Health & Wellness FAQ
Who is in the Chewonki Health & Wellness Center?
The Chewonki Health and Wellness Center (HWC) is staffed by a team of registered nurses, EMT’s, and a full-time Licensed Clinical Social Worker. During summer programming we add EMT’s and mental health aids to round out our department. A registered nurse is on-site every day and available to assist with medical needs 24/7 to support programs on-site as well as in the backcountry. Our Health and Wellness Center overseeing physician is located at Lincoln Health in Damariscotta Maine.
Our trip leaders are certified in Wilderness First Aid or as Wilderness First Responders. They are well trained in problems unique to backcountry travel and have a well-developed safety system in place. All off-site trips have 24-hour cell or satellite phone access to a nurse in the Health and Wellness Center. The nurses have also been trained as Wilderness First Responders.
What forms need to be submitted to the Health and Wellness Center?
For your convenience, all of our medical forms are available to complete or download at CampInTouch. Please be sure to fill out all seven sections of the Medical Form. Then, print out the Physician’s Exam Form with its introductory note to the provider. Please have them read, complete, and sign the form based on your child’s history and most recent physical.
Please upload the completed forms into CampInTouch. Alternatively, your provider may fax the forms to the confidential fax (207) 882-9564. Your child needs to have had a physical WITHIN A YEAR OF THE START OF CAMP in order to participate. Medical forms are due no later than APRIL 1.
Please review other forms provided on CampInTouch which may pertain to your child’s health and require a provider’s signature (e.g., Self Administered Emergency Medication, Psychotropic Medication Policy). These forms are not necessary if the conditions do not apply to your child.
The HWC staff may share pertinent information from your child’s health forms with your child’s cabin leaders and/or trip leaders on a need-to-know basis to ensure your child’s safety.
Even if your child participated in a Chewonki program last summer you will need to update the online Health History, which is required yearly by the American Camp Association. If you completed an online Health History last summer, you will only need to update any changes within the past year and electronically sign your name on the final page.
Does my child need a COVID-19 vaccination to attend camp?
Yes. We require campers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. There is a medical exemption form available in your Campintouch account for you to share with your family physician. We are only able to accept a doctor-certified medical exemption. If you have other questions about our COVID-19 vaccination requirement, please contact our Health & Wellness Center.
Does my child need to have a COVID-19 test before camp?
Yes, in addition to being fully vaccinated, we ask that your camper do an at home rapid antigen test the morning of arrival.
How does my child stay healthy at Chewonki?
Prevention is our goal! Nurses meet with and assess all participants upon arrival at Chewonki. We focus on each child’s individual health and well-being. Any medications, allergies and/or health conditions are noted and discussed. We educate all participants and staff members on the essentials of personal hygiene, hydration, sun protection, foot care, and overall body TLC.
How does my child stay well at Chewonki?
Both physical and mental wellness are priorities at Chewonki camps and on Leadership Expeditions. Our programs are rigorous and encourage children to persevere through activities that may be physically and emotionally challenging. In the interest of supporting success, it is vital that children have resilience and strength that is fortified by ongoing attention to their emotional, social and psychological well-being.
The full time Licensed Clinical Social Worker and two mental health aides are available as a resource for our staff. The team trains the cabin staff and trip leaders in utilizing mental health first aid. The mental health staff are available to directly support campers facing more persistent or acute behavioral, emotional, and social challenges. It is important to understand, we are NOT a therapeutic environment.
What if my child has an allergy?
The HWC asks that all participants who have food, medication, and/or an environmental allergy make us aware of these conditions as soon as possible. Please be clear with us about the details of your child’s allergy, so that we may make the appropriate preparations with you. Our goal as always is safety. Every summer our entire staff receives special training in the area of allergies and anaphylaxis. We have epinephrine in strategic locations around campus as well as in all of our first aid kits. Should your child carry their own epinephrine, please be sure to fill out our Self Administered Emergency Medication form (to be signed by both parent and physician) that is required by state law. See all of our forms posted on CampInTouch. You can review our complete nut allergy policy here.
