Looking for a printable version of the Parent Handbook?
PARENT HANDBOOK 2017
WELCOME TO BRIARWOOD DAY CAMP
We are very excited that you have chosen to have your camper spend the summer at Briarwood. For those of us who went to camp as kids, we know what a transformative experience camp can be. For those who are less familiar with camp, wait until you see what we can do. We appreciate the trust you’ve put in us.
This Parent Handbook will give you at least an outline for your camper’s summer. We are in the human being business and, accordingly, we place the greatest emphasis on your child’s growth during the summer – socially, emotionally, athletically, artistically and intellectually. We want to help create strong, independent, kind, well-adjusted leaders. We believe that Briarwood is the perfect place to nurture these qualities.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe that camp is great for kids.
We believe in our fresh air, our 30 acres and our three swimming pools.
We believe in our superlative staff.
We believe that camp is a form of outdoor learning and kids can learn as much about themselves in two months of camp as they do during the school year.
We believe that camp friends are friends for life.
WHAT WE KNOW
Briarwood is the place to be!
The first day of camp will be Monday, June 19. Camp will be closed on Tuesday, July 4. The last day of camp will be Friday, August 11.
WHEN YOU WILL HEAR FROM US IN JUNE
You will be receiving a call from your camper’s counselor and driver between June 4th and June 12th. In addition to introducing themselves, your camper’s counselor and driver will each ask you about your child, whether your child has any allergies and if there is anything else that he or she should know. Please be forthcoming. We also ask our counselors in this phone call to confirm the weeks that your camper will be attending camp for their own records. During these calls, you should feel free to discuss any concerns about your child or about camp.
TRANSPORTATION – HOW IT WORKS
It is quite a logistical undertaking to plan transportation for so many children.
First and foremost, when it comes to transportation, we want to get our campers to Briarwood safely and in a timely manner. Depending on where they live, our campers are assigned to either a van or a staff driver.
We always try to accommodate the transportation needs of all of our families. We cannot guarantee which driver will pick up your child. Also, while we will consider all transportation requests, we cannot guarantee specific pickup or drop off times or accommodate transportation placement based on friendships or other social groupings. Please DO NOT ask your driver to change his or her route or adjust your child’s pick up or drop off time. Those requests need to go through the office. We will help you if we can.
If you find that you have a need for extended care, Briarwood continues to offer excellent before and after care programs at camp.
If you will be driving your camper into camp in the morning, please arrive no later than 9:15 am. If you will be driving your camper home, please arrive no later than 3:15 pm. We count on your timely arrival to ensure that Briarwood’s overall arrival and dismissal goes smoothly.
If you are picking up your camper for an early dismissal, you must be at camp before 3:00 pm.
For insurance and logistical reasons, we cannot coordinate transportation swaps for play dates. If you have a transportation change that needs to be made, please contact the office. Our Briarwood drivers cannot authorize or coordinate transportation changes. Please do not ask your driver to accommodate a driving change – it puts them in a very awkward position because they are not permitted to do so.
WHAT TO BRING TO CAMP
Campers and parents are always concerned about what they will need at camp. In general, the philosophy of “less is more” applies when packing your bag for the day.
The following is a list of items that will help your child have a safe and enjoyable summer: TWO BATHING SUITS, a TOWEL, HAT, SUNSCREEN and a SMALL BACKPACK or DUFFLE BAG (Briarwood bags are always great!) If your camper is a Busy Bee, you will also need to send a clean change of clothes for your child to go home in every day. Some counselors may have special requests or suggestions and they will communicate those to you during their initial phone conversation.
The following items should be left at camp for the summer: Change of clothes in case of rain during the day, rain gear, old sneakers and a sweatshirt for those cool days.
We discourage the wearing of Crocs, flip flops and sandals because they have limited support and may cause injuries. We ask that our campers wear socks and sneakers to camp every day and that they wear them for all activities.
