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Camp faq


The girls of summer! Photo courtesy of Stu

What type of Sailing Camp is the DSC Juniors Camp?

The DSC Juniors Camp is FUN camp, often referred to as ADVENTURE CAMP! We are committed to safety, fun, and developing a lifelong love of sailing for your child. Our staff are focused on creating lifetime memories first, and we believe your child should be a kid. You may find other camps in the area that focus on racing and racing techniques; that is not our camp. We are not a "merit badge" style camp.

We do teach sailing in a professional way, but our camp is most concerned with providing your child with a lifelong love of sailing and fond memories of summer that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. For more information about our style of camp, read further and then contact us via email at info@downtownsailing.org.

When and Where is Camp?

Sessions start at 9 AM each morning. Camp sessions are 1 week per session and run for 10 weeks from the middle of June through the middle of August. Our facility is located on the grounds of the Baltimore Museum of Industry at 1425 Key Highway. Please drive slowly once you enter the parking lot! The day ends at 4 PM. Contact info, map and directions

What forms are required? 

These forms are required for each week of camp in which your child is registered before they can participate:

All documents must be submitted at the start of each camp week your child is registered (Monday morning). You may also scan and email these documents to rena@downtownsailing.orgCampers cannot sail until these forms have been completed and received by the DSC staff.

What if I need to drop my child off before 9 or pick them up after 4 PM?

The DSC has, in the past, offered an extended day program for children who need to be dropped off early or picked up late. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer this option in 2022.

What is an average day at camp like?

You can expect for your child to sail for up to 5 hours per day, weather and wind permitting. During morning check-in, campers may engage in some games with other program participants (chess, checkers, UNO, Four Square and Jenga to name a few). After check-in is complete, and all campers are with their boat groups, the day starts with a quick overview of the day followed by an on-land lesson. Each team may discuss as a group where they would like to sail, then after consulting with the Program Manager, boat teams and their instructors head to the docks to rig boats and go sailing! Campers and Coaches are on the water by 10 AM (weather permitting), and sail until around noon. Everyone returns to their shaded area for lunch, sunscreen reapplication and water refills. On hot afternoons, water sprinklers are available for campers and coaches to play in to beat the heat. Once or twice per week, we also buy frozen treats for campers either at lunch or following their afternoon sail. Following lunch, everyone heads back out onto the water! Sailing ends no later than 3:45 and no earlier than 3:30 (wind provided and campers excited), the boats come back to the dock and students help tidy up their boats for the next day’s sailing.

On rare occasion, extreme heat or lack of wind may keep us from going sailing. In these instances, we work creatively and actively to keep your child engaged and focused on fun, sailing, and STEM development. Water quality testing, buoyancy experimentation, knot tying races, sailing jeopardy, sailing charades -- we keep the activities age and energy appropriate. If thunder and lightning are present, the BMI is kind enough to offer us a safe, indoor space to watch a movie.

Novice, Beginner, and Intermediate level campers will have coaches aboard the keelboats. Advanced Keelboat campers may have coaches stepping on and off the boats as their skills develop, or continual coaching from a powerboat. Your child's safety is our number one priority. There is no sailing if there is extreme weather anywhere near the area.

Can my child attend camp if they are 7 years old?

Our policy is for all campers to be at least 8 years old. We have determined that this is the ideal age to begin attending our sailing camp for reasons of safety and the emotional and physical demand of being on a boat all day in sometimes challenging conditions. 

What about COVID-19?

Recommendations for a DSC Juniors Camp 2022 COVID-19 policy:

  • Vaccine requirement for all paid DSC staff (includes camp instructors, CITs, etc.)

  • Vaccine strongly recommended for volunteers and campers, but no proof is required

  • This year, we have the opportunity to use the BMI during inclement weather. We will require campers to wear a mask, and we can provide masks for the campers to wear if needed.

  • No refunds to parents if campers are sent home because of infectious outbreak or illness, or if camp is closed due to infection 

  • Children presenting with symptoms concerning for covid 19 infections will be sent home. They may return following a negative PCR or rapid test result

  • If a boat team of campers is sent home due to an infectious outbreak, instructor will be given the option of remaining at work to complete work tasks outside of the camp setting (maintenance, administrative, etc.) following a negative COVID test and no reported symptoms.

