Our one week pre-camp staff training is mandatory for staff members. This training addresses all aspects of safety, child development, programming, and procedures. Key staff members are certified in CPR and basic first aid and those who participate in specialized activities (waterfront, archery, mountain biking and our challenge course) receive additional safety and procedural training that is specific to their activity.
In addition, our staff is trained according to the ACA safety guidelines.
We are very accustomed to helping campers who experience "homesickness.” In reality, most campers are so busy they don’t have time to be homesick! This is because we carefully and intentionally help all of our campers feel as if they are part of the entire camp community.
For many campers, experiencing emotions about home is normal and a natural part of the camp experience. We are prepared for this and help campers work through it. From the first moment, our greatest priority is to help every camper feel safe, cared for and important. Our staff are carefully selected for their understanding and compassion.
During staff training, we discuss in detail how to support "homesick" campers. Counselors are taught how to develop trust with a camper. A camper's social/emotional needs are always on our radar. Cabin counselors are taught to actively engage campers, personally check in with each individual camper several times during the day and watch to make sure each camper is adjusting to life at camp.
In cases when a camper seems isolated and unhappy, we use a “team approach” to address the situation. Cabin counselors, older staff, "buddy campers" and our health center staff may all help out with this. This is a process and we put in the time it takes. In this way, over time, we can assist a camper to overcome his/her fears. Often times, attention, support and making friends works wonders. Sometimes, simply getting a camper busy takes care of it. Before the camper knows it, he or she is having fun, and the homesick feelings pass.
We try to first work through these issues ourselves without involving a parent. We've often found that communication with parents exacerbates the problem. We certainly communicate with parents and keep them abreast on any developments and we never force a child to stay at camp.
Through careful communication, support, and encouragement the sad feelings usually pass away and campers come out the other side feeling a greater sense of their own strength, independence and confidence. Overcoming homesick feelings teaches a child about the power and strength they hold within.
Of course. That being said, one unhappy letter home is not unusual. A second or third letter, which echoes the first, does signal that it's time to call the director. We want to communicate with parents and welcome calls and email when parents have concerns.
Members of our staff include college students, teachers, trained and experienced educators and camp professionals. We make sure all of our staff have a passion for working with children.
For more information be sure to check out our Staff page.
We do our very best to ensure each staff member is fully committed to care for your child. All staff complete an application and go through an intensive interview process. We screen potential staff members with extreme care.
Each has an extensive personal interview with our director. We call all references and conduct background checks that access the national sex offender database and national and state police records. We make sure our staff have all the required certifications to perform their job.
We maintain a 1:4 ratio of staff to campers ages 7 - 15, exceeding ACA recommendations.
The ACA recommends at least:
1:6 for 6 to 8 year olds;
1:8 for 9 to 14 year olds;
1:10 for 15 to 18 year olds.
Yes, we follow these standards which deal with the health and safety of our campers and every policy, practice and procedure needed for operating a high quality camp.
Our camper re-enrollment rate is generally 70 percent or more.
Yes, but of course this varies. Every year a solid core of experienced staff return. We actually "grow" our own counselors through our C.I.T Program (Counselor in Training). Many staff began as campers and transition to C.I.T. and then to Junior and Senior Counselor. Such counselors have demonstrated ability to become a counselor.
Many have been at camp for 5 to 10 years. In addition, our experienced administrative leadership team also maintains continuity from year to year. Overall, we believe a healthy mix of new and experienced counselors is best. In this way, we have a core who already love camp and understand our mission and we also benefit from our new staff members’ energy and ideas.
Yes, we do. Many campers and their families have suggested that we continue to hire a diversified staff, which is our intention. In fact, we have had several staff members from Mexico, Europe and Australia, who came up through the ranks to become counselors.
A full description of summer communication is detailed here.
No, not for two week campers. We believe parent visits make it difficult for campers (after their parents leave) and may also have unintended effects on other campers whose parents do not visit.
Parents of 4 and 6 week campers may arrange visits by calling the camp office. It is best to visit on one of our transition days in between sessions.