Camp Merrie-Woode Staff Handbook

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1 Camp Merrie-Woode Staff Handbook

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION... page 2 History Philosophy Location Orientation EMPLOYMENT POLICIES... page 4 Contract Agreement Salary 24 Hours Leave Time Check-In and Curfew Explanation of Policies Smoking Alcohol Drugs Inappropriate Language Insurance Coverage/Health Forms Personal Property Out in the Community After Camp Communication with Campers CAMP LIFESTYLE & GUIDELINES... page 7 Support Systems Staff Meetings Telephones/ Mailing Address The Ark Male Staff Visitors Vehicles Business Office and Program Office Maintenance Requests Uniforms Non-Cabin Staff Scheduled Duties Staff Evaluation CAMPERS & CABIN LIFE page 10 Cabin Lines First and Last Two Nights Expectations Rest Hour Bedtime Personal Hygiene & Health Cabin Inspection Cabin Overnights Parent Letters Role Modeling Graffiti Teasing and Practical Jokes Discipline Sexuality Profanity Gum and Candy Technology The Camp Road HEALTH & SAFETY...page 14 Missing Campers Check Out Security Accidents Child Abuse Emergency Lightening In Case of Accident Car or Van Accident I want to be on TV Cloud Nine and Illnesses Waterfront Safety ACTIVITIES & THE CAMP DAY.page 16 Opening Days Morning Castle Activity Program Trips Sunday Schedule Evening Programs Campfires Sleep-In Tajar Night Closing Days Dining Hall Guests at Meals Birthdays Lost & Found RESOURCES... page 19 Ideas for Cabin Activities Inspection: Cabin, Bathhouse, and Grading Visitation Policy Parent Letters Ideas for Teaching a Skill Days Off Merrie-Woode Dictionary Daily Schedules 2

3 INTRODUCTION Welcome to Camp Merrie-Woode! You have been chosen as a staff member because of your enthusiasm for and commitment to young people. We are excited that you are joining us this summer. The strength of any camp rests with its staff, and your contribution to camp this summer will be affected partly by your understanding of the camp and its programs. This handbook will help to prepare you for a terrific summer at camp. It will answer many questions that you have about Merrie-Woode, but don t forget to call us if we can answer other questions! Please take the time to read this handbook carefully and bring it to camp with you. Get ready for the best summer of your life! WHO STARTED CAMP MERRIE-WOODE? Founded in 1919, Merrie-Woode was directed for nearly thirty years by Mrs. Jonathan C. Day, of New York and Richmond. Dammie, as all knew her, was born of English parents, and for this reason she gave Merrie-Woode its old English traditions and name. After the 1951 season, Dammie sold the camp to Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Orr of Atlanta, who with their son Fritz, Jr. and his wife Dottie, operated the camp until In the fall of that year, after the Orrs decided they would not continue operating Merrie- Woode, a group of former campers and their families, under the leadership of Dr. Hugh Caldwell, created the Merrie-Woode Foundation. This Foundation was established as a nonprofit corporation to purchase the camp and operate it through a Board of Trustees composed of former campers, their husbands, and fathers. Thus, Merrie-Woode is now, in effect, owned and operated by its former campers. WHAT IS CAMP MERRIE-WOODE ABOUT? Every camp has its unique character and influence. Merrie-Woode seeks to provide a maximum opportunity for fun and growth in a wilderness setting. The purpose of Merrie-Woode is to build socially minded, considerate, resourceful persons who will be able to find so much interest in other people and every day existence that their lives will always be rewarding. Merrie-Woode has always been a spiritual place based on Christian tradition. The camp is a creation from Dammie Day s own spiritual life. She wanted the Merrie-Woode experience to teach moral values and inspire standards of honor, courage, purity, and self-sacrifice. She wanted us to appreciate simple living and to acquire eyes that see the beauty of God s world. She wanted us to treasure all that we have been given at Merrie-Woode, and in turn for us to give of ourselves to others. From camp s earliest years, Merrie-Woode has been built around the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. At the end of each session, we reenact Follow the Gleam, the drama of King Arthur and his knights search for the Holy Grail, in our chapel area. Afterwards, campers receive a lit candle and walk down the cabin line to the swimming docks, where the candles are floated out on the lake, signifying the Merrie-Woode spirit going out into the world. The high ideals of King Arthur and Dammie Day live on at Merrie-Woode. More lasting than athletic skills are these ideals that the campers take home. They learn that because they have been given so much, much is expected of them in terms of useful lives. Opportunities are offered for campers to learn and develop skills and values, which are not easily attained in any other kind of community. In every activity there are high standards of excellence, but competition 3

