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Get Ready For Camp #1: Health & Wellbeing

Updated: May 31, 2023

Welcome to our pre-summer Get Ready For Camp series 2023! We'll be posting a different topic each week.


With camp just under two months away, we want to share some top tips and resources to get you and your loved ones as prepared for camp as possible.


In this post, we'll discuss:

  • How we treat illness at camp

  • Medications

  • Immunization Policy

  • Mental health & Emotional Wellbeing

  • Motion sickness/preparing for the drive up to camp

  • Glasses

  • Lice

  • Food & mealtimes

If you have questions about anything, always feel free to reach out to us! Thank you for your help ensuring a safe and healthy summer! Illness at Camp During camp our 24 hr/day mirpa'a (infirmary) is staffed by 2 health professionals - a doctor or nurse and a medic. If your child isn't feeling well, the medical personnel will determine whether they can be treated at camp or need to be seen at urgent care or the ER in Big Bear. You will always be notified if we are considering taking your child to urgent care or the ER. If your child isn't feeling well and needs to spend the night in the mirpa'a, we will let you know and keep you updated on how they are progressing. In general, we will notify you of anything beyond common camp bumps and bruises (common are things like a sore throat, a rolled ankle, or a scraped knee.)


Medications

Thank you to everyone who has registered with our new medications system and been patient with this new process.


We are continuing last year’s medication system via Perris Hills Pharmacy. If your child takes ANY daily medications (including OTC & vitamins) or prescription medication YOU MUST READ THIS SECTION!


We know there were some minor issues last year that we resolved with the pharmacy, so thank you to those who flagged these issues for us. One issue was that families were asked to get prescriptions for daily OTC medication, but this is no longer needed!


If there is any additional feedback about this system you would like to share, please email or call Elana! elana@campgilboa.org


The best practice in summer camp is to work with a pharmacy to have medications all pre-packed in daily doses. All medications that you are sending your child to camp with MUST go through our medications provider - My Kids Camp Meds by Perris Hills Pharmacy. This includes over-the-counter medication! Families are not permitted to send children to camp with any medications. The only exceptions are inhalers, EpiPens, hormone injections, and liquid medication that must be refrigerated. If you have any questions about additional exceptions, please contact Elana.


Here’s how to get your child’s medications at the camp set up:

  1. Read through all instructions and information on the My Kids Camp Meds website:

  2. Submit one Camper Medication Form for each camper. Once received, the form will be reviewed and you will be contacted if we have any questions. Fill in the Camper Medication Form and submit.

  3. Send instructions to your child's Physician(s) on how to prescribe for camp sessions. You can email the following page with instructions directly from our website: Physician Instructions. Or, you can also download and print the Physician Instructions PDF and fax, mail, or personally drop at your physician's office.

  4. Submit your payment information. Once your camper's medication information is received and reviewed, Perris Hills Pharmacy will contact you by phone to collect your credit card information.

Submit registration and prescriptions at least 30 days prior to the start of your child’s session!

  • $25.00 Late Fee: If we do not receive the camper registration AND prescriptions at least 30 days prior to the start of the camp session, you will be charged a $25.00 late fee.

  • $30.00 Expedited Shipping Fee: If your camper’s prescriptions require expedited shipping, you will be charged a $30.00 expedited shipping fee.

Additionally, please indicate on the Health History form if your child will be taking medication while at camp on a regular basis. This includes vitamins and melatonin. All prescribed medications must be listed on your SIGNED physician form. This form is required for all new campers and any returning campers who have had a change in their health or are taking new medication.


Over-the-counter medications:

If your child takes OTC medications daily (such as allergy medication), please submit these through the My Kids Camp Meds registration form. For as-needed OTC medications (NOT daily), we provide these.

Camp Gilboa may administer over-the-counter medication to your child if needed. If you wish to instruct otherwise or have us check in with you first, the health information form will have the option to request that.

If your child needs a common OTC medication for an as-needed issue (ex. Advil for period cramps or knee pain) please indicate which medication is your preference to be given if the camper comes to the health center in need. Do not send your child with a bottle of OTC medication. If you are concerned about which medications we carry in the health center, please write to us to make sure we have your preferred medication for these as-needed issues.


Immunization Policy:

Safety and public health are priorities for Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa. The highest possible level of vaccination in the camp community is essential in order to maintain a safe environment and decrease the risk of transmission of preventable illnesses. Our philosophy of communal responsibility, as well as the clear public health need to protect the camp community as a whole, we will ensure that all* campers and staff are adequately immunized against preventable diseases, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) before arriving at camp this summer. This guidance now includes Covid-19 vaccination and we require the primary vaccine series plus one bivalent booster. Please review the schedule of vaccinations and ensure your child is up to date.


