Summer Camp

Welcome to Monkey Business Summer Camp 2024!

*A camp for kids to get swept up in the joy of playing, on their own, and with other kids, and with well structured times with specific games, crafts and food projects led by creative, dynamic staff. We create the space, you send your kids, and magic truly happens.
*unplugged all day, in nature
* 25 years of experience
*locally started and run, woman and LGBTQ+, family owned
*Gold winner in Parent’s Press Best of Camps-Arts, General and Traditional, and Leadership Categories

“The safety protocols and excellent communication made me feel completely at ease sending my child to Monkey Business camp. Not knowing any of the other kids, I was a little nervous sending him. But when I picked up on the first day he was the happiest I’ve seen him in weeks!”

DATES & CURRENT SPACE AVAILABILITY FOR CAMPERS – for youth leaders, go to bottom of the page

We offer two main three-week sessions, one two-week, and a few extra 2 day to one weekers to add on, or for a taste of camp. Kids joining for multiple sessions will have a regular routine to settle into, but will see a variety of activities too. Groups remain overall consistent over the length of each session, so kids have a consistent community over a longer period to support kids in building friendships, bonding with staff and teen mentors, and connecting with nature of Tilden.

Upcoming:

  • June 24-28- one space for ages 5-6 group has just opened
  • July 1-3: 3 day camp (Mon-Wed)-Full (Waitlist Available)
  • July 8-26: three week session-Full (Waitlist Available)
  • July 29-Aug 9: two week session-6 spaces for ages 7-10; 1 for ages 5-6
    • July 29-Aug 2: one week session-Full (Waitlist Available)
    • Aug 5-9: one week session-Full (Waitlist Available)
  • Aug 12-16: one week session-4 spaces for ages 8-10; 8 for ages 5-7
    • Aug 12, 13 (M&T two day option)- 1 space for ages 5-early 8; 2 for ages 8-10
    • School start dates: Berkeley & Albany Unified return on Wed, Aug 14th; West Contra Costa Mon, Aug 19th. Oakland Mon, Aug 5th.

Completed or in session:

  • June 5-7: 3 day camp (Wed-Fri)- Full
  • June 10-28: 3 week camp-Full

Other details:

  • Spaces available, until listed as full.  We will post a “low-space alert” when 20 spaces or less available; a “very low space alert” when 10, then more details closer to camps.
  • Waiting Pool-If spaces are taken, please join the waiting pool and we will be in touch asap if anyone cancels.
  • Need less than a full session-e-mail our office about 3 weeks before camp starts, if you see availability and we will consider it. Some camps do fill early.
  • Youth Leader availability-Reminder to go to bottom of page
  • For other ways to connect with our camp, check out our School Break Camps.

“This is an amazing camp that teaches kids how to play and find joy. …outdoors the whole day, group games, staying active, exploring nature, fun art.”

HOURS
Campers: 8:30-4:30 (youth leader details below) 

  • Camper Drop-off window: 8:30-9:00
  • Camper Pick-up window: 4:10- 4:30
  • Additional alternate drop-off or pick-up times: 10:15, 1:30, or 3:30. Use on regular basis or just one or a few times.

Youth Leaders: 8:25-4:35 (with half hour break mid-day away from campers)

  • drop-off on time each day (youth leaders greet campers).
  • different than campers, they are required to attend the entire day, due to their responsibilities.  At times, they will be ready to go at 4:30pm, but not before that time.
  • If you have one child who is a youth leader and one who is a camper, they can both do 8:30-4:30 schedule.

“We have experimented with various camps, and both our kids just love Monkey Business. You have a fantastic equation of outdoor fun, activities, free time and hikes, and they are just so happy with you all. We plan to be back in future summers.”

LOCATION
Tilden Park, where we have been hosting our summer camps since 1998, in the picnic areas near Lone Oak Road. This is a wondrous 2,000 acre county park, a local treasure, filled with incredible natural wonders. Groups will have time at picnic tables to play games and do art, and time in the open and wooded spaces for games and nature exploration.  We bring in equipment and special guests to enrich camp time.  Parent/caregiver will be sent location text link the days before camp begins, to those whose cell phone #s added to family account.  We do not post location here.

“Quite simply, the camp was fantastic. Not only did it allow me to work without interruption, my child got the chance to be out of the house and meet new people. They came home happy every day.”

AGES & GROUP SIZE
Ages: Campers, Ages 5.75-10, with Youth Leaders, Ages 11+: for exception to minimum age, fill out this survey for those as young as 5.25, or 5 years 3 months.

Group Size: Our goal is to have 4 groups, with 25 in each, including campers, youth leaders and staff.

More Info: When we have 4 groups total, two groups will be based at one picnic area (younger kids overall, between 5-early 8) and two at another (older overall, more in ages 7-10 range, with some 6 year olds).  The groups sometimes have special events with one other or all the groups for an hour together.

Notes about Staff: Camper Ratio and Grouping:

  • With an approximately 1:9 camper: staff ratio, kids need to overall follow directions and be kind to other campers.  We have about 10 transitions in our day, some with more free-play options, and others with needing to be focus on a particular activity: group times, snack and lunch, reading time, journal time, and hikes.
  • We will assign kids to groups two weeks before camp, based on preferences about age groups, friends and siblings, etc shared during enrollment.

