Family Handbook

Camp is Over, What Now?

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At the end of the summer, campers leave Chewonki with new friends, special memories, and new knowledge and skills to share with their family and home community. While each summer is a powerful experience filled with fun and learning, the magic need not end with the season. There is always more to learn and more fun to be had, as well as ways to stay connected year round.

Transitioning Back Home After Camp

We know that camp is a brief and intense experience for both our campers and staff. We adjust to this new place and way of living rapidly, build powerful relationships with our peers, and learn so much about how to be our best selves. Then with a snap of the fingers we are home again and looking forward to doing it all again next summer. For many campers they return home filled with stories, new hobbies, and ideas for how their family or school can adopt new practices like composting. With this energy can sometimes come periods of melancholy that present as though the camper is homesick…for camp! As with homesickness at camp, there are a number of strategies you can use as a family to support your camper. Ask questions about their experience at camp and help them think about how to apply what they’ve learned to their daily lives – Is there a meal they learned how to make on their trip? Are there opportunities to go camping near your home? Can they make gifts for friends and family using skills they learned at camp? Connecting these camp experiences to things you can do at home with loved ones will help the camper transfer their knowledge to the rest of their life. Finding ways to stay connected to camp friends can also ease the transition home. Try to schedule in-person or remote get-togethers with other Chewonki campers. Set up a pen pal routine so that your camper is sending and receiving letters throughout the year. If possible, plan a meet up during a family vacation. There are many ways to stay in touch and we are happy to help! Lastly, make your plans for next summer early. If your camper is worried about whether they will see their best camp friend again, putting plans in place for next summer can ease those anxieties and give your camper something to look forward to when they are missing camp.

Family Feedback

As an organization dedicated to teaching about the natural world, learning to grow and build community, we are always looking for ways to improve and evolve. We will send out surveys to gather your feedback on your camper’s experience this summer and value your positive and constructive feedback. If you have specific questions and concerns, you are always welcome to email us directly at camp@chewonki.org or give us a call at (207) 882-7323, we would love to hear from you.

Re-Enrollment for Next Summer

Re-enrollment registration for camp opens on September 15. Watch for an email announcement with details for how to re-apply for camp. As with each season, we recommend confirming your plans early as we fill our programs on a first come, first serve basis and we cannot save a space without a completed application and deposit. Signing up early will also provide your family with something to look forward to as we count down the days to another magical summer on Chewonki Neck!

Explore More: The Family Handbook

campfire

Stay Connected

The Art of the Hand-Written Letter

We believe the art of letter writing provides an avenue for deep and thoughtful communication between people. We provide campers the opportunity to write home at least once a week and they are welcome to write more. Families and campers cherish finding the letter from camp years later as a window back to their time at Chewonki. We are excited to welcome you to this Chewonki tradition.

We also encourage families to write to their campers. Campers love to receive mail. We recommend writing at least once a week and ask that families limit letters to no more than three per week. The best letters share news from home, express interest and enthusiasm for all the camper is experiencing and convey a sense of confidence. Avoid writing about how much the camper is missed to avoid triggering or worsening homesickness. It’s helpful to send a supply of stationary and properly self-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes with your camper. In this electronic age, we have found that many of our young participants are not familiar with the proper way to address an envelope. We encourage you to review this with them as they prepare for camp. The cabin name does not need to be included on the envelope.

Mailing Address for Campers

Camper Name
Program Name (i.e. Boys Camp, Girls Camp, Maine Coast Kayak)
Chewonki Foundation 485 Chewonki Neck Rd
Wiscasset, ME 04578

For international families or families with special circumstances that make it difficult to mail a letter, email may be sent to camp@chewonki.org. These messages will be printed and delivered to your child, but your child will not be able to reply by email. Please limit email messages to no more than 3 per week.

A Note About Care Packages

Although you are welcome to send a care package to your camper(s), due to individual allergies, and to ensure that cabins remain “critter-free,” care packages may not contain candy, food, or inappropriate items. 

Camp Newsletter

We send a Camp Chewonki Newsletter to our enrolled camp families to provide updates on the happenings on campus. You can expect to keep up with the latest from the Camp Office, Salt Marsh Farm, and the Wildlife Center. Every so often, we will include an activity you can do at home with your family. We always encourage you to take pictures for us to share in the next month’s newsletter so your friends can see what you’re up to. You can visit our website to find past newsletters.