You may wish to send water bottles and you are, of course, free to do so. However, please know that Briarwood has many water stations throughout the camp. Also, Briarwood will supply all the sports equipment needed for camp activities but some prefer to bring their own softball glove or tennis racket. Remember, the more your child brings to camp, the more your child is capable of losing. We cannot be responsible for items lost, stolen or damaged at camp. Accordingly, please clearly label everything with your child’s name. Use a waterproof marker.
The following items are NOT permitted in camp, please leave them at home—they dilute the Briarwood experience: Cell Phones • Electronic Games • iPods • iPads • MP3 Players. In addition to the fact that electronics inhibit our mission for the kids to unplug and enjoy the outdoors, we also are working to foster our campers’ growth, social skills and independence. We find that if your child is “retreating” into his/her electronics or reaching out to you during the day (in a non-emergency situation), that inhibits your child’s growth. If for some reason your child feels an immediate need to speak with you during the camp day, his or her counselor will notify us at the office.
OFFICE HOURS / EARLY AND LATE CARE
The office is open from 7:45 am to 4:00 pm. Briarwood provides early and late care for a small cost. Please call us if you are interested in this service. Early care begins at 7:30 am and late care ends at 6:00 pm. We know that our parents have busy schedules; we ask that camp families respect the opening and closing times – in our experience, even longer days due to dropping off before 7:30 am or picking up after 6:00 pm can be very hard for our campers.
ATTENDANCE AT BRIARWOOD
Please call your camper’s driver if your child will be out sick or if there are any other changes that need to be made to your camper’s transportation (e.g. arriving late or leaving early).
You may decide that you want to extend your child’s time at Briarwood or that you need to make other arrangements. Please call the office to do so – we have found that using our campers’ drivers as go betweens does not work well.
ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL DURING THE CAMP DAY
When our campers arrive each morning, they go directly to their lineup area. At the beginning of camp, we have many staff members available to help our campers get to where they need to be (and things will become second nature after a few days). Likewise, we dismiss from lineup to the vehicles at the end of the day.
Busy Bees are escorted in the morning by their drivers to the picnic area where they are greeted by Busy Bee staff. At the end of the day, Busy Bees are met by their drivers at the flagpole for dismissal to the vehicles.
If you know in advance that you are unable to pick up your child and you are sending another individual to do so, please send a note to camp in the morning with your child. The note must state the driver’s name. Please make the driver aware that we will be asking to see his or her driver’s license. If you have a last minute change (and we know that these things happen), please call the camp office. This call must come from the parent or guardian and not the alternate driver.
If you are picking your child up early from camp, we recommend sending a note in the morning so we can try to have them ready at the appropriate time. Gathering campers’ belongings and getting them ready to leave can take some time, especially if they are in the pool, at the top of the rock wall or out on a boat. Lastly, please tell your driver in the morning that your child will be leaving camp early.
We have a registered nurse at camp.
So we can best care for your child, we need completed health forms for each Briarwood camper before camp starts. This form is available on our website and is necessary for your child’s care and safety. If you have not already done so, please return this form at your earliest opportunity.
Camp runs best when there are no surprises. If your child has a health (or any other) issue, please make sure that the office knows about it by noting it on your child’s health form. If you have additional comments, please feel free to call us. We may call you if we feel we need further clarification.
Some parents decide that they want to give their child a “vacation” from their medications during the summer. THIS IS A VERY BAD IDEA. Your child may have a very difficult time thriving without medication. Please help us give your camper the best summer we can by keeping your child on his or her medications over the summer.
If your camper needs medication during the camp day, we need you to do two things: (1) fill out and return the Permission to Medicate form on our website and return it to us at your earliest opportunity; and (2) either before camp or on the first day, send in your child’s medication in a Ziploc bag with any instructions. If the medications are coming in on the first day, please give that Ziploc bag to your child’s driver (if you drive your child, bring it in yourself). All medications must go directly to the nurse and must be clearly marked in their original containers. Children and other staff should not administer any medications.
