FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Magic Camp offer answers to general, session, curriculum and financial questions.

Q: Where is the Fantastic Magic Camp?
At our registration page you will find all the information regarding session dates and locations, as well as a link to sign up for the camp.

Q: What age children can attend Magic Camp?
The Magic Camp is designed for elementary-aged children, generally ages 5 through 12. Any 5 year old whose parents are ready for him or her to participate, can attend. All 5 year olds who attend camp will be in a counselor group with the younger campers, and will have a counselor with special skills in working with younger children. At the older age range, we may get 13 year olds (or even the occasional 14 year old) for several reasons. For example, a teen with special needs who operates younger than his or her chronological age may fit in better with the younger children. Teen campers are generally placed in a counselor group with 12 year old campers, and have a counselor who works especially well with the older children.

Q: Do you provide transportation assistance?
The camp does not have any buses available at this time, nor do we have a car pool service, although we are aggressively exploring transportation assistance options. If you require transportation assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Q: What about lunch?
Magic Camp does not provide lunches or snacks. Parents are the best judges of what their children should eat and what they like to eat. Please make arrangements to bring a sack lunch and snack that does not need to be refrigerated or heated.

Q: My child has special needs; can you accommodate them?
Almost certainly! Fantastic Magic Camp is a mainstream day camp in Austin…it is not targeted to any particular group of children.

However, we believe strongly in diversity and inclusion, and will work hard to accommodate any child who wants to attend. For example, when we had a camper with cerebral palsy, we installed, at our expense, a grab bar and toilet frame in the bathroom of our rented space to accommodate his wheelchair-related needs.

Although our staff has limited training for kids with severe disabilities, we have had some wonderful successes with children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, OCD,Tourette’s syndrome, Down syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, autism, mental retardation, vision impairment, hearing impairment, severe emotional distress, prostheses and other challenges. And we are eager to try to meet the needs of any child.

There is no guarantee that we will be successful with everyone…every child is unique, and our philosophy and teaching style may not be the right “fit” for a particular camper. However, in all of our years of operation, there have only been a very few instances where we have asked parents to remove a child. We will always give it our best effort.

We cannot afford to provide individual attendants for kids with special needs, but if an attendant is required, we will allow the attendant to enjoy the camp without paying tuition. The child pays; the attendant goes free…and that includes getting all of the supplies that any other camper would receive.

We also have a scholarship program for kids who otherwise might not be able to attend. The scholarship program is based primarily on financial need, and provides partial or full tuition for kids with economic hardship.

If we know in advance of a particular need, we will include it in our staff training. For example, we have taught counselors how to deal with severe cases of ADHD, provided information on signing, and brought in guest speakers with expertise on “differently-wired children.” As a measure of our success, several of our most challenged campers have become successful counselors. Most of all, we will listen to parents, social workers, and other people who are trying to provide a fun summer experience for a child. At Fantastic Magic Camp, we believe that all kids have “special needs.”

Q: To what address do I send checks or applications?
Printed applications, checks, money orders and general correspondence should be sent, not to the actual camp location, but to our permanent mailing address. Our contact information is at this page.

Q: How do you become a counselor at the Fantastic Magic Camp?
All of our counselors are previous campers, so the first step is to register for Fantastic Magic Camp as a camper. Once a successful camper turns 13, he or she will be invited to submit an application to become a Counselor in Training (CIT). (These invitations are issued only if the child was a camper at our camp the previous year). CITs begin training in January for the summer in which they will be at least 13 years old by the first day of camp, and attend camp free. Once a successful CIT turns 14, he or she will be invited to become a counselor. All counselors and CITs enjoy the benefits of our Youth Leader Training Academy (a 40+ hour program spanning through June), which provides life-skills, self-confidence, and camp-specific training. For more information, please see the page about our Internship Program.

Q: What is the ratio of campers to caregivers?
We advertise a 5 to 1 ratio, but typically have closer to a 3 to 1 ratio when you count our extensive counselor staff and guest teachers.

Q: Can my child bring a friend who is visiting to camp for just one day?
No, the Fantastic Magic Camp is a coordinated two-week learning experience. Family members can visit the camp unannounced at any time, but the curriculum is only available to campers who have signed up for a complete session. Friends are welcome during the Open House, normally held during the last hour of the last day of each session.

Q: Can my child be in the same group as a particular friend?
We try to honor all requests for campers to be grouped together, but counselor groups are formed based on age and experience. In other words, an 8-year old first-time camper will not be placed in a group with a 12-year old, or with an experienced camper. (The only exception is if the experienced camper agrees to re-take the beginning curriculum…something which we normally advise against.) Campers have ample opportunity to spend time with friends before camp, during morning assembly, during snack breaks, during lunch, during bonus class and after camp. Our normal policy is to separate siblings regardless of age, to give each child an opportunity to grow individually. If you prefer otherwise, please talk to us prior to camp.

