A Message From Kendall and Channing, 17 and 14, Camp Foley Campers
Wellbeing is defined as a person’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health. At camp, wellbeing is characterized by a camper’s ability to participate fully and in the ways they choose while feeling safe, supported, and engaged.
This is a shared goal between our parents, campers and Foley staff and it begins at home prior to the start of camp. We want your camper to be successful – both in and out of camp! We take pride in giving individual support to our campers to assist them in thriving at camp. Let’s work together to make sure we have the information we need to support your camper throughout their experience and that your camper begins to have the language to advocate for themselves.
In completing the following forms, you are providing valuable information regarding your Camper’s Wellbeing:
- On the Camper Application: Writing special considerations, concerns or activities that you do not want your camper to participate in.
- On the Camper Information Form: Sharing information about your child like how your child responds if something is bothering them or goals they may have for camp.
- On the Camper Health History: Alert us to dietary restrictions, medications, or past injuries. We also ask if there are significant family changes and information about when we need a professional referral from a mental health clinician.
If you feel a discussion with Marie Schmid, Director, prior to camp will assist us in supporting your camper’s wellbeing (creating a support plan while at camp), please contact her. Please note that information is disseminated to camp staff on a need to know basis. Your honesty is appreciated and helps us tremendously in working with your camper.
There are times when campers have choice, for example in choosing their daily activities like archery or water skiing, times when they need to compromise and decide as a cabin group on an evening program or when there is no choice like sharing in cabin cleanup. All of these involve participation and our staff will support our campers as they engage in these aspects of our program.
Difference in Feeling Uncomfortable versus Unsafe
Feeling uncomfortable is normal and can lead to excitement and taking healthy risks followed by confidence and ease. This promotes camper wellbeing. Many campers have experienced that “nervous feeling” on the first day in a new school or when trying out for a team. Let your camper know that our staff are there to assist them from moving from an uncomfortable place to a thriving place. If a camper is feeling unsafe with how they are being treated or in any other ways, please encourage them to advocate for themselves by talking to a camp staff member they feel comfortable with.
Self-advocacy can be described as an individual’s ability to effectively communicate and convey needs. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. It involves being honest about your limitations and also about areas of growth that an experience may provide for you. Begin by encouraging your camper in the following:
Four Key Elements of Self-Advocacy
- Understanding one’s needs.
- Know what kind of support might help or who to ask if you don’t know.
- Communicate these needs.
- Reflect on how experiences have helped you grow as a person, including how to advocate.
Camp Self-Care Strategies
Camp is busy and we want your camper to make the most of their time here. Most kids have non-social time worked into their routine at home. Sometimes it can be harder to get this time at camp. Visiting through some strategies can be imperative to their success.
- Embrace camp life. Many campers have expressed wanting to try activities, get to know other people, be outside, find ways to be less connected to technology and other goals for their time here. The best way to succeed is by truly embracing camp life and really BEING here. Not just physically but mentally. Encourage full participation to meet these goals.
- Balance time with friends & being by oneself. Camp is social and our campers are surrounded by other campers the majority of the day. Some children need time by themselves. Every day we have a short rest time (30-45 minutes). Kids are required to be on their own bed doing something individually. They can read, write letters, draw, nap, make bracelets or anything that doesn’t involve talking or moving around the room. Please be sure to send things with your camper that they can do. They can have iPods for music, and we ask them not to bring any handheld games or video players.
- Use daily free time. After our 5th activity period, we have a 45 minute Free Time. Campers can look at a white board each day to see what is available – swimming, tennis, 4-square, basketball, open crafts, hangout on the grass and more! This can be a place where kids who need extra time alone can find a hammock to read, shoot hoops solo or if they are more social, find a little extra turbo button by doing something with others. Coach your camper to use this time doing what THEY want to do.
- Most importantly, what works for your camper? A good discussion pre-camp can go a long way.
Our Camp Nurse and Physical Care at Camp
A Registered Nurse lives on site to care for the health needs of our campers. After the cabin counselors complete a daily health check (recording coughs, scratchy throats, runny noses, etc.), our nurse visits with campers and provides general medical care as needed. She distributes camper medications, comforts, and cares for our campers according to our Standing Orders. If needed, she can transport a camper to local clinics (approximately 15 to 20 minutes away) or to a hospital (45 minutes from camp). 70% of Foley counselors are certified in CPR and First Aid as well.
Too Sick to be in a Cabin
A camper needs to be assessed by the nurse and/or remain in the Health Center if (a few examples):
They have a temperature of 100.1 degrees or higher
They have an uncontrolled cough.
They have been diagnosed with strep throat, pink eye, or other bacterial infections
They have a rash that has not been identified and treated.
They have vomited or had diarrhea.
They feel too ill to attend activities and participate in the camp program.
They have head lice
A camper may be able to return to their cabin after (a few examples):
They are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours.
