Parent/Guardian Handbook

How to Prepare

Balances due 14 days before the first day of camp!

Preparing your Child for Camp:

  • Make sure balance is paid 14 days prior to first day of camp
  • Review the Printable Packing List below
  • Try out your gear before camp 
  • Review directions for drop off & pick up
  • Review Policies on this web page
  • Check in with your child. What are they excited about? Is there anything they feel unsure about?
  • Review the Separation at Drop Off document
  • Get ready for an awesome time at camp!

Logistics

In this document you’ll find:

  • Camp hours
  • Camp locations
  • Instructors for drive-through drop-off & pick-up
  • Policies for early or late pickup or late drop-off

Attendance line:

To notify us of an absence or alternate drop-off/pick-up time need,

call or text: ‪(541) 937-5799‬

 

Activity Based Policies

The policies are the same ones that we introduce students to during camp. You can support your child’s success at camp by reviewing these rules with them so that they know what to expect and can ask questions with someone they are familiar with. 

(links to updated policies coming soon!)

  • Wading in Water Policy
  • Knife Safety Policy
  • Tree Climbing Policy
  • Archery Safety Policy
  • Fire Building Policy
  • Plant Harvesting Policy

Risk Mitigation

Many normal activities in life carry inherent risks such as crossing a busy street or playing sports. Spending time in nature is no different.  

One of the primary lessons that kids learn at nature camp is how to deal with hazards by better understanding them and how to take risks in an appropriate way.

Here are a few common hazards of time in nature and how we can help kids mitigate them.

We take heat and dehydration seriously. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Ensure your child is comfortable drinking plain water for hydration.
  • Pack enough water bottles to contain at least 4 cups of water or 1 liter (in addition to any lunch beverages). We have places to refill water. For older students, we may ask you to double that on days where we are hiking beyond access to water.
  • Have your child drink water before coming to camp and after getting home from camp. 
  • Show your child the benefits of “testing” their thirst by having a small sip, instead of just thinking about whether they are thirsty or not. This gets them past the resistance to pulling out their water bottle and often we find we are thirstier than we thought.
  • Pack a portable shade such as a thin longsleeve outer layer or an umbrella.

Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is a common native plant of western North America. This plant is present at most of our program sites (except Big Bear Camp). Contact with the plant can cause an itchy rash due to an oil the plant produces called urushiol.

Our first protection against poison oak is to learn to know what it looks like in our area at this time of year. That helps us to avoid contact with the plant. It’s characteristic three-leaflet pattern is easily recognized by many hikers. However, Poison-oak takes on many appearances depending on the time of year and where it is growing.

We also highly recommend wearing long pants and closed toe shoes to reduce exposure. If exposure to poison-oak occurs there are a few things that you can do to reduce the chance of developing a rash.

The most important thing is to scrub all exposed skin well with cool water and lots of soap as soon as possible after exposure. Wash all clothes that may have been exposed separately to avoid cross contamination.

There are several varieties of stinging insects that we are likely to encounter while walking in the woods.

The ones that we encounter most commonly are “yellow jackets” (Vespula spp.). The yellow jackets like to nest in cavities underground during the summer and fall where an unsuspecting explorer might accidentally step on their nest without knowing it. Yellow jackets will defend their nests aggressively if they feel threatened and they are capable of stinging multiple times. We take several precautions during the yellow jacket season to reduce the risk of being stung.

First, when travelling off of established trails instructors always go in front in order to watch out for ground nests that might be hard to spot. Second, we teach students to react calmly when yellow jackets are present (such as during lunch time).

In addition to these precautions, all staff are trained on the assessment of severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. 

Finally, we sometimes encounter ticks while travelling in the woods. These parasitic arachnids like to hang out on tall grasses and grab on to hikers as we pass by. They will often crawl around on a person for a long time before biting and our best protection against tick bites is regular tick checks.

We encourage campers to check themselves twice a day during springtime when ticks are most prevalent. Typically it works well to check for ticks while in the bathroom as they prefer to be in warm, moist areas of the body, under clothing.

If a tick does bite, it can be removed by pinching it gently at the head with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight out.

The most common large mammals in our area that may pose a risk to humans are black bears (Ursus americanus) and cougars (Felis concolor). These animals are native to our area and range commonly throughout the valley and foothills. However, bears and cougars are very shy of people and will try at all times to avoid the sights, sounds, and smells they associate with humans.

Being with large (and often noisy) groups of kids makes it unlikely that we will ever encounter one of these animals during camp. However, as an additional precaution we make students aware of how to react if they do see a bear or cougar.

There are differences in each but generally it is advisable to stay together as a group. Don’t turn your back on the animal and back away slowly. In some cases it is appropriate to make noise to scare off the animal. Nevertheless, in most cases the only indication we ever get of the presence of large mammals in our area is the signs and tracks they leave behind.

Childhood allergies are unfortunately very common these days. Let us know if your child has any allergies (food, pollen, latex, etc.) during the registration process, and include the severity of sensitivity as well as the symptoms that result when exposed.

The most common and dangerous allergy we encounter is to peanuts. For this reason, we are a PEANUT FREE program.  No one is allowed to bring food containing peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oils, etc. to any day camps.

Please do not send your child to day camps with any peanut-containing foods in their lunch or snacks.We appreciate your understanding and sensitivity to the needs of all our campers.

Flow of the Day

Our day camps follow this flow of the day, with modifications based on theme, events, and student needs: 

  • Sign-in
  • Opening Circle (snack, introductions, agreements, Wildkin roles, review plan for the day)
  • Warm-up Activity
  • Bathroom use and waterbottle top-off
  • Morning whole-group activity to support students in the learning outcomes of the camp and experience the theme they signed up for
  • Lunch
  • Village Time, where students are given freedom to pursue their interests within a prepared environment and with 1-on-1 mentoring
  • Quiet Awareness, featuring games and activities that build toward Sit Spot skills
  • Closing: Reflections Time and closing song. May also include team-building activities and important safety reminders such as the introduction to Knife Safety or the need to bring appropriate footwear for wading. 
  • Sign-out Game: This game goes on until all students are signed out so don’t hesitate to tell your child its time to go home!

Our Instructors

Learn about our instructors here!

Many of our instructors have “Nature Names.” If you would like to know an instructors real name, you can always ask!