Our camp is entirely outdoors which has a low risk of COVID-19 transmission. By this time, our campers have had the opportunity to get vaccinated and boosted. We follow CDC guidelines; at this point we have determined that it is unnecessary to require masking for camp this year. 

Check in:

Camp check-in begins no earlier than 8:45 AM. Our check-in procedure will be conducted each morning by the Camp Manager. You will find Josh under the pavilion, with a desk set up for daily check-ins. Please be prepared to give the emergency contact for that day, and the name of the person who will pick them up at the end of the day.

Boat Teams:

Campers are placed into boat teams of 4:1 (camper:staff), and this placement remains the same for the entire week. (When registering, please list the names of the friends/siblings with whom your child wishes to be on a boat with!). This is the group they will sail with on their assigned boat for the entire week.

Lunch:
Your child must bring a lunch that can be safely stored in a cooler. We recommend packing a washable mat for them to place under their lunch, as we have discontinued the use of communal tables in order to promote physical distancing while eating. 

Port-a-John use:
Port-a-Johns are available for camper use at any time. These are kept locked at all times when not in use, so as to prevent public access. Campers use hand sanitizer before entering, and again after exiting. Port-a-Johns are locked at 5:00 pm each day and cleaned by Bobby's Pottys each week.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this protocol, please don't hesitate to email rena@downtownsailing.org.

What should my child bring? 

  • A 3-ply face covering, for use indoors
  • Neck gaiter (or "buff"), optional
  • Non-marking, protective shoes (light-soled tennis shoes are recommended – do not bring flip-flops or other sandals that do not have heel straps)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Bag/box lunch with washable placemat
  • Hat or visor (highly recommended)
  • Sunglasses (optional) with a safety strap 
  • High SPF sunscreen to self-apply
  • Jacket (in case it gets chilly or drizzly)
  • Change of clothes (in case your child wants to change after sprinkler play!)
  • Towel
  • Book to read and/or something to color/doodle/journal in
  • Backpack/bookbag to put the above items in


The DSC will provide lifejackets and plenty of cold water to fill your child's water bottle each day. Please make sure your child has a water container that is adequate for their thirst on a 2+ hour sail! Campers should bring a lunch every day except when participating in Pizza Day! Lunches will be stored in coolers daily.

Please make sure your child can self-apply their own sunscreen and self-administer any medications they may need to take at camp. Our counselors are trained to encourage positive behavior and prevent dangers such as sunburn, heat-related illness, and injuries; however, campers must self-apply their own sunscreen and self-administer their own medications. 

What should my child NOT bring?

  • Knives or sharp tools of any kind
  • Electronics (including games, iPods, iPads, Kindles, Tablets, and mobile phones)
  • Valuables that could be damaged by water or lost
  • Flip-flops or sandals that do not have heel straps
  • Water guns 

Who are the instructors for the camp, and what are their qualifications?

All of our instructors are certified by US SAILING in Level 1 Basic Keelboat or higher. Every instructor is fingerprinted and are subject to criminal background checks. They are also Red Cross certified in first aid and CPR. Feel free to meet the instructors when you drop off your child — they love to meet you and "brag" on your child!

What happens when it isn’t a good sailing day?

In case of rain or no wind, activities will take place under the large pavilion and tents on the docks. Children will participate in sailing-related games and activities and will learn useful sailor skills like knot-tying. We also offer STEM activities to further share our love of not only sailing, but also the waterways we traverse. If there's no wind, and it's not too hot, campers love participating in a "Rocking Race" on the boats!

We like to have fun and our instructors know it is easier to keep everyone engaged when everyone is actively participating. Relay races, team activities, water quality testing, board games, buoyancy experiments, card games, Four Square, songs and sing-a-longs... The DSC actively strives to provide your child with a memorable camp experience at all times!

Will my child go swimming in the Inner Harbor?

No; unlike most sailing centers, we use non-capsizable boats. Barring an accident, your child should never go into the water.

What are the rules of the camp?

  • Follow the directions of the instructors and other DSC staff
  • Avoid horseplay
  • Walk, don’t run
  • Always wear lifejackets on and near the docks and boats
  • Always wear sunscreen
  • Respect everyone — instructors, campers and members of the community
  • Stay with your instructor  

    What is the discipline policy?

