ISLAND FORD 2023

Overnight camp activities, day camp style!

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2023 Island Ford camps registration is now open for members!

February 1st registration opens at 6:00 a.m. for DNC Members only. 
Camp registration opens to the general public 2/15. Want to secure your camp spot? Become a member today!

Important information for 2023 Camp Registration

  • We have a new camp registration platform called Sawyer that will make your registration process easier. Save time on registration day by creating a new account here. 
  • You must be a current Nature Center Member to register on February 1.
  • Members will receive a discount code via email before registration opens, so it is very important that your membership is current BEFORE February 1.
  • You WILL NOT be able to purchase a membership at the same time as registering for camp on our new platform. BECOME A MEMBER NOW TO SECURE YOUR SPOT AND SAVE!
  • Membership will be verified after registration. If your membership is not current. your registration will be cancelled. You will have to register again after purchasing membership or when camps open to the General Public on February 15.

Island Ford INFORMATION

Island Ford Summer Camp 2023 Fast Facts

For: Ages 9-13

Price (per camper per week): Members $330, Non-Members $365

From: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Drop off / Pick up: Hewlitt Lodge Visitor Center, 8800 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Island Ford Park is the headquarters of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. It is located 3.3 miles away from the Dunwoody Nature Center at 8800 Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs. We have partnered with Island Ford for over 12 years in offering camps to children ages 9-13. 

2023 Dates & Themes

JUNE 5 – 9 | Junior Ranger

Campers will get a taste of what Park Rangers do as they become Junior Rangers! Using their Junior Ranger booklet, campers will learn to safely navigate in wilderness and explore the watersheds of the area in a canoe while discussing essential conservation methods. They’ll learn about native plants and animals that inhabit the National Park and the importance of the Chattahoochee River to the local Native Americans. At the end of the week, the campers will receive Junior Camper badges in a presentation led by the rangers of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area.  

JUNE 12 – 16 | Explore the Hooch I

You can only register for one of the Explore the Hooch camps. 

Campers will have a wonderful time learning about the habitat around the Chattahoochee River while hiking, canoeing, and rafting in different sections of the river. Depending on weather and river conditions, we plan either a float trip, canoe trip, or visiting another park along the Chattahoochee during three of the five days of camp, with Island Ford as our base camp. An itinerary of our explorations will be provided a week before the camp begins. 

JUNE 19 – 23 | Explore the Hooch II

You can only register for one of the Explore the Hooch camps. 

It’s so fun, we’re doing it twice! Campers will have a wonderful time learning about the habitat around the Chattahoochee River while hiking, canoeing, and rafting in different sections of the river. Depending on weather and river conditions, we plan either a float trip, canoe trip, or visiting another park along the Chattahoochee during three of the five days of camp, with Island Ford as our base camp. An itinerary of our explorations will be provided a week before the camp begins.

JUNE 26 – 30 | Skulls, Skins, and Scat

Skulls, skins, and scat… oh my! Island Ford Park is home to a variety of wildlife that leave their mark in interesting ways all over the park. Campers will spend the week exploring the trails and creek looking for tracks and scat from deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and who know what else! They’ll investigate where these park residents live, what they eat, and how they move. Campers will also get an up-close look at skulls and skins from various Georgia wildlife species while learning about how these animals have adapted to survive in this habitat. Your camper will discover wildlife like never before, they might even make their own “scat” or cast of an animal footprint!

JULY 10 – 14 | Up the Creek

The Island Ford facility is a perfect place for our campers to learn all about water. From the Chattahoochee River to the streams and pond, we will explore, study, and discover what lurks within these unique aquatic ecosystems. While of course having fun and getting wet in the process! We will use scientific techniques, hands on discovery, and our own curiosity to learn about the health of our water ecosystems as well as the plant and animal life that each supports.   

JULY 17 – 21 | Wilderness Adventure

Our campers will explore Island Ford to learn about the environment and develop their outdoor living skills. From navigating the wilderness to gathering food and building shelters, they will experience and develop basic techniques for safely enjoying the outdoors. Practicing Leave No Trace principles, our campers will play, learn, and thoroughly enjoy seeing the wilderness from a new perspective. 

JULY 24 – 28 | Hunters & Gatherers

Join us as we take a step back in time and learn what life was like before fast food, computers, and cars. Campers will learn what it was like to live off of the land. Through games, experiments, crafts, and exploration, they will discover how early humans survived using the natural resources the Earth provided. Campers will learn how to build a shelter to protect them from the elements and how to build a fire without any matches. From food to tools to shelter, nature has it all… if only we know where to look! 

Registration FAQ

You must add a membership on our website, it will NOT be availble on the camp registration system.

