2014 Summer Camps
2017 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Looking for answers? You’ve come to the right place! On this page, we provide answers to questions regarding:

A. Registration, Rates & Fees 

B. Session Dates, Hours, & Contact Information

C. Camp Programming

D. Logistics & Practical Information

E. Policies & Cancelations

F. Corp Status, Internships, Volunteering


1. What are your rates? 
There is a $15 registration non-refundable fee per child for summer camps, and camps are $100 at regular rates each slot. For example, if you signed your child up for three camps, the cost would be $15 + $100 + $100 + $100 = $315 total. Early bird rates and other specials may apply depending on if you register before a certain date. For example, if you signed your child up for three camps before April 17th, 2017, the cost would be $15 + $90 + $90 + $90 = $285 total. If you signed your child up for two camps and afterdamp, before April 17th, the cost would be $15 + $90 + $90 + $70 = $265 for a full week of camps 9:00 am – 5:30 pm.  After April 17th, regular rates apply. The regular rate for each camp is $15 + $100. The regular rate for aftercamp for one week is $75.

2. How long is each camp? 
Each camp runs five consecutive weekdays, Monday through Friday, and is 3 hours long per day. Children between the ages of 6-12 may take up to two camps per day, plus aftercamp. Teens and Tweens (between the ages of 12 and 17) may take camp during session 5, which runs two camps (9:00 am – 12 pm & 12:30 – 3:30 pm. There is no aftercamp during session 5.

3. How do I know my child is registered? 
Upon registration via the Internet you should get an automated email confirming your online registration and containing a link to make a payment. Once you have made your payment, your child’s registration is complete. If you are paying by mail, we will still ask that you register your child on our website and we will confirm your child’s registration via email, once payment is received.

4. Once my child’s registration is complete, including payment, when (and what) should I expect to hear from the IFCI next?
 If necessary, we will send out an email informing you of any updates, important announcements, or concerns; however, do not expect to hear from us until one week prior to camp start date, when we will send you an orientation letter outlining any special things you need to know about the camps for that session.

5. Do I need to turn in a hard copy of the registration and medical release forms?
 Yes, PLEASE bring a completed hard copy of the registration and medical forms with you on the first day of camp. We must have these forms in order for your child to attend the camp! They can be downloaded from the website . Please be sure to sign and date these forms with all the information filled in, including the medical release, liability release, video/photography release, and field trip release portions.

6. What happens if I don’t bring completed registration and medical forms with me on the first day of camp?
 We need completed, signed, and dated copies of these forms in order for your child to participate, so if you do not have them with you on the first day of camp, PLEASE be prepared to fill them out at the IFCI upon you and your child’s arrival on his or her first day of camp. We can provide copies on site.

7. Can I use the same registration form if I have more than one child enrolled in summer camp? 
Each child needs to have his or her own registration and release forms. Children attending multiple camps may the use the same form for all sessions, but parents of campers from last year need to fill out the new 2017 IFCI Summer Camp Registration form.

8. Are you only taking registrations through the Internet this year?
 We prefer to conduct as many registrations online through our website as possible, but we can also register through mail or in person, if you so desire. If you wish to register in person, please contact one of the staff and we will be happy to help you.

Office: 412-924-0634; Mailing address: IFCI, Summer Camps 2016, 5006 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, Pa 15224. Or email Sheila Ali, IFCI Director sheiladali@irmafreeman.org

9. If I am planning on applying for a financial aid scholarship for my child (or children), should I still go ahead and register online? 
Yes, if you are applying for a scholarship, please register online. After we have a chance to review your scholarship application form, we will inform you as to whether or not we can grant the full scholarship award. We request that you do not apply for more than 2 camp scholarships and 1 after camp (equal to one full week of camp) per child, as there are 2 camps per day: one for each time slot). If your child is awarded a scholarship, we will also inform you of the scholarship amount and provide email approval from the IF Center Director, Ms. Ali. At that time we will ask you to pay your co-pay to hold your child’s spot, and will provide any special instructions.

