Talking to Kids About Mistakes and Failure

Mistakes and failure are never fun, and they can be especially painful for a child. It’s important to remember that every mistake is an opportunity to learn, but shaping children’s perception of failure can be an unusually challenging quandary. As some social scientists have pointed out, “It is possible that adults’ attempts to comfort children may hinder the learning process by influencing the extent to which children attend to and make sense of their mistakes.”

In other words, instead of immediately trying to help a child feel better about their mistake, it is instead more beneficial to congratulate them on taking that risk in the first place. Encourage them to pay more attention to their past mistakes, rather than excusing them for making it. To read more:, click here.

Top Ten Signs It’s Fall

What are your kids doing before and after school? It’s not too late to sign up for Camp Fire—some sites still have space, but don’t wait or you’ll miss all the fun!


10 Reasons to Choose Camp Fire Before & After School

Planning Ahead: How After-School Programs Save Billions

Two weeks into the new school year, Camp Fire Alaska has embraced the fall weather to do some reading ourselves – did you know that nationally, after-school programs are projected to help save $20 billion over the course of a generation’s lifetime? Teaching good mental and physical health habits can go a long way! Read here.

Welcome Back!

It’s been smooth sailing for Camp Fire programs this fall! We’ve kicked off the new year with tons of games, learning activities, and new friendships. Some sites still have space, so if your family is considering Camp Fire – register now! Even if your program has already filled, we encourage you to reserve a space on the wait list. This comes with no financial commitment and enrollment often shifts as participating families adjust their schedules. To register, click here

Benefits of Before & After School Program

Camp Fire Alaska’s Before and After School programs have been serving youth and families for close to forty years.  These programs are designed to help youth grow and find their spark while also providing support for working parents.  Our professional staff recognize that each child is a unique person with individual learning styles, interests and developmental needs. If you have a couple of minutes, we encourage you to read this article to learn more about how your child can benefit, and get tips on how to choose an after-school program. 

Before and After School Program: Frequently Asked Questions



Morning Program: Begins at 7am and ends at 8:50am (or 10 minutes before the first bell). Program includes breakfast, quiet activities, free play, and gym activities.

Afternoon Program: Begins right after school and ends at 6pm (6:30 in Eagle River). Program includes a snack, small and large group activities, free play, quiet time, gym activities, and outside time. Here’s a typical afternoon program schedule–

School dismissal: Sign-in / Choice / Outside or Gym Time

4:00—4:30: Snack / Circle Time
4:30—5:15: Group Activity or Interest Centers & Clean up
5:15—6:00: Free Play or Quiet Time until parent pick up
*Eagle River programs close at 6:30 p.m.

Breakfast/Snacks: Every day we offer breakfast at all before-school programs and a nutritious snack each afternoon at all after-school programs. Breakfast and snacks provided meet the USDA food program requirements.

Outdoor Time: We go outside every day, weather permitting (we follow ASD weather policies).

Field Trips: Children have the opportunity to participate in field trips periodically throughout the year.

Clean-up: Camp Fire helps children gain respect for their environment by expecting them to participate in clean-up activities.



What is SAP?
Camp Fire Alaska’s School-Age Program (SAP) is Alaska’s largest licensed youth development provider. Licensing is provided through the Municipality of Anchorage, Department of Health and Human Services Child Care office. Camp Fire is a not-for-profit youth development organization offering out-of-school opportunities for elementary school-age children to grow, develop new skills, and help youth find the best in themselves and others.

Can I drop off my child early or pick them up late?
Morning programs begin at 7am and afternoon programs end at 6pm (6:30pm in Eagle River/Homestead). We do not offer care outside of these times.

What if I can’t pick up my child on time?
If you are going to be late picking your child up (after 6pm in Anchorage or after 6:30 in Eagle River), please call your site and let the site director know when you expect to be there. Please be aware that a late charge of $10 per child /per quarter hour applies if the child is not picked up by designated closing time.

What happens when my child is absent?
The registering parent/adult must notify staff of their child’s absence by calling the program before or during program hours. Please leave a voicemail message if we don’t answer the phone. Here is a list of all our on-site phone numbers.

What if my child has tutoring or an extra-curricular activity after school?
Please speak with your Site Director and complete an Authorization to Participate in Extra Curricular Activities form that can be obtained and completed on site. On the day of the activity, please remind your child they should come to Camp Fire and check in before heading to their activity. Children ages 5-6 must be escorted between the school’s extra-curricular activity and Camp Fire, as per licensing requirements.

