Here's everything that parents, staff and directors talked about at the New Parent's Meetings.
Top 10 List to prep New Parents for CAMP!
1. Positive thoughts and expressions now will lead to positive things later on
Set your kids up for a positive experience
Leaving home is easier for kids if they know everything is okay at home
Don't say--"I don't know how I'll survive with you--I'll miss you so much!"
Say--"Of course I'll miss you and love you, but I'm sure you're going to have the BEST time at camp"
Write often and with GOOD thoughts
Keep your letters filled with boring, happy things. "We ate dinner, we gardened." Save exciting or sad news for face-to-face after camp
Leave a letter on the first day at the post office to make sure your camper gets mail
Pre-address envelopes and provide stationary
Pick a few people for your child write to, not 15
3. Stay Connected
Use Bunk1 to stay posted and informed with daily updates
Daily newsletters posted from the Director
Hundreds of photos posted each day
Unit Leader and Division Head updates though email on occasion
Concerns? Call the Summer camp office
4. Learn more about camp!
Twitter- Airy- @camp_airy Louise- @camp_louise
Instagram- Airy-camp_louise Louise- @AiryGameSpot
Open House-Taking place at both camps on Sunday, June 2nd from 10-2pm
5. Pack well, start early
Packing list on website
Label everything--not just initials, full name
Don't send anything you would be sad to lose
Send 2 laundry bags that are labeled with child's name
Ask your friends with campers what they bring--everyone has different "required" items
6. Prepare your child for camp life
Practice successful sleepovers
Nail down a bedtime routine that can be implemented at camp
Talk about a way for your camper to go to sleep if they are having trouble
Homemissing-it's ok to miss home
Show your camper what the their time away from home looks like on a calendar
Prep them for short (less than 5 min) showers, getting a bed area ready (making a bed etc)
and doing daily chores at camp.
7. Talk with camp parents and camp staff for tips and tricks
8. Complete all of your paperwork
Be honest. You know the most about your child. What works best, what issues may/will have at camp.
Medical forms-please fill out in completion
All paperwork to Jason
Bunk requests can be completed online, but totally fine if you don't have them, they will be bunked with new campers
Do not wait to get form filled out prior to camp, schedule your routine physical now
Info about prescription can come later if meds going to change before camp
All OTC drugs need to be dispensed through the pharmacy if taken on a regular basis
9. Stay busy, take care of yourself. Enjoy the time while your child is at camp
Some parents click refresh all day scanning the hundreds of photos online--check once a day--relax!
Take this opportunity as vacation or a break if you can--just let us know if you're leaving the country/will be unreachable
10. Be prepared for your child to make "Friends for Life"
Alicia was a sad, homesick camper her first summer and is now the Director of Camp Louise
Truly expect your camper to make friends for life
Questions from Parents:
Q: My camper isn't due for another check-up until September. Can I use the one from last year?
A: Yes, you can! Medical checkups have to be within a year of your child leaving camp to be valid.
Q: How can I prepare my child for a lice-free summer?
A: Check your kid's hair now. On Opening Day, make sure that your child's hair is free from braids, string, or anything else that could get in the way of the lice-check process. During the medical screening on opening day, everyone is checked for lice.
Q: What happens if my camper has lice on Opening Day?
A: We'll first give you the option to treat in-camp. We'll show you and your child to an area of camp where you can treat your camper's hair, wash and dry it, and comb though. After a few hours, you camper will be ready to be screened again for lice. We encourage you to wash all their clothes and towels right before packing. Otherwise, we'll also need to remainder all their clothing and towels to prevent the spread of lice. This can make for a difficult transition to the first day, but most campers that have lice on the first day spend the afternoon and evening with their bunk! If the case of lice is severe, we will ask you to treat at home and arrange things on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What happens if my camper gets lice during the summer?