10. I noticed a camp on the brochure that is not listed online, or vice versa. Which is correct?

Most if not all of the information in our periodic electronic newsletters and printed brochures should be accurate, but it’s possible that changes could be made to the schedule after they go out, so you should look online for the most up to date information. (Remember, however, that you will be informed directly if we need to change or cancel a camp that your child is already registered for. See information on camp cancellations.)


1. What are the dates of your 2017 Summer Camps?
 We have 5 Sessions this year:

Session 1: June 19 – 23, 2017
Session 2:  June 26 – 30, 2017
Session 3: July 10 – 14, 2017
Session 4:  July 17 – 21, 2017
Session 5:  July 24 – 28, 2017

2. What hours are your camps for 4-5 year olds?

Please note no longer have camps for 4 -5 year olds. All our camps are now for children 6 – 12 years old sessions 1 – 4. Teens and Tweens 12 – 17 will have camp session 5.

3. What hours are your camps for 6-12 year olds?

There are two camps available per session for children ages 6 to 12 during sessions 1 -4, plus Aftercamp.

They begin at 9 AM, 12:30 PM, and are each 3 hours long. Please see the daily schedule below for more details:

8:45-9:00 AM Morning Sign-In
9:00 am -12:00 AM CAMP 1
12:00 – 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30-3:30 PM CAMP 2
3:30-5:30 PM AFTERCAMP

4. How early can I bring my child to camp?
 You may bring your child up to 15 minutes prior to camp start time.

5. What if I’m late picking up my child?

Except Fridays (when we may invite parents and families to special events), we expect you to pick up your child at the end of the camp(s) in which they are enrolled. If you have enrolled your child in Aftercamp, that ends at 5:30 pm each day. At that time, your child will be ready and waiting for you at the front gallery or near the back door entrance, depending on your designated pick up. We understand that something unforeseen may happen that makes it impossible for you to pick up your child on time on a given day. If you are going to be late you should call us immediately at 412-924-0634. If you are more than 15 minutes late picking up your child more than once, there will be a $10 fee for each subsequent time you are late (after the first), which will be due by the following morning. This fee may double every fifteen minutes, depending on the situation. Please be courteous and pick up your children on time, as we all have places to go and families that need us to be on time.

6. Can my child stay for lunch/break time following camps that end at 12:00 PM even if they are not enrolled in the next camp (starting at 12 PM)?

Yes we have no objection to having your child dine with us! However, you would need to make these arrangements with us at the beginning of the day, and they would need to be picked-up no later than 12:15 am and 3:45 pm, respectively, so that they do not cause transition difficulties for the incoming campers and the start of the next camp on the schedule. Also, be sure to pack them their own lunch, snack and water bottle labeled with your child’s name.

7. Who do I contact if I need to speak with my child?

Our office number is 412-924-0634. Someone will be in the building at all times throughout the day while camps are in session. If the campers out for a walk or at another location that day, we will be able to contact the teacher using his or her cell phone, if necessary.

8. Who do I contact if I have further questions?

Please contact our Director, Sheila Ali, via email (sheiladali@irmafreeman.org). If your concern is urgent and you do not hear back quickly enough, please call our office and leave a message at 412-924-0634 if no one answers. When Ms. Ali is out of the building, or unavailable, our Assistant Director, Harriet Smith, or one of our other staff members should be able to help you.


1. Have you made any changes this year?

We look forward to having some of the same wonderful camps and teacher from last year, but we have also made some great changes. These include adding great new teachers, new camps, a better scheduling system, and more efficient drop off and pick up. We will also have teachers, counselors and camp supervisors (Director Sheila Ali and Assistant Director, Ms. Harriet Smith) circulating throughout the camps. We are also excited about adding Aftercamp and new opportunities for teens and tweens. We are also adding camps to target certain age groups, in order to have provide more diversity. Currently sessions 1 – 4 have two camps running at the same time, so children will be separated by age groups: 6 – 8 & 9 -12.