Camp Photography and Campminder Companion

We strive to capture the camp experience through photography each summer. Our camp photographers take photos of campers, activities and camp goings-on each day and post curated sets to Campminder every few days to help families gain a glimpse of the wonderful time their campers are having at Chewonki. We also send cameras out on each of our leadership expeditions and, while our trip leaders and participants capture many incredible images in their journeys through the backcountry, it is important to understand that those photo sets will be available after the trip has returned to Wiscasset at the end of the session. 

We’re also excited to introduce you to  Campanion , the new mobile app we’re using to share your child’s camp experience at Camp Chewonki with you this summer. With a personalized stream of content featuring photography, updates from camp, and more, our hope is that Campanion makes you feel closer to your camper’s experience than ever before.

To get started, follow these three simple steps:

  • Download the Campanion app on your smartphone
  • Login to the app using your Campminder Account login and password
  • Upload a reference photo of your child

Please note – the automatic face-finding feature only works for photos added after you have added a reference photo of your child, so please add one before they arrive at camp!

Let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to sharing the experience of camp this summer!

Visiting Camp

Due to COVID-19, we will not be able to accommodate general visitors at camp this summer. New families seeking a guided tour should contact our Admissions Office.

Our Community

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Age Group Progression

This picture is a visual description of the age group progression at Camp Chewonki. The youngest age group is the Puffins. Puffins (ages 8 to 11 years old) come to the overnight boys and girls camp for 10 days. This age group is the perfect first introduction to overnight camp! Owls, Herons, and Ospreys (ages 10-15) come to the overnight boys and girls camp for three weeks. Campers in this age group are excited for the next challenge. Those challenges might be more days at camp, a longer canoe trip, or an special project! Loons, Canada Geese, and North Stars (ages 14-18) are the age groups based in Leadership Expeditions. Each of these age groups builds upon the skills and experiences from previous years but also allows new campers to come in at any point as they travel farther and farther away from Chewonki Neck.

Building Community

From the first moment you arrive at Camp Chewonki this summer, we want you to know you are a welcome member of the community! Your cabin leaders and cabin mates will greet you at the cabin and help you get settled in. In the opening days of camp, we establish community norms & expectations through collaborative work on the challenge course and through the creation of a cabin agreement. The goal: determine who we are as a group and how we want to be as members of the group.

Each day we will think about and work on a value or trait we wish to hold up in our community. At the end of each day, cabin groups will hold an evening meeting to share out how the day went and examine how the daily theme showed up in their experience.

In addition to our work as a cabin group, we build community through shared meals, weekly gatherings, and special events. In the dining hall seats are randomly assigned and we eat family style. We work together to make sure everyone gets the fuel they need, both nutritionally and socially, to maximize their enjoyment of the Chewonki experience. Each week we come together around the campfire and under the pines for entertainment and reflection to enjoy each other’s company while considering what the experience, at camp and on the trail, has meant for us.

At the end of each session, we spend our final day creating a cabin plaque and reflecting on our time together. The day culminates in a special banquet filled with songs, speeches and delicious food to commemorate our summer.

Joyful Service

Part of creating an inclusive and sustainable community is an individual commitment to performing work and acts of service for others. Each day, campers work together to make their beds, tidy their shelves, and sweep the cabin to help maintain a clean and healthy shared living space. Campers take turns bringing trash and recycling to the dumpsters and delivering and picking up the cabin’s laundry. Every member of the group has a role to play. Chewonki days are special days focused around joyful service within the Chewonki Community. Campers participate in work programs together to benefit themselves and future campers, or value the members of their community. They may do this by writing “thank you” letters to the kitchen and facilities staff, making a nature-scape for the Owls, or building bat-boxes to put around campus. There are many opportunities to help out around camp on a volunteer basis, whether it be cleaning up after an all camp event, playing music for a camp sing, or sharing an appreciation during the Chewonki day community reflection. On trips, each participant rotates through the cook crew, fire crew, and campsite crew, helping to ensure that the campsite is properly set up, the fire is maintained safely, and the meal is prepared for everyone. At the end of each meal, everyone chips in on the cleaning crew so that no one person is responsible for keeping the campsite and gear clean.

