Welcome to what will likely become one of the most rewarding and most difficult experiences of your life. My goal is to make profound positive impact in the lives of our youth. Furthermore, I endeavor to provide staff with a level of support and positive reinforcement second to none in the field of residential camping experiences. Make no mistake; you are a selected group, chosen to engage in one of the most meaningful professions imaginable. In this document and throughout the orientation, you will find information, examples, and support designed to give you appropriate tools to deal with situations that may arise. Camp Sequoia however, isn’t all about typical situations and as such, there is a simple statement that will supersede and augment all of the information that you will be given in other forms. Remember this statement throughout the experience and you will on your way to keeping our campers safe and happy.
It is with great excitement that I welcome you to Camp Sequoia. This summer will be a unique opportunity, as you will have an integral role in creating a special experience that our campers will remember for the rest of their lives. Starting as a camper at age 8 and rarely absent from this type of transformative experience since, has taught me that each summer brings its own challenges and opportunities. This summer is no different. In order to best BE PREPARED to provide a quality experience you need to be supported by camp management. This letter is my pledge to do just that, through open communication and periodic incentives for high performing staff. You are responsible for being the staff member that changes the life of a young man for the better. I am responsible to see that you have the training and tools to be able to do this. When I support you, you are able to provide a superior experience for our campers.
Regardless of your specific job at camp, you will have an instrumental role in establishing our camp culture and creating the foundation for Camp Sequoia’s future. Together we will create an unforgettable summer for our campers and for each other. Our goal is for our campers to leave camp with some new friendships while feeling more self-confident, more socially connected and more socially aware of themselves.
As you begin the staff training process, please take a moment to reflect on why you are here, which staff member made a difference in your life as a camper or what mentor taught you something you will never forget. Take time to consider how you will be that person this summer for our campers.
Brian Lux, Director of Camp Sequoia
Staff members come to us with assorted knowledge, skills, abilities and expertise. You may have varied interests, hobbies, personalities, religions, and personal habits (hopefully none that offend your roommate), but you share one creed…to help every camper in a meaningful way.
Staff members are a composite group. You must have the energy of an unharnessed volcano, the drive of a jet plane, the memory of an elephant, the understanding of a clergyman, the wisdom of a judge, the tenacity of a spider, the patience of a turtle trying to cross the 476 on a Sunday afternoon, the decisiveness of a general, the diplomacy of an ambassador, and the common sense of a member of the Supreme Court. They must remember that campers learn by specific tasks by doing. Staff must also be perceptive and have a sincere interest in the whole person whether at the pool, archery range, art room or in the dorm.
Staff members must possess knowledge but most certainly they must possess love and deep abiding appreciation of and respect for growth of our campers, both individually and as a cohesive group. They must understand the camper who has the energy of a dynamo, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spry of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat and sometimes the sly demeanor of a fox.
Staff members must know how to spot things: the tendency toward homesickness of a first-year camper; how to handle your own day-to-day problems; who to report to in case of trouble; and which decisions one can make for oneself, and which decisions we refer to higher-ups.
Staff members should always go the extra mile to make camp even more enjoyable. Remember that you are there to work and not to look upon your assignment as your own personal vacation. Remember: You are hired to see that your division or activity is the best one in camp. In spite of your own likes and dislikes, continually smile, be steadfast, truthful, and understanding. Keep plugging away and you will be remembered long after others are forgotten and someday, somewhere, some young man will come up to you and say, “Hi! Remember me?”
RESEARCH: You might be responsible for archery, art, STEM, or Movie Making. Your first step is to learn as much about the subject as possible. Consult available literature. Talk with others about the subject. Read up from other material about the subject. Glean information from returning staff and the directorate. THINK! Put ideas down on paper. Try the skills that you are teaching (on your own) until you have mastered them. Know what you want your campers to learn.