NOTE: Our policy is to restrict all nuts and nut products from our dining halls and Leadership Expedition meal ingredients. We made this choice many years ago in an effort to provide an inclusive environment and to further protect those with nut allergies.
What if my child has asthma?
We look to prevent any asthma exacerbations while your child is with us. Daily maintenance inhalers will be kept in the HWC and administered daily as scheduled. We ask that all participants who use an emergency asthma inhaler, to bring two with them to camp…one for the child to carry with them (if advised by a doctor) and one to be held at the Health and Wellness Center. It would be helpful to mail one to the HWC before your child arrives. Please also see our Self Administered Emergency Medication form (to be signed by both parent and physician) on CampInTouch should you wish for your child to carry their asthma inhaler while at camp.
What if my child has a mental health diagnosis?
Camp Chewonki is a caring and inclusive community that makes ongoing efforts to be welcoming to all. Chewonki’s mental health team can not act as a substitute for a therapist and does not have the ability to provide therapeutic interventions. Different children respond differently to the changes in setting and routine that go along with coming to camp. Chronic challenges may either be exacerbated or eased by these changes. If you have concerns about your child’s ability to manage their diagnosis at camp, or if you believe they may need special accommodations, we look forward to partnering with you to determine the best plan of care. For social and emotional reasons, camp may not be an appropriate setting for a medication holiday. Please keep our team informed of any changes in diagnosis or medication regimen that may occur in the lead-up to arrival at camp.
How does Chewonki accommodate food preferences or restrictions?
We know that food is fuel! Chewonki provides a variety of nourishing foods to all participants. Meals are generally served family style and offer many options. When appropriate, our meals provide a vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free alternative and alternatives such as sun butter instead of peanut butter. Even on a leadership expedition, meals are carefully planned according to the needs of the group and we are continually refining the art of outdoor cooking.
How are medications given on campus or in the backcountry?
On Chewonki Neck all over-the-counter and prescription medications/supplements/vitamins are kept in the HWC and administered by our trained staff. On Leadership Expeditions medications are kept in medkits and administered by certified Wilderness First Responders with additional med administration training. The only exception to this is for families that choose to have their child carry their own Epi-pen or emergency inhaler. These specific medications require a special permission form signed by a provider, to be submitted before their session begins. (This form is available on your CampInTouch account page in the Forms and Documents section.) Medication distribution times are before meals or before bedtime. If your child needs an exception to this system please let us know in advance.
The HWC stocks over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, etc. that our standing orders permit us to give on an as-needed basis. There is no need to send any of the over the counter medications that you approved in your CampInTouch account.
Our Health and Wellness Center staff has the right to refuse any medication that is deemed ambiguous and/or unsafe to give a child while at Chewonki.
What if my child becomes ill or injured during a Chewonki program?
We have standing orders signed by our local physicians to administer first aid and non-prescription medications. In addition to nearby Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine we have a supervising physician at Lincoln Medical Partners in Damariscotta, Maine.
We will inform you of any necessary physician visits, overnights in the Health and Wellness Center, or removal of your child from the field. Chewonki expects campers and leadership expedition participants to have their own health insurance coverage in case of injury or illness that may occur while taking part in our programs. Please be sure to provide us with complete insurance information (front and back copies of your insurance card) as requested in CampInTouch.
What about Immunizations?
The American Camping Association requires us to collect documentation of immunizations and the dates of administration for all campers. The policy of the ACA is that their accredited camps follow the state’s Department of Education immunization requirements. In September of 2021, Maine law changed so that religious and philosophical exemptions are no longer permissible. Guidelines for medical exemptions are governed by the Maine Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics and can be found here. This link will take you to the form that will need to be completed for a medical exemption to immunizations. If your child is fully vaccinated or does not qualify for medical exemptions, please complete the online or paper immunization form and upload to CampInTouch or upload a print-out of your child’s immunization record. This may be available on your provider’s patient portal.
What about Head Lice?
As we have stated above, preventative health is our goal at Chewonki. Please check your child’s hair for nits and lice in the weeks prior to coming to Chewonki. If treatment is needed, carefully follow your pediatrician’s instructions. Make sure all personal items (such as blankets, sleeping bags and clothing) are cleaned thoroughly before coming to Chewonki.