Food at Chewonki

Whether eating in one of our dining rooms or having a meal around the campfire, mealtimes are an important time for building community at Chewonki. All meals at Chewonki are fantastic. Much of the food comes from our farm or is sourced locally. Food is the fuel that supports our work and play. Daily, shared acts of growing, preparing, and eating food are fundamental opportunities to responsibly fill one of our most basic needs as humans. Education is inherent in all aspects of Chewonki’s farm and food system. The Chewonki Food Philosophy guides how we interact with food from farm to table and back again.

Unplugging

Music

Music at Chewonki is made with our own voices or on instruments that we play ourselves. We encourage campers to bring their own musical instruments to maintain their practice and find opportunities to perform for their fellow campers.

Telephones

Campers may not have phones with them while at camp. It might be helpful to review this policy with your child before camp. If a situation arises that requires you to contact your child, please call or email the camp office directly. Leaders will collect phones from participants who arrive with them. They are then stored for the session.

Unplugging

One of the major benefits of attending camp is the opportunity to unplug from our increasingly connected world. Camp is a screen-free community – meaning that campers will be away from cell phones, computers, televisions, and other electronic devices. Campers are asked to leave electronic devices at home, any devices brought to camp will be collected and stored in the camp office for the duration of the camp program.

Leadership Expeditions

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Life on Trips

At Chewonki, backcountry trips are a core part of the camp experience.we all go on trip as part of our experience. Chewonki trips include backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking. Our youngest campers, the Puffins, canoe to one of our campsites on Chewonki Neck. 

Our Canada Geese venture as far as northern Quebec. Whether out for a night or five weeks, all Chewonki trip participants play a role in making each day successful. Trip groups rotate through being the Leader of the Day and Crews. Participants are responsible for navigating, setting up their own tents, maintaining a cooking fire, and preparing the meal. Everyone has a job to do every day. 

In addition to learning how to travel in the backcountry, trip participants learn about the ecology and human history relevant to of their itinerary, they develop their leadership skills, and they develop a tight bond with their trip mates. When returning to campus the participants have a new sense of confidence and competence that comes from overcoming the challenge of thriving in the woods and waters for a few days or weeks.

A Day in the Life

Wake up when it’s light, sleep when it’s dark, eat when you’re hungry. Life out on trips is much simpler in some ways. We learn to work together as a collective unit to make our way along the coast, over mountains, or down the river.

Dawn

Up and at ‘em! Start the campfire, prepare and enjoy breakfast; review plans for the day; choose the leader of the day; break camp; depart on the day’s adventure.

Morning

Hike along the Appalachian Trail or paddle on one of Maine’s beautiful lakes, rivers, or bays.

Lunch

Find a nice spot for a midday picnic. Don’t forget to hydrate and reapply sunscreen while enjoying the beautiful view!

Rest Hour

Curl up in the sun, read a book, journal about the morning’s adventure, or learn about the local plants and animals in a new neck of the woods.

Afternoon

Continue hiking or paddling to your campsite for the night.

Evening

Set up camp, start a campfire, cook and enjoy dinner, chores, enjoy stories, music, cards, skits, and conversation around the fire.

End of Day

Reflect on the challenges and successes of a day on the trail. Preview the itinerary for tomorrow’s adventure. Brush your teeth and settle into your sleeping bag with a good book.

Packout

Packout is Chewonki’s command center for all things outdoors. This is where campers prepare for their trips. Whether they’re going out for just one night or for five weeks, this is the nerve center for equipment and logistics. Even the youngest campers become part of the planning and packing. Someone did the following count in 2019: 30,000 field-based meals each year; 40 sea kayaks, 30 whitewater kayaks; 80 canoes; 2,000 pounds of cheese; 625 pounds of chocolate chips; and 230 pounds of marshmallows. Not to mention tents, camp stoves, dry bags, flashlights, maps, and enough foodstuffs to make every Camp Chewonki adventure possible.

Meals on Trips

We approach eating together on trips with the same philosophy as eating together on campus. Campers participate in crews to help prepare the meal whether it be tending the fire, chopping ingredients, or finding a quote or reading to share with the group before everyone begins eating. 

