Welcome to CAC Summer Camps!
CAC Summer Camps give children age 8-14 unique opportunities to explore the built environment and learn firsthand why design matters.
All camps require teamwork, creative problem-solving and visual thinking. Campers will share and present their ideas throughout the program, all while developing self-confidence and communication skills.
Under the guidance of professional designers and experienced educators, campers will take walking tours to view architecture, solve design challenges and build models using technology and art materials. They will see Chicago’s buildings in a new light and discover how architects' dreams become reality. Join us!
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Important Information & Forms
Whether you're registering for CAC Summer Camps for the first time or joining us again, here is important information we'd like you to know.
Getting Ready for Camp
Everything you need to know to prepare your camper, from the first day of camp to the last day, you'll find here.
Here’s everything else you might need to know about CAC Summer Camps.
Important Information & Forms
Registration is a two-step process. Please complete both steps to ensure your child's spot in the camp.
STEP ONE: Use our website to select the preferred camp and purchase a ticket for your child. Full payment is required at the time of purchase. After the purchase, you will receive a confirmation and receipt via email. Your child's spot in the camp is now reserved.
STEP TWO: After the ticket purchase is complete, you will need to fill out all
Required Forms & Agreements. These forms are due no later than two weeks before the camp start date.
You will also receive an email before the start of camp including:
Welcome letter from your camp leader
Reminder to complete Required Forms & Agreements
Required Forms & Agreements
To complete your registration, review and sign all Required Forms & Agreements prior to the start of camp including:
Emergency Contact Information
Code of Conduct & Discipline Policy
Consent for Participation & Media Release Student Acceptable Use Policy
Digitally sign all the required forms:
SIGN ALL FORMS
All Required Forms & Agreements are due no later than two weeks before the camp start date.
The CAC doesn't offer aftercare for summer camps. CAC staff members are unavailable to stay with campers after 3:45pm. All campers must be picked up no later than 3:45pm.
Getting Ready for Camp
Camp Leaders and Facilitators
Camps are led by no fewer than two full-time CAC education staff members at all times. Camp leaders are college graduates with education experience. They will be assisted by one or more full or part-time facilitators/program assistants. We will also host guest professionals to speak or assist with a project.
A Day at Camp
Camps take place in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio at CAC, 111 E. Wacker Dr.
First Day of Camp
Parents and guardians are asked to arrive a few minutes early to check-in their camper and meet camp staff. Please be prepared to provide the following information on the first day:
Driver’s license or other official ID
Names and phone numbers of other adults allowed to drop-off or pick-up your child
As applicable: Allergy, food, or learning recommendations; permissions for a camper to leave at the end of the day without an adult
Parents are welcome and encouraged to stay during drop-off and pick-up times to get to know the camp staff and program. However, to ensure the best group experience, parents are asked to leave during camp hours.
Specific camp curriculum varies. In general, each day in camp follows this sample agenda:
Welcome and check-in
Team building activity
Lunch and free play
Project work time
Activity or studio time
Recap and team activity
Drop-Off and Pick-Up
Curbside check-in is available outside CAC’s Upper Wacker Dr. entrance (111 E. Wacker Dr.). A camp staff person will be waiting outside to receive campers. An approved adult will need to sign-in and sign-out campers during drop-off and pick-up.
Drop-off is between 8:45-9am. Student may not be dropped off earlier than 8:30am. Camp starts promptly at 9am. If you are running late and a morning site visit is planned, you may be required to meet us at our final destination.
Pick-up is between 3:30-3:40pm. Staff will remain with students for up to 20 minutes.
Advance parental/guardian permission is required for a student to leave camp at the end of the day without a parent or approved guardian signature. Permission is required if another adult will be picking up your child; CAC will not let your child check-out with another adult without your permission.
If you need to pick up your camper early, contact CAC’s Education department at 312.561.2158. A staff member will relay your message to camp staff and escort your camper to be picked up.
CAC does not have designated parking or a loading zone. The closest parking garage to the CAC is located at 233 N. Michigan Ave.
Read more about parking at CAC.
Each day campers are learning new things, completing small projects and working toward their final project. Campers who miss one or more days of camp will be behind or missing parts of their projects. There is very limited time for a camper to make-up work during camp hours. Campers are welcome to complete their work at home. No refunds will be given for partial or nonattendance in camp.