2. How are children grouped by age?

Children who are 6–12 years old may sign up for Acro Yoga, which run from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. These children will be divided into the age groups of 6-8 years and 9-12 years whenever possible. For example, in some cases the two age groups will be in separate rooms under the supervision of different teachers; in others, they will be separated within the same room. However, if you are concerned that your child will not be around other kids his or her own age, we suggest to sign up with a friend. We are a small organization and we cannot guarantee or refund your money depending on what ages will predominate a camp. You may also write to the director to check on enrollment. In some camps, certain tasks may only available to the older children, which are deemed age appropriate. If your child is in the older group, he or she may be given the opportunity to mentor or help younger children with challenging tasks. This would be at the discretion of the teacher, and the interests and capabilities of the individuals concerned, as well as the age appropriateness of the activity or task.

3. How does your schedule work with regard to off-site programming? 

The specific camps that will have regular off-site programming are specifically Acro Yoga and Circus Antics. Mostly, we will also be going to Friendship Park (a few minutes walk) on some days and for regular walks, depending on the camp.Many of the other camps will give the children an opportunity to spend time outside.

4. What happens to my child in between camps?

Children staying for more than one camp will be eating lunch from 12:00 PM -12:30 PM, and having snack and break at 3:30–3:45 PM, under the supervision of the camp staff. This is the best way to separate the camps and allow for children to enter and exit for designated camps with the least disruption. This year we have expanded the schedule so that each camp is three full hours. This schedule was carefully constructed to cause the least inconvenience to all involved. Remember all kids have to eat and take a break. Moreover, should you arrive at the interim times, be aware that kids will be in a less structured environment, which is designed for eating, getting to know each other, playing games and having free time. However, all campers, parents and teachers, should be prepared for camps to start and end promptly. If you find this is not the case, please feel free to voice your concerns to the Administrative staff, or on one of our surveys provided at the end of every camp, as we at the IFCI Summer Camps utilize your feedback in order to improve and enhance our programing.

5. Why do you have collaborators?

Collaborations allow us to offer the community extraordinary programming from a variety of local organizations and institutions at a fraction of their usual cost to your family. We are often able to bring these organizations to our venue for your convenience, but in other cases we are able to take our campers to their unique facilities. Artist staff may do off-site programming such as at the Carnegie Museum, or the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, for a special event. For example, this year our director, Sheila, is invited by the Maker Faire in San Francisco to do a workshop on miniature plumbing, a topic dear to her heart. Whether here or there, we find the IFCI and our partners both are able to expand our offerings through collaboration, rather than competition, and broaden our reach within the community and around the world!

6. Who are your collaborators?

Look on or website for this year’s list of IFCI collaborators. Also check out our past collaborators and partnerships webpage. We have participated in over 100 collaborations with all sorts of places— everywhere from the Carnegie Library to the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

7. How do you handle classroom management and discipline?

We are happy to say we have had few disciplinary problems in the past, probably because children are so engaged, and really want to be involved in our activities, and also we maintain a 6-to-1 student to teacher ratio or better. All of our teachers and both supervisors have degrees in teaching and/or extensive training and experience in classroom management. This is summer camp and we want all children to have fun, but we need order and cannot tolerate disruptive misconduct or dangerous behavior.

We follow the three Rs: “Respect for yourself, Respect for others and Responsibility for all” (the Dali Lama). We will also go over camp guidelines, basic rules, and expectations will be explained to the children on the first day of camp. In addition, as a gallery, we also have specific rules about how to conduct yourself in a gallery, where you are surrounded by art. No verbal or physical aggression, or destruction of property, will be tolerated at camp. This kind of behavior will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and may have consequences ranging from a time-out, missing a day of camp to dismissal without compensation. We count on the support of parents to help avoid any disciplinary problems by talking to your child about our rules and appropriate and inappropriate behavior. In most cases, we allow a child time to reflect, to talk to the director, or call home to talk to a parent. For this reason, we ask that you do not force your child to do a camp, but let them participate in choosing one that sounds fun to them, so they can join us of their own free will. This is the best remedy to avoid disciplinary problems, and, moreover, rather than incurring resistance from your child, instead, he or she will be able to experience the joy and enthusiasm that most kids feel when attending our summer camps.


1. Where are you located?

We are located at 5006 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh 15224, between South Winebiddle and South Gross.