Leadership Expedition participants who display evidence of lice at check-in will be quickly and discreetly treated, and then monitored for the necessity of re-treatment. Treatment kits will be sent with trip leaders for follow up treatment in the backcountry where possible. Education for signs and symptoms of head lice will be provided to campers and staff.
What about Communicable Diseases?
Please call us prior to coming to camp if your child has been exposed to or is infected with any contagious disease. Sore throats should be cultured to rule out strep infection. Any child with a fever greater than 100° F or sick enough to be in bed should delay participation until improved. Your child should be fever free for 24 hours before their arrival to Chewonki. We expect your child will arrive at Chewonki healthy and ready to fully participate.
What about Tick Safety?
We have a “three-pronged” approach to a tick exposure strategy. This process includes staff education, camper education, and “hardwiring” mitigation (repellent, tick checks, and follow-up care) strategies.
The best way to prevent transmission of disease is prevention of tick exposures, screening for ticks every night, and providing treatment and follow-up when a tick is found. (American Camp Association tips for prevention).
- We recommend treating camper clothing with permethrin or buying pre-treated clothing.
- Sending repellents containing 20% Picaridin or 20%-30% DEET. These are known to be the most effective.
- Nightly tick checks – Cabin leaders will assist with nightly tick checks. Mirrors will be provided for difficult-to-visualize areas.
- Staff will be trained on how to properly remove a tick and identify the type of tick species.
- If a tick is suspected to be embedded for 24 hours or longer, parents will be notified and the nurse will communicate with our supervising physician.
- Any tick found embedded in a camper will be placed in a sealed container for testing purposes if necessary.
- A nurse will follow up with the camper to assess for signs of infection or rash.
When are the medical forms due?
Medical forms MUST be completed by April 1, 2023 for a participant to be fully enrolled in any Chewonki program. This allows for a parent/staff team to prepare any needed accommodations. We appreciate your prompt attention to this. It is important that the Chewonki Health and Wellness Center has a good understanding of your child’s health prior to arrival. Please be in touch with the Health and Wellness Center staff if you have any questions.
What about trips and trip safety?
We take pride in our excellent safety record and to our commitment to managing the risks associated with the experiences that we provide. We expect that participants bring a positive attitude and the understanding that each individual’s mental and physical health impact the wellbeing of the entire group. All of our trips operate under rigid safety guidelines and procedures. Participants and caregivers should understand that there is an inherent risk in outdoor adventure experiences, and participants may find themselves engaging in activities with higher risk. It is important to understand the physical and emotional requirements of the trip that you are joining, and that you clearly discuss any mental or physical health concerns that you may have before committing to a particular trip.
Many of our trips take place in remote areas. Depending on the specific trip, we may utilize a satellite phone for emergency communication. Although we carry these emergency communication devices, there are times when even these can fail and participants should be aware of that possibility. In the event of an emergency, outside medical help may be hours or even days away. Our lead instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders and hold other discipline-specific certifications.
As we prepare Camp Chewonki for summer in the time of COVID-19, we would like to share our plans for a safe and healthy camp experience for our participants and staff.
Contact the Health & Wellness Center
Phone: (207) 656-5869
Fax: (207) 882-9564
Angie Klein RN
Director of Health Services
Liz Taggie RN
Associate Director of Health Services
Harden Wisebram RN
Year Round Staff Nurse
Mental, Emotional, Social Health Resources
Rebecca W. Fowlie
LCSW, MSW, Mental Health Services Coordinator
Phone (207) 656-5873
Calendar for Appointments
American Academy of Pediatrics:
Mental Health Resources for Families
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine
Resources for Families & Caregivers
American Camp Association
How to Choose a Camp: Homesickness
Camp Health Resource Links
COVID-19 Resource Links
Center for Disease Control
Toolkit for Summer Camps
American Academy of Pediatrics
Guidance for Families/Pediatricians on Camp During the Pandemic
American Academy of Pediatrics:
The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs
Immunization Resource Links
Maine Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services:
Immunization Requirements for School Children Frequently Asked Questions
Maine Health Childhood Immunization Policy: