Information About Camp Marston for Parents

Arrival Sundays

If you are driving your camper to camp, please arrive on the opening Sunday between 1:00 and 2:30 PM. We cannot accept campers prior to 1:00. Camp Marston is about a 1 to 1.5-hour drive from most points in San Diego.

Departure Fridays

We invite families to our closing activities.  Check out is between 3:00 and 4:30 on Fridays.  Throughout that time, you can drop into our dining hall to enjoy an afternoon meal.  We will open several camp activities so your camper can show you what they’ve learned (campers only participating please).  Enjoy a family afternoon touring Marston and celebrating a successful week.

Bus Schedule

Bus service is available to and from the Mission Valley YMCA, 5505 Friars Road and Camp Marston. Check-in starts at 12:30 on Friday and bus leaves at 1:00pm, traveling to Marston.  On Sundays the bus will return to the Mission Valley Family YMCA at 5:00pm.  Cost is $35 each way.  If round trip, please register for both trips.

Visiting Days

Essentially, our parent’s visiting days are on opening Sundays and the closing Fridays of each session. We do not permit parent visits during programs. Our sessions are tightly scheduled, and parents visiting can distract entire groups from their day’s agenda.

Camp Store

Good news! The Camp Store will be open on Check-in and Check-out days. Please come prepared with a credit card as cash and checks will not be accepted.

What to Bring

In addition to the gear recommended on our Equipment List, please remember to bring the following items on check in day:

Download Parents' Guide and Required Forms

  • Completed Camp Admission Form
  • Completed Health History Form – sign both Health Waiver and Photo Release Waiver
  • Medications packed separately (they will be submitted to camp health care staff at check-in)

Camp Admission Form

We use the Camp Admission Form as your authorization for parental custody. Do not mail this form; it is your ticket into camp on opening day. On departure day, we check identification. Please be sure to list any friends/family who may be authorized to pick up your son or daughter.

Health History

This form is required of all campers. State Health Codes also require Immunization History to be completed. Bring this completed form with you on check in day. If a child has any severe health conditions, has recently stopped taking a behavioral medication or has recently been in a doctor’s care, a physician's authorization is also required for camp attendance. Otherwise, a doctor’s physical in NOT required.


You, as a parent or guardian, are responsible for any medical costs incurred as the result of any injury or illness while your child is at camp. Be sure to provide accurate information regarding your insurance carrier on the Health History Form.

Pre-Camp Health Screening

Before departure for camp, we ask parents to conduct a day-of health screening, which we will also do at camp.  We conduct health-screenings and temperature checks of everyone upon arrival.   If any flu-like symptoms or a temperature higher than 100.7 are noted, participation will not be permitted.  We’ll work with you to reschedule the week in case of illness.

Health Care

Camp Marston has a Health Center with staff trained in emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques. In an emergency,  911-ambulance service is readily available. Our nearest hospital is Pomerado, in Poway.   

Unfortunately in these pandemic times we must send campers with flu-like symptoms home.  Campers may return to program after a negative PCR Viral Covid test and 24 hours symptom free.  

We are proactive in calling parents about any health related issue.  If a camper is out of program for more than a few hours or sustains any injury more severe than a  scratch or bruise, we will contact you.  

Please be sure to provide us with complete emergency contact information, especially if you are traveling on vacation. In case of accident or more severe illness, it is our practice to contact parents immediately. However, if you cannot be reached, we have your written authorization for emergency medical care on the Health History form.


Do not pack any medications, including non-prescription medications or vitamins, in your child’s luggage. All medications are submitted to health care staff at check in (State Law). Prescription drugs must be in the original container with licensed physician’s instructions. It is helpful to place these original containers into a zip-loc bag labeled with campers name. Please provide complete, written directions on dosage and frequency.

Mail Call!

Campers love receiving letters from home while at camp. Please address them as follows:

Camper’s Name, Session ___ Cabin ____
YMCA Camp Marston
P.O. Box 2440
Julian, CA 92036

If you’d like to send a package, please do not include any food items as they will be discarded. Campers will be encouraged to write one letter home during their week. Do not be alarmed if the letters are brief as the youngsters are busy at camp and “no news is good news” as far as campers are concerned.