A: If a camper gets lice during the summer, a few things will happen. We'll plan to treat in-camp, first checking the entire bunk and another else that may have had close contact with the camper. We'll treat everyone infected with Nix and wash everything in the bunk. Stuffed animals will be put in sealed bags for safety. We will then contact you and let you know what is happening at camp. We encourage you to remind you camper not to share hair accessories for this reason.
Q: My camper has fair skin--will counselors remind them to put on sunscreen?
A: Especially for the younger campers, counselors will remind them multiple times a day to apply sunscreen. We recommend the spray sunscreen, as it dries much faster. If this is a specific concern of yours, make sure to include it on the camper profile
Q: Do I need to fill out the pharmacy form if my child is not on Meds?
A: It's up to you. For right now, no, you do not need to fill out the form. However, if you child winds up needing medication while at camp, we'll need your payment (credit card) information) at that time. We'll store your information securely until/if it is needed. Therefore, if you would like us to have this information on-hand in case of a need, fill out Form C. If you'd like to provide your credit card information on an as-needed basis, do not fill out Form C.
Q: How many medical staff members are on hand at camp?
A: At all times, there are 2 doctors and 4 nurses at each camp. There are local hospitals we work with as well.
Q: My child has asthma. What should I do in terms of inhalers?
A: Bring 2 rescue inhalers to camp-1 will be kept in the Health Suite and 1 can remain on their person. Health Suite inhaler is also sent with the camper's Unit Leader on out-of-camp trips. All of the inhalers should have a counter, be fresh (not past the expiration date) and come with a doctor's order written on the medical form.
Q: What stock medicines are kept in the health center?
A: If you camper needs basic medication, we stock it. Many of our medications come in liquids stocked for campers that aren't able to take pills.
Q: My epi-pen is really expensive. Do I have to order a new one from the pharmacy?
A: If your epi-pen's expiration date is past your camper's last day of camp, you may bring it to camp. We'll still need a doctor's order on the medical form. We encourage you to use the same epi-pen you drop off with the school nurse for emergencies, as long as it has not expired.
Q: What is the procedure for drop-off?
A: Parents are emailed about two weeks prior to drop-off day with specific details about the process. To simplify:
Step 1: Drive to camp and pull in front of the gates. Someone will tell you your bunk # and also help you get the luggage out of your vehicle. We will take two pieces of luggage up to the bunks for you. Pack accordingly.
Step 2: Arrive at camp's gates. Head up the hill to the registration area, where you'll sign paperwork, check that your meds (if applicable) have arrived) and sign up for optional activities from fee-based (with age restrictions) like tubing, kayaking and free activities in-camp, like guitar, voice, music, and Bat Mitzvah lessons.
Step 3: Your camper then goes through the medical screening. She will be weighed, her temperature taken and her head checked. During this time, you'll have the opportunity to fill out a current camper profile with any update you'd like her counselor to know about.
Step 4: Success! You'll now head up to the bunk with you camper, meet her counselors, help her unpack, and say goodbye.
Q: When do campers find out what bunk they are in?
A: Campers discover their bunk number on the very first day of camp, upon arrival. We do not give out this information before that time.
Q: I'm worried about a few specific things with my camper. How can I convey this to the counselors?
A: Touch base with the counselors on the first day-and go over what you would like to highlight on the profile.
Q: What is your electronic policy at Camp?
A: No cell phones, absolutely. Please do not bring anything that can access the internet at camp. Best things to bring are dollar store handheld games-not expensive ones. Campers sometimes use iPod mini or shuffles for music during rest periods and bedtime. At Airy, there is no place to charge anything electronic. At Louise, there are limited outlets for charging. Cheap, battery operated devices are the best way to go. While reading is GREAT, this is a great time to bring paper books and take advantage of the libraries available at both camps.
Q: Whats the best way to label my camper's belongings?
A: Sharpie or other permanent marker with full name. Otherwise, buy labels online (Mabel's Labels or a similar company) for non-clothing items. If you have the time, iron-on labels are also great!
Q: What are the bunks like at Louise?
