Green River Preserve is an American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camp with our most recent re-accreditation visit occurring during summer 2012. The ACA has over 300 standards that camps meet to earn accreditation status. Compare that to most daycare accreditations, and you will find those programs often only have between 18-24 standards to meet.
Camp nurses staff the infirmary 24/7 and there are beds inside for campers if they are unable to return to their group due to illness. Most campers never see the inside of the Health Hut. But, if a camper does require a visit, the Health Hut is stocked with many over the counter medications, bandages, and other first aid supplies. Many camp nurses are also camp parents and are hired for their caring towards and knowledge of the well-being of children. Health Hut staff undergo background checks and interviews prior to employment at Green River Preserve. In case further medical attention is necessary, GRP works closely with local pediatricians, dentists, orthodontists, optometrists, and health centers and hospitals to provide the best care possible.
Medications to be administered at camp are checked in during the arrival day process. Parents and GRP medical staff package medication in to individually labeled blister packs that are sorted by time of day the medication is administered.
Other medications including liquids, inhalers, creams and ointments should be individually labeled and checked in to the camp medical staff as well. This system is designed to improve the efficiency and safety of administering medication at camp and allows camp nurses to have more time to devote to the well-being of the campers.
The infirmary at Green River Preserve is affectionately known as the Health Hut. Every session, camp employs at least one (usually two) registered nurses who live on site in the infirmary, administer medication, and assist campers with any health and wellness concerns. The Health Hut is also home to one of the best front porches in base camp. When designing the Health Hut, the decision was made to create great sitting space outdoors so those who were not feeling well could rest, relax, and recover outside in the fresh mountain air.
It is our policy that parents/guardians will be notified by health care staff or a camp director if a camper experiences any of the following:
Health care staff are not limited to the above scenarios and may contact a parent to gather more information regarding a child’s condition or health history or at their own discretion when considering the participants’ symptoms or condition.
Safety starts first and foremost with our staff. Staff are at least 18 years old, have completed a year of college, and undergo background checks prior to employment. Each camp season, staff are interviewed by the directors and carefully selected with regard to maturity, sensitivity, intellectual achievement, and integrity as role models. Ten days of staff training at the beginning of summer is conducted for summer staff and includes verification of skills and training on policies and procedures and emergency protocols. Staff employed at Green River Preserve are certified in First Aid and CPR and in epinephrine administration. Mentors (professional naturalists) typically have additional Wilderness First Aid training and carry radios and first aid kits on their morning hikes. Our camper to staff ratio is 3 to 1.
Mentors “check-in” each morning with the program office to ensure their radios are functioning properly. During Mentor hikes, staff have the capability of being in constant contact with base camp and office staff. Likewise, the camp office can communicate with groups to arrange early pickups in case of severe weather or in case of injury or illness. Hikes are led by Mentors with at least one counselor assisting so there are at least two adults with every group.
Green River Preserve is made up of over 3,400 acres of privately-owned wildlife preserve that is only for our campers to explore during the summer. Before every hike, Mentors give a safety briefing including what to do in several “what if” scenarios. Mentors are also our more seasoned staff who have experience leading children in nature in exploration and practicing Leave No Trace ethics, as well as experience in decision-making for minimizing risk in the wilderness.
Campers are transported to and from hikes in the morning on our brilliantly painted buses. Bus drivers have a current CDL and have attended GRP driver safety training conducted by a camp administrator. The buses aren’t just a ride–they are a program area as well. Staff members spread out to ride on the buses leading songs all the way down the Upper and Lower Roads. The bus ride can be a great time to spot Grand Slam-inals!
Every session begins with a Respect Circle when campers are asked to take a respect pledge. There are no put downs at GRP and every camper is given the chance to agree to respect themselves, one another, and the land by, each in turn, saying, “I will.” This sets up an emotionally healthy camp where campers and staff alike hold each other accountable to this agreement made in the first hours of camp.
Green River Preserve operates an educational farm as part of our programing. We strive to provide as much organic produce from the farm as possible for our meals. We supplement produce with local and regional farms in the area. We believe “you are what you eat” and there is no better way to grasp that concept than to play in the dirt and grow your own food. Campers have the opportunity to experience the farm and help harvest produce for our kitchen meals. According to the New York Times, “The food Americans eat travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching the table.” Eating food raised locally reduces reliance on fossil fuels, encourages outdoor exercise and reduces eating foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats, both of which are linked to obesity and heart disease.