PREPARATION: Take the material you have gathered and begin to organize yourself early to develop an interesting presentation activity. Check what you are going to do first and intentionally plan what you will say. Find out the ability and review developmental appropriateness of the group (this will vary across age groups). Plan to have the activity start as soon as the first person arrives. Have questions ready to get the group thinking along with you. Gather all props and materials before the “gang “arrives. Plan the amount of time required for group practice of the skills. Have games ready that put the skill work and create shared interest. Have the closing of the session prepared so the group will leave wanting to come back because it was fun and a benefit to all.
EXECUTION: If you have prepared well in advance, half the work is done. You now put your plan to work. Run through your prepared plans BUT be prepared for emergencies and last minute refinements. Watch for interest build-up, or lag in the group. Help those who don’t catch on. Don’t make anyone look stupid-it can backfire. Ask questions. Be sure to answer questions and don’t bluff. Keep alert and alive and keep the show moving. Use any ‘experts’ in the group, but don’t lose control of the group—you don’t have to be up front to be in control.
EVALUATION: Sit down as soon as possible, after the group has gone, and think back over what happened.
Write your observations down and plan to do something about them before your next session. Get help from others with your preparation and execution. Remember, everyone wants to do a good job—we are all on the same staff, here for the same purpose. As appropriate involve campers in the debrief at the end of each teaching session.
TIME BALANCE IN TEACHING A SKILL
No one can learn a skill except by doing; therefore, most of our time must be spent in practice. The proper time balance is:
Arriving to camp by car:
You may bring a car to camp, there’s plenty of parking. When you arrive, you will register your vehicle (if you haven’t done so already) and we will help you unload. Please arrive to general staff orientation by 1:00 P.M. on the date specified on your contract. Upon pulling onto Seminary Street, you will see signs directing you where to go. Our Senior Staff will help you unload your car and bring your things to where you’ll be staying during orientation.
Arriving to camp by plane:
If you will be flying into camp, you can fly into either Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) or Lehigh Valley Airport (ABE). Flights to Lehigh Valley are limited and tend to be more expensive than flights to Philadelphia. We will pick you up at the airport. We ask that you arrive the morning of or the night before staff orientation starts Please refer to your arrival date, listed on your contract and DO NOT book round trip flights before speaking with Reema!
If you find a screaming deal into another airport, let us know first and we may be able to connect you with staff coming by car from that part of the world. Alternatively, public transit can get you from EWR to PHL if you want to explore that option— although it is several hours of trains. Let us know your arrival time and we will arrange to meet you at the airport. Understand that we will make two airport runs for staff. Once we have arrival details for everyone, we will advise you when we can pick you up. The late run will depart when all flights have landed for the evening (the night before training begins) so you will not be stranded. This is because we love you and don’t want you to sleep in an airport. We will meet you outside of the baggage claim area for your airline and will provide you with the cell number of the staff member who will be meeting you. If your flight gets in early, you may need to wait in the airport for a while. There are many stores and places to eat within Philadelphia airport in terminals B & C.
You may ship things to camp if you’d like as well. We can collect packages scheduled to arrive after 6/7/2023. The address for shipping is:
200 Seminary St.
Pennsburg, PA 18073
Upon arrival all of our staff will live in one dorm during staff orientation before (potentially) moving into another location just before the campers arrive. During camp our male staff lives in the dorms with our campers and will share a room with another staff member. Female staff will typically live in separate shared accommodations, and will also have a roommate. All dorms have a common room and preload card laundry for most of the dormitories. You will be assigned to a specific division (age group at camp) who you will work with, eat meals with etc. Even if you are an Activity Specialist, you will be assigned to a division and your responsibilities include working with the General Counselors in your division.
During the staff orientation we will have different sessions to help you to learn how to work effectively with our campers and get you as prepared as possible for your job. We will have some separate sessions for our activity specialists where we’ll teach you how to structure your periods for each division (age group) at camp. You will also learn about Social Cognitive Skills and Building Frustration Tolerance to help you understand how we integrate these concepts into our work with the campers in all aspects of camp. We also will unpack our camper’s belongings and organize their rooms so they feel comfortable once they arrive at the end of staff orientation. You will move into your “summer home” with the division to whom you are assigned towards the end of staff orientation as well.