Since this is camp, children sometimes get hurt during the day. This is normal. We will call you if we believe your child has a relatively significant injury or if your camper is sick.
The camp day starts with lineup at 9:30 and we dismiss at 3:30. Our camp day is divided into 8 periods (our Busy Bees effectively have 7 periods in a camp day – they wind down during 8th period). Campers are divided into bunks. Each bunk swims twice a day. Our bunks rotate through other pre-scheduled activities during the rest of the camp day. Since we are always on the go, please make sure your child has a good breakfast each morning.
FOOD AND DRINK AT BRIARWOOD
Briarwood serves lunch as well as an afternoon snack each day. We post our menu on our website. Our lunches are standard camp/school fare (but we like to think it’s better and healthier!). We also serve fresh fruit for dessert with every lunch. In addition to whatever is being served for lunch, we always have salad, peanut butter and jelly and cheese sandwiches available. Yogurt will be available every day as well.
We are not a peanut free camp. We have a peanut free table at lunch where kids can eat with friends if they are allergic.
We love to celebrate our campers’ birthdays at camp and you are welcome to bring in a birthday treat if you choose. Due to the pervasive number of allergies though, please bring in only nut-free birthday treats.
We love when camp families come to visit! However, for logistical reasons, we have a few guidelines. Camp is open for visitation during weeks 2 through 7 (Monday, June 26 through Friday, August 4) from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. You will be checked in at the security gate and then asked to go to the office where you will be asked to sign in. After you sign in, you will be told where your camper is.
We want you to see your camper and your camper will be very happy to see you. We ask that you be a passive visitor – please do not interject yourself into the bunk’s activity because it is can be disruptive and distracting. Also, it may upset other campers whose parents aren’t at camp. Likewise, for similar reasons, we ask that you avoid eating lunch with your child’s bunk. If you are watching your child swim, you must do so from outside the gated area, where you will have a very good view.
When you are done your visit, please sign out at the office. If you are taking your child with you, PLEASE TELL THE OFFICE. We need to know where are campers are before we dismiss at the end of the day.
Our “main” picture day will be Thursday, June 22 in the morning. Your child’s photo will be taken and the bunk photo will be taken that day as well. These photos will be provided to you and are part of the camp tuition. Our makeup picture day will be Thursday, July 20 in the morning. Individual photos of campers who missed the first session will be taken on that date.
One of the main ways that we stay in touch with our camp families during camp is through our weekly newsletter, the Briarwood Bugle. The Bugles give a brief (and hopefully entertaining) recap of what happened that week, what’s happening in the future and other things you will want to know. We send them home with our campers every Friday. Because we realize that these Bugles somehow don’t always make it home (because we have kids too), we also post the Bugles to our website (www.briarwooddaycamp.com).
We ask that your camper wear a Briarwood shirt for all out of camp trips and sporting events. All campers get a Briarwood shirt during their first week of camp. If you find that you need additional shirts, they are available for purchase at the camp office.
All lower and upper camp bunks will be scheduled for a mini campout. Your child’s attendance is, of course, optional. At a mini campout, your camper will stay at camp through our 3:30 dismissal and then will have additional activities and swim time. We serve a barbeque dinner and ask you to pick up your child at 6:45 pm.
Briarwood’s Weekend Overnighter will be from Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6. It is open to Briarwood boy and girl campers entering third grade or older. In addition to movies, campfires, sleeping in the cabins and other fun stuff (and surprises), our intrepid guests are scheduled to go on a day trip to Rebounderz – an indoor trampoline arena. More information will be available and will be sent home with your camper at the beginning of camp. You can also call the office for more details.
ONE OTHER THING
We are always curious whether people read all the way through this Parent Handbook. If you are one of the first five camp parents to call our office (215) 598-7143 and say “I read the Parent Handbook and I want my prize,” we’ll give you a Briarwood Prize Pack!
AND FINALLY . . .
We are looking forward to a great summer!