4 is not a part of Merrie-Woode. We believe that too much competitiveness is divisive to the community spirit we foster. For the same reason, very few awards are given; no one is singled out as Best Camper or Honor Camper. Rather, each girl, by learning new skills and progressing at her own rate, develops confidence in herself. Living up to these standards is not always an easy task. In this community, young people have a tremendous opportunity to watch and learn through the example of their counselors. Much preparation and countless hours of work contribute to a successful camp season. Nevertheless, the spirit and happiness of Merrie-Woode is dependent upon the personality and leadership of the counselors. Your actions and good judgment will be reflected in the overall spirit of the camp. A unified staff is crucial to this end. Always remember that in the eyes of the camper, you are her ideal. Your actions and behavior are most important. The example you set will influence not only your cabin, but also everyone in camp. This handbook will help you reach that goal. WHERE IS CAMP LOCATED? Camp Merrie-Woode is situated in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 60 miles southwest of Asheville, N.C., near Cashiers and Highlands. Even though Merrie-Woode is only a mile from U.S. Highway 64, it is secluded in a beautiful rhododendron, hemlock, and hardwood forest. Our elevation of 3,200 feet ensures a comfortable and invigorating climate. The location provides opportunities for campers and staff to go whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing as well as visiting local areas of interest on their days off. WHAT DO WE DO DURING ORIENTATION? For the first five days of camp, you will be involved in a comprehensive orientation. When you first arrive at camp, you will be assigned a temporary cabin with other staff members for the orientation period. During orientation, we will cover most of the information and skills you will need to do a good job this summer. Our schedule will be similar to the camp schedule with regard to wake-up times and meals. During orientation, you will receive your cabin assignment and your campers names. After looking through files and getting to know your campers through their information, you will have time to move to your cabin and settle in. We will finish orientation in time for you to have an afternoon off to do laundry or go out to dinner before getting ready for opening day. GENERAL EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION This may be the first job you have held or your first time at Merrie-Woode. If so, then this next section will provide you with some of the nuts and bolts of our employment procedures. WHAT DOES MY CONTRACT MEAN? The contract you have, signed by you and the Director, is a commitment made by you to the camp. Please read it carefully and understand the terms of your contract before camp begins. If you feel that you cannot adhere to all of the contract s terms, please inform us now in order to avoid embarrassment later. Your signature indicates an acceptance of the terms and policies of the camp. In turn, Merrie-Woode has made a commitment to you in terms of salary and position. Please feel free to approach the Directors with any problems or concerns. 4

5 WHEN DO I GET PAID? The salary offered to you is for the dates indicated on your contract. Your salary is the compensation for your work this summer. Staff members will be paid at the end of their contract time in a single lump sum. Cash advances can be requested up to 75% of the accrued earned wages each week only at Sunday staff meetings. Checks are delivered by Monday lunch. You can cash your advance and personal checks at any Wells Fargo Bank branch. WHEN AM I ON DUTY? Counselors should be available twenty-four hours a day. A counselor must be prepared to deal responsibly with an unforeseen emergency or a sick camper at 3:00 AM just as she would at 3:00 PM. All staff should ask the Directors or Associate Director for permission to leave camp at any time other than scheduled trips and leave time. Please realize that there will be times that it is not okay for you to leave camp. Please support us in these decisions! HOW IS TIME OFF SCHEDULED? We have a generous time-off schedule. Except for the first and last weeks of a camp session, each counselor will have a thirty-hour period off in one of three time slots. On Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, a staff member can leave after the last afternoon activity at 5:30 PM and return the following day (night) by 12:00 AM and Counselor Assistants (CAs) return the following day by 10:00 PM. We encourage counselors to take advantage of the surrounding area. If counselors wish to remain in camp at night during their leave time, they must be in camp by the 12:00 AM curfew. In addition to regular leave, each counselor may take one additional night off per week, beginning 15 minutes after the last afternoon activity (5:45pm) extending for two hours (7:45pm). Any requests for special leave time should be documented and cleared through the Directors as early as possible. This time is in lieu of regular leave. WHAT IS THE CURFEW? Each staff member must check-in with the Senior Staff member on duty when they return from either their day off or short night out. Counselors must check-in even if they come in early or decide not to leave camp. Check-in is either at the Main Office or Program Office. Camp-wide curfew is 12:00 AM for counselors and 10:00 PM for CAs. We have asked our security service to stop any cars coming in after midnight. Privileges will be lost if a staff member is late. WHAT IS THE POLICIES CONTRACT? Merrie-Woode is committed to its mission of providing the best and safest experience for girls in camping today. In working toward that goal, we realize that the key to Merrie-Woode s success has been and always will be superior staff, their training, and especially their judgment and maturity. As Directors, we find that it is often our most challenging job to support staff throughout the summer to make it easier for them to accomplish their own goals. It is in this vein that we clarify our staff policies. Alcohol, drugs and smoking have no place in a community, which is espousing a wholesome environment with a minimum of outside pressures. 5