One important part of staff orientation is getting to know each other. It is natural and expected that you might feel somewhat nervous or uncomfortable at first until you start to get to know everyone. It is extremely important to hang out with each other during down times of orientation and not totally seclude yourself with your cell phone, laptop, etc. Obviously hiding in the staff lounge with the lights out is not a good way to meet all of our staff. Our staff becomes very close during the summer and this time during staff orientation week is the time for you to enjoy each other and build those connections as a meaningful foundation for a great summer with your colleagues and support network.
You will have some required reading to do, and several videos to watch. We expect that you have viewed and understand these materials prior to camp. (We recommend taking notes, as we will be discussing during training, and there will be a test at the end of training to ensure everyone understands the material 🙂
If you’re an Activity Specialist, you should prepare a list of supplies you think you’ll need and start getting some ideas together for lesson plans. Keep in mind that you will see each age group at camp so lessons should be planned accordingly. We need to have your requested supply list sent to us in a word document by March 30th at the very latest.
What can I expect from my experience working at Camp Sequoia?
It is okay to ask this question. We want you to be as prepared as possible for an exciting, challenging, and rewarding summer experience. We want to help you to create realistic expectations for the summer and to be prepared for some difficult times. However, this summer will be an amazing learning opportunity where you will develop your leadership skills. In addition, you will become more confident and competent in effectively managing a variety of situations with some really incredible campers and staff.
Some things you can expect:
Your family and/or significant others are allowed to visit you at camp with prior consent from the Director. Please understand that your job responsibilities come first and foremost, and visitors can be distracting to your ability to do your job to the best of your ability. That being said we ask that you do not take advantage of this policy, so we do not need to limit your visitation privileges. All visitors must register at the camp office. A member of the directorate will escort visitors around camp unless the Camp Director approves an exception. The Perkiomen School security staff will not allow any visitors onto campus without authorization and identification. If you have friends coming up to camp, they must meet you off campus on your time off unless they have been specifically approved in advance. Staff who attempt to have unauthorized visitors on site are subject to disciplinary action.
NO NUTS OF ANY KIND MAY BE KEPT IN THE DORM, DUE TO SEVERITY OF NUT ALLERGIES. If you yourself are nutty, please advise a member of senior staff prior to camper arrival. Personal food (reasonable quantities that conform to our community standards) may be kept in dorm rooms but should not be eaten in front of campers and never shared with campers.
Mail should be sent to the following address (only between 6/6/2023-8/5):
200 Seminary St.
Pennsburg, PA 18073
The United States Postal Service offers this incredible service called “mail forwarding”. You can designate a change of address for the duration of your time at camp, which we highly recommend, as one of your background checks (the FBI Fingerprint Check) automatically sends to your home address. The best part? It only costs $1.10. You can set this up here:
We have some great ideas and policies, but will talk about them with your input at staff orientation. For now, remember that we respect children and avoid criticizing in public. Below you’ll find some general guidelines for your review.
Good discipline is generally the result of strong leadership and a positive attitude. However, some campers will come to Camp Sequoia with patterns of disruptive behavior. Occasional misbehavior is part of human nature and must be dealt with in the growth process. All discipline at Camp Sequoia is administered with a view toward learning how one’s behavior affects others rather than punishment.
Discipline problems can and do occur at camp. Under no circumstances are campers to be
BATHING SUITS: Males: No shorts are to be worn in the pool, only bathing suits or surf shorts with boxers. Females: One-piece bathing suits only.
CLOTHING: Clothing must fit properly (not too tight). Be mindful that we are working with children and should present ourselves in a respectful manner. The Director reserves the right to decide if a specific item of clothing is inappropriate for camp. If you have questions, PLEASE contact Brian before campers arrive and he will provide specific guidance.
FOOTWEAR: Should be appropriate for the activity. This means no bare feet or flip flops, for athletic activities (as an example).