Q: Can my child come to more than one session?
Absolutely! A camper coming to our camp for the first time takes our well-established beginner curriculum, and after that they take a constantly changing series of courses designed to enhance those basic skills. There will always be some review, of course, but each session offers new curriculum and new challenges.

Q: What is the session schedule?
If you click here you will find all the information regarding summer camp session dates and locations, as well as a link to sign up for the camp.

Q: What do the kids do on a typical Magic Camp day?
Children arrive early in the morning, excited about the coming day. Before camp, they hang out with their old and new friends and counselors, perhaps play games or practice their skills, and get ready for the day.

At 9:00 am, the magic gong sounds and the counselors round up their groups for morning assembly. There will probably be some fun exercise, some announcements, and some entertainment at the assembly…frequently, things are demonstrated that the campers will learn during the day.

Morning assembly is followed by snack time and group games.

After snack/game time, the campers are divided into their smaller teaching groups, and go to classes. Each day, the campers have age and developmentally-appropriate classes in magic, juggling, and puppetry. In addition, there is often a Bonus Class, in which campers can choose from a new skill (ventriloquism, clowning, balloon sculpture) or additional work on their favorite subject. Campers are encouraged to try new things and improve their skills. We do not foster competition among the campers, because for every “winner,” there would be too many “losers!”
In between classes, there will of course be time for lunch and games.

The day ends with a professional show: magician, juggler, clown, puppeteer, ventriloquist, storyteller…but most often a MAGICIAN!

Some days have special themes: Carnival Day and Circus Day, and Wizard day are some perennial favorites.

Q: Do you provide any outdoor activities, or is everything indoors?
All of our teaching is done in air-conditioned comfort inside, to guard against problems caused by the summer heat in Texas. Campers also get a lot of physical activity during organized indoor games and the daily juggling classes.

Q: If my child returns for another session, will she repeat the same curriculum?
All beginning campers take approximately the same curriculum, which has been tested and refined over nearly twenty years. Returning campers, however, build on those basic skills with constantly-changing curriculum packages. There will be some duplication, such as reviewing important basic skills, but there will also be many new classes and activities. (Some kids take every session we offer!) We design exciting new curriculum packages every summer.

Q: What is your Tax ID/EIN for childcare reimbursement?
Starting on 2011, the name of the corporation is “Magic Camp USA, LLC” and the dba is “Fantastic Magic Camp.” The EIN is 27-4230018.
Our contact information is at this page.

Q: What is Performers Academy?
Performers Academy is a tract during the normal camp hours in which eligible experienced campers may choose to participate. It has a strong emphasis on performance and theater and cumulates into a “big” performance at the end of each session during our open house.

Q: Is any financial assistance available?
Yes, we have a scholarship program to provide tuition assistance to those campers needing it. Our goal is to not let a lack of money keep someone who is truly interested from attending our camp. For more information, please see the Scholarships pages.

Q: How do I apply for a scholarship?
Fantastic Magic Camp maintains a Scholarship Fund to help defray tuition for campers who might otherwise not be able to attend. Funds are available based on need…our goal is to not let a lack of money keep a child who would benefit from our programs from attending.

Details on applying for a scholarship are at this page.

We cannot afford to provide individual attendants for kids with special needs, but if an attendant is required, we will allow the attendant to enjoy the camp without paying tuition. The child pays; the attendant goes free…and that includes getting all of the supplies that any other camper would receive.

Q: Are there any inherent risks involved that we should know about:

We have taken great care to insure that none of the magic taught at the Magic Camp includes any potential dangers sometimes associated with the art of magic, such as working with live animals, fire or caustic substances. Children will be working with safety scissors, paper, string, glue and other arts and crafts materials in both the magic classes and magic related classes like puppetry. In order to increase the hand eye coordination and dexterity necessary for performing magic, we also include juggling classes, which of course always include the possible risk of getting hit by a bean bag, spinning  plate or a  juggling club. However, we have taken great care to insure that all of this equipment is child friendly. Our juggling balls are of the soft bean bag variety and all the rest of our juggling equipment is made of light plastic. Toward the end of the second week, campers will also be exposed to unicycles. Each child attempting to ride a unicycle will be provided with a bicycle helmet and a safety beam that campers use to steady themselves. We also assign a “spotter” to each child when they finally get the courage to let go of the beam. In short, the inherent risks associated with the Magic Camp are the same as you would expect with an arts and crafts class and a game of tag or catch.

Q: Does the Magic Camp do Birthday Parties?

We have a fun Birthday package available, as well as numerous other programs available on our Magic Camp “To-Go” page.