6 It is well known that drugs and alcohol have a negative effect on mature decision making. Coupled with the dangerous roads around camp, and the immense responsibility we place on staff in their various roles, we realize that an especially dangerous combination can exist. It is our desire to do everything we can to prevent any drug or alcohol related problems with our staff at Merrie-Woode, not only for their own personal safety, but also for the safety of the entire community. With this in mind, the following policies are in effect at Merrie-Woode. Your signature on the policies contract indicates your commitment and acceptance of the policy guidelines. SMOKING For your own health and for the health of others, we do not allow smoking or the use of any tobacco products anywhere on the Merrie-Woode property for the general counseling staff. This policy includes the use of all tobacco products. ALCOHOL Merrie-Woode has a firm policy concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages. At no time are alcoholic beverages to be consumed or brought on camp property, whether or not camp is in session. Merrie-Woode is in complete compliance with state and local laws concerning alcohol consumption. At no time during the period they are under contract should counselors under 21 years of age drink alcoholic beverages. Counselors who are 21 or older who do consume alcoholic beverages during their leave time are expected to return to camp in a sober and orderly fashion. We stress the danger of drinking and driving on the roads near Merrie-Woode and encourage extreme discretion in this area. Abuse of this policy can result in the termination of your employment. DRUGS We will not tolerate the use of non-prescription drugs, marijuana, or inhalants while you are employed by Merrie-Woode. This policy includes your leave time. Any person in violation of this policy will be immediately dismissed from the staff of Merrie-Woode. Men and women who use illegal drugs, or who cannot judiciously regulate alcohol consumption, are a dangerous risk to the entire community and should not be in camp. INAPROPRIATE LANGUAGE Counselors serve as role models for Merrie-Woode campers. We strive to provide a wholesome community atmosphere, and inappropriate language has no place in camp. Such language will not be tolerated, and violation of this policy can result in the termination of your employment. INSURANCE COVERAGE/HEALTH FORMS Camp covers all Merrie-Woode staff members with Workman s Compensation Insurance, which will cover staff while they are on the job. The camp or its insurance carrier may contest any activities that cause injury or reactivation of a chronic condition and were not approved by camp. Staff members should carry their own comprehensive accident and illness insurance for non-work related accidents or be willing to assume this risk. All staff members must complete a Camp Merrie-Woode Health Form and return it to camp before the summer begins. Staff members are required to have a physical with a medical personnel signature prior to 6

7 the start of their employment. Counselors arriving to camp without the appropriate signatures will be assessed a $20 fee for Camp to perform a health evaluation. PERSONAL PROPERTY Prior to camp, counselors are sent a list of what to bring and what not to bring to camp. Staff members are responsible for their personal property and camp cannot replace what may be lost or damaged. For safety and in keeping with the American Camping Association standards, we do not allow counselors to bring weapons to camp. Likewise, for safety and consideration to the camp community, summer counselors may not bring pets to camp. Because camp is a community entrusted with the care of children, we reserve the right to search and seize personal property if the Directors suspect the possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, or weapons. OUT IN THE COMMUNITY When you are out of camp, whether across the street or in nearby towns, you represent Merrie-Woode. We conduct business with most stores in town and have many good neighbors living on the surrounding roads. We ask that you slow down on the roads and be courteous to all you meet. Be sure and leave tips at area restaurants! Remember, we live here when you leave. AFTER CAMP COMMUNICATION WITH CAMPERS After camp, your campers may choose to write to you or communicate with you via social media sites (i.e. Facebook, ). It is ultimately your decision on how you choose to communicate. We are a community-based, relationship-building environment. We ask you to be careful with what you say and display. Although campers may seem mature at times, their opinion of you (and yours of them) can be negatively affected if you aren t careful. These girls need positive role models, not only during camp, but throughout the year. You may consider putting your younger camp friends on a limited profile in the social media communities. You can also use Merrie-Woode as an excuse not to participate in these communication networks. Camp Merrie-Woode discourages female counselors from entering into communication with campers that might be interpreted as inappropriate by either party. Please note male counselors are not to communicate with campers on social media sites. We also recommend that our parents supervise their child s online activities just as they would other aspects of their child s life at home. THE CAMP LIFESTYLES AND GUIDELINES WHO SHOULD I ASK FOR HELP? There is no question that cabin and activity counselors are the key to the summer s success. You will find that working with young people is not always easy. There are a number of people who are in place to support you when you need it. For camper related issues, depending on the circumstances, you may choose your Line Head, the Associate Director, or the Directors. For program issues, consult your Activity Head or the appropriate Program Director. Although we encourage you to work through any issues that may arise with the Associate Director, the Directors are available to you as well, if you need them. Always inform one of the Directors if you have concerns about a camper s sleeping and eating habits, difficulties with peers, or homesickness. 7

8 WHEN DO WE HAVE STAFF MEETINGS? Full staff meetings are held every Sunday at 10:00 AM. These staff meetings provide the opportunity to bring the entire staff together to discuss the coming week s programs and topics of importance to the entire community. We ask you to respect the confidentiality of the topics discussed. We encourage you to confront any issues directly with the person most able to work with you to seek a solution, including the Directors. Staff meetings are normally not the time to do this. We ask you to clear any announcements for staff meetings with one of the Directors prior to making them. WHERE CAN I MAKE PHONE CALLS OR CHECK ? The phones in the Ark are for the exclusive use of the staff. You will need a calling card for long distance. We ask you to give these numbers to your family and friends. The camp business phone should not be used for personal calls. Under no circumstances are campers to use the phone unless the Directors have given their approval. Cell phones do work at different spots on the camp property. We do not allow counselors to leave cell phones on in the activity or cabin environment, but they can be used to check messages or to call out after Taps. Counselors can check their in the Program Office during posted times. Counselors may not receive through the Camp Merrie-Woode address. WHERE SHOULD MY MAIL BE SENT? Camp s mailing address is Camp Merrie-Woode, 100 Merrie-Woode Road, Sapphire, NC Place outgoing mail in the mail box outside the Program Office. Counselor mail is delivered to the computer room in the Program Office. WHO CAN USE THE ARK? The Ark is reserved for the exclusive use of the staff. Campers are not allowed in the Ark. Noise and behavior in the Ark should be monitored so nearby cabins are not affected. It is the staff s responsibility to keep the Ark clean. Our junior counselors (JCs) may use the ark during rest hour only. ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL RULES FOR MALE STAFF MEMBERS? Male staff should never be on the cabin lines or in the cabins of female staff unless performing routine maintenance. Likewise, male cabins are off limits to all female counselors. CAN I HAVE A VISITOR DURING CAMP? Please clear any visitors with the Directors prior to their arrival. Friends should plan their visits to correspond with your leave schedule so as not to interfere with your camp duties. The Directors permission is required for a guest to attend a meal or stay overnight. Male friends are not allowed in the cabin areas. On Main Session Visitation Day, campers families will arrive at 10:30 am for our 11:00 chapel service and are invited to stay for a picnic lunch. Our Showcase of Activities and Boat Meet will be that afternoon and visitors are invited to stay for this event until 5:00 pm. Campers will not be allowed to leave camp with visitors in any session. Parents are asked to make a special effort to adhere to camp s food and candy policy by not bringing packages into camp when visiting. Counselors should be available to the parents of their campers during Visitation Day. By inviting your boyfriend or college friends, your 8