What to Bring
Campers should wear comfortable clothes appropriate for indoor activities, walking and playing outside daily. Please dress according to the weather. A camp t-shirt will be provided on the first day of camp.
Bring the following each day: refillable water bottle, hat, sunscreen, lunch and a snack. All materials and technology needed for camp will be provided.
Food & Drink
We do not have access to a refrigerator; please pack a sack lunch or use an insulated lunch box. Campers are not allowed to leave camp to purchase lunch. Each student should also bring a light snack. CAC will provide water.
Gum, candy, soda/juice and food are not allowed or accessible, except during snack and lunch breaks. Students may have water throughout the day, except when using computers or other electronic devices.
Campers will be expected to follow the Student Acceptable Use Agreement guidelines when using devices and computers during camp.
Personal electronic devices (phones, tablets, gaming devices) from home may be used for program purposes only; they should not be used for personal matters during the program, including during lunch or free time. Campers may be asked to put away devices or leave them at home if necessary.
Headphones/earbuds are used exclusively during designated computer sessions. When campers enter the studio personal headphones must be put away, until the end of the day.
If a camper needs to call or text home (i.e. for a ride or to communicate with parents) they should ask permission from camp staff.
If you need to contact your camper during camp hours, or in the case of an emergency, call CAC’s Education department at 312.561.2158. A staff member will locate and communicate with your camper as appropriate.
All campers will walk outside every day within a few blocks of CAC for site visits, tours, lunch or play. Outdoor field trips that require a bus or use of public transportation may occur. Parent/guardian permission is requested for field trips beyond walking distance. Parents will be informed of the field trip before the start of camp and required to sign a permission slip that will be due the day of the field trip.
Each camp will culminate with a final showcase for family and friends beginning at 2pm on the last day of camp. Campers will display their work from the week, present their final project and receive a camp certificate.
Cancellations & Refund Policy
Cancellations made six or more days in advance of the first day of camp are eligible for a full refund. Cancellations made five or less days in advance of the first day are eligible for a 50% refund. No refunds will be given after the start of camp or for repeated nonattendance.
Cancel and request a refund by contacting CAC Groups Sales at 312.922.1130 or
Wait List Policy
If a summer camp fills up, that summer camp will be considered "sold out" and a wait list will be posted on the camp's registration page.
If a spot becomes available in the requested camp, CAC will send a notification via email. Any available tickets will be distributed first come, first serve.
Student Safety: Severe Allergy and Medication Notice
CAC Camps are not designated safe spaces for campers with severe allergies to nuts or other food. CAC Camp staff members are not authorized to administer any medication or an EpiPen. Students must be able to self-remind and administer any necessary medications.
Eligibility, Skill Level & Students with Disabilities
Does my camper need any experience or skills to enjoy this camp?
Previous experience or technical skills in architecture are not required. The academic skill set is less important to consider than the kinds of experiences staff have designed for campers. We expect campers will be able to—and want to—do collaborative, team-based work as well as independent work. The camper should want to work in teams and with small groups, do hands-on projects and be eager to participate. If those things are unpleasant for a student, CAC Camp likely will not be a good experience.
My camper has a learning/behavioral/emotional disability; can they participate in your program?
CAC Camp staff members are enthusiastic, skilled educators, but do not have specific training to support campers with ADHD or other special learning needs at this time. If your child has an aide with them at school this may be a difficult camp for them.
Consider the information below and speak with our education team if you have any questions. We will do our very best to ensure it is a positive experience for all campers! Contact the Education department at 312.561.2158 or
Programs are small (16 students) and will be staffed by two adults. Our staff members are all college graduates with education experience.
Programs are highly interactive, but include classroom-like settings. There are academic components and we expect campers to want and be able to take notes, sketch and listen to presentations for 30-45 minutes.
Camps require students to be able to transition quickly multiple times each day. For example, a 10-minute morning meeting might be followed by a walking tour or a visit to an architecture firm. Campers should be comfortable meeting many new people in various settings, transitioning from quiet to active time and alternating between individual and group work.
Campers should be capable of self-regulating and have well-developed personal, social and emotional coping mechanisms. If they are unable to self-regulate, if they're not sure how to signal to the program leader that they need a break or they don't currently have a way to manage distractions on their own, the program will be challenging for them and quite possibly for other members of the group.