Salaries will be paid on a regular schedule by direct deposit three times during the camp season. Pay dates for camp staff are:
Staff training is a condition of employment. Salaries are set based on the position, past experience, age, skill, and knowledge. In addition to salary, meals and lodging will be provided for each member of the staff. Leadership team members should refer to their employment agreement for more specific details applicable to them with regards to supplemental payroll eligibility. On occasion, staff end up paying for camp-related expenses. On these occasions, we ask that you first gain approval from the director, associate director, or program director before making a camp-related purchase. Upon approval, you will be reimbursed for your contribution in the next applicable paycheck. Reimbursements are required to be approved and submitted prior to the last week of camp so they can be included in final payroll. Any contributions to camp without proper approval or submitted after this deadline will not be reimbursed.
Discussion of salaries among the staff can lead to misunderstandings; you are discouraged from doing so. Please direct your specific questions to Brian. Your final paper check will be issued after all closing camp work is satisfactorily completed, evaluations have been made, and all camp equipment inventoried and provided to camp leadership in electronic format. Members of the leadership team who do not have all paperwork completed will be paid the remainder of their salary in supplementary Sequoia payroll after their work is completed.
Camp Sequoia uses an outside payroll company to print payroll checks. Your payroll information (salary, days absent, taxes, etc.) is accumulated, and then we forward all this information to our outside processor for DIRECT DEPOSIT. Any surprises (incorrect payroll information, for example) will require us to issue you a manual check and this may delay your receiving payment.
Your schedule will be determined by the Camp Director and is subject to change as conditions warrant—although we rarely need to do so. These changes are up to the discretion of the Camp Director and are done only to make sure our children are safe and well supervised.
At various times, a staff member may need a leave because of emergencies or sickness. However, because of the special nature of the staff positions and limited resources to replace staff members on emergency leaves, any emergency leave will be subject to the following conditions:
We will discuss specifics at staff orientation, but the crux of this section is that if you fail to do your job to the standards of our community, or if you make decisions that put kids or Camp Sequoia in danger or prioritize anything other than the wellbeing of our campers, these are grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal as per our code of conduct and statement of expectations. Please refer to your contract for the outlined monetary repercussions for not following the outlined requirements and expectations of the position.
We permit staff to have their cell phone with them for safety reasons and emergency use only. All staff members will also carry two-way radios as a primary means of communication.
Furthermore, campers should never have access to your cell phone; see pictures or videos on it, etc. Primary camp communication between staff is by two-way radio. Camp Sequoia does not communicate via text message during the summer due to the inherent opportunities for miscommunication given the limited message length available in that media.
We understand there may be times over the summer when you need to make a personal phone call at a specific time. Please inform your Division Leader or our Program Director in advance so we can have coverage for you while you make your call.
You may bring your laptop to camp to be used during your free time. Campus has wireless internet access. Campers should never have access to your laptop, be shown videos on your laptop etc.
Our cell phone and computer policy will be strictly enforced and comes with disciplinary actions that we will discuss as a team during staff orientation with your input.
Safety is the most important thing at Camp Sequoia and it is EVERYONE’S job. If you see something happening that you think is unsafe, STOP IT OR MAKE IT SAFE. Always, always, always use your best judgment. We coordinate our response with the Perkiomen Security staff, which we will discuss (and practice) during staff orientation.
If any staff member sees someone who does not appear to belong at camp interacting with our campers (aside from Perkiomen School faculty) please contact a Senior Staff member immediately. Sometimes people who work with our campers during the school year come to observe them. You will be informed in advance through the daily counselor communication log if any of your campers will have a visitor. We require a photo ID for all visitors who interact with campers. Former staff members, friends, family etc. may ONLY access the Perkiomen school campus with prior written permission of the director. Details on this will be discussed during staff orientation.
In case of a tornado or hurricane, go to the nearest indoor building and inform the office of your location and which campers are with you. In case of a flood, go to the dining room (Parents Hall). If you see a stray child, help him, and take that child with you. It is more important that a child be safe than with the proper group. Notify the camp office of your location.