A: Every bunk is a little different. Every camper, regardless of the type of bunk they will live in, has their own (twin-sized) bed, a dresser, and a closet area. Please bring duffel bags, not trunks. Shower caddies with handles and drainage holes are great for helping campers organize their toiletries! Hanging shoe bags are also great for putting small products and supplies within (organized) reach.
Q: What are the bunks like at Airy?
A: Airy's bunks have two area, the sleeping area and a storage room. The sleeping area consists of bunk beds built into the bunk, with each camper getting a small cubby below their bed. These hold a few personal belongings and clothing for a few days. The rest of their belongings go in the outside storage room, which they have continuous access to. Camp Airy also recommends that campers not pack their things in trunks. Shower caddies with handles and drainage holes are great for helping campers organize their toiletries!
Q: Any Airy packing tips?
A: Less is more. LOTS of socks.
Q: What is the laundry process?
A: Laundry is done once a week at each camp. You'll want to pack an extra set of sheets and an extra laundry bag while the laundry is out.
Q: What kind of bedding should my camper bring?
A: Two twin sets of sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and a light comforter or blanket. Campers also are encouraged to bring sleeping bags, which they can open and use for extra bedding at night. Sleeping bags are to be used for outdoor sleeping primarily, and must be zipped open (blanket style) for use in the bunks.
Q: Should my camper bring their own instrument/ballet shoes?
A: If your camper has their own ballet shoes and plans to dance at camp, bring them! If they play an instrument and want to both practice and play at camp, bring that too! Both camps have pianos and drum kits at camp, so there's no need to lug that! Many campers bring their own acoustic guitars and other small instruments.
GENERAL CAMP QUESTIONS
Q: Talk to me about food at camp.
A: At both camps, campers enjoy 3 meals a day and snacks following lunch and in the evening.
Q: How is camp organized?
A: A camp, each grade group (Fall 2013 grade) is placed in a Unit, and Units are then grouped into Divisions
Unit A-Grades 2, 3, 4
Unit B-Grade 5
Unit C-Grade 6
Unit D-Grade 7
Unit E-Grade 8
Unit F-Grade 9
Trainee Division (these campers are Training to be Staff Members while at camp)
STs-Grade 10 (must attend 4 weeks)
CAs-Grade 11 (must attend 4 weeks)
CITs-Grade 12 (must attend all summer)
Q: What does bedtime look like?
A: Bedtime/lights out times vary per unit. Our youngest campers generally have lights out at 9:30, and light out are scheduled in 15 minute increments for the remaining units. Social flashlight time, where campers can be on each other's beds, then occurs. Following social flashlight time, we have personal flashlight time, where campers need to be on their own beds.
Q: What should I prepare my camper to do on their own before camp?
A: Lots of things! Our staff will be there to help, but here's how to get a leg-up on camp!
1. How to make beds--both once slept in and from scratch.
2. How to shower and get clean within 5 minutes.
3. How to comb and take care of their hair.
Q: Tell us more about the counselors you hire.
A: Our counselors are all college-aged young adults from around the world. They come to us though international agencies, recommendations, or have grown up at camp. They are all fingerprinted, background checked, and interviewed extensively.
A: Please see our new initiative
Q: How often do Airy/Louise campers see each other ?
A: According to our oldest camper, not enough. And to our youngest campers, too much. We have about 1 event per week together, whether it be at one of the camps or our of camp. At the end of each long session, we see each other's Musical Theater productions and have a dance. Each session, we also spend an evening with each other that is based on a fun theme. During each long session, campers break up into their Divisions or Units to have a "Night Out" in which they go off-site for bowling, roller-skating, ice-skating etc and a "Day Out" where campers enjoy a fantastic day at a local Amusement Park. Our optional water-trips, like canoeing and tubing, as well as some of our Outdoor Living trips, are also co-ed.
Q: How do the campers keep in touch after camp?
A: Each camper gets a bunk directory when they leave with great contact information of their bunkmates.