9 attention is taken away from your campers and their parents; don t forget that you are on duty during Visitation Day! Many prospective camper families visit during the summer. When you see a family at camp, please introduce yourself and ask if you can be of assistance. (See Visitor Policy in Resources section.) WHERE CAN I PARK MY CAR? The counselor parking lot is located above the maintenance shop. Counselor vehicles should never be in camp (even to drop off laundry) unless on camp business. Staff members should carry their own vehicle insurance to cover any accident or damage to it. Camp does not assume liability for personal vehicles. It is critical to drive slowly in and out of the camp road, as there are people walking it and delivery trucks and visitors driving it regularly. Under no circumstances should a camper or JC ride in a staff vehicle without consent of the camp Directors. Only designated drivers may drive camp vehicles. Campers and counselors should only ride in vehicles approved for passengers (i.e., not the backs of pick-up trucks or on trailers). Please do not operate any camp equipment unless you fully understand its operation and have prior approval. WHO WORKS IN THE OFFICE? The Main Office is reserved for the use of the year-round staff, who are busy throughout the summer keeping camp going from a logistical standpoint. Please make every attempt to be quiet and respectful when you are in the Main Office. The Program Office is the nerve center of camp. In it, you will find every resource you need to do your job. There is a copy machine, a word processor, office supplies, hammer and nails, and a telephone for phone duty. Feel free to use the Program Office for what you need, but please do not hang out there. This is the first stop for many visiting families; please help keep it clean! WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED SOMETHING FIXED? If you have a maintenance problem that you and your neighboring counselor cannot resolve, then complete the maintenance request form on the clipboard in the Program Office. Please do not go directly to one of the maintenance crew they have been instructed to only take care of tasks scheduled on a maintenance form. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR DURING CAMP? Staff members must be in uniform unless their activity dictates otherwise. The staff uniform consists of khaki shorts (provided by staff member) and green staff shirt (provided by camp). Blue jeans are acceptable for staff and campers when it is cold. Some activities make it difficult to be in uniform (i.e. swimming). Full uniforms are expected at all meals, Castle, and evening programs. We will ask you to change! Uniforms are a link to the history of Merrie-Woode. It is not unusual for a camper to wear the uniform that her mother wore. Uniforms are consistent with our philosophy of minimal competition as they reduce the comparisons that clothing can generate. Most staff and campers are proud of this tradition. The camper uniform is a gray middy with a green tie for the June and Main sessions, and a Merrie-Woode t- shirt for the August session. Campers in all sessions wear green cotton shorts. For safety, we do require 9

10 campers and counselors to wear closed-toe shoes in the Dining Hall and we require proper footwear for camp activities. WHAT OTHER DUTIES DO COUNSELORS HAVE? The following are scheduled duties that you will lead or participate in at various points during the summer. All scheduled duties are posted at the Program Office and the Ark. Any time a counselor is unable to perform one of her scheduled duties, she should seek a replacement and inform the Associate Director. On Thursday nights, we have Bag Supper to allow the kitchen staff some time off. The counselors on Bag Supper Duty should be at the Dining Hall at 5:30 PM to set up dinner. Each counselor will have Line Duty two or three nights per week. The counselors on Line Duty should be available after lights-out for the cabins where she is stationed. Counselors should plan to stay in their cabins all night when they are on Line Duty. Counselors on Line Duty are also responsible for monitoring the line during Rest Hour. Non-cabin staff fulfills a number of responsibilities, which help camp run smoothly. Unless otherwise excused, non-cabin staff should be at all meals, Castle, and evening programs ready to participate. Likewise, non-cabin staff should be prepared to help with bedtime when in camp. HOW DO I KNOW IF I M DOING A GOOD JOB? Beginning with orientation, counselors are involved in on-going training opportunities during staff meetings, department meetings, and evaluation meetings with the Directors. These support systems are designed to give you feedback in order to have an effective and happy summer. Likewise, we prefer to handle any concerns or policy violations directly and immediately. Please feel free to approach Senior Staff members at any time for feedback or with concerns. CAMPERS AND CABIN LIFE WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A CABIN COUNSLEOR? The cabin group is very important at Merrie-Woode. It is from this group that most of a camper s memories will linger. It is also the place where much important growth can take place for your campers. If you can make your cabin group special, you will have succeeded this summer. If you are always away from your cabin, your absence will be felt. Each of you will make an impression on each one of your campers this summer. Make sure that this impression is a positive one. Your actions and attitude will affect your campers perception of you. Included are your relations with your peers, with campers, in addition to your values and goals. WHAT IS THE LINE GROUP? All campers and staff are separated into four lines: Pages, Yeoman, Squires, and Knights. Each line has an experienced counselor who serves as the Line Head. She is responsible for line activities and troubleshooting as it relates to cabin life. Counselors of each line group meet weekly to discuss concerns and to work together as a team. HOW DO I SET RULES FOR MY CABIN? 10

