, two-piece suits are allowed as long as they are modestly cut. No string, thong or crochet suits will be allowed. Swimsuits may only be worn while in the swimming area. For further assistance on selecting clothes for summer camp, we recommend visiting this web site: How to Dress at Summer Camp.

What is your phone number?

808.235.3612

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How do parents know their campers will be safe?

At SCA, camper safety is a top priority and is approached using these guiding principles:

1. Preparation. Prior to camp, possible problem scenarios are considered and procedures developed to prevent or mitigate any effects. These procedures are incorporated in a printed safety manual that is available at camp and on out-of-camp trips.

2. Staff Training. Staff are trained in camp-specific safety matters such as fire safety, evacuation, injury or illness, first aid and communication and documentation procedures.

3. Camper Training. We believe the safest camper is the camper that is aware of the hazards, so camper orientation includes review of the camp’s fire safety and evacuation procedures, who to talk to or what to do in the event of any physical, mental or emotional issues, implementation of the buddy system, and what to do in the event of various emergent situations.

How is the camp secured at night?

Each cottage has adults assigned to sleep in the cottage as well as the campers. Periodic checks are made after lights out to ensure that all campers are in their assigned cottages and that the cottages are properly secured.

Is it safe to hike on or near lava?

Most of the lava flows we will hike on will be inactive, that is, there is no remaining heat and no danger, other than perhaps getting scratched from falling on the lava. If we hike on more recent flows, we will only do so if it is safe to do so and accompanied by a guide. It takes less than 30 minutes for lava to cool enough so that it is solid enough to walk on safely. When hiking on or near these lava flows, campers may be required to wear appropriate safety attire such as long pants, boots, and gloves.

What is vog and what do I need to know about it?

Vog is air pollution caused by volcanic gases released into the atmosphere. Usually, winds are such that the vog will not affect the area of the Big Island where camp is located. It may be noticed, though, if winds blow vog toward camp or if we are visiting an area that is affected. Some people may be more sensitive to vog than most. Campers with asthma or a history of respiratory ailments may be affected, so parents and campers should discuss the health risks and mitigation steps with their physician.

Can parents call campers during camp?

Campers are not allowed to receive calls during camp, except in the case of an emergency. In the event of an emergency, please call the camp phone number which is monitored 24 hours a day. Campers may receive faxes, e-mails, or regular mail. Send e-mails to: camper@sciencecampsamerica.com. Send mail to:
[Camper Name]
Science Camps of America
PO Box 940
Pahala, HI 96777

Will there be a daily report of camp activities that parents can see online?

Pictures and descriptions of some of the days’ activities will be posted online on the camp blog or website so parents can see what campers are doing.

Where do campers sleep?

Campers sleep in one of up to five ‘cottages’ that range in size from 3 to 7 bedrooms. Each cottage will also sleep at least two adults - the campers’ counselor and one of the administrative or programming staff. Campers will be grouped by age and gender for assignment to a particular counselor and cottage. Each cottage features individual beds for each camper, a common gathering area, laundry facilities, and kitchen (although only the kitchen in the large Plantation Cottage will be in use for each day’s meals).

What is the ratio of staff to campers?

The ratio of staff to campers is expected to be 1 to 6 - six staff for 36 campers.

Do you allow care packages?

Care packages may be sent but may not contain food or drinks of any kind or any prohibited item.

What do I need to know about the camp store?

Spending Accounts are setup up for each camper and purchases are deducted from those accounts. Spending accounts must be funded prior to camp by sending a check made payable to Science Camps of America, Inc. Be sure to write your camper’s name and 'Spending Account' on the check.

A limited quantity and variety of snacks and drinks are kept at camp for purchase by campers during the time that the camp store is open (times are designated by the Camp Director). Purchases are deducted from each camper’s Spending Account. For items that are necessary but not stocked (personal hygiene items, for example), there is a store nearby where these purchases may be made with the permission of a staff member using funds from the camper’s Spending Account.

It is up to the camper and parents to make the decision about how much to put into the spending money account. The maximum allowed is $250 per session. We suggest $75 to $100 per session.

Requested refund checks for unused funds in a camper's spending account will be mailed to parents after the end of the session - usually within 4 weeks.

How many suitcases are allowed?

You may bring one large suitcase, one carry-on size suitcase, and a backpack. This limit helps us ensure that we can fit campers and their luggage on the shuttle buses.

Is there an ATM available if my camper needs cash?

No. Campers should bring very little, if any, cash to camp.

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Are travel costs to and from camp included in the registration fee? What are arrival/departure times and procedures?

Although your child’s airfare is not included in the tuition price, SCA does provide courtesy shuttle service on arrival and departure days to and from the Hilo airport between 11am and 4pm. Campers traveling alone will be met at baggage claim by our SCA staff who will be wearing SCA T-shirts and carrying identification. Camp officially starts at 4pm on arrival day and ends at 9am on departure day.

How far is the camp from the Hilo airport? Kona? Honolulu?

The camp is about one hour and twenty minutes from the Hilo airport and two hours and twenty minutes from the Kona airport. Because of this, shuttles to the Kona airport are less frequent. The Hilo airport is about 200 miles away from Honolulu. Flights from Honolulu to Hilo take about 50 minutes.

I was on the waitlist but have now made other plans. What is the procedure?

You must notify us in writing by mail, fax or e-mail. If the camper has not yet been assigned a place in camp when we receive such notification then all deposits paid will be refunded less an administrative fee of $150.

When are payments for camp due?

The deposit of $375 is due upon registration. The balance must be paid by April 15th.

How do I make payments for camp?

By mail:
Please make checks payable to Science Camps of America, Inc.
Mail to: Science Camps of America, PO Box 5031, Kaneohe HI 96744

On line:
Refer to Registration page

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