If a camper is missing, contact a Senior Staff member immediately. The office will institute a search party (and we will practice this during orientation).
If the person can be moved without any risk of additional injury, a Counselor will take that person to the nurse. If the person cannot be moved – or if you are not sure – the Counselor should contact the on-call nurse and follow subsequent directions.
First and foremost, use your best judgment. A Senior Staff will then instruct counselors what to do and camp will make all necessary contacts. The injured/sick camper is the priority.
*** IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR INJURY, ONLY BRIAN (OR HIS EXPLICIT DESIGNEE) CONTACT THE PARENTS, STAFF, OR ADDRESS THE MEDIA***
We have nurses on staff. We do NOT want or expect counselors to be anyone’s primary health care provider at Camp Sequoia. While we may have campers who will “play sick” in an effort to avoid participating or due to anxiety IF IN DOUBT, GO TO THE NURSE. If you are supervising campers and a camper is injured, please contact a senior staff member so we can transport the camper to the nurse. Do not leave campers unsupervised. Please report all injuries to the nurse, INCLUDING ANY STAFF INJURIES.
Campers are not permitted to walk around campus unaccompanied. If a camper must go to the health center, a staff member must accompany them. If you are not able to accompany a camper to the health center, contact a senior staff member to take them. Campers may come to the office on their own only by permission of Senior Staff.
Camp Sequoia recognizes that social networking is part of today’s society and that it is a way for people to communicate. At the same time, we want to make sure that the use of social networking sites by Sequoia staff does not create any legal or reputational problems for the camp. We ask that our staff exercise discretion, are mindful of their actions, and are thoughtful and respectful of the anticipated audience of the content.
To help guide you in your use of social networking sites, we have created this Social Networking Policy. This Policy will help you open a respectful, knowledgeable interaction with people on the Internet and also protect the privacy, confidentiality and interests of Camp Sequoia, other camp staff and our partners and campers. Please read it carefully.
We understand that there is a difference between social networking activity where you are identified as a member of the Sequoia community and private conversations that are outside of the camp community. While this policy is directed to activity where you are identified as a member of the Sequoia community, you must also recognize that even private postings may become public, can reflect badly on Camp Sequoia and may result in disciplinary action by Camp Sequoia. Given the nature of the children’s camp business, you must be mindful of your responsibilities and the impact your words and actions have on the camp community.
Accordingly, please refrain from posting the following (and this is not an exhaustive list):
We strongly urge you not to correspond with campers or their parents via social media after the camp season. Amongst other things, it breeds a familiarity and lack of structure, which can inhibit your ability to do your job most effectively, and our ability to run a successful, cohesive camp in future seasons.
Campers who wake up early must stay in their rooms until 7:00 A.M. during which they can be reading, listening to music, or doing a quiet activity. After 7:00 A.M. campers may be in the common room or their bedroom only. Campers should not go into other camper’s rooms in the morning.
Staff should wake up at least 15 minutes before their campers. On each floor, there will be a designated “early riser” staff member who will be the contact person in case the need arises. It is a collective responsibility to help wake the campers up and make sure they are getting ready for breakfast. It is particularly important that each camper goes through their morning hygiene routine and is dressed appropriately for the weather. One counselor always needs to be in the bathroom monitoring to make sure everyone is doing what they need to do to get ready.
You will come to know which of your campers take longer to get ready than others. You will work out a system with your co-counselors as to supervising campers to make sure they are getting up and doing what they need to do. Keep in mind that rushing our campers typically does not make them move faster. We cannot have campers arriving to meals late, as we dispense medications at meals and the dining room staff is on a very tight schedule.
You may need to wake up certain campers earlier than others if they are very slow in the morning. Getting campers started on a good routine within the first few days of their arrival will help them be more successful and ultimately this established routine will make your life much easier.