11 Counselors remain in their cabins during the first two and last two nights of each session. The first two nights are critical as their campers become familiar with the new experience. Use this time to bond with your campers and form some cabin unity. Counselors should be very clear with their expectations. It is our experience that campers respect those counselors who can hold the line and say NO. It is very important to live up to the standards you set for your campers. We recommend starting early to clarify your expectations, as the catch up game is always hard to play. DO I STAY IN MY CABIN DURING REST HOUR? Counselors are to be in their cabins during rest hour, which is scheduled every day at 2:00 PM. It is not so much a lack of activity as it is an activity in itself. Campers should use the bathroom before rest hour so that they can remain in the cabin during this time. The period can be used to read, write letters, sleep, etc. Counselors should set the standard for a quiet rest hour early in order to reduce their own workload later. HOW DO I GET MY CAMPERS TO GO TO BED? Bedtime is one of the most important times of the day at camp. To establish a routine and to build cabin unity, it is essential for the counselor to be an active part of this process. From the end of evening program until thirty minutes after Taps (9:30 or 10:00), it is essential for counselors to be with their campers. The earlier you establish a routine, the easier your job will be. When Taps blows, all lights should go out immediately and quiet should be maintained. HOW SHOULD I HELP CAMPERS STAY HEALTHY AT CAMP? Please monitor campers for appropriate hygiene and health care, as much illness can be prevented through good habits and behaviors. Encourage campers to wash hands before meals and after activities, to take showers, eat balanced meals, drink lots of water, and to get plenty of rest. Campers and staff should not share food, utensils or other personal items with each other. Make sure that your campers are sleeping in sheets which are changed at least weekly (not a sleeping bag), and that they do not sleep in their bathing suits. You may need to accompany younger girls to the bathhouse before bed to help with showers and teeth brushing. If you are concerned about a camper, you may need to approach her with your concerns. This should never be done publicly. The nurse, Associate Director, or one of the Directors will be able to help you brainstorm a tactful approach. Report any health concerns to the nurse or Directors. WHAT IS INSPECTION? Cabins should be kept neat and organized so campers can keep up with their belongings and make cabin life pleasant. Cabins are inspected every morning during Castle by the Line Heads. The standards are explained in detail in the resource section of this manual. Cabin clean up can be a great time to develop cabin unity if approached with a positive attitude. As in any activity, it is important for the counselor to set the standard and be an active participant in working towards that goal. (See Resources section.) WHAT DO WE DO ON CABIN OVERNIGHTS? Trips out of camp are one of the activities most often remembered by campers. Each cabin should plan a cabin overnight early in the session with a neighboring cabin at one of Merrie-Woode s outpost cabins by signing up on the Overnight Poster in the Dining Hall. Food request forms are available in the Dining Hall and must be turned into the kitchen manager at least 24 hours prior to the overnight. All equipment 11

12 for overnights is stored on the loading dock of the Dining Hall. Please do not use any of the mountaineering equipment from Bat s Roost. Make sure that you clean all pots and pans before your campers disperse and turn leftover food into the kitchen. HOW DO I CONTACT MY CAMPERS PARENTS? All cabin counselors are responsible for maintaining contact with the parents of their campers. The expectation is correspondence by letter three times during the June Session, three times during the Main Session, and twice during the August Session. You should not be calling or ing a parent without permission with one of the Directors. (See Resources section for further explanation.) WHAT CAN I DO TO BE A GREAT ROLE MODEL? Making a Statement However cool green hair may seem at the time, you were hired for your contributions as a role model. It may seem shallow, but parents only meet you briefly on opening and closing days. It s easy as a parent to form a negative association when they see their child s counselor with a nose ring, a Hell s Angels Rule tattoo, or hair looking like Cindy Lou-Who. We play hard at Merrie-Woode, and we like creative staff who don t mind getting dirty. Don t take it personally if we ask you to make your statement elsewhere. Do As I Do Camp counseling is one of the toughest and most gratifying jobs you can hold. As a counselor, you hold a position of great influence and example. Your personal habits will be observed and even copied. It is very important for you to monitor your own behavior and personal conduct with this in mind. It is difficult to expect your cabin to make their beds if you don t; it is difficult to expect a camper to wear her uniform if you don t. The list extends to every expectation we hold for campers - we also hold for ourselves. Watch What You Say We ask you to be careful with what you say. Although campers may seem mature at times, it really undermines their view of you when they hear explicit tales about boyfriends or the time you went out drinking. These girls need positive role models and this is what we have promised them and their parents. Profanity and other inappropriate language will not be tolerated! Green Hair and a Pierced Navel? Although you will find that Merrie-Woode offers an ideal setting for campers (and staff) to try on new personas, we have a firm policy that campers not cut or dye their hair while at camp, nor pierce any part of their body. These activities can become contagious, and are very upsetting to parents. A child s appearance will reflect back on you when she is picked up at the end of the session. IS IT OKAY TO WRITE GRAFFITI ON CABIN WALLS? As soon as you get to Merrie-Woode, you ll notice where generations of campers have left their mark on Merrie-Woode with magic marker and paint. In recent years, we have built many new buildings and renovated a number of the old ones. Campers make a cabin plaque with each of their cabin mates before they leave that is mounted permanently in their cabin. We ask you and your campers to refrain from leaving your name on fixtures, mattresses, walls, doors, etc. Merrie-Woode looks much better without 12

