Camp Parent Handbook

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Dear Parents & Campers:

It is a great honor and privilege to journey into our 36th year of excellence and service to the 1000s of families and campers who have come to know Camp Woodmont as their summer camp home since 1981. Your child’s physical and emotional safety and well-being is our greatest priority. We are proud to provide what we feel is one of the best summer camp programs available: one that encourages positive character development and personal growth and that helps children become secure, independent, well-adjusted young people.

This guidebook will help you get ready for camp. While the information contained here applies to campers as well as parents, we have addressed it to Parents because your leadership in camp preparation is vital to giving your child a successful experience. Please take time to read and study this information with your child and review it several times before arrival to make sure you and your camper understand and will be able to follow these guidelines.

Among the topics covered in this guide are camp policies and procedures, required medical forms, financial policies, deadlines, what to bring to camp, homesickness, and much more. Please call to speak with us personally if you have any questions about any topics covered.

Please don’t forget that we require a new medical form each year. The form is on our web site. Please mail it at least one month prior to arrival.

Thank you again for entrusting your most precious earthly gifts, your children, to us for a short time during summer camp. We are excitedly anticipating the upcoming season, and we look forward to meeting each of you in person this summer!

Sincerely,

Alyson Bennett Gondek
Camp Director

 

Camp Parent Handbook:
The Camp Woodmont Family Guidebook

Arrival &
Departure Times

Since the camp staff is busy with preparation for each camp session, please arrive only between 3 & 5 PM on Sundays. Departure time for all sessions is Fridays between 2 & 4 PM. Please plan to bring and pick up campers only at these times as staff is not available before or after these times.

PICK UP DAY: A closing ceremony is held at the end of each two-week session and all parents are encouraged to attend (bring your camera!). All campers and staff will depart by 4 PM. Campers staying longer than two weeks MUST be picked up between sessions since the staff takes a well-deserved break and is not at camp during this time. Please do not bring your dog or other family pet to camp.

Camp Store,
Camp T-shirts,
Group Photo & DVD

At check-in, parents deposit $20 per week for store treats. The camp store will open each afternoon and each camper may purchase one or two treats and a cold drink. The store does not sell items like film, flashlights, batteries, toilet articles, stationery or stamps, so be sure to bring these to camp. Campers may also purchase a camp group picture and/or camp T-shirt at check-in ($20 each).

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Camper Mail, Packages & Email

Mail call at camp is a much anticipated daily event. Write your camper often, but do not mail letters after Tuesday of the week he/she is to leave camp. While we encourage campers to write frequently, you may only get one or two letters from your camper (it’s not that they don’t miss you, they may just be too busy having fun). E-mail is another popular way for parents to write campers: this service is provided by www.bunk1.com, an Internet company, and allows parents to send email to campers (there is a charge by bunk1.com for email service). Instructions for email will be provided at check-in and on our web site.

We are joining many other camps that have recently adopted a policy that strongly discourages sending packages to campers for the following reasons:

  1. Bulk and volume of packages makes life difficult for both the postal delivery person and camp mail room.
  2. Traffic of delivery vans up & down camp roads is dangerous for campers and horseback riders.
  3. Disposal of packaging materials puts stress on both camp and land-fill resources.
  4. Packages can cause unnecessary friction and hurt feelings among campers (campers who do not get packages feel left out).
  5. Camp is so much fun and most campers are so well adjusted that they do not need materialistic stimulation to feel good about themselves; they are extremely happy when they get letters from home.

Please discuss this policy with your child, and with extended family who may be tempted to send packages. Parents may only send birthday presents or absolutely necessary emergency items to attention of the camp director.

Telephone & Laundry

Please explain to your camper(s) that the telephone IS NOT for campers’ use since calls interrupt the camp activities. Campers are not allowed to bring cell phones. Parents will be called immediately in case of an emergency. NO LAUNDRY facilities are available at camp. Pack a dirty clothes bag and enough clothes for the length of the session. Please mark all items with your camper’s name. Talk with your camper about caring for his/her clothes and belongings. The camp is not responsible for lost clothing or other items. Emergency laundry service for campers who soil their clothes/bedding is provided ($25 service charge).

