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 parents and families to join us Friday for our closing ceremonies. You may arrive starting at 2:30 PM with the closing ceremony starting at 3:00. A BBQ for all the campers and families will start after the ceremonies at 3:30pm. After the BBQ from 4:15 to 5:00 the campers will have a chance to show their family and friends around camp and participate in some of our Camp Activities. This allows time for your camper to show you what he/she accomplished during the camp week.

Bus Schedule

We also offer bus service to and from Camp Marston. The fee is $40 for either one-way or roundtrip. The pick-up and drop-off location is at the Mission Valley YMCA, 5505 Friars Road, San Diego, 92110 (in between the 5 and 163 Freeways). For campers taking the bus to camp on Sundays, please check in between 1:00 and 1:30. The bus departs for Julian at 1:30 sharp. The returning bus arrives at the Mission Valley YMCA at 7:00 PM on Fridays. Because of the winding mountain roads, you may consider Dramamine medication for your youngster prior to the bus ride.

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.

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
  • $25-$40 for the camp store
  • 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 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

We encourage all parents to conduct a routine health screen on their children the day of arrival at camp. We are especially concerned about contagious conditions including colds, flu, fever, conjunctivitis (pink eye), or head lice. If any camper exhibits symptoms of illness the parents/guardians will be responsible for taking the child to the doctor.

Health Care

Camp Marston has a Health Center with staff trained in emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques. A doctor is on-call in nearby Julian and 911-ambulance service is readily available. Our nearest hospital is Pomerado, in Poway. In case of illness, campers will be housed in the Health Center for a brief period. Our practice is to call you if a camper is out of program for more than a half-day. We will also call you to report any accidents more severe than a simple scratch or bruise.

We conduct brief health-screenings with all campers on opening days. Please, if your child is sick, do not send him/her to camp. We’ll work with you to reschedule the week in case of illness.

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 ___
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.


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.

Summer Camp Store

Camp Marston operates a small store for the purchase of t-shirts, souvenirs and a limited amount of candy each day. The children are not permitted to use cash at the store. Instead, parents can deposit money ($25-$30) into a store account at check in. Campers can then charge against their balance. Unused store money will be refunded to you at the end of the camp session. Any unclaimed store refunds will be donated to the Special Projects Funds at the end of the current summer.

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. Campers staying longer than a week will be permitted a load of wash/dry during the hold-over weekend, the cost charged to their camp store account.

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 $100 non-refundable deposit per week is required at the time of registration to reserve camp sessions and is applied toward the total camp fee. Registration forms submitted without the minimum deposit will not be accepted.

We accept payments in the form of checks, money orders, 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

Prior to June 1st, camp fees are refundable, less the deposit. Due to the popularity of our camps and the difficulty filling spaces just prior to the camping season, no refunds will be issued after May 31st. In case of homesickness, dismissal or voluntary withdrawal, there is no refund issued.

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

We are pleased to offer online photo galleries for camper-parents. You’ll receive a password on check-in day. This service allows you a “one-way window” into camp life. You may also choose to send one-way emails to your child. Please understand – our photographer strives to get all children into the photo gallery, but due to timing and out-of-camp trips (Mountaineers Program), not all children end up in a photo. For more info visit the Photo Gallery homepage. Camper Photographs and One-Way Emails

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.