A camper wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt to breakfast because they tell you they have no other clean clothes is not acceptable. Keep in mind that many of our campers will put very little effort into finding missing clothes. They will need your help in managing these types of things. It is also important to make sure that campers wear new clothes each day.
Campers and Staff will enter the dining room. Nurses will come to tables and ensure campers have their appropriate medications. Campers and staff sit with their assigned division during each meal. Your job will be to supervise your division of campers while they are getting food. Some of our campers need to have their food intake monitored and we need to be sure they are not taking food they won’t eat or overeating. During meals, counselors should engage in conversation with their campers. Mealtime is a wonderful opportunity for you to get to know your campers better and build your relationships with them. No books, electronics, or music is allowed by individual campers at meals.
You are responsible to make sure the campers at your table are not wandering around the dining hall. No one is dismissed from their table until a Division Leader dismisses the table. Campers and staff are not permitted to use the soda machine in the dining hall. All campers and staff (to model this behavior) must drink one cup of water before getting any other drink. Campers are not permitted to skip meals or to not eat anything. Most importantly, please don’t get into power struggles over food. Many of our campers are extremely picky eaters. Please report any camper dietary concerns to your division leader/nurse immediately.
It is extremely important that both our campers and staff stay hydrated throughout the day. Each summer we have had staff and campers who became sick from dehydration. The majority of our campers take medications which can cause dehydration thus we want them drinking water regularly throughout the day. We provide coolers with water at the activities and encourage campers (and staff) to stay hydrated. You may want to have your own water bottle (there are filling stations inside as well) for camp. Make sure to model good hydration for your campers.
Campers and Staff return to their rooms after breakfast for Clean-up. Each camper will clean and organize their belongings during Clean-up. Cleanup is an important time for campers to lean life skills and independence. Some campers will need step-by–step instructions broken down during this process.
All Counselors should be going into camper’s rooms during clean-up & organization to make sure that campers are doing what they need to be doing, throwing out trash, getting their things ready for the day, organizing their areas, etc. Sitting in your room or in the common room during Clean-up is not acceptable.
Please be patient with campers who have difficulty during this time. Some of our campers have little to no responsibilities at home and many of our campers have what is called executive functioning deficits. Executive functioning deficits mean that someone has trouble getting organized, planning ahead and following routines and tasks. Setting a routine and establishing expectations from the beginning of the session is key to success here.
Camper’s room Clean-up responsibilities:
Dorm clean up jobs:
Camp Sequoia’s program is unique in the sense that our campers get to choose most of their activities (Majors and Minors). All activities require us to meet at a central location between periods so counselors can take the campers to their next activity period. You will be told where this central location will be for your division. Campers are never to walk around camp unaccompanied unless approved by a senior staff member. Please remember to allow campers to have bathroom breaks in between periods where they won’t have bathroom access (athletics, nature, etc.)
General Counselors will be assigned to specific activities with their division. Some General Counselors will run activities under the direction of our Senior Staff. General Counselor responsibilities during activity periods are to supervise, encourage and help campers as well as assisting the Activity Specialist. It is the Counselor’s responsibility to manage individual campers so that the Activity Specialists can run the activity.
It is easy for our campers to become distracted or to disconnect during activities so it’s very important we “reel” them back into the activity. Your goal is to address any problems and help any campers who might require additional attention so that everyone can join in the activity with your group. The campers will be excited to spend time playing with you and it will increase their willingness to participate. Remember, if you are enthusiastic, they will be too.
Activity Specialists will plan activities for their campers and lead the period. It is extremely important to structure your periods so there is time to explain what is happening, let the campers know your expectations for the activity, spent an appropriate amount of time on practicing or constructing and have sufficient time to clean up and transition to the next activity. It is extremely important to let our campers know when there are 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, then one minute left in an activity period. This helps them with transitioning to the next activity as it allows them to mentally prepare for the transition.
Programming development, lesson plans and activity planning happens well before campers arrive. Be sure to ask for help and guidance early and often.
Our campers always do best when they know what to expect ahead of time in all situations!