For campers who turned 11 or 12 this year, please be sure to get your Meningococcal conjugate (or MenACWY) vaccine. All campers & staff 12+ are required to have this vaccination, as group living environments of teens and young adults create increased risk.


If your child has an incomplete immunization record, please contact registrar@campgilboa.org to discuss a catch up schedule.


*Medical exemptions are the only accepted exemptions. Medical exemptions must be in writing and from your primary doctor or an allergist/immunologist. For Covid vaccine medical exemptions, please have your physician include what their recommendations are to protect the camper/staff and others if the camper/staff were to have an asymptomatic Covid case.



Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing

We understand that health surpasses the physical component and building mental health awareness is a crucial factor in Gilboa's camper care. During staff training we cover a variety of topics related to mental and emotional wellbeing, including:

  • Components of Youth Mental Health First Aid

  • Creating positive group dynamics

  • Mindfulness, understanding dysregulation, and tools for helping campers self-regulate

  • Creating familiarity and routines to reduce stress & homesickness

  • Reviewing camper forms and notes from pre-summer calls with families to prepare them for each camper's individual needs

  • Communicating about issues, mediating conflict, and asking for help from the Camper Care Team

Supporting the counselors, we have a Camper Care Team (CCT), led by Millie Forman, our melavah (Director of Camper Wellbeing), and our summer mental health professional. The job of the CCT is to ensure adequate care and attention is given to each camper's unique set of needs and support the tzrif (cabin) counselors in caring for each camper.


We check in with each new family about their needs before the summer begins. If you are a returning family with new health or mental health circumstances for you child, and would like to talk with someone from the CCT, please reach out!


If you are concerned about homesickness, please read over this blog post from last year's series and send homesickness plans to us!


Motion Sickness & Preparing for the Drive If your child is prone to car sickness, please make sure to equip them with vomit bags (we'll have them on the bus as well), and with the treatment you know is helpful to them (i.e. dramamine, lemon, ginger, etc.). If they are using dramamine, the best time to give it is right before they get on the bus or on the plane, as the medication will take full effect as the bus starts climbing the windy road up the mountain. Glasses If your child wears glasses or contacts, it is important that you send an extra pair to camp. It is difficult to enjoy camp if there is a long delay in replacing broken glasses or lost contacts. Lice We ask that you thoroughly check your child's hair in the days before camp starts, and make sure to treat (and notify us) if you find lice. Lice check is part of the first day procedure at camp, and if we find lice on a camper, we will treat it and do routine follow-up treatments to prevent spread.


Food & Mealtimes

Being at Gilboa requires a lot of physical energy, so we're sure to have ample opportunities for refueling. At camp we have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at regular times each day in addition to 3 snacks throughout the day to ensure campers have all of the energy needed to thrive at camp! Food is always kid-friendly, there is always a salad bar so that campers can build their own salad to add to any meal, and there are always vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Here’s what one day’s menu at camp looks like this summer:

  • Breakfast: hash browns, scrambled eggs, grapefruit (with the options of yogurt, cottage cheese, bread, cereal and fruit available at every breakfast.)

  • Morning Snack: Granola bar

  • Lunch: chicken nuggets/vegan nuggets, potatoes, salad bar

  • Afternoon Snack: Pretzels and carrot sticks

  • Dinner: Tofu veggie stir fry, vegetarian spring rolls and rice, plus salad bar

  • Bedtime Snack: apple sauce and a cookie

If your child is a picky eater (and many kids are), there are always multiple options to replace or supplement the meal, and counselors and kitchen staff will assist them in choosing, and prepare their meal. Options include pasta, rice, almond or other non-peanut butter & J sandwich, cereal, eggs, and more. If you’re worried that your child is especially picky, let us know. We will work with you to make sure that we are aware of their needs and that our pantry is stocked with the food they will eat.


Gilboa's kosher practices include:

  • Only serving kosher meat

  • Separate meat/dairy meals

  • Separate sets of dishes for dairy and meat meals

Our kitchen staff is certified and trained to handle food sensitivities and special diets, and we work with parents to make sure that special diets menus are varied and contain the dishes and food items that the camper is used to from home. We have experience with and accommodate gluten free diets, peanut and other nut-allergy diets, and more.


That's it for our first post! Reach out to Alison (alison@campgilboa.org) or Elana (elana@campgilboa.org) if you have any other questions about camper health and wellbeing. See you next week!


- Alison

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