Newsroom by the Bay has a strong tradition of offering rewarding day camp journalism experiences to students from all over the South Bay and Peninsula. Campers regularly commute in from nearby Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View, Cupertino, Woodside, and other local communities.

Here below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about our commuter program. If you don’t find the information you need here, please email us at and we’ll be glad to help.

I was looking for a weekday day camp, but it looks like NBTB extends into nights and the weekend.  What should I do?
In general, our commuter program runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including equipment checkout) from Sunday to Sunday.  It’s a full, comprehensive program that serves dozens of students each year.

But as a commuter you will also have the additional option of staying late for evening and weekend guest speakers and events. Our guest speakers begin at 7 p.m. and typically go until 8 p.m. Whether you choose to take advantage of those options will depend on your personal circumstances. Some do, some don’t. Either way, as a commuter, you’ll have the same access to learning as the residential campers do.

What about field trip days? What is the schedule then?
NBTB students in the Year 1 program will go on a daylong field trip to San Francisco on Wednesday during camp week. Year 2 students will go on field trips to San Francisco and to Silicon Valley on Tuesday and Thursday (note: the dates of the Tuesday Y2 field trips in 2018 may be subject to change due to the July 4 holiday). On field trip days only, you may be required to be at camp by 7:30 a.m. in order to take CalTrain or other public transportation to your field trip destination. Commuters have the option of joining their teams in San Francisco but must make these arrangements with us 24 hours in advance by talking with their team leader and/or notifying the program office. Most field trips return by 5 p.m. but there are exceptions. Specific departure and return times for your field trip day will depend on the field trip destinations that your group picks during your planning session after our first Sunday camp kickoff.

Okay, I’d like to stay into the evening. What extra activities will be offered?
Whether it is listening to a guest speaker or going to downtown Palo Alto to conduct a journalistic “survey” of ice cream shops, each evening at NBTB will offer fun and insight. Commuters are welcome to join us with permission of their families. Our evening activities generally conclude by 9 p.m.

Whenever you choose to leave us for the day, remember to check out with your team leader to turn in your iPad and to tell us you’re heading home.

Also, we find that many commuters continue collaborating — digitally — with their new teammates on their journalistic work into the weekday and weekend nights, but whether you do so is up to you.

Larkin_EntranceWhen should I arrive on Sunday, July 1?  It looks like the program doesn’t begin until 3 p.m. that day. 
You’re correct — as a commuter, you don’t need to show up until Sunday afternoon for our program kickoff. We ask you to be at our dorm, Twain North in the Stern Hall housing complex, by 3 p.m. sharp for our opening chalk talk, introductions to your team leader and group. The photo at left shows you the front entrance for Twain at 618 Escondido Road, Stanford, CA 94305.

However, if you want to get going earlier, consider our  “Ready-set-go” workshop from 9 a.m. to noon. You’ll meet our staff, team leaders and fellow students, and you’ll cover journalism basics, including how to write a basic news and feature story, editing in Associated Press style, and more. The charge for this workshop is $100.

Our opening session lasts from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. You’ll get your press badge, learn about our camp rules and procedures, learn your news group assignment, meet with other members of your group and your team leader, and start planning your reporting field trip. Plan on heading home at 8 p.m. If you must leave earlier, it’s okay, but be sure to check with your team leader on Monday to make sure you’re updated on your group’s progress.

When does the program end? Can I leave on Saturday, July 7?

Though residential students will check out on Sunday, July 8 (unless they have opted for early check out), as a commuter you’re free to leave at the conclusion of the multimedia showcase on Saturday, July 7. The showcase typically runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and your family is welcome to attend. We’ll have a special farewell at the showcase for commuters who will not be returning on Sunday.

My (friend or relative, such as an uncle or aunt) lives nearby and would like to see me. Will it be okay to leave the program for an afternoon or for a meal so I can see them?
Yes, as long as you tell us about your plans in advance — we prefer at the very beginning of the program, but at least 24 hours in advance. We ask for advance notice because we plan carefully for your learning and your safety. If you plan to leave early, ask your parent/guardian to email as early as possible before your planned absence; this should be an email from your parent/guardian and not from the friend or family member who wants to see you. Once we receive this notice, we’ll alert our team leaders to make sure you check in your equipment and are ready to be picked up. Obviously, time away from camp may mean a missed reporting opportunity or team time, but we understand and honor family connections. Some commuter families also request alternative pickup arrangements on field trip days so that you can head directly home after a trip to San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Again, for safety reasons, we discourage same-day requests for these alternative arrangements, but if you give us advance notice, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

What meals does my commuter fee include? 
Lunch only is included with the commuter fee, but we also provide a complimentary dinner for all students on Sunday, July 1, the first night of our program (see above).

At the Sunday check-in and orientation, commuters will receive meal cards with access to lunch every day at Stanford Dining. Commuters will be on their own for breakfast and dinner. Commuters who wish to stay for dinner on any day after Sunday may purchase meal cards for approximately $18 from the camp office.  But many commuters make friends quickly and decide to head off to one of the campus restaurants or cafes for dinner together.

What tech tools should I bring (laptop, iPad or tablet, cellphone, digital phone)? 
While students may wish to bring some electronic devices, no tech tools are required — students who check the box on their applications indicating that they require an iPad will receive one to use for the week. However, many campers do bring digital cameras, videocameras, laptops and smartphones, and these are helpful. We work with students to get onto the Stanford wireless network when they arrive on campus, and we also recommend apps to students during their classes, most of which are free. Students should make sure they have the username/logins for all their devices so that they can access wifi and add apps.

Will I have Internet access for my (laptop, tablet, smartphone)? Can I email?
Students will have Internet access and email via their tech tools, such as computers or tablets. However, commuters must return all rented iPads to the camp office at the end of the day before they leave. There is no limit to the number of devices you can use on the Stanford wireless network.

How much does parking on campus cost? Where should I park for drop-off/pick-up/commuting?
Once camp begins, you can purchase a parking pass from the camp office for any of the program days, including the Sunday program start. Daily parking passes in 2017 were $4.75 and a week pass was $31.25. There will be an increase for 2018 which we will pass along to students. (Stanford sells monthly passes only, so a “week” pass actually is good for one month).



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