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FAQs for DPR Summer Camps

DPR Camp Lottery is a random lottery system used for DPR summer camp registration. DPR is introducing a lottery this year to create a more fair and equitable system to allocate the limited number of camp slots. 

Prior to 2023, DPR used a first-come, first-served online registration that struggled to meet the growing demand for summer camp. With caregivers all having to be online at once, the online registration system was overwhelmed, and camp slots would sell out within minutes. 

Understandably, many families found the registration process frustrating and unfair to those that have limited access to technology or for those who could not be online the moment registration opened. 

The new DPR Camp Lottery is designed to:

  • Create a more equitable and fair process.
  • Simplify and streamline the process for families to select camps.
  • Provide adequate time for families and caregivers to consider and rank all the camp options and locations.
  • Allow for a sibling preferences system to be employed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does the DPR Camp Lottery work?

A: Customers have over three weeks to make their camp preferences. After the lottery registration window has closed, the registration system will randomly select participants from those who have registered.

The DPR summer camp lottery opens on Monday, March 13 and closes on Wednesday, April 5. 

Customers will register for camp type and up to 3 locations per child.

Registration for the Lottery DOES NOT ensure your camp slot.  

After the lottery closes, DPR rosters for each camp will be randomly selected from those who have registered.  This random selection of camp slots is done entirely and exclusively through our Recreational Management Software System. For Discovery and Little Explorers camps, residents can enroll in up to three camp locations per two-week session. 

Customers will receive their lottery results on April 18, 2023. Once rosters are filled, customers will receive an email and a receipt of their enrollment. Customers will need to log into their DPR account to view which camps they were selected for and pay for their camp sessions.  All payments are due on April 25, 2023.

Those not selected for a camp slot will also receive a receipt of either a cancellation of their lottery enrollment or a waitlist enrollment for their selected camp. The receipt STATUS will indicate Enrollment, Waitlist, or Cancellation.

Q: Do I have a better chance of being enrolled if I register on the first day of the Lottery?

A: No.  All Lottery registrations have the same chance of being chosen for enrollment. The Lottery will be open for over three weeks.  This will ensure ultimate equity and fairness in our process. You do NOT need to rush and sign up as soon as it opens, but we recommend you do NOT wait until the last minute to account for any questions or errors. 

Q: Will DPR offer sibling preference?

A: Yes. For the first time, DPR will employ a system to facilitate siblings attending the same camp at the same location. Preferences will automatically be granted for siblings (not friends or other family relations) who are registered into the same camp (type and location). Unfortunately, the system will not allow us to consider siblings who are registered for different camps at the same location. 

This is an automated feature. If two children are in the same DPR Family Account and pre-registered into the same camp and location, they will be considered siblings and linked together for enrollment.

Siblings MUST be in the same DPR Account and must have at least one same parent (or documentation for foster or adoption).  Documentation will be collected from families after selection if more than one sibling is enrolled in the same camp or camp location.  DPR Accounts are accounts for your entire family, so please ensure that all children are in one household account.  This is how DPR will know to enroll these siblings in the same camp.

Q: Why is DPR not offering some of the Specialty camps like Culinary and STEAM camps?

A: DPR will dramatically increase the number of summer camp slots in 2023. In order to serve the most campers possible, DPR has shifted some physical space from specialty camps to the core camp offerings of Little Explorers and Discovery camps. As a result of this shift, elements of the former specialty camps like dance, culinary, and STEAM will be incorporated into the curriculum for Little Explorers and Discovery camps.

Q: Do I pay for my camp option when I register for the lottery or when camps have been selected?  

A: There is no cost to enroll in the lottery. If chosen in the selection process, participants will be notified via email to visit their DPR Account to pay for their enrollment. All accounts will be updated and ready for payment by April 18, 2023. If participants are selected for camp, payments are due by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

Q: How are the participants selected for each camp?

A: The selection process is entirely random and automated within DPR’s Recreational Management Software System. As each customer enrolls in the lottery, they are assigned a random number by the registration system. After lottery enrollment has closed, DPR will then initiate the automated process of randomly selecting from the numbers assigned at enrollment.

Q: How can I be sure this will be a random selection?

A: This is a fully digital, automated process. The process will be initiated by DPR staff but will run within our Recreational Management Software System. DPR will have representatives from our software company as well as from the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to ensure a smooth operation and random selection.

At the time of registration into the lottery, DPR’s software application uses a proprietary algorithm to generate a random number and assigns this number to the enrollment. Once established during the initial registration, this number is not exposed in the application and, therefore, cannot be manipulated. 

Q: Does DPR maintain a waitlist for camps?

A: Yes, DPR will maintain a small waitlist for camps.  If a camp space becomes available, DPR will make three attempts to notify the parent of the next child on the waitlist via email and text. DPR must receive a response and full payment within two business days of the first contact attempt to claim that space. After the waitlist is exhausted, those available slots will immediately become available online for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Q: Which camps have Before and After care?

A: All Little Explorers and Discovery camps offer before and after care. Sports camp, boost camp, and other camps do NOT have before and after care. Children MUST be enrolled in camp to attend before and after care. Before care begins at 8:00 a.m. and aftercare ends at 6:00 p.m. Before and after care requires an additional fee AND an additional registration through the DPR registration system. Before and after care registration occurs AFTER the lottery process has been completed. 

Q: If a camp session shows in the system as full, can I still enroll?

A: No, once a camp session is full, we cannot over-enroll. Please continue to check our website to see if space becomes available if families withdraw.

Q: Can I pay for each summer camp session separately?

A: Yes, each camp session is two weeks long.  You can enroll in any individual session if there is space available. 

Q: Can I only register and pay for one week in a session?

A: No, you must pay for a full two-week session regardless of how many days or weeks you plan to have your child(ren) attend. For example, if you register for a two-week Little Explorers session but your child(ren) can only attend one week, you must pay the full fee to register. We do not prorate our fees.

Q: What is DPR’s refund policy for summer camp?

A: Refund requests are processed within 21 business days after we receive the Refund Request Form from individuals requesting a refund. Credit/debit card refunds are usually credited back to the card issued within 14 business days after we process your request form. There is a 10% non-refundable processing fee for all camp registrations. 

Q: When is the last day to cancel a session?

A: To receive a refund (minus the 10% processing fee) a Refund Request Form must be submitted by June 1, 2023. 

Q: Does DPR offer reduced rates based on income?

A: Yes, information on reduced rates and a link to the form can be found here. In order to have enough time for DPR to process all the applications and to be eligible to receive a reduced rate for summer camp, you must submit the reduced rates application by April 1, 2023.

Q: I have not filed taxes for this year yet. Can I still apply for reduced rate?

A: Yes, you can submit your tax forms from the previous year.

Q: My child(ren) will reside with grandparent(s)/relatives in DC during the summer. Would I qualify for a reduced rate?

A: No, the child must be a permanent DC resident to qualify for a reduced rate. Children who live outside of DC will be charged the non-resident rate and do not qualify to receive a reduced rate. If any slots are still available, non-residents can register for summer camp at a TBD date in the future. 

Q: I want to apply for the reduced rate, but I am not employed. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, you can apply if you can provide proof of income/assistance. We will accept the following government assistance as your income: TANF Statement, Unemployment Statement, Social Security Benefit Statement, Disability Benefit Statement, Child Support Statement.

Q: I share joint custody of my child(ren). Do both parents have to reside in DC to qualify for the reduced rate?

A: You can qualify for a reduced rate if the child(ren) and one parent are DC residents. Please provide documentation to prove residency and income, as mentioned above.