What if school is closed because of weather?
Local radio and television stations will announce if Camp Fire programs are open, sometimes referring to our program as an “Essential Service” rather than by name. A text message will be sent to families who have opted to receive this announcement. If you would like to opt in to text message notifications after registration, please log into your account and update your text notification status.

Families may also view closures:; Camp Fire’s Facebook page; ASD Channel 14; after 7am, families may contact the Camp Fire office at 279-3551. Note: Depending on the severity of the weather, for the safety of our staff and participants, the program may not open at all.

How do I change or cancel my registration?
If you wish to change or cancel your child’s enrollment, you must inform us in writing by the 15th of the month prior to when the change will take effect. Please fax a signed letter explaining your request to: 278-9829 or email us at There are no credits or refunds for non-attendance on any contracted days,

What if I can’t afford Camp Fire?
Scholarships are available. Call us or click here for more information.

What if my child has special needs?
We are generally able to accommodate most children, but reserve the right to make determinations on a case-by-case basis. Please give us a call to discuss your child’s needs.

Can I call or text my child?
Camp Fire does not allow any electronic devices during program time. Please have your child leave these items at home or in a backpack.

Can I visit my child or the program site?
We welcome and encourage parent visits to the program at any time, and we encourage families to talk with staff regarding their child’s participation. If there are any questions or concerns, please talk to the Site Director or contact the Program Manager at the Camp Fire office at 279-3551. Camp Fire does not allow unregistered friends of participants in the program and all visitors are required to check in.



What about the staff?
Camp staff are carefully screened to ensure that they 1) love and respect the needs of children and know how to have fun 2) have first aid, CPR, and other appropriate certifications and 3) are prepared for the unique demands of a childcare setting. Our staff are often college students who are studying education, psychology, sociology, recreation or other youth development related fields.

What training do staff have?
Trained staff members supervise programs under the direction of the Site Director. Camp Fire staff receive a minimum of 24 hours of training each year; in addition, they maintain Community CPR and Standard First-Aid Certification.

How many staff members do you have at programs?
As per licensing standards, a minimum ratio of one staff member to ten children (1:10) is maintained at all times. Volunteers and/or Program Aides may work with children occasionally, but are not included in ratio. In addition to maintaining a 1:10 ratio, your child is assigned to a program staff person—or primary caregiver—who will check in with each child on a daily basis. If you have questions about activities or experiences, please feel free to check in with the primary caregiver and Site Director.



What happens if there is an emergency situation?
In the event of an emergency, Camp Fire staff will follow our emergency procedures and will keep your child safe until you can pick them up. Camp Fire will attempt to contact parents by phone and/or text message if the situation warrants it, but parents should also check Facebook, our website, and email accounts for communication about the situation and instructions on where and when to pick their child up. If you do not hear from Camp Fire, the event has not disrupted our ability to provide a fun and safe learning environment, and you can plan to pick your child up as usual.

What happens if my child is injured?
Camp Fire staff will inform the registering parent/adult of any injuries that occur during program hours. Staff will contact the registering parent/adult in the event of a non-serious injury that requires medical care. Staff will appropriately care for the child until an adult can pick them up. If any injury requires medical attention, parents are to send all requests for reimbursement and bills to the Administration Manager at the Camp Fire office: 257-8824  or

Camp Fire Alaska carries Limited Accident Insurance, which covers all participants in the School Age Programs with a limit of $8,000 per incident. Treatment must begin within 30 days of the incident and the insurance covers claims received within 52 weeks from the date of the incident. Camp Fire Alaska also carries General Liability Insurance with a $1,000,000 limit and an umbrella policy with an additional $3,000,000 limit; for a total coverage of $4,000,000.

When should I keep my child home/When will my child be sent home due to illness?
Camp Fire staff will notify the registering parent/adult immediately if their child becomes ill. An adult must pick up the child as soon as possible. Staff will call the Emergency Contact(s) if they cannot reach the registering parent/adult. Symptoms to keep/send your child home:
• Severe pain or discomfort particularly in joints, ears, or abdomen
• Two or more episodes of acute vomiting or diarrhea within 24 hours
• Severe cough or sore throat
• Oral or axillary temperature of 101.5 degrees F or more
• Yellow skin or eyes
• Red eyes with discharge
• Infected, untreated skin patches or lesions
• Difficult or rapid breathing
• Severe itching of body or scalp
• Skin rashes lasting more than one day
• Swollen joints
• Visibly enlarged lymph nodes
• Stiff neck
• Blood or pus from ear, skin, urine or stool
• Unusual behavior for the child characterized by no playing, confusion, inconsolable crying
• Loss of appetite characterized by refusing all solids


Have a question not listed here? Please refer to our parent handbook (link to SAP handbook)
or call the main office at 279-3551, between 8am– 5pm, Monday through Friday.




