Running a summer camp? Get your free printables!
Like many educators, I spent many summers running summer camp for children. In a constantly changing world of risk management and new viruses (H1N1!!) and regulations, it is important to consider your communications with parents if you are in charge of children not your own. So if you have your grandchildren for a week, or the neighborhood parents are sharing summer activity duty, or you are running a STEM summer academic experience, these forms might be helpful to you.
Children have basic needs: physiological, safety, belonging, and esteem. Their growth needs include cognitive and self-actualization. (For more, research Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) Let’s make sure these needs are always in mind when planning summer activities for children.
- Find out what medicines and health products can be used with the children and what do they take regularly. You can alert parents that you plan to have acetaminophen and ibuprofen in your first aid kit and you will have bug spray with 5% DEET, but you need to know if their child is allowed to have those if necessary. A child may have a medication, such as insulin, that may need refrigeration or syringes. And you need to know about food allergies.
- Get health information and permissions in case the child has to go to urgent care or even an emergency room. You might need the health insurance information, or you may need to get camp insurance coverage and have the parents agree (this will be important if you have to hire counselors or you are using volunteer staff.)
- Get permission to take and use photos. Ending a camp with a celebration that includes parents/guardians and a slide show of the camp activities with inspiring music is a must! Parents may have many reasons for not wanting a child’s picture made, whether cultural, religious, or legal. Use a photo release form that covers every entity that might need to use the photos. If your camp is part of a larger organization, you could receive requests for national conference slide shows or even Web sites or videos. Be sure these groups are listed in your photo release form. You will need to keep these forms on file for future reference, so it may make sense to scan them in to store in digital format. If you have children who cannot be in pictures, you can issue armbands to help everyone remember.
- Clarify the dress code, behavior, and dismissal policy. It helps if you can think of some worst-case scenarios – or just have a chat with someone who has been a camp counselor! For dress code tips, check your local school systems’ dress codes. Also, be sure to be respectful of any rules for places you plan to visit on field trips.
You may also need forms for field trips, liability waiver, safety checklist, drop off/pick up policies, computer acceptable use, copyright permission for work product, informed consent for surveys, what to bring/what is provided, schedule and directions. I must say thanks to my friend KF who mentored me on forms for parent communication!
Go to Google Drive to download printables to use.
Disclaimer: I do not have legal expertise, so be sure to check forms with your legal counsel. All information provided on this site is for entertainment and education purposes only. Using any information from thecasabouquet.com is at your own risk.
- Start a Camp from the American Camping Association
- Start your own summer camp from Parenting
I recently heard a story about a grandmother having “grandma camp” with two active little boys while the parents were in another state on vacation. One child seriously hurt his arm at the playground and she did not have any insurance information to take the child to the emergency room. It’s so easy to think, “The parents are just a cell phone call away,” but sometimes you really need the right documents so you can take appropriate action until the parents can get there.
At our camp sponsored by NC State University and the National Science Foundation, my counselors learned the importance of the “blue bag”. We always had a first aid kit, sunscreen and bug spray, parent/guardian contact info, and children’s medical forms with us at all times, no matter what! And all our phones were set up to receive emergency weather information and maps of our locations for the day.
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