    In order to ensure that everyone can learn and have fun in a safe environment, all sailors must follow the rules and policies of the juniors camp program. The DSC uses a “three-strike policy” for juniors campers:

    • Strike One – The instructor disciplines the student (time out and/or office time) and documents the situation in the camp’s logbook. The parent/guardian is notified either at the end of the day or by phone at the time of the incident, depending on the severity of the situation.
    • Strike Two– The instructor disciplines the student (time out and/or office time), documents the situation in the camp logbook and notifies the program director. The program director discusses the situation with the parent/guardian either at the end of the day or by phone at the time of the incident.
    • Strike Three– The instructor notifies the program director of the situation, the student is taken to the office, and the parent/guardian is notified immediately that the student has been dismissed from camp.
    In addition, there are certain situations for which the DSC has a “zero-tolerance rule.”  Specifically, this policy is designed to avoid any behaviors that jeopardize the safety of the participant, other campers, instructors or other members of the community. Some examples include: deliberately jumping off the boat, refusing to wear a life-jacket, refusing to apply sunscreen, bringing knives or other dangerous objects to camp, refusing to follow the directions of the instructors, and fighting. Refunds for dismissed students will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    My child is being upset by another child’s inappropriate behavior, what can I do?

    We reserve the right to expel any child for inappropriate or dangerous behavior (dangerous to themselves or others) without a refund. If you have a complaint, please speak to our Camp Manager, Josh, directly or you can call us at 443.756.9422 to discuss ways to improve the situation.

    How do I reschedule or cancel?

    If you need to reschedule, please send an email to info@downtownsailing.org and call the DSC office at 410.727.0722 as soon as possible.

    If you need to cancel, you must let us know  at least 4 weeks in advance of your camp week in order to receive a full refund or credit toward another session. Please note that, due to the nature of our payment process, we are only able to process refunds on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. We are always happy to work with you, and we appreciate you working with us.

    What if I'm not sure which week I want to register for?

    We know it's challenging to plan far in advance! We recommend that you register for the week or weeks you think you may want, and then lock in your price by paying the fee. After that, we can change it to the week you prefer with advance notice. You may also sign up for the waitlist for any week you wish without cost. However, in order to lock in the early bird discounts, you will need to make your payment upon registration. Please keep in mind that our waitlists fill up quickly, so we recommend you try to establish early the weeks that you prefer!

    What if I can't pay right away?

    We ask that you submit payment upon registration in order to hold your spot. If we haven't received payment by 4 weeks prior to your chosen camp week, we cannot guarantee your spot, and it will be offered to another camper. If you have any issues submitting payment, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate you. We will reach out to you if you haven't submitted payment before we remove your camper from the registration. If you need financial assistance, please see the next question.

    Does The DSC offer camp scholarship/financial aid?

    We do offer scholarships to children that have an interest in going to camp, but do not have the means to participate in our summer camp program. We believe that sailing is for everyone, so we welcome people with a financial need to fill out a scholarship form along with some proof of income (W2, SNAP benefit form or scholarship letter from a private school) and a $25 processing fee. This fee will be refunded to those who do not receive the scholarship.

    For more information or questions about this scholarship, feel free to email info@downtownsailing.org.

    What if my child is ready to be a counselor?

    Excellent question! We are excited to announce that we have merged our CIT/Junior Counselor program with our SIT program in order to continue to build our summer staffing with an inclusive and diverse outlook. This model provides an incredible opportunity for your former camper to build a relationship bond with their fellow trainees, increase their sailing skills, and with commitment and focus, become a prospective Juniors Camp Sailing Coach! If your child is 15 years old, and is interested in becoming a Camp Sailing Coach at 16, this is the program for them! Please follow this link for more information: Workforce Development This is a "no-cost to you" program, so we welcome any financial assistance you would like to contribute.

    Questions?

    If you have any additional questions about Juniors Sailing camp, please email info@downtownsailing.org, or call the office at 410-727-0722.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Downtown Sailing Center at the Baltimore Museum of Industry
    1425 Key Highway, Suite 110, Baltimore, MD 21230
    (410) 727-0722 • info@downtownsailing.org