Meals on trips happen in a variety of places – around the campfire, on the beach, or at the top of a mountain. At the end of the meal, everyone helps clean up including washing dishes, putting leftovers and kitchen equipment away, and making sure compost is collected, including any food scraps that may have ended up on the ground. 

Cleaning up our meal area is one of the many ways we practice the principles of Leave No Trace.

Hygiene on Trips

On your Chewonki trip, you will learn all of the skills you need to camp and travel comfortably and responsibly while camping. This might be the first time you will spend a prolonged time camping in a remote environment and you may feel nervous about staying clean. Your trip leaders will teach you multiple ways to stay clean on your trip. Below are some tips about how to prepare for a successful trip! 

Clothing Tips 

Bring comfy underwear and shorts that are easy to wash, quick to dry, and allow adequate ventilation–baggy running shorts work well. Stick to the quantity on the packing list -with a couple of washings the amount is sufficient and helps your pack stay light! Give your body a chance to breathe! Wear loose-fitting clothes to sleep in. 

Going the Bathroom 

One of the first things your trip leaders will teach you is how to go to the bathroom in a way that is environmentally responsible and sanitary. Depending on what type of trip you are on, this might be digging a cat hole, using a privy, or something called a WAG bag.

Camp Life

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Living in Cabins & Yurts

Our cabin groups are made up of 8-10 campers and 2 cabin leaders organized by age and program length. The camp directors and admissions staff do their best to create groups that are a blend of new and returning campers. The campers share a bunk bed with a cabin mate and each have their own set of shelves. Each cabin creates a community agreement in the first days of camp to guide how the group should treat each other and work together during their experience. Each day, campers work together to make their beds and sweep the cabin to maintain a clean and healthy living space. Every evening, cabin groups hold a meeting to debrief their day, reflecting on their highs and lows, and checking in on how they are meeting their community agreement. The community building that takes place in camp prepares groups to be successful as they head out on their cabin trip.

Camp Activities

Our mission is the heart of everything we do, and we provide campers with learning in the natural world that carries on beyond their time at Chewonki. This includes our daily overnight camp activities. Each participant takes part in a weekly rotation of activities to help them develop the skills experience they need to prepare them for more remote trip experiences, and to engage deeply in the world around them.

Watercraft 

Our Watercraft activity teaches participants skills necessary to be safe and have fun on the waters of Maine. Our Wiscasset campus is located on a saltwater peninsula, providing us with a unique and wonderful environment for campers to practice piloting canoes and kayaks through smooth or choppy conditions, saltmarsh channels and along rocky coasts.

 

Outdoor Living Skills

Our Outdoor Living Skills activity teaches participants essential skills for simple living in the natural world to prepare them for their remote trip experience. Important skills such as fire building, axe, hatchet and saw use, and map & compass skills give participants a sense of self-sufficiency, as they work towards deeper mastery and understanding. The Outdoor Living Skills curriculum is informed by our years of experience teaching young people how to prosper in the woods.  These programs include Chewonki Outdoor Classroom, and Leadership Expeditions. The Junior Maine Guide curriculum, whose standards for Junior Maine Woodsman and Maine Woodsman, influence the camp curriculum. 

 

Farm & Food

Our food philosophy outlines the beliefs, values, and practices that guide how we engage in food systems and educate all of our participants. Through lessons, games, and activities on our working farm, participants build context and understanding around where food comes from and how it gets to our tables. Taking part in work projects in our gardens and pastures and caring for livestock helps to engage the hands, hearts, and heads of participants, building connections to the land, and to each other. 

Natural History

Our campus covers 400-acres of different and exciting ecosystems, from salt-marsh and rocky shore, to ponds and streams, and forest and fields. We believe that by building connections between participants and the plants and animals that live in the natural world, we can develop empathy, sense-of-place, and cultivate an environmental ethic, empowering participants to be stewards of the earth. Working closely with our Traveling Natural History Program team, our Natural History curriculum creates opportunities to interact with non-releasable wildlife, explore and investigate natural spaces, and develop the skills to make a difference in environmental issues that participants are passionate about. Learn more about our Wildlife Center >>>

 

Visual Arts 

Our Visual Arts activity is a place based, nature centric activity that provides campers the chance to experiment with different art techniques, and express their creativity through the use of natural materials and subjects.  Camper’s projects will be displayed for the community to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Community-Building 

This activity is centered around teaching different ways for cabins to work together as a team.  This activity takes place on our 18 element Challenge Course in the heart of Chewonki Neck, where we are able to challenge campers to rely on each other and work together to achieve an objective. 