Illness or Accident

In case of illness or accident of a camper, the parents will be called. If the parents and/or the emergency contact listed cannot be reached, the camp director will determine if the child should be taken to a doctor or hospital. The parents are responsible for all medical charges including physician, hospital, X-ray, pharmacy, transportation and any expense that may be incurred. Parents will be asked to pick up campers if they are sick for more than 12 – 24 hours.

Inspiration Times

Two-week campers are invited to participate in planning and presenting an inspirational service on Sunday morning (non-denominational). Although Camp Woodmont is not a church camp, it does promote the spiritual growth of campers and the camp has a Christian philosophy and atmosphere. Short, non-denominational devotional times are held each morning for the entire camp and in the cabin groups at night.

Homesickness

It’s really not a sickness. It should be called “missing home.” And, it is normal for some children to experience fleeting moments of homesickness, i.e. missing home. This is a part of growing up. Our program keeps camper so busy that we rarely see anything more than very minor homesickness. We have found that homesickness can manifest itself in many ways: most children do not admit to being homesick, instead they will say they don’t feel good or have a tummy ache. Many times a homesick child will be homesick one minute and the next minute he/she is going off to activities and running and playing and apparently not homesick any more.

Since letters home are written during quiet times when homesickness may be more manifest, some parents may receive a “homesick letter”. Usually these letters do not say “I am homesick” but instead may state things like “I don’t like camp”, “My counselor is mean”, “I am really sick” etc.

Parents should understand that the camp director and counselors are aware of everything that is going on at camp and that we make a conscious effort to visit individually with every camper daily. We are usually aware of homesick campers and give them extra attention to make sure they get over it easily.

In over 30 years of camping, we have practically never had to ask a parent to pick up a camper due to homesickness, however there are several tips we can give parents and campers to help minimize the impact of homesickness:

  1. Before camp discuss this with campers and explain that they may experience an occasional feeling of homesickness. Tell them that the best thing to do if they feel homesick is to find an activity or friend to get involved with.
  2. Let campers know that camp is a big step in their growing-up process and that you are proud of them for being able to take this first step towards independence by going to camp.
  3. Explain that they will not be allowed to call home even if they are homesick.
  4. Tell campers that they can discuss any personal problems (personal hygiene, homesickness, interpersonal problems) with their counselor or the camp director in private and have confidence that the staff member will understand without making them feel embarrassed.
  5. Make your farewell on check-in day brief; do not linger at the cabin area for longer than necessary.
  6. Avoid sending letters that contain statements that could aggravate homesick feelings. Avoid statements like “we miss you so much here at home”, or “your dog or cat or pet really misses you” etc.
  7. Parent (and other family member) visits are discouraged: while visits may seem like a good idea, we have found that they disrupt the camp program and can actually cause unnecessary homesickness.

In many cases, the parents are actually more anxious than the campers (kind of a reverse homesickness). As parents ourselves, we understand your concern for your child’s well-being especially when sending them to camp for the first time. We occasionally get calls from anxious parents who need reassurance; and while we understand your apprehension, you can be assured that we are aware of and are constantly supervising all aspects of camp.

Standards of Conduct

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Camp is a place where children can be free to have a good time in an unregimented atmosphere and enjoy many activities with others. We do not expect any discipline problems; however, if a camper’s behavior creates a situation which is detrimental to the other campers, the staff, or the camp program or property, the parents will be notified to pick that camper up immediately. No offensive language or behavior, no pranks, no bullying or intimidation of others, no smoking or tobacco use, no weapons, no cell phones or electronic devices, no alcohol, no drugs or inappropriate reading materials are allowed at Camp Woodmont. (Discuss this with your camper.) Children with emotional/behavior problems should attend a special needs camp.

Also, traditional attire is appropriate at camp. Please avoid unusual or non-traditional clothing, jewelry (such as belly-button rings & large earrings), makeup or hair styles.

Transportation

The camp does not provide transportation. We may help parents arrange car pools, if requested. Campers flying to camp are picked up and returned to the Chattanooga, TN airport ($95 service charge). Please talk with us about the best arrival/departure times before making reservations.

Staying Longer

Children who sign up for 1 week may stay for 2 weeks, if space is available. If your child wants to stay at camp longer than the original registration, we will contact you to make arrangements. Sign up for the 1st week of a 2-wk session if you think your child will want to stay 2 weeks instead.