When children are away from their parents, the liability transfers to the caregiver. Most parents only allow their children to stay with people who they know well and trust. Similar to enrolling your child in a child care program, there is some necessary paperwork that you may be required to complete before you can leave your most precious treasures in someone else's charge. This guide is designed to help you be prepared so that when its time to fill out the paperwork for summer camp, you are completely ready. There are four main areas to keep in mind.
The first section is usually relating to the child and your personal information such as name, address, phone number, and email. Make sure this information is completed and accurate. Sometimes programs use this information for marketing materials and will send other mailings for updates throughout the year. However, it is very important that they have this information for safety reasons.
If there was an emergency and the camp leadership cannot reach you, who would you like them to call next? Typically, this is a close, local family member or friend. I have worked in programs where parents have chosen not to list any emergency contacts. When this happens, we asked parents to reconsider. We understand that you want to be contacted first about your child. However, the reality is that you are not available 24/7 if there was an emergency. You must have a back-up plan just in case you cannot be reached. You never know when you might be on an island in the Bahamas soaking up sun.
Health Insurance Information
This is important stuff right here. If your child were to be injured while at camp, it is important that the camp has your insurance information so that the child can be treated efficiently. Some forms also have a place for parents to sign medical decisions over to camp leadership. This type of medical release is called Authorization for Medical Treatment. If your camp requires this, know that it is acceptable and that it is only used if you are not present to make decisions on your child's behalf. If you are very concerned about the legality of it, it is okay to have an attorney look it over before you sign.
Physical and Medications
99% of sleep away camps will require a physical be completed before the child comes to camp. Some day camps require this also if it is a sports camp or something more strenuous on the body. Most often, the program will request a form to be completed by the doctor during the physical. If your child already had one, they will ask for a print out of the most recent physical on file.
Typically, a prior physical will only be accepted if it was conducted within the past one year. Make sure to check with your insurance company to double check if your physical is covered. Most often, a physical or well-child exam will only be covered once per year. If that is the case, you will need to schedule the next one for one year and one day after the last exam. Also, if you didn't bring the form along to the doctor's office, sometimes they charge a small fee for forms completed outside of the doctor's visit. Just be prepared for this as well.
Make sure to report any necessary medications your child needs to camp leadership. Camps often have nurses or doctors on staff to administer medication so it is important to bring the medication(s) in the original bottle. This is especially important for prescription medications. You can also sign permission for the camp to give your child over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Benedryl, anti-itch ointments, and cough drops.
Being prepared goes a long way when it comes to camp paperwork. Sometimes the forms can be found online and printed. Other forms can be completed online or sent to you by mail so be sure to ask about this when you sign up. Thinking about these steps ahead of time will make the process much easier for you! Now you can begin planning how you will take care of yourself during your well-deserved break! Massage anyone?