2. Where do I pick up or drop off my child?

We will have camp counselors both in the front of the building (on Penn Ave.) and at the back of the building (on Comrie Way, between South Gross and South Winebiddle, where parents might be able to pull into our parking lot.) However, we ask that when checking your child in or out that you walk into the front gallery, as there will be only one sign-in/sign-out sheet (in order for us to keep careful track of who has arrived and who has left throughout the day). When picking up your child, depending on the number of kids in the camp, you may be able to park temporarily in our back lot. There is also street parking right on Penn Avenue in front of our building. Do not leave the building without checking with a staff member to let them know you have signed your child (or children) in or out, and are dropping them off or picking them up. This is of paramount importance in order to avoid any safety issues, or unanswered questions or concerns for the day.

Again, we will be meeting all parents and campers at the main entrance in the front gallery (Penn Ave side). Please be sure to let us know at the beginning of the day if you have any special instructions, like early pick or if you are having another person pick up your child, and be sure to write these instructions in a note form so that we can attach it to the clipboard and avoid confusion. All students must be signed in and out of camp.

3. Who is responsible for signing my children in and out of the camp?

YOU must sign your children in and out of the camp on the daily attendance sheet, marking the time with your initials, unless you choose to have another (authorized) person to do so. Anyone other than you must have a photo ID and be named by you on the registration form as authorized to pick up your children.

4. How can I check my children in and out of camp as safely and quickly as possible?

We try our best to serve you at the least inconvenience to you. Parents who cannot find parking easily to drop off and pick up their children safely, may be able to form a car queue in our lot. Although the back lot is reserved for camp activities, there is a marked off section for a camper parents who opt for curbside service, such as those with infants in the car. This service is being offered to keep the flow of traffic efficient and orderly, for your convenience, and for the safety of your children; however, you should be prepared to come into the facility and sign your child in at the beginning of camp and out at the end of camp.

5. Who will make sure my kids get to their camps?

All children will be assigned to a camp counselor responsible for their whereabouts for each camp, and may be assigned a different counselor for lunch and snack. If the camp counselor is not available, your child’s teacher or one of the supervisors will make sure your child is accounted for and goes where he or she has to go throughout the day and upon arrival and dismissal.

6. Do you provide snack or juice?

Children are expected to bring their own snacks, juice and water bottles. Please mark your child’s name on their lunch and belongings, such as jacket, backpack, etc. However, this year we will be allowing parents to apply for free lunch and snack. We are also offering a Lunch Menu for campers who want to buy a lunch. Menu options are available for cash purchases, such as chips, juice boxes, pizza, and other snacks. This list will be available prior to camp each day for parents or campers to purchase.

7. What should I pack for my child’s bag?

Please be sure to include anything your child needs for his or her safety, such as an Epi-Pen, but make sure you inform us of any medications needed. Please also pack sunscreen for when we go outdoors. If your child cannot be in the sun, please inform us of this, and provide a hat and long sleeves to prevent sun exposure, as we plan to take daily walks. Also, please inform us if he or she has any medical condition we need to know about. (See the Medical Release form)

8. Can my child bring electronics to camp?

Unless we specifically ask your child to bring electronics (e.g., for as for Dance Camp during Teens & Tweens week), we ask that your child leave all electronics at home. If they bring a device such as a phone, they will need to ask permission to use it, and otherwise keep it in their backpack. We CANNOT be responsible for lost or stolen devices, and would like to avoid the possibility of any such occurrence by keeping them out of sight, or at home. We appreciate your support in this matter.

9. What happens if my child is sick or has a contagious condition?

Important Notice: We will be requiring children who have any contagious conditions to have a doctor’s note to re-enter camp. Missed days will not be reimbursed. You will be expected to pick up your child immediately if he or she is ill or has a contagious condition during camp.


1. What if I want to cancel a camp that I have registered my child for?

For reimbursement or cancellations, we need to receive notification via email or mail at least one (1) week prior to camp start day; otherwise, we cannot reimburse you. Also, be aware that there is a $15 nonrefundable registration fee.

2. When will I know if you cancel a camp?

Do I get a full refund?
If we need to cancel a camp in which your child is enrolled, we will notify you at least one week prior to the first day of camp, and give you a full reimbursement, or a chance to reschedule, if you’d prefer.

