An update on our closure…

This past year has been a struggle for everyone. For Camp PAL, the stress, uncertainty, and expense of maintaining a seasonal operation has always been trying, but the amazing and loyal families we’ve met over the past ten years always lightened the burden. However, the ongoing pandemic and changing life circumstances have caused us to take a hard look at our mission and intentions and to what extent we can deliver the quality camp experience we are committed to.

Regrettably, we do not see a clear path to proceed. It is with much sadness that we announce the decision to close Camp Play-A-Lot.

We truly appreciate the love and support we have received over the ten years from our camper families, Rogers School, and our incredible counselors. We have a lot to celebrate and be grateful for. Some of our most meaningful highlights include:

  • The opportunity to welcome over 300 campers from 25 schools
  • The chance to host camp at three incredible locations: Philip Rogers Elementary School (2013-2019), St. Margaret Mary’s School (2012), and St. Scholastica Academy (2011)
  • 25 extraordinary staff members (special recognition to Coach Jamie Chrobak – 8 years, and Coach David Nguyen – 7 years)
  • Increases in enrollment by almost 600%: 15 campers in year 1; 85 campers at our max
  • The ability to give back to our community and donate $100,000 worth of camp scholarships in support of 40 local families
  • And perhaps most meaningfully, the immense loyalty and support from our camp families has been incredible. 85% of families attended camp for at least 3 years; 65% attended for 5 years or longer. Special recognition to some of the most veteran camp families, whose kids we’ve literally watched grow up (and eventually even work as staff).
  1. the Davey and Korfmacher families (attended 8 years)
  2. DeYoung, Tournillion, and Madden families (attended 7 years)
  3. Ogi, Santos-Merrit, Nguyen, and De Ramos families (attended 6 years)

I personally feel fortunate to have been able to build this business from the ground up, starting when I was 22 years old. Rogers Park was my home and being able to bring people together around the idea of play and leadership was a dream turned reality.

I’m humbled by the people I worked alongside, the parents and family members I grew close with, and most especially the extraordinary campers I got to watch grow over the years.

While this isn’t the end I had pictured for Camp PAL, these times do remind us of an important lesson Camp PAL believed in wholeheartedly: during trying times, we must stick together, remember where we’re from, and believe that our children will lead the world to a more hopeful future.

Thank you for your support during this chapter and throughout our entire story.


Jenn Jacobs, Camp Founder and Director

(773) 875-2587
Philip Rogers Elementary School
7345 N. Washtenaw Chicago, IL 60645