13 graffiti. If you discover new graffiti, contact the Directors; they will provide sandpaper to the artist for removal. CAN WE PLAY PRANKS ON EACH OTHER (LIKE PARENT TRAP)? Campers should never be allowed to tease another camper. Teasing often escalates into full-blown camper conflicts. Nicknames, however well meant, should be okay with the camper. Likewise, pranks and practical jokes, which involve entering a cabin and/or a disturbing another person s belongings, are not appropriate. Staff and campers should not be in another cabin without the members of that cabin present. HOW SHOULD I DISCIPLINE A CAMPER? Positive discipline should be a learning experience. Never react out of anger. Don t feel like you have to make a snap judgment. Assess the situation, ask advice, and then respond. It is okay to let a camper know that you will think about a situation and get back to her. (Be sure and give them a time frame for your response). Never use physical punishment or the withholding of food as a punishment. Consult the Directors with a major issue or when in doubt. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CAMPERS ASK ME ABOUT SEX? Although we do not want campers to think that sex is a taboo subject, we also feel strongly that it is not an appropriate subject for the camp setting. Your thoughts and actions are very influential to a developing mind, and campers, especially the older girls, are very curious about your personal life. A good rule of thumb is to limit intimate details about your personal life. It is okay to let the campers know about your boyfriend, but spare the details concerning this relationship as it is important to maintain appropriate boundaries when working with children. IS IT OKAY FOR MY CAMPERS TO USE PROFANITY? Profanity has no place at Merrie-Woode. Please do not use profanity, and correct any camper you hear using ugly language. If problems persist, contact one of the Directors. CAN MY CAMPERS HAVE GUM OR CANDY IN OUR CABIN? It is crucial for consistency s sake that the staff helps support the camp s policy on gum and candy. We have asked parents and campers to sign the following policy as a condition of enrollment: Candy and gum can be a distinct health hazard by attracting mice and other rodents to cabins as well as a significant source of litter. Likewise, when some campers follow the guidelines and some do not, honesty issues can occur. Campers have three filling meals per day and plenty of opportunity for sweets and candy bars after meals and on trips. We ask that parents support our policy by not sending campers to camp with candy, not sending packages with candy, and not bringing candy into camp during the summer. Any candy and food brought into camp or sent in packages will be confiscated and not returned. As a condition of enrollment, I understand and agree to follow the candy and gum guidelines as outlined above. Often counselors bring a small treat back from days off. We ask that this be eaten immediately or kept in the Ark until an appropriate time to enjoy the treat is determined by the cabin. 13

14 HOW DO I HANDLE TECHNOLOGY IN CAMP? It is our goal at Camp Merrie-Woode to foster a close camp community. Our campers create friendships at camp that last a lifetime. As the use of technology isolates and distracts our young campers in the outside world, we find it increasingly important to protect what has been cultivated at camp for close to 100 years. Camp is a time to connect with friends, experience a variety of activities, and enjoy the natural setting of this beautiful place. With technological distractions, our sense of community is quickly lost and campers lose focus on why they are here. Camp Merrie-Woode is proud to be UNPLUGGED. We are asking campers to not bring technology to camp. This includes, but is not limited to the following: cell phones/smart phones, ipods/mp3 players, laptops, electronic games, DVD players, electronic readers, cameras with internet-uploading capability. We realize music at camp is important and is very much a part of our camp culture. Cabins and activity areas do have ipods with appropriate music for everyone s enjoyment. We ask that you support our policy by not allowing your campers to possess electronic items at camp. When some counselors follow the guidelines and some do not, honesty issues can occur. As a counselor you understand that Camp Merrie-Woode is an Unplugged community, and you agreed not to use technology (cell phones/smart phones, ipods/mp3 players, laptops, electronic games, DVD players, electronic readers, and cameras with internet-uploading capability) in the cabins and common areas of camp property by signing your policies contract. You will limit the storage and use of the above items to the Ark (staff lounge) while on duty. It is important to understand that abuse of this policy can result in termination of your employment. CAN CAMPERS WALK OUT THE CAMP ROAD? The gravel road past the camp gates is one-mile long and terminates at Highway 64. Under no circumstances should any camper or JC be outside the camp gates or past the bridge over the waterfall without a counselor present. The convenience store at the end of the camp road is a great temptation with its telephone and food. Campers do not have permission to enter the store. We have asked the clerks to call if any campers enter. If you are leaving camp and see campers, please tell them to turn around and then call the office or return to let us know. HEALTH AND SAFETY WHAT IF A CAMPER IS MISSING? It is crucial to account for campers at the beginning of activity periods, at meals, and in the cabin at rest hour and bed times. Missing campers should be reported to the Program Office during activity periods, to the head table at meal times, and to the camp Directors at other hours. Any camper who leaves camp for any reason must check out in the Trip Book located on the desk in the Program Office. This includes trips to the doctor, walks around the lake (with staff), and activity-related trips. WHAT DO I DO IF I SEE A STRANGER IN CAMP? Merrie-Woode s natural setting offers a secure enclave against many pressures of the outside world. Security issues are rare at Merrie-Woode. We do have a security service, which patrols the camp s grounds at night. Our most valuable asset with regard to avoiding a breach of security is you. If you 14

