Your child’s safety is our first priority.
Our basic rules of camp are:
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS: Your Guides and Leaders will help you have fun and stay safe.
BE PREPARED: Make sure you have food, water, sunscreen, appropriate clothing and gear before setting out on adventures
STAY NEAR GUIDES: Be in sight and sound of leaders at all times
LISTEN: Pay attention during all lessons so you can gain outdoor skills
BE A PART OF THE CREW: Perform your Crew responsibility faithfully and on time so that each day can run smoothly
We ensure children are eating regular meals and snacks throughout their day. Whether they’re cooking together, or taking a bag lunch on day hike, their Guides will ensure everyone is getting good energy. We are mindful of children’s allergies and health needs, as well. Please give as much information as possible on the health forms so that we may address each child’s individual needs. Picky eaters will not always have options they might be used to. You may pack snacks from home: granola bars, fruit, grain chips, and other healthy snacks are encouraged. Candy and sugary treats can be brought, but please only sparingly.
Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburns and other heat exposure can be avoided by consistent water preparation and water breaks, regular sunscreen use, and appropriate headwear. We make drinking water and applying sunscreen a regular routine of Basicamp mornings and afternoons. “Forgetful” children will be closely monitored to maintain safe sun practices. Each Basecamper will be responsible to carry a water bottle and have a hat wherever they go.
Plant & Animal Safety:
As we forage and play outdoors, there are chances of coming in contact with dangerous plants or animals (though rare). Our first days of Camp are spent in educating children on preventing dangers and knowing how to respond to potential threats. They learn to identify signs of animals and practice habits of storing food to avoid encounters. While foraging, we will learn to notice threats like ground hives or poison oak or ivy. We will practice responding to bears or coyotes, should we encounter them. We believe this in-the-field education is an opportunity to define productive fears and manage risk-taking in a healthy way!
Our Guides are trained and experienced teachers who are not only prepared to help children discover outdoor skills, but help them develop in emotionally safe ways. These mentors are loving and intuitive and can guide the Crew in supporting each other and building self-confidence in individuals. If and when challenges, such as bullying or verbal abuse arise, homesickness, or self-doubt and fear occur, Guides will help your child navigate with empathy. Our programs can be challenging in unfamiliar ways to children. They experience fear-management in the face of anything from a bug in their tent to coyote howls in the dark forest. They may be away from home for the first time ever - surrounded by new peers and adults. Children are physically challenged - perhaps hiking farther than they thought they could or facing fatigue from sore feet. We believe these challenges help children discover character and learn deep and abiding life lessons. Above all we want your child to grow, learn, take risks, and adventure feeling physically and emotionally safe. Our Guides and Leaders will do all they can to help ensure positive relationships and experiences while at Basecamp.
Guides will communicate with parents during pick up the first week and on the first and third evenings of camp with any updates. They will also text or call if specific challenges arise or, if necessary, to facilitate parent phone call interventions in the case of extreme behaviors or situations. Parents will be immediately notified of emergency situations.
Fire making and tending are a part of Basecamp life; from the youngest Explorers who spend time near an open fire pit, to the older Trailblazers who build fires out of stones and foraged materials with their own kits. Fire safety is very important for our own protection and that of the forests. Fire is an ancient tool that helps us do many things: cooking, cleaning, giving warmth, and inspiring stories and connection. It can be misused and abused in terrible ways. Whatever the age of your Basecamper, they will receive fire safety training appropriate to their age. Depending on their age, they will practice carefully cooking over flames, tending logs and coals using tools, constructing and lighting fires, keeping fires ablaze and maintaining safety, putting out fires, and emergency procedures.
Backyard Basecampers have the awesome opportunity to swim, canoe, kayak, and play in Breakneck Lake at Harriman State Park (We don’t love the name either!)
Basecampers will have opportuinites each day for free-time during which they can choose water activities. A Basecamp lifeguard will be on duty during free-time to oversee play and ensure safety. These are the only times campers will be permitted in the water.
Children will only be allowed to swim and boat in designated areas within view of Lifeguard. Explorers and Pioneers may only boat with a leader present in the boat group. Pushing, dunking, and rough play are not allowed. Swimsuits must be worn. Please notify us if your child has difficulty swimming (they can always choose to do other activities, but we’d like to know if this is the case).
Our leaders and guides are prepared and experienced respond to all potential emergencies. However, it is helpful for parents to go over these emergency procedures with your Basecamper (and we will too!) before camp. The best way to prevent and address emergencies is using common sense, communication, and awareness of what is going on around you.
Bullying / Fights / Home Sickness: Talk with your leaders if you experience bad encounters with another camper or strong feelings of homesickness. They are there to help.
Losing the Group: If you realize you’ve lost the group, your first response should be calling out or making any noise (because they’re looking for you too!) If that doesn’t seem to work, stop at the last spot you remember being with the group. Wait there! Do not try to find your way down a trail or back to Basecamp. STAY PUT! Leaders will retrace their steps to find you. You will have leaders phone numbers written in your Field Guide if another hiker with a cell phone crosses your path.
Injuries and First Aid
Your Guides are trained in first aid and CPR response. Whenever you or a friend experience an injury in need of first aid - notify your Guide ASAP. Basecampers will also receive training in first aid and can be of assistance during crises. However, never handle a problem on your own, without alerting your guide. Each Crew will always carry with them a well-stocked First Aid kit that will handle most situations. Parents will be notified of any injury larger than a “band-aid scratch or bruise.”
Heat Exhaustion/ Heat Stroke/ Sunburn
Water, shade, and sunscreen: the best defense for sun exposure is maintaining all three of these. Never skip out on group water breaks or sunscreen applications. We don’t care if you “tan easily” or are “outside all the time!” Everyone needs to take breaks in shade with water and sunscreen with group. During free-time, always have your water bottle and hat with you. If found without either, you will be sent back to get them!
Keep an eye on yourself and others while playing in the sun for long periods of time. Tell others if they look red or flushed. Notice if you’re feeling tired or sleepy. These are signs your body needs a break out of the sun. If you think you are experiencing sunburn, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke - alert other campers and leaders. Guides will help you recover.
Dangerous Animal Encounter
Most forest animals are harmless, and should not cause alarm. However, animals like bears should be treated with precaution. If you see an animal alert your guide (if they haven’t already seen it). Follow the animal safety protocol depending on the creature.
Chapter 3: HEALTH & SAFETY