Phone Calls Home

Our policy is to not allow campers to phone home during the week. Experience has shown that these calls are extremely disruptive. One of the valued outcomes of camp is a youngster learning independence. Phoning home would detract from that important goal. In rare circumstances due to behavior or severe homesickness, our staff will initiate calls with your son or daughter.

Missing Home

Going away to camp can sometimes be a challenging experience. We understand parent concerns, “What if my child is very homesick while at camp?”. Our practice is this. First – prevention. We’ve found that keeping children busy, busy, busy is the best homesick prevention around. Sometimes, however, children experience varying degrees of anxiety. We will counsel a homesick camper and try to help him/her through the difficulty. Most times, we are successful. If time is passing and your child is not adjusting well, we will phone you to report and discuss courses of action. Experience shows that only 1-2 campers out of 1,500 go home due to homesickness each summer.

Souvenir Care Packages

We are not planning on opening the Camp Store for Summer 2022; however, we are looking at ways to allow souvenir or care package purchases. We will communicate more information on this as we get closer to Summer 2022.

Lost and Found

We try to manage lost and found items continually through the camp session, but it is a challenge! On check-out Fridays, be sure to check our display of any unclaimed items. If you discover something is missing upon your return home, call the camp office as soon as possible. After 3-weeks, we will donate any unclaimed items to a local charity.


Please pack enough clothes to last for your child’s entire 1-week session. 

Holdover Campers

For campers staying multiple weeks, there will be a holdover option at no extra charge.  After a busy camp week, the schedule over weekends is more relaxed and camper-choice driven, often including an afternoon at the pool Saturday, naps and a chance to do one load of laundry.  Some families visit their child at camp on holdover Saturday.  When  Sunday arrives, your veteran campers welcome a new group for the week. 

Electronics at Camp?

Camp provides children a chance to live without electronic devices. As such, we do not permit cell phones, gameboys, radios, I-Pods, MP3’s and similar devices. If these items are brought to camp, they will be stored in a secure location and returned at the conclusion of the session.

Make-up at Camp?

We have a “no makeup at camp” rule. The outdoor lifestyle of camp-life does not call for campers to apply make-up. Your child looks beautiful naturally and there is no time or facility for applying make-up. Please help us by not allowing cosmetics to be packed in campers’ luggage.

Registration and Payment Information

A $150 non-refundable deposit per week is required at the time of registration to reserve camp sessions and is applied toward the total camp fee. 

We accept payments in the form VISA, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.

After your child is registered, confirmation will be sent via email. Additional payments can be made online using the online button on the sign-up page.

Refund Policy

A $150 non-refundable deposit per week is required to reserve camp session. Full payment is due based on registered session dates.   Non-refundable fee is transferable to a new registration if space is available based on general Association policy. In cases of Homesickness or dismissal from Camp- No refund will be issued. Full payment/Balance is due on the following dates: Sessions 1-3 (05/26/22) , Session 4-6 (06/16/22)  and Sessions 7-9 (07/14/22).

Behavior at YMCA Camp

At camp, we foster an environment filled with friendship, respect and character development. Our staff will make every effort to provide positive, realistic expectations of your child. Campers that cannot behave within the rules of camp or are adversely affecting the experience of other children will be dismissed without a refund. Parents are then responsible for coming to camp and picking up their child.

On-Line Photo Gallery & Parent to Camper emails

We offer online pictures for the parents of our campers to view. This service allows you a “one-way window” into camp life. You can also send emails to your child. Please limit emails to 1 per day. Emails (1-page of text) are delivered by dinner Monday-Thursday. You will receive a pre-approved registration code and instructions at check-in. Our photographer tries to include all children in the photo gallery, but due to timing, camera shyness, and off-site excursions, not all campers will be in a photo every day.

Staff Hiring and Training

All of our staff are interviewed and reference checked before they are hired. Additionally, we conduct nation-wide criminal background checks. We provide a week long intensive training to teach our employees how to spot and react to different situations that may occur at camp. While camp is in operation we maintain a 2-10 ratio of staff to campers on site at all times to ensure your child is well supervised. Your child’s safety is our highest priority.