“We are so grateful for the experience that Monkey Business Camp provided this summer. Our son had a wonderful time in Tilden: making new friends, playing so many games, and exploring the wilderness. He came home each day happy and full of exciting stories to share. The connections and experiences he had at camp brought out the best in him.”

ACTIVITIES
Join us for our 26th summer in Tilden, with art, field games and ball play, storytelling, nature exploration, treasure hunts, carnival games, singing, end of session performances, and organic food projects!  Community building is an important part of our philosophy.

Will activities vary over the sessions? Yes, there is some consistency, but also variety and we love having campers for more than one session, and often have kids join us for at least 6 weeks a summer.  That said, if decide to come less time, please do!

“Our child has made lifelong memories at Monkey Business. There is a great mix of activities suited for kids that are introverted and extroverted. We have been coming for years and plan for many more!

SPECIAL NEEDS & BEHAVIORAL POLICY
Please visit this page to read more about our program and how it might or might not fit for your child with special needs and our behavioral policy. We aim to be able to serve lots of different children, but at times, if your child may need more attention to help them participate, and to do so safely, in activities, or to shift from one transition to the next, it can become unsustainable unless your child comes with an aide to support.

“At MBC in particular, while on the staff team, I have been able to create deep, meaningful, and personal connections with the kiddos that span multiple sessions/years– which is super special and something that I hope to continue to develop this time around.”

FEES (No Fee Payment Plans & Financial Aid 20-75% Available)
Our basic day is 8 hours. To support inclusivity, we offer 3 fee tiers. All levels support camp and payment at higher levels gives extra support for diverse programming, our incredible staff, and our scholarship fund which gave out $60,000 over the past year. If you are registering siblings, the lower cost option is possible. We do not track tier choices, please feel good about the choice you make. You choose one of the below at time of registration:

Additional Details:

  • Older CITs (ages 13+) can request discounted rate on their interest surveys to get mid tier JC rate
  • Payment Plan-pay over a period of months for no extra fee
  • Scholarship Application: Apply for 20-75% discount off of lowest fee tier.
  • Discount-E-check: Pay with E-check, instead of credit card, and you are able to receive a 1% discount with the code eCheck, as we pay less and pass the savings to you.

“As a staff member, thank you for continuing to offer benefits and a big bonus this year! I’m very appreciative and wanted you to know that your work to offer a living wage around here is important.” 

LOGISTICS 

  • Campers bring their own lunch and an additional 2 snacks (morning, afternoon), water bottle and sunscreen if they use.
  • Nuts and nut butters-for most groups these are okay to pack with meals, but we wait to announce, based on who is enrolled and if parents have specified if their kids can be around other kids eating nuts and nut butters.  Occasionally, we have groups with no nuts or nut butters.

“We are so happy we sent our child to Monkey Business! This was a great outdoors nature camp for kids – and very convenient to our home – and it absolutely fulfilled everything I want as a parent. Great communication from staff, good clean outdoor fun, and the hours and pricing are extremely reasonable. If you are anywhere near Tilden and are looking for a camp for your kids, I highly recommend Monkey Business!”

STAFF

Our staff from diverse backgrounds are nurturing, creative and enthusiastic. They bring our curriculum to life and foster friendship among campers. All children, returning and new campers alike, are actively welcomed. We often have multi-lingual staff!

Usually about 75% of our staff were former campers and youth leaders, there is a strong call to give back to the community where they were a part. Click here to see bios and photos of staff working at upcoming camps.

“I really noticed the friendliness, high energy and creativeness of the staff.” 

 

YOUTH LEADERS: Ages 11-17

Are you or your child looking for chance to help out younger kids at camp to create a fun, caring and creative space? Many youth have shared that this is a great opportunity to work on a team and learn more about being in this field. It is important for youth to want to do this, not only their parents.  See this page for more of an overview of the youth leadership program.

1st step to join: please fill out or co-fill out with your child one of the surveys below to share more about why interested in joining

New Youth Leader Interest Survey-please note, for 2 or 3 days weeks, open only for “new youth leaders” if combined with another session or former camper in Tilden

Return Youth Leader Interest Survey

Summer Youth Leader Pre-Camp In Person May Orientation and Appreciation-Optional, Recommended

  • Location, Date, Time: Tilden Park Meadows Site, Wednesday, May 22nd, 5:15-8:00 (arrival from 5-5:15, pick up 8:05)
  • Youth Leaders will tie dye, eat Cheeseboard pizza dinner (can order vegan or gluten free option) and dessert, pick up their gear, and learn about helping out this summer!
  • Highly recommended not to miss, especially if completely new to camp, but if you absolutely cannot make it,  you will orient in other ways, reading the handbook and filling out a questionnaire, and then once on site at camp at the first morning meeting and weekly team meetings.

Program Cost and Financial Aid: See FEE area above.

CURRENT YOUTH LEADER SPACE AVAILABILITY

  • July 1-3 (3 days) – FULL
  • July 8-26 (3 weeks) – 3 of 12 spaces open
  • July 29- August 9 (2 weeks) – FULL
  • August 12-16 (1 week) – FULL
  • Aug 12, 13 (two days)-for this super short camp, we hope to fill with former MBC youth leaders OR if new, those who will also attend another longer session– 1 of 4 spaces open

I have seen a lot of emotional and social development in my child this past session as a CIT. Thank you for having a program to bring about that growth and increased self-confidence. There is only so much one can do as a parent!”