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FAQs for DPR Summer Camps

DPR Camp Lottery is a random lottery system used for DPR summer camp registration. DPR introduced lottery registration for summer camps in 2023 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 with limited access to technology or 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 households to link siblings' registrations so they are only placed if both siblings meet the chosen criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does the DPR Camp Lottery work?

A: Customers have over two weeks to make their camp selections. 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, February 12, and closes on Monday, February 26.

Customers will register for up to 4 choices of camp type and locations per child per camp session. There are four camp sessions.

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 are registered for the lottery. This random selection of camp slots is made entirely and exclusively through our Recreational Management Software System.

Customers will receive their lottery results by March 1, 2024, at which time customers will receive an “enrollment offer” via email if they have been selected. In the email, there will be a link to sign on to your DPR account and view the enrollment offers for all children in your household. Customers will then “Accept” or "Reject” the offers for camp placement(s). When a customer accepts an offer for placement, payment is due, the child is enrolled into the camp, and a receipt for that enrollment is emailed to the customer. EACH camp slot and session offered will need to be accepted. If a camp slot is "Rejected," the intended slot will be offered to those on the waitlist that were not originally offered a slot, and the camp slot is no longer available to this original customer. All enrollments and payments are due by March 6, 2024.

Those not selected for a camp slot will receive a receipt indicating either "Canceled Non-Winner" or "Waitlist" as a result of lottery process for their selected camp. The receipt STATUS will indicate Enrollment Offered, Waitlist, or Canceled Non-Winner. 

Q: Will I have a better chance of getting a slot if I submit earlier? 

A: No.  All Lottery registrations have the same chance of being chosen for enrollment. The Lottery will be open for two 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: What are the daily times for camp? 

A: All camps operate from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Before and after care is available to all camp families, and registration occurs AFTER the summer camp lottery process is complete. Before care begins at 8:00 AM. After care ends at 6:00 PM. 

Q: Will DPR offer a way to link siblings camp registrations together?

A: Yes. DPR will employ a system to facilitate siblings attending camp. In the registration process, customers can "Link" sibling registrations within each age bracket so one child will only be accepted if the other is also accepted. The lottery is broken into two age brackets, ages 3-10 and 11-13. Siblings CANNOT be linked if they are not in the same age bracket. Linking choices for siblings will be a choice for parents as a part of the Lottery Enrollment process. Parents can choose to "Link" their children's choices together, or they can choose to NOT link their children, and those children can be separately enrolled in the lottery if having siblings together in camp is not necessary.

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: 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 accept their enrollment offer and then pay for their enrollment. All accounts will be updated and ready for payment by March 1, 2024. If participants are selected for camp, payments are due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

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: Which camps are most popular? Should I avoid applying for the most sought-after camps?

A: Residents should apply for the camps they most want their children to attend, and every family has different needs. Some families will prioritize the type of camp and some place a higher preference on the location of the camp. DPR is offering flexibility by allowing families to make up to four camp choices per child per session to give families the best chance for success.

Based on historical data and the number of total camp slots, we know that our specialty camps will be popular (Specialty camps are Aqua Day, Future EGOT Performing Arts, Little STEAM Engine, Full STEAM Ahead, Kitchen Confidential Culinary).

If you are applying to a specialty camp, we would also recommend applying to a local signature camp (Little Explorers or Discovery). In addition, the following locations have historically been among DPR's most popular: Turkey Thicket, Takoma, Sherwood, Hillcrest, and Jelleff. While you should not avoid applying to these camps, DPR gives four choices so you can choose a variety of camps and locations.

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 waitlist for camps. After the initial run of the lottery is complete and customers have accepted and paid for their selections (by March 6), any available camp slots will be offered to those on the waitlists for each camp. Through this new automated process, customers will be notified via email if they are chosen from the waitlist. The email will contain a link to their DPR account, where they can sign in and "Accept" or "Reject" their waitlist offer. If the offer is accepted, the system will require payment to complete enrollment. If the offer is rejected, that camp slot will immediately be offered to the next person on the waitlist for that camp. From the time the first waitlist notification email is sent, CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO ACCEPT OR REJECT A WAITLIST OFFER. It is critical that patrons monitor their emails at this time should they be offered a camp slot. Make sure your email is updated and correct in your DPR account. After the waitlist is exhausted for any particular camp, 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. 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 May 15, 2024. 

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 February 26, 2024.

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.