All campers and counselors return to their floor at Rest Period. Campers may be in their rooms or in the common room. Rest Hour is an important part of the day. You are welcome to take your campers outside to play in front of the dorm during rest period as long as your co-counselors know where you are and there is adequate coverage for all campers. The counselors are responsible for making sure campers are writing letters (on letter writing days) and in some cases help them to write. Please keep in mind that most accidents and behaviors happen at camp during these “down times” so supervision is critical during Rest Period.
Afternoon snack will be held at a specific location each day. It is the Counselor’s responsibility to supervise campers during snack time and make sure the campers are throwing out any trash and not leaving their belongings behind.
You are encouraged to go swimming if you are assigned to free swim. It is your job to assist the pool staff with supervising and manage camper behaviors in and out of the pool. While campers are not required to swim, they must be in their bathing suits for free swim and have a towel with them. All campers must swim during instructional swim and counselors should plan to be in the water with them. Counselors need to escort campers to the bathroom during free swim. Please encourage your campers to swim during free swim.
One Counselor from each bunk should go to the camp office to pick up mail before returning to their floor after the final activity period of the day. All campers are required to shower every day. Some of our campers are not very mindful of their hygiene so it is your responsibility to make sure they are showering, putting on clean clothes, putting on deodorant (in the morning and after showers), brushing their hair, etc. One staff member (male) will need to be stationed in the bathroom during shower time to make sure the campers are getting in and out of the shower on time and not getting distracted, making a mess, etc.
Counselors will establish a shower schedule for campers and make sure that campers are in and out of the shower in a timely matter with appropriate supervision. Because some of our campers struggle with hygiene, they will need varying degrees of supervision during this process. Supervision might include having the camper show you that they have shampoo and soap in their shower caddy before their turn at showering. While some of our campers have privacy issues and we want to respect their privacy it is also important to understand that good hygiene takes precedence. Every summer at overnight camps there are campers who develop skin problems due to poor hygiene. Please make sure there is ample time for all campers to shower. Campers should put on clean underwear, socks and a t-shirt after showers.
Each night after dinner we will have an all-camp meeting. During this time, you will be asked to share some positive things that you saw throughout the day pertaining to the basic social cognition concepts. Don’t worry you will learn about these during staff week. All of our campers need praise, particularly those who have low self-esteem. No compliment is ever too small. Hint: This is a good idea for your colleagues as well. Even your leadership team appreciates positive reinforcement.
Counselors will be assigned to supervise specific locations or activities. This is a time for campers to enjoy the freedom to select activities from a predetermined list of options. This is not a time when campers are allowed to be doing solitary activities (reading, listening to music, etc.). They must be engaged with other campers. We welcome new ideas and creativity at camp, and you are encouraged to create your own activities during evening activity based on your talents and interests that you can share with our campers. You’d be surprised to learn how receptive campers are to trying new things if you are enthusiastic about them.
Counselors assigned to specific activities will supervise and engage with campers. If a camper is leaving an activity for another activity a staff member must escort them. Suggestions for new and interesting evening activities are welcome. The success of the evening programs is closely linked with the enthusiasm and interest shown by all of the counselors.
After the final period of the night or evening activity (depending on the program) campers will have snack or canteen depending on the night. Canteen is a time when campers will go to the dining hall for snack. When there is no canteen snack will be done outside of the dorm. Counselors are required to supervise campers during this time and make sure they are throwing out their trash. Please try to engage all campers during this time as it is somewhat unstructured which can be difficult for campers who do not understand how to enter social situations appropriately. Some campers will need to get medications during this time. The nurses will come around to deliver these.
Campers will return to their dorm with their counselors at a designated time. It is very important to keep this time as calm, structured, and routine as possible. Establish a routine for when campers will be going into the bathroom to brush their teeth etc. Do not expect most campers to remember or want to brush their teeth. As the campers prepare for bed, it is important that they follow their evening routines, brush their teeth, wash their face, empty the pockets of their clothing, and place their worn clothing in their laundry bags.