We will check memberships as we process registrations. There is no member number. If you are not a member and attempt to register during the members only time frame, your registration will be cancelled. 

Our cancellation policy is after your registration is processed, we offer an 80% refund if the start of camp is two weeks or more away from your cancel date; if it is within two weeks of the camp start date, there is no refund.

You may transfer to another camp week with no penalty if we have space available in the week you would like.

Your email address is your user name and then you will need to reset your password on the Sawyer login. 

You will receive an email from the camp director one week prior to your camp starting. You may also find the information below, in the general camp FAQ. 

If a spot opens in a camp you are waitlisted for, we will call you to see if you still want the spot. If you approve, we will process the registration and charge your card on file. 

No, we do not offer before and after care at Island Ford. The day runs from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

You will need to drop the child off at Island Ford first and then bring the DNC child afterwards. When you pick up, you will need to get the DNC child first and then pick up the Island Ford child. 

Camp Day FAQ

Our campers spend the camp day participating in specific camp-themed nature activities, both inside and outside. Activities range from canoeing and hiking, to recording observations in a journal and making paracord bracelets. Activities vary greatly from camp to camp, making for a new experience each week.

Weather and water conditions permitting, all camps spend time on/in the Chattahoochee River!

Our time in the river is very dependent on weather conditions and water quality.  The Park Service makes the final call on our permission to access the river. Park Rangers will  test the water, watch the weather, and let us know if we can swim and float on the river. Our schedule might need to change due to weather and water conditions. We will make other plans in the park if we are unable to swim and float on any given day.

Any time we are in the river, life jackets will be required; these will be provided by the park service.  

Campers should dress for the weather, wearing comfortable summertime clothes and closed-toe shoes. Campers will need to bring a bathing suit, a snack, a lunch, and a refillable water bottle every day. Please apply sunscreen and bug spray prior to drop off. Please send sunscreen and bug spray if you’d like your child to reapply during the day. We highly recommend each camper packs a change of clothing.  

Our summer camp teachers are either trained naturalists or formal school teachers. All of our summer camp teachers are First Aid and CPR-certified.  We have two teachers to sixteen campers at Island Ford, and a Junior Counselor (teenaged assistant) may accompany the group.

We find that if your child is in a regular classroom at school without an aide, then they usually do great at our camps. Our teachers are wonderful, but most are not trained in special education. If your child requires a special education classroom or teacher, then camps at the Island Ford might not be a good fit.

Due to space and staffing restrictions, we do not offer any extended care options for campers at Island Ford.

Please monitor your child’s health from home. Please do not send your child to camp if any persons in the home are sick.

If your child is sick at camp, we will separate them from the group and give you a call or the emergency contact you provide. You will need to come and pick up the child as soon as possible. No refunds will be given due to illness. 

We are no longer requiring masks for campers or staff while inside or outside. If you wish for your child to wear a mask, please be sure to send them to camp with one.

Your receipts will be available on your Sawyer account page. 

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

Registration is online only; we accept Debit and Credit (MasterCard, Visa, and Discover).

If you cancel more than two weeks prior to your camp start date, 80% of your registration fee will be refunded to the card you registered with. Inside of two weeks (and during the camp), no refunds will be issued for any reason.

Alternately, your registration fee can be transferred to another camp week during Summer 2023 that has open spots remaining. Your registration fee cannot be transferred to any other school break camp sessions in 2023 or to Summer Camp 2024. You may also choose to donate your camp fee to the Nature Center for a tax-deductible donation.

All registration changes (including cancelations) must be requested in writing via email to camp@dunwoodynature.org. No phone calls, please.

We are no longer requiring masks for campers or staff while inside or outside. If you wish for your child to wear a mask, please be sure to send them to camp with one.

If a camper, Junior Counselor, or staff member is found to be positive for COVID-19, we will inform all members of that camp group of potential exposure. Campers, JCs, and staff that were exposed may attend camp as usual as long as they do not exhibit any COVID symptoms. 

Campers, JCs, and staff that tested positive may return once they have a negative COVID-19 test; five (5) days have passed if they are asymptomatic; or have been fever and fever medication-free for seventy-two (72) hours, or other symptoms have improved and at least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

We will adjust policies when necessary to follow CDC guidelines for quarantining and other COVID procedures.

The Dunwoody Nature Center’s goal is for every camper to have the opportunity to have fun and discover their strengths. In order to do this, every child must feel safe at camp. Please review the Behavior Policy with your child before arriving at camp, as this is what helps us ensure everybody’s safety and the quality of our programs. Download the Behavior Policy here.

Presented by

national park service logo

Island Ford camps are brought to you in partnership with the National Park Service.