They have been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours
Enough time has lapsed to pass the contagious stage of the diagnosed illness
12 hours after treatment and no active lice are seen
Communication With our Nurse During the Session
Physical Health Needs and Support Plans
Health Forms and Immunization Exemption Form
See the chart below for information about Health Forms that you will need to complete BEFORE arrival at camp. Additional forms need to be filled out for campers with Diabetes, Asthma or Anaphylaxis Allergic Reactions.
|Camper Health Form (in CampInTouch account)||Mandatory|
|Medical Recommendation Form (Drs Physical Exam; in CampInTouch account )||Recommended|
|Immunization Exemption Form||As Needed|
|Diabetes Form||As Needed|
|Anaphylaxis Allergy Form||As Needed|
|Asthma Form||As Needed|
Campers are served three, balanced meals each day offering options at the cereal or salad bar, side entrees and a main dish. Campers sit in their cabin or pack groups with their counselors and peers.
Please list special dietary needs, including allergies or other concerns on the Camper Health Form as this is instrumental in working with your camper. Marie Schmid, Executive Director, welcomes a discussion prior to camp in partnering with you to meet your camper’s diet. Depending on the need, you may be asked to send supplemental food to be served or prepared in our camp kitchen. Camp menus can be sent to you prior to camp at your request and we will do our best to prepare similar food items for campers on special diets. We are accustomed to working with peanut, soy, glucose and other allergies including the challenging eater. Communication is key!
Ticks and Mosquitoes
To protect against ticks and mosquitos, we advise that campers wear light-weight pants, long-sleeve shirts and a hat or bandana while in the woods or on camping trips. Before venturing into the woods, campers “tick up and tuck in” by tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants and spraying themselves with a repellent containing DEET (camp provides). In addition, campers are encouraged to do regular “tick checks.” In addition to verbal reminders, there are posters in each cabin reminding campers to check for ticks.
If a deer tick (the type that may carry Lyme Disease) is embedded in a camper, they should go to the nurse to have the tick removed and documented. Parents receive written notification if a deer tick is removed from their camper.
Not all campers make the nurse aware of a tick (or even find these small ticks on them). Also, symptoms can appear days after the tick was removed. If your child develops a localized rash or flu-like symptoms chills, fever, headache, and fatigue you may want to contact your family physician and mention that your child was at a camp in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. For more information: American Lyme Disease Foundation, Minnesota State Health Department or contact the Camp Foley Office.
Test(s) may be conducted for a variety of tick-borne diseases. If detected in the early stages it can be treated successfully by antibiotics. ANOTHER TICK DISEASE is Human Anaplasmosis. Signs and symptoms may include fever (over 102), severe headache, muscle aches, and chills and shaking.
Regarding West Nile Virus, which is transmitted from mosquitoes, research is finding that cases are both rare and mild. Symptoms include fever, headaches or body aches. For more information: CDC or contact the Camp Foley office.
Our Camper Coordinator and Social and Emotional Care at Camp
Our Camper Coordinator is a parent and/or teacher, who is experienced in listening, advocating and supporting our campers who need a little more care to make camp successful for them. They live on site and can readily listen to a homesick camper, work out a disagreement between campers, or help a camper find a lost lifejacket. After the cabin counselors complete their Daily Camper Notes (recording friendships, activity highs and lows, emotional concerns, etc.) our Camper Coordinator visits with campers encouraging them to advocate for themselves their needs and making a plan. She also contacts parents and handles inappropriate camper interactions according to our behavior guidelines. Our camper coordinator supports our counselors in their work with the campers in activities and cabins. The Directors and Assistant Directors are likewise trained to work with our campers. Many of our staff are certified in Mental Health First Aid or have taken other training outside of camp.
Being Anxious: Inclement Weather, First Day of Camp, etc
Every child adjusts to being away from home differently and experiences some degree of homesickness or missing family, friends and a familiar routine. Separation is an important part of growing up but can be a challenge. The methods we use to cope with homesickness differ from camper to camper – please feel assured, by our long history as a summer camp, that we can adequately handle homesickness. As a parent you can help before camp by talking positively about camp, independence and separation. Please do not promise your child they can call home or see you if they are homesick as they cannot. Discuss the positives of camp like cabin living and the activities. Homesickness: How to Prevent has additional information. Each summer we visit with more “childsick” parents than we do homesick campers!
Scheduling Tele Therapy
1. Having therapy sessions scheduled for the same time each week (or however often your camper needs it scheduled) at a consistent time, makes it easier for both the camper and in creating support.
2. Best Times are during an activity period – 9:15am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 2:45pm, and 4:15pm as campers are going to a variety of activities and kids can easily slide out of the program into a private area for their session. Sometimes there is no choice and we will make it work!
3. Prior to camp, please alert us to the fact that your camper will be attending tele-therapy so we can arrange a location and plan here at Foley. We will give you the direct phone number for our camper coordinator or camp nurse who will be the support person for that camper. Helping them get online, communicating with the therapist about time changes, etc.
4. Please have the camper bring the device to make the call, zoom meeting, etc. We will collect that device, keep it in the camp office and make sure it is charged as needed. Campers find it more comfortable to use their own device as different programs and platforms can look different from device to device.