15 notice a stranger or unfamiliar car in camp, then contact one of the Directors. Do not casually invite guests to come to camp, especially at night. Try to exercise in pairs. If you do need to confront a stranger, be polite, but firm. HOW CAN I HELP TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS? Most accidents in camp happen when campers are unsupervised - usually in the cabin. One of your most important functions as a counselor is that of risk manager. Try to avoid accidents by watching for accidents that are about to happen. Do what you can to help your campers stay healthy and safe. Make sure campers always wear shoes outside the cabin Keep the cabin clean and straight Submit maintenance requests for any perceived hazards Take campers to Cloud Nine early for any illness Discourage eating and drinking after one another Encourage hand washing and good hygiene HOW SHOULD I HANDLE SUSPICION OF CHILD ABUSE? If at any time you have strange vibes about a home situation or incident that a child describes to you, please let one of the Directors know. Generally, children who are abused tend to exhibit symptoms and behavior that is not normal. Allegations of abuse are serious, but it is our responsibility to be advocates for our campers. It is also important to avoid being alone with a camper. WHAT DO I DO IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY? Our first concern at camp is the health and safety of the entire community. In any emergency, your first responsibility is the safety of the campers. Take the following steps in case of any emergency or serious accident, unless otherwise instructed by a member of the senior staff: The signal for an emergency requiring an assembly of the camp (fire, windstorm, serious accident) is an intermittent blast of the air horn. All campers and staff should proceed to the gym and stand quietly in cabin groups by line. Each line will gather in a separate corner of the gym. Each counselor should account for each camper in her cabin, and each Line Head should account for all of the cabins in the line. Do not count on other campers to give you accurate information regarding a missing camper s whereabouts. All campers and staff should wait for further instructions. The Directors will alert emergency personnel if needed and will contact parents. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF IT S LIGHTNING? One of the greatest hazards at camp is lightning. It is critical for counselors and campers to seek enclosed shelter such as the Dining Hall, the inside of the boathouse, or the Castle during thunderstorms. Do not let campers leave the enclosed area until you hear the safety signal (ringing bell). Many lightning related injuries occur at the onset of the storm or as it is ending, so it is critical to keep campers in an enclosed area. Metal or open-air buildings should be avoided, as well as any contact with water. 15

16 HOW SHOULD I RESPOND TO AN ACCIDENT? Stay calm. Administer immediate first aid and take steps to ensure that the victim is safe from further harm. One staff member should clear the area while another remains with the victim. Alert the Directors and the nurse. Don t move the victim. The Directors or the nurse will alert emergency personnel if needed and will contact parents. Be sure and fill out an accident/incident report for any accident or incident or near miss for which you are the primary counselor in charge. They are available in the infirmary and office. WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THE EVENT OF A CAR OR VAN ACCIDENT? In the event of any vehicle accident, take the following steps: Remove the passengers from any additional harm. If you are sure they are not injured, moving the group from the vehicle well off the road is a priority. Try not to move any accident victim who may have a neck or spinal injury. Administer any needed first aid and set up triangles. Call emergency personnel (police, fire, and ambulance) as needed. Call camp at (828) Do not make any statements regarding blame (I m sorry; it was my fault; etc.) Write down names and addresses of any witnesses and the facts regarding the accident. Leave opinion out of the account. Do not speak to members of the news media or divulge camper or staff members names. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A NEWS REPORTER ASKS ME ABOUT CAMP OR AN INCIDENT? In case of any incident, which attracts the attention of the press or news media, remember that the Directors are the official spokespersons for the camp. Counselors should not speak to members of the press or to parents before consulting the Directors. Refer any questions or concerns to one of the Directors. WHAT IF A CAMPER GETS SICK? Cloud Nine is our camp health center. Campers should always be escorted to Cloud Nine by their counselor. Please help us prevent this from becoming a hang out spot. Cloud Nine is staffed by a fulltime registered nurse. In addition, our doctor of the week program provides doctors (usually camper parents) for referral. Any sick children are taken in to Cashiers to our local medical center. Inform the nurse immediately if you are concerned about a camper s physical or emotional well-being. Scheduled infirmary hours are immediately after meals and before bedtime. Campers with routine medications receive them at mealtime from the nurse. Please be aware of the eating habits of the campers at your table. Notify a camper s cabin counselor with any concerns. WHEN CAN I SWIM? Campers and counselors may swim only when the waterfront is open and a lifeguard is on duty. For point swims, a lifeguard in a boat must accompany counselors. Counselors and camp staff must follow the posted rules for use of camp boats and the waterfront area. PFDs are required for campers and staff when in the boats. 16