 

 

Woodworking

The Woodworking activity is focused on educating campers on safety and the use of woodworking equipment, and teaches them techniques to create functional objects from a wood form.  Campers may create a spatula or a spoon that is used to make food on their trip, a Wanagen to store food, or they may choose from a number of different projects that interest them!

 

 

Archery

In the Archery Activity campers learn about the parts of bows/arrows, safety protocols, and the techniques that they can use to get the coveted bullseye!  We offer creative spins to this activity, such as Art-chery, team challenges, and much more that you will hear about from your camper!


Extra Curricular Activities

Our overnight camp programs offer time each day for campers to engage in a wider variety of activities, and provides room for flexibility and individuals’ interests and needs. They are designed to provide further structured learning in areas both inside and outside of our core curriculum, as well as provide a time to engage campers in spontaneous fun!

Activity areas that are regularly offered include:

  • Swimming
  • Performing Arts – singing, skits, improv
  • Sports and Recreation (trail running, hiking, forest exploration, group games, Gaga ball)
  • Fine crafts (felting, bracelet making and string crafts, basket making)
  • Crafts and art (watercolors, botanical drawings, sculpting with natural materials)
  • Music (singing, percussion, instruments that camper’s and staff have brought)

A Day at Camp

Everyone follows the same basic schedule as we take part in activities, share meals in the dining hall, and enjoy ourselves on Chewonki Neck.

Early to Rise

The Chewonki day begins even before the peal of the wake up bell each morning. Campers can get their hands dirty on farm chores, practice their skills of identification on a birdwalk, or experience the crisp morning jolt of a Polar Bear dip at the waterfront.

7:00

Wake-up Bell & Wash-up
Audible from just about anywhere on campus, the Chewonki bell signals the official start to the day. Make sure to hop out of bed, get dressed, and tidy your area before going to wash your hands for breakfast!

7:30

Breakfast
After a food fact and a reading introducing the day’s theme, enjoy a delicious breakfast of granola and yogurt, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon.

8:20

Singing & Morning Announcements
While campers and staff finish cleaning up after the meal, everyone gathers outside to sing a couple of songs to start the day followed by morning announcements.

8:45

Morning Chores and Cabin Clean-up
As a community, Chewonki believes in the power of meaningful work and collective effort. Part of being a productive community member is helping to make sure things are clean and working properly. Cabins will take turns completing chores like cleaning the bathrooms and shower houses.

9:20

Activity Period 1
Learn about how the milk you drink at breakfast started as blades of grass during the Farm & Food Systems activity.

10:40

Activity Period 2
Practice building a cooking fire and tying knots to construct a shelter for your group in Outdoor Living Skills.

12:30

Lunch
Refuel at the midday meal with a fresh salad or a hearty bowl of soup filled with ingredients from Chewonki’s Salt Marsh Farm.

1:10

Afternoon Announcements
Gather outside for announcements about the Natural History Mystery and the offerings for General Swim.

1:30

Rest Hour
Take a nap, read a book, write a letter home. It is important to take time to catch your breath, rehydrate, and reapply sunscreen on the hot summer days at Chewonki. Even when the sky is filled with clouds, it’s still important to prevent a sunburn that can get in the way of enjoying camp to the fullest.

2:30

Choice Period
Explore the saltmarsh and learn about how the plants and animals there rely on each other for survival and how humans fit into each of the ecosystems on Chewonki Neck.

4:00

General Swim & Free Time
Where else would you want to be in the middle of July, but the coast of Maine? Head down to the waterfront for a swim or hop in a canoe for a paddle around Montsweag Brook.

6:00

Dinner
Enjoy a comforting evening meal of stuffed shells and garlic bread before savoring a chocolate chip cookie dipped in a glass of Chewonki farm milk.

