A Message to Parents
In selecting Camp Nicolet as the summer home for your daughter, we trust that you place faith in the guidance and understanding that the directors and staff will provide to your child. As we wish to make the adjustment to camp life a rich and happy experience, your cooperation is needed in developing mutual understanding and communication. Such communication begins with an awareness of guidelines and policies that are fundamental to the operation of Camp Nicolet and the well-being of our camp family. The contents of this Parent Handbook are provided for this purpose. We ask that you read it carefully and familiarize yourself with this material.
What A Nicolet Camper Learns
TO GROW within herself.
TO LIVE HARMONIOUSLY with and RESPECT other people.
TO ENJOY and APPRECIATE an outdoors environment.
At Camp Nicolet, our goal is for each individual camper to achieve the following accomplishments
during the course of the summer:
- Demonstrate the ability to make decisions and to take responsibility in caring for herself and her personal belongings.
- Safely learn and participate in a variety of lifetime skills that she has never experienced or to show improvement in these skills.
- Complete at least one project during the summer of which she can be proud.
- Contribute to and participate in a creative presentation given during an all-camp function.
- Be able to make meaningful friendships and to work and play with fellow campers and staff on a cabin and all-camp level on order to contribute to the camp community.
- Learn and demonstrate the ability to cope with and function well in a wilderness camping environment.
- Acquire a knowledge and appreciation of the North Woods environment and its natural inhabitants.
- Have the summer of a lifetime!
Adjustment to Camp Begins at Home
Going to camp for the first time, or returning to camp for the 5th time, brings many new experiences and adventures, but can also be a bit overwhelming at times. There are many things you can do to help prepare your daughter for this exciting time though. Armed with the tips below, you will be able to help your daughter make a smooth transition to camp life.
- Display confidence and enthusiasm by speaking of camp in a happy and positive manner. Your daughter must be prepared to meet these new experiences without stress or worry.
- Write a “welcome to camp” letter to your daughter that will be waiting for her upon her arrival. Follow up by writing cards and letters frequently, but do not overemphasize how much you miss her or all the things she might be missing at home.
- If you should receive a questionable letter from your daughter regarding homesickness, illness, cabin adjustment, etc., please do not hesitate to call the Director during camp office hours. We appreciate any assistance from you and encourage open communication at all times.
- Teach your daughter to accept her share of responsibility at home. Encourage good health and hygiene habits and the care of her personal belongings.
- Involve your daughter in camp-related decisions such as shopping for “camp stuff”, completing camp questionnaires, and packing her own belongings. It will be comforting to her to have some control and ownership in the camp process.
- Encourage practice time away from home, like a sleep-over at a friend’s house. Try to make her adventure as similar to going off to camp as possible.
- Display the camp calendar and maintain the predictability of the time period she will be away at camp.
- Discuss and process any recent stressful happenings at home or school before she comes to camp. Unresolved negative life events may cause worry and anxiety and may influence her enjoyment of camp.
- Discuss and develop your daughter’s coping skills. When feeling a bit homesick, discuss ways to feel better such as things to think about or things to do that will help. Missing loved ones is normal and a natural part of personal growth.
Camper Health and Wellness
The completion of all camper medical forms by yourself and your family physician is required prior to the start of camp. These forms are also to be used to list any special health needs. It is essential that we be advised of any previous or ongoing health situation that could influence your daughter’s camping experience. The health of all campers is monitored daily by our resident nurses. All prescriptions and medications are kept and dispensed by the nurses, and under no circumstances are any medications to be kept by campers. A dental and/or orthodontic check-up is highly recommended prior to the camp season.
If your daughter requires hospitalization or emergency treatment resulting from injury or illness, you will be notified immediately. You will also be notified if a routine appointment with our camp physician is necessary.
Please inform us of dates and a phone number where you can be contacted if you will be away from home while your daughter is at camp.
We request that you do not send your daughter to camp if she has symptoms of flu or other virus. Also, please do not visit camp if you or other family members accompanying you have had recent exposure or have symptoms of any contagious disease. Thank you in advance for your consideration and cooperation.