17 ACTIVITIES AND THE CAMP DAY WHAT HAPPENS ON OPENING DAY? Counselors will be given a detailed opening day schedule during orientation. Cabin counselors should be in their cabins to receive new campers and parents from 9 AM until 11 AM on opening day. Most campers arrive by car. Special attention should be given to parents. Welcome them and invite them to look around. Greet campers by name and work to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Help them to unpack and give them a nametag to wear for the day. Campers arriving by plane will get to camp in the afternoon. They should be greeted with the same enthusiasm as the early arrivals. All airline tickets, money, medications, and other valuables should be taken to the office and to Cloud Nine immediately. During the afternoon, counselors accompany campers to sign up for activities, pick up uniforms and to stop by the infirmary for health screening. Most new campers are insecure and confused when they first arrive. The first few days are critical to the adjustment of campers. It is crucial for counselors to spend every available moment with their cabins to ensure that their campers are adjusting properly. Talk about camp and activities; give campers an idea of what to expect, and help them to get involved. Providing fun and active outlets prevents homesickness. The first two nights of each session are All In for counselors. WHAT S CASTLE? Castle occurs every morning at 9:45 AM for all counselors and campers. This is the time for songs, announcements and devotionals. Cabins take turns leading Castle, beginning with the oldest cabin groups. These cabins receive an E for inspection and are responsible for cleaning Castle and preparing the devotional. Counselors should play an active role in their cabin s preparation for Castle. Please take time to prepare this cabin activity. Skits, poems, hymns, short stories, songs or a thought for the day are among many ideas. These presentations should last from 5 to 10 minutes. HOW SHOULD I RUN MY ACTIVITY? Counselors are responsible for providing a healthy, safe, and rewarding activity class. The following should be observed with the utmost attention: Take roll at the start of every class period. Report missing campers and staff to the person on office duty. Keep classes until the bell rings at the end of the period. Have a minimum of five-planned rainy day activities! Remember Merrie-Woode s philosophy concerning minimal competition. Develop programs tailored to individual abilities and skill levels. Work to set attainable goals toward which the girls can work in each activity area. (See Ideas for Teaching a Skill in the Resources section.) WHO TAKES CAMP TRIPS? Trips out of camp are a significant part of the camp program. Although the mountaineering and boating staffs are responsible for leading most trips, other staff are often asked to join a trip. Staff on their day off may join a trip as if they are on duty. No camper should leave camp without signing out in the Program Office Trip Book. 17

18 WHAT S SPECIAL ABOUT SUNDAYS? Sundays begin at 9:00 AM with breakfast. Campers have time to clean their cabins while the staff meets at 10:00 AM. The Sunday worship service is held at 11:00 AM, often with several guests in attendance. After rest hour, there are special afternoon sign-up activities led by staff members. WHAT DO WE DO AT NIGHT? Evening programs are held every night, usually in Castle. The bell rings at the beginning of the program. All campers and staff on duty should be at evening program. Although planned by Senior Staff and the Evening Program Heads, it is crucial for all staff to be involved. Their ideas and suggestions for new ideas are also welcome. At the end of evening program, the lights are turned out and the entire group joins hands to sing Taps. Then, counselors accompany their campers back to their cabins to get ready for bed. A steadfast tradition at Merrie-Woode is that all lights go out immediately as Taps is blown. It is a beautiful sight to watch all of the lights go out at once from one of the overnight spots across the lake. Campfires, usually held on Sunday nights, are a special reflective time for the entire camp community. Counselors should encourage a reflective atmosphere among all their campers. Cabin groups proceed from the dining hall into the campfire area. Campfires are reserved for the Merrie-Woode family only. ARE THERE ANY SURPRISES DURING CAMP? If there are no wake-up bells, a sleep-in has been declared. Two campers should be sent to the kitchen between 8:30 and 9:30 AM to pick up breakfast for their cabin. In keeping consistent with the daily routine, cabin inspection does occur during Castle. Everyone should attend Castle at 9:45 AM. Once a summer, the Tajar appears around dinnertime. This is the staff s signal that they can leave camp for the evening to return by 9:30 PM to put their campers to bed. WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE LAST FEW DAYS OF CAMP? It is important for activities to continue until the very end of camp and for counselors to remain focused on the campers through closing day. The final few days of camp are often the most important and the most prominent in each camper s memory. Each counselor will have a checkout list to complete before leaving at the end of each session. This should be checked by the Associate Director and Senior Staff Assistants and submitted to the Directors prior to leaving. HOW DO MEALS WORK? The dining hall and meals are a great time to foster community. Please remember to direct your table to be considerate of others as loud-spirited activities are best reserved for other areas of camp. We hope that campers will return home with better manners than when they arrived. This will take an active campaign to achieve this goal. Set the standard and insist on basic courtesies. All members of the community should come to meals in full uniforms and wearing closed-toe shoes. Please send campers back to change if they are not dressed appropriately. Dining hall seating is assigned with two counselors and six campers per table. All counselors come to the dining hall to set the tables fifteen minutes prior to each meal. Food is served family style at the table from large dishes. Seating assignments will change every four or five days and are posted outside the 18

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