Bedtime is important! The tone should be calm and quiet on the floor. Each night we read to campers in the Freshman, Junior, and sometimes Inters divisions which helps them to quiet down and get ready for bed. When it is bedtime, please go to each camper’s room to talk with them, make sure they are getting ready for bed, etc.
If campers do not want to listen to the book, being they can be in their rooms or another camper’s room, the person you are on O.D. with should be supervising the rooms while the other person reads to the group. Homesickness or anxiety may surface during bedtime at the beginning of each session. It is important to be firm yet warm in these situations. Depending on the age of the child, it is also acceptable to rub their backs to help them relax and fall asleep. It is important to remind all campers to go to the bathroom before bed.
Generally, the policy is as follows:
Keep in mind: If you put your campers to bed too early, they will wake up too early!
Once per week campers are required to change their bed linens and put clean ones on their bed. It is extremely important that all campers’ dirty laundry go in their laundry bags and brought out on laundry day. We will discuss counselor laundry logistics during staff week. All staff will help campers to neatly put away their clean clothes (which are returned folded already from our laundry service). Staff laundry IS NOT sent out to our service. There are several options for staff including onsite and a couple of local laundry options.
All campers and staff must wear clean Camp Sequoia t-shirts on trip days. All Staff must remember that each staff member must actively supervise the campers on trips. You will be asked to break down your campers into smaller groups for some trips to make walking around more manageable. Your biggest job is to count, count again, and recount campers to make sure you know where they are and that they are safe and well supervised. The supervisory responsibility is paramount during trips and staff must use their utmost best judgment and remind campers to do so as well.
Please help your campers to make smart decisions with their money while on trips. For example, do not allow a camper to buy 4 candy bars. Campers are allowed to purchase ONE soda while on trips.
Given the amount of indoor space available at camp rainy days do not present a significant problem for Camp Sequoia. Some activities will need to be moved inside as a result. Activity specialists should have rainy day lesson plans that they can do inside on rainy days. Activity specialists must present rainy day activity plans by the end of staff orientation.
Loyalty to the camp and its administrators is of paramount importance. All staff should cheerfully and willingly carry out the camp policies and regulations. Their personal behavior should be worthy of emulation including clean language, and a positive, optimistic attitude. Counselors are expected to demonstrate a high level of interest not only in their own program offerings but in the total camp offering as well. Staff should work together as a team realizing that there will be many times during the camping season when the “give and take” principle will need to operate to ensure the smooth operation of the total program. Some helpful hints follow:
Please keep in perspective that complaining and/or blaming others is useless. There are always things that can be improved. Please be constructive and seek solutions by suggesting things in a professional manner if you feel the need.
Inventories of all facilities, non-expendable equipment and expendable supplies will be conducted before camp opens, at the end of every session, and during camp closure. Accurate and timely inventories are important tools for the proper administration of the overall camping program since they are used for budgetary planning, justification for insurance claims, and are the basis for purchasing both for the current season and next summer. If you need any supplies or equipment for your program during the summer, let the Program Director know well in advance so we can plan accordingly.
Please note that final paychecks will be handed out only after all inventory is handed in and accounted for, your rooms are cleaned, all dorm rooms on your floor are inspected and any damage is reported to a Senior Staff member. We need to leave the Perkiomen School in the condition we found it or better.
Obviously, we could not cover every single aspect of camp in this handbook. Hopefully you will have questions prior to orientation, and we encourage you to ask them so we can discuss them prior to camp starting. We expect that all staff will have read this handbook thoroughly. We want you to feel that you are coming to Camp Sequoia well informed of our policies, procedures, and expectations. We are happy to do anything to help you do your job to the best of your ability and make this the best possible experience for kids.
We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks and know you will do an incredible job at camp this summer. Thank you in advance for being part of our staff and for the positive difference you will make in the lives of some great kids this summer. We are looking forward to a great summer working with you,
Your 2023 Camp Sequoia Leadership Team