Health and Safety FAQ
Wellness & Prevention at Camp: From the Health Center Team
1. Who is in the Chewonki Health Center?
On Chewonki Neck there is a team of registered nurses who staff the Health Center. A registered nurse is on site every day and at least one health care staff member is on the premises at all times to support programs on site and all programs in the field.
Our Adventures for Girls and Wilderness Trip leaders are certified in Advanced First Aid and/or as a Wilderness First Responder and are well trained in problems unique to backcountry travel and have a well-developed safety system in place. All off-site trips, including our Debsconeag Wilderness Camps, have 24-hour satellite or cell phone access to a nurse in the Health Center.
Our Health Center staff complete an annual orientation that includes a review of standing medical orders from Chewonki’s supervising physician at Mid Coast Pediatrics in Brunswick, Maine.
2. What forms do I need to fill out for the Health Center in order to ensure that my child can attend camp or wilderness trips?
For your convenience, we have moved all of our health forms online to CampMinder. Click here to access your health forms. Please be sure to fill out all seven screens of the Health History section, fill out your Health Insurance information, and then print out the Physician’s Form for your doctor to sign based on your child’s most recent physical. You or your child’s physician may either scan and upload or fax the form to the Health Center at Chewonki. Your child needs to have had a physical WITHIN A YEAR OF THE START OF CAMP in order to participate. These forms are due no later than APRIL 1.
Even if your child participated in a Chewonki program last summer you do need to update the online Health History, which is required each year. If you completed an online Health History last summer you will only need to update any changes within the past year and sign your name on the final page.
Please note the other forms that we have provided (e.g., Self Administered Emergency Medication, Psychotropic Medication Policy, and Insurance Waiver), which may pertain to your child’s healthcare. We provided these forms in an effort give your child the fullest care while they are participating in our programs. These forms are not mandatory if the conditions do not apply to your child. The Health Center staff will share pertinent information on your child’s health forms with your child’s counselors and trip leaders on a need to know basis to ensure your child’s safety.
3. How does my child stay healthy at Chewonki?
Prevention is our goal! Nurses meet with and assess all participants upon arrival at Chewonki. We focus on each child’s individual health and well-being. Any medications, allergies and/or health conditions are noted and discussed. We educate all participants and staff members on the essentials of personal hygiene, hydration, sun protection, foot care, and overall body TLC. Also refer to questions 10 and 11 for restrictions.
4. What if my child has an allergy?
The Health Center asks that all participants who have a food, medication, and/or an environmental allergy make us aware of these conditions as soon as possible. Please be clear with us the details of your child’s allergy, so that we may make the appropriate preparations with you. Our goal as always is safety. Every summer our staff receives special training in the area of allergies and anaphylaxis. We have epinephrine on campus and in all of our first aid kits. Should your child carry his or her own epinephrine, please be sure to fill out our Self Administered Emergency Medication form (to be signed by both parent and physician) that is required by state law. See all of our forms posted on CampMinder.
Note: We have removed all peanut butter from our dining hall and wilderness trips. We made this choice in an effort to provide an inclusive environment and to further protect those with peanut allergies.
5. What if my child has asthma?
Our approach to asthma is similar to allergies. We look to prevent any asthma exacerbations while your child is with us for the summer. We encourage all children who use an asthma inhaler to bring two with them while at camp…one for the child to carry and one to be held at the Health Center. Please also see our Self Administered Emergency Medication form (to be signed by both parent and physician) on CampMinder should you wish for your child to carry his or her asthma inhaler while at camp.
6. How does Chewonki accommodate food preferences or restrictions?
We know that our food is fuel! Chewonki provides a variety of nourishing foods to all participants. When appropriate, our meals provide a vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy free alternative and alternatives such sun butter instead of peanut butter. Even on a wilderness trip, meals are carefully planned according to the needs of the group and we are continually refining the art of wilderness cooking.
7. How are medications given both on campus and out in the field?
At Chewonki a medication is any substance that is used to maintain or improve health, which includes, vitamins, OTC medications, eye drops, homeopathic remedies, etc. Every medication that a child takes while under our care is handled very seriously for the safety of the child. It is our policy to follow the instructions on the medication bottle(s) provided to us. The label on the bottle is treated as a physician prescription. Therefore, if you wish for your child to take a medication on an as needed basis the bottle must state this clearly.