Register Now for the 2017-2018 School Year

July is all about summer camp fun and being outside (and we’re having a blast at our summer camps!), but it’s also time to prepare for the coming school year. Registration is open for Camp Fire’s Before and After School programs at all 29 school locations. Many sites are close to being full, so register now to secure your spot.

Click here to learn more or register online. 

Don’t hesitate to call our main office at 907-279-3551 with any questions you have.

Enjoy your summer!



Help Send a Kid to Camp

Each summer, Camp Fire Alaska provides support for families who cannot afford to send their children to summer camp. We want to make sure that no child is turned away due to lack of funds, and we can only do that with help from the community.

We have kids ready to pack their bags for camp, but we need your help.

Please consider making a donation to Camp Fire’s 2017 Campership Fund, so we can tell them to grab their gear and come to camp!   A gift of $380 will send a child to Camp K on Kenai Lake for a week. A $285 donation will provide a week of day camp at Camp Si-La-Meo.  

Your gift of any amount — $25, $50 or $100 is important, needed, and deeply appreciated!

Click here to make an online donation.

Camp is a powerful experience for all kids, but the impact on youth who have fewer opportunities is even more powerful. Thank you so much for your generous support. 

Meet Our Summer Leadership Staff


For 2017, we have an experienced team of leaders heading up Camp K on Kenai Lake, Camp Si-La-Meo, and our Rural Alaska Program. Together, they bring more than 30 years of experience to this summer. We invite you to meet them below and encourage you to contact them to learn more about their program or ask any questions you may have.

I am especially looking forward to introducing some great new
Leave No Trace activities at
Camp K. I am a self-proclaimed
Lorax - "I speak for the trees!"
Katie Adrian - Camp Director, Camp K on Kenai Lake
I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY (Go Bills!) and spent many summers at camp in my childhood. I have 9 summers of experience working at both overnight and day camps, and I first started working with Camp Fire in 2010 at Camp K. The camp stole my heart, and I spent the next three summers there. In 2013, I became the Camp Director at Camp Si-La-Meo, and this year I'm excited about returning to Camp K! I am certified as an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor, a National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Instructor, and an Alaska Master Naturalist. Since 2014, I have volunteered with the American Camp Association as a Standards Associate Visitor, and it has been invaluable to learn about other camp programs and bring all of that knowledge back to Camp Fire. My favorite part of working at Camp K is helping campers build a community of peers with guidance from adults who truly care about them. I believe that camp provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn about yourself and build up the confidence to take on whatever challenges come your way. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!
I am beyond enthusiastic to
create a place this summer where your children will have the opportunity to grow...
Will Day - Camp Director, Camp Si-La-Meo
Hello! This year will be my third summer with Camp Fire Alaska and my seventh year working at summer camps. I studied anthropology at Hawaii Pacific University and later obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University. At APU, I concentrated on expedition, group management and leadership. I am a certified Wilderness First Responder and a Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor. My relationship with summer camping began as a child, when I attended a small over-night camp in Colorado. Memories of that experience prompted me to become a Camp Counselor with the YMCA's Camp Shady Brook. It was then that I first witnessed (and felt) the powerful impact that camp can have on children and young adults; I watched kids and staff grow more positively in two weeks then I'd seen anyone develop in a year of schooling. I am beyond enthusiastic to create a place this summer where your children will have the opportunity to grow in that way, learning life-long skills that will help them to become self-sufficient, positive, contributing adults. I look forward to getting to know you and your campers this summer!
I look forward to 96 weeks of camp
coming to rural communities
throughout Alaska this summer!
Melanie Hill - Rural Alaska Program Manager
My name is Melanie Hill (known as "Raven Squirrel" at camp), and I am the Manager of Rural and School Age Programs here at Camp Fire Alaska. My love of the outdoors began as a child growing up on a small farm in Northeast Ohio. I graduated with my B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University where my studies focused on environmental conservation and indigenous peoples. My early experiences provided opportunities to work with youth and communities in Vietnam, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, but after university, I discovered camp and the unique environment which fosters opportunities for growth and change. I have spent the last 12 years working professionally in the camping industry, overseeing outdoor education, conferences and retreat, and summer camp programs. The past six years have been with Camp Fire Alaska, helping grow and develop both Camp K and Rural Programs. While I will greatly miss working with the youth, staff, and partner agencies at Camp K, this year I am looking forward to the opportunity to focus on the growing rural program.