With more and more children using the internet, cell phones, and other technology at younger ages, we ask you as parents to partner with us to ensure that your daughter has the safest and happiest experience possible at Camp Nicolet. Some technologies pose real challenges to the health and safety of our camp community, which is why Camp Nicolet abides by a “No Technology” policy. Please review and share with your daughter the following camp policies regarding the Internet, social networking sites, and exchanging contact information with our staff.
We have a “no cell phone” policy at camp. Aside from the fact that cell phones are expensive and can get lost or stolen and that the physical camp environment is not kind to such items, there is a fundamental problem with campers having cell phones at camp, and that is trust. When children come to camp they—and you—are making a leap of faith, temporarily transferring their primary care from you as their parents to us and their counselors. This is one of the growth-producing, yet challenging aspects of camp. As children learn to trust other caring adults, they grow and learn, little by little, to solve some of their own challenges. We believe this emerging independence is one of the greatest benefits of camp. It is one important way your child develops greater resilience. Contacting you by phone essentially means they have not made this transition. It prevents us from getting to problems that may arise and addressing them quickly. Sending a cell phone to camp is like saying to your child that you as the parent haven’t truly come to peace with the notion of them being away from you and in our care.
Another drawback of having cell phones at camp is many of them have built-in cameras and the ability to upload items to social networking sites immediately. It has happened at some camps around the country that children have secretly taken photographs of other campers or staff during changing or showering times and later uploaded those images onto the internet. We take photographs during the summer, which are available for viewing via your CampMinder account. Please help us maintain a safe environment by explaining this to your child. You should know that any camper that takes a compromising photograph of another camper or staff member and uploads it on the internet or makes it public in any way may be subject to dismissal from camp or may not be allowed to return. If the law is broken, the appropriate authorities will be notified. We do allow digital cameras at camp, but know that all campers are held to the policy explained above. Please be sure to go over this policy with your daughter(s) prior to sending her to camp with a digital camera.
Cyber-Bullying and Harassment
It has also happened at camps around the country that a few campers have sent rude, demeaning, intimidating or vulgar e-mails or IMs to other campers or have created false screen names to harass members of the camp community or spread false and damaging information about them. To be sure, most internet communication is fun, positive and one important way campers stay in touch with their friends. We will not condone or tolerate any cyber-bullying or harassment on the part of our campers – again, camp and the camp off-season should be a safe environment for all campers and staff.
Your Daughter and Our Staff after Camp
Our pledge is to put your children in the company of the most trustworthy and capable young adults we can hire—counselors who are well suited to the task of caring for campers. The effort we put into screening and selecting our staff is part of that pledge. An administrative staff guided by clear, firm policies regarding behavior supervises counselors.
We discourage our staff from having contact with your children outside of camp since we cannot supervise it. That said, we hire our staff for the camp season. We do not take responsibility for their behavior during the off-season, however, we do request that they abide by our outside communication policy as long as they intend to remain a staff member at Camp Nicolet in coming years. We recommend that you as the parent supervise your child’s online activities just as you do other aspects of their life in your home.
Camp is meant to be a fun and safe place for everyone. We need the cooperation of parents, campers, and staff to keep the way that our camp family communicates with one another positive and in the spirit of Nicolet!
Birthdays at Camp
We know that birthdays are very special days, especially for kids! Campers celebrating a birthday at camp are presented with an awesome birthday cake in the dining hall and a party is planned for them by their cabin group. When a camper has her birthday during camp time, she may also receive a phone call or place a call to her parents on her special day.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Parent Handbook. With your full cooperation in following these guidelines, you will demonstrate your support of the high standards and goals we have set at Camp Nicolet. Your daughter will have a quality camping experience if we as directors, parents, and staff communicate honestly and uphold these guidelines.
*For more exciting camp information, please refer to the rest of the website. If this handbook is missing something you think you need to know, it’s probably on the site elsewhere.