3. What happens if the camp my child would like to attend is full?

We will do our best to accommodate you in such a situation. What we can do is put your child on a waiting list. If enough children sign up for the waiting list, a few different things may happen, depending on the particular camp, teacher availability, and so on:

1. We may be able to add a teacher and expand the number of kids we can take into the camp.
2. We may be able to add another offering of the same camp at a different time and/or during a different session (i.e., a different week)
3. If we cannot get your child into the same camp, we may be able to at least add a different camp during the same dates and times that you preferred.
4. When will I know if my child is able to get into a camp that has a waiting list?
We will inform you as soon as possible by telephone, and via email to give you the opportunity to register via the Internet once we have contacted you. If you do not register by a deadline TBA, you may lose your child’s spot on the waiting list.


1. Is your organization a non-profit?

Yes and no. We earn no revenue for most of our activities, including Summer Camps, as we try to pay our staff a decent wage, far above what most camps pay. In a way we are a not-for-profit, rather than a non-profit. We have a fiscal sponsor for any grants received and on as needed basis (which has been Pittsburgh Filmmakers for the last two years), but mostly we are funded privately.

2. How can I exhibit, play music or create my own class, event or activity at the IFCI?

For information on exhibitions or playing music on a First Friday, email Director, Sheila Ali (sheiladali@irmafreeman.org). For all other inquires involving rentals, barter, or donations, contact Office Manager, Jack Ball (jackball@irmafreeman.org)

4. Can I intern at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination?

We are sometimes able to arrange internships, yes. We may even be able to set up credit with your college (such as through Chatham or Edinboro University), or just give you lots of great job experience. We have a variety of skilled tasks or on-the-job-training for interns. Call us at 412-924-0634 or email us for more information. If you are in high school and need community service hours, this is a great place to earn those hours doing awesome and exciting work in our summer camp program, in our gallery and/or community center. We also do creative work off-site, whether it’s in a classroom, museum or festival setting.

5. Can I attend summer camp with my child and/or volunteer at summer camp?

We welcome this kind of assistance, so if you would like to stay and help with the camp we would be happy to have you. However, to attend camp as a volunteer, you would first need to get standard Act 33 and 34 Pennsylvania Clearances for working with children. Please contact us ahead of time if you know you want to volunteer so we can help you get the above forms. We appreciate your assistance and would love to count on it. If you know your schedule, please email us as soon as possible. We also want to know your special interests or talents so that we may best utilize your skills!

6. How can I spread the word about your Summer Camps?

We greatly appreciate word of mouth support! Please let your friends and colleagues know about us. We need you to help spread the word about our exciting camps so that we can continue to offer high quality programming to the Pittsburgh community at affordable rates! We will also be distributing brochures and summer camp emails. If you would like to help with distribution please call us or talk to us on site. We thrive on community networking! We are much obliged for any assistance you can give us in reaching out to special groups or even interesting places you might go to that would help us reach potential campers! We do not have a professional distributer, as most larger organizations do, so any help you can give is much appreciated.

7. How else can I support the IF Center Summer Camps?

You can make a tax-deductible contribution to help support our camps and keep them affordable, and also allow us to offer financial aid scholarships. Summer camps Gift certificates may also be purchased for a third party.

8. How can I express my concerns, offer suggestions, or just make a testimonial?

At the end of every camp we will offer you the chance to take a personal survey. We may also have surveys at the center for you and your child to fill out together. Your feedback is very important and instrumental to giving you the best service we can! Also, feel free to speak to our camp staff, email us or call us by phone whenever you feel you are concerned about a situation that needs attention, or even if you just want to share something with us! We want to get to know our summer camper parents and IFCI patrons, and welcome your feedback!

9. How can I arrange for a group to tour the IFCI gallery or rent your space?

For educational on and off-site make and take workshops, artist residencies, and tours, email Sheila Ali, Director sheiladali@irmafreeman.org. For rentals (including birthday parties, special events or receptions contact Jack Ball jackball@irmafreeman.org.

Here’s looking at a great new year of 2017 Summer Camps!