Please remember all medications must be in English, have a pharmacy label, have camper’s name, name of the medication, dosage and route, as well as, time and frequency of dose.
The camp nurse has the right to refuse any medication that is deemed ambiguous and/or unsafe to give a child while at Chewonki.
Medication distribution times are during meals or before bedtime. If your child needs an exception to this system please let us know is advance. On Chewonki Neck all medications are kept in the Health Center and dispensed by the nurse. On Wilderness Trips and at our Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps medications are kept in first aid kits and dispensed by staff who are certified Wilderness First Responders. The exception to this is for families that choose to have their child carry their own Epi-pen or inhaler. These specific medications require a special permission form to be submitted before their session begins. (This form is available on your CampMinder account page in the Forms and Documents section.) Health forms MUST be complete before participants can take part in any Chewonki program. Please be in touch with the Health Center staff if you have any questions.
8. What if my child becomes ill or injured while on a Chewonki program?
We have standing orders signed by our local physicians to administer first aid and non-prescription medications. Doctors are available in Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine. We will inform you of any necessary physician visits, overnights in the Health Center, or removal of your child from the field. Chewonki expects campers and trippers to have their own health insurance coverage in case of injury or illness that may occur while participants are in our programs. Please be sure to provide us with complete insurance information (front and back copies of your insurance card) as requested in CampMinder.
9. What about immunizations?
We advocate complete immunization coverage for all persons as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We need a written statement signed by a health care provider specifying all vaccinations and the dates of administration your child has received. Please complete and sign the immunization form, or attach additional documentation. This documentation will prevent your child from receiving any unnecessary vaccinations in the event of an exposure at camp. We recognize that people may have religious, moral, philosophical or personal reasons for not having vaccinations. If this pertains to you, we need yearly written documentation of your decision. Please include this with your child’s health form. The following are some immunizations to pay particular attention to.
Tetanus boosters: Must be given within ten years of the program’s completion date. For those participating in the Mistissini or George River Expeditions, we require a booster within five years of the trip.
Tuberculosis Test: Must be given annually for those who have been determined as high risk, or after known exposure. Please discuss this with your child’s health care provider.
Varicella (chickenpox): If your child has not had chickenpox, please talk with your care provider about vaccination. State regulations prohibit persons from attending camp for 21 days after the onset of this disease.
Meningococcus: Although the risk of contacting bacterial meningitis at summer camp is extremely low we want you to know that there is a vaccine available to prevent one form of this potentially fatal illness. Participants live in close quarters and this may put them at higher risk. Talk to your child’s health care provider.
10. What about Head Lice?
As we have stated above, preventative health is our goal at Chewonki. Please check your child’s hair for nits and lice in the weeks prior to coming to Chewonki. If treatment is needed, carefully follow your pediatrician’s instructions. Make sure all personal items (such as blankets, sleeping bags and clothing) are cleaned thoroughly before coming to Chewonki.
Sending your child to Chewonki with head lice will greatly impact their experience. In boys camp they will be scheduled to visit the Health Center multiple times during the program for lice removal.
Unfortunately, because of the remote nature and the challenges of effective treatment in the field, Wilderness Trippers and Adventures for Girls particpants who arrive at Chewonki and are determined by the nursing staff to have nits will NOT be allowed to continue with their programs.
11. What about Communicable Disease?
Please call us if your child has been exposed to or is infected with a contagious disease prior to camp. Sore throats should be cultured to rule out strep infection. Any child with a fever greater than 100° F or sick enough to be in bed should delay participation until improved. Your child should be fever free for 24 hours before their arrival to Chewonki. We expect your child will arrive to on Chewonki Neck healthy and ready to fully participate.
12. When does the fun begin?
Two of the most exciting times of the year happen in June and July when we welcome your child to Chewonki! We appreciate your attention to the above questions/concerns. It will help the Chewonki Health Center to have a good understanding of your child’s health prior to arrival. We are looking forward to the start of summer season. Please remember all your health forms are due by APRIL 1. We anticipate a healthy and fun-filled summer.
13. Further Questions?
Contact the Health Center with further questions.
485 Chewonki Neck Rd.
Wiscasset, Maine 04578
Phone: (207) 882-7323 ext. 142 or ext. 117
Fax: (207) 882-9564