7:00

Evening Activity
As the sun nears the horizon, wind down your day learning about birds and reptiles at the Chewonki Wildlife Center or take an evening stroll along the Nature Trail to play a game of Camouflage.

8:00

Evening Meeting & Wash-up
So much has happened today! What have you learned? Take a moment to gather with your cabin to share your highs, your lows, and your hopes for tomorrow. Once the Evening Meeting is over, it’s time to brush your teeth!

8:30

Lower Field Lights Out
After “Minutes” are called, enjoy a cabin read-a-loud or use your headlamp to catch up on summer reading. Don’t stay up too late though. You and your cabinmates need sleep because tomorrow will be just as busy and fun-filled as today was!

9:00

Osprey Lights Out
Ospreys, the oldest Chewonki campers, enjoy a little extra down time at the end of the day, but everyone needs to get to bed to ensure they have the energy to fully enjoy tomorrow.

Meals at Camp

Dining Halls

We have two dining halls at Camp Chewonki that serve our Eastside (Chapin Hall) and Westside (Wallace Center) campuses. We eat our meals at 10-top tables in a communal area to encourage an inclusive table community. When the weather is fine, we often choose to eat outside at the picnic tables or under the tents. Before we begin the meal, a staff member or camper shares a reading or leads the dining hall in a song.

Meeting Dietary Needs

We provide a variety of nourishing foods to all participants. Our kitchen staff are able to provide a vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free meal alternative. Chewonki is a nut-free campus and we use alternatives such as sunbutter instead of peanut butter. Please list all dietary needs on your health form, as our kitchen and packout staff are eager to accommodate dietary needs.

 

Laundry & Hygiene

Bathrooms and Washhouses

While the cabins at Chewonki do not have electricity or plumbing, bathrooms are just a short walk away from the front door. Most of our toilets are composting toilets that contribute to our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment by saving water. The appearance of these toilets is very similar to the toilet you would find in your own bathroom, though the process of flushing them is a little bit different. Your child will learn all about how they work when they arrive at camp. In addition to the bathrooms, washhouses provide campers with private, single-stalled showers for washing and changing clothes. There is a regular shower schedule to make sure all campers have an opportunity to bathe during their time at camp, including the post cabin trip shower to wash off all the dirt and grime from spending time on the trail.

Laundry

Campers should arrive to camp with enough clothing to last a week at a time. We provide a laundry service to ensure campers’ belongings are kept clean and healthy during camp. Each cabin is provided with a set of laundry bags. Laundry days are scheduled by age group, with each age group in overnight camp having a laundry day every three days. On laundry days, campers bring their cabins dirty laundry bags to the laundry room before breakfast. Our support staff wash and fold the laundry, which is ready for pick up as campers return to their cabin for rest hour. It is very important for campers to label all of their belongings with their name in case a piece of clothing is separated from the cabin’s laundry bag. Many good socks are lost when there isn’t a name to indicate which cabin it should be returned to.

Having Your Period at Chewonki

While you are at camp here at Chewonki Neck having your period will be very similar to your typical experience. With privies or bathrooms at or near every location, it is just like using your bathroom at home or school. There are even bins to dispose of your menstrual products. 

About

A Proud Non-Profit Since 1962

In 1962 a group of loyal camp alumni formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation called the Chewonki Foundation and embarked on their first campaign to raise funds and buy the camp. Since that time we have welcomed hundreds of thousands of inspiring young people to join us for life-changing learning in nature through our camp, school, and environmental education programs. Our ability to grow and adapt to the needs of our community is possible because of the generous financial support we receive each year from our alumni, families, and friends, and the unquenchable passion, commitment, and caring provided by our staff and faculty. Thank you!

About Chewonki

Founded in 1915, Chewonki is a school, camp and environmental education organization based in Wiscasset, Maine, that inspires transformative growth, teaches appreciation and stewardship of the natural world, and challenges people to build thriving, sustainable communities throughout their lives. Chewonki is a 501(c) non-profit organization.

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Health and Wellness

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, your camper needs a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival on campus.

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. Also, refer to questions 10 and 11 for restrictions.

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.

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 capable 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.

Continuing for 2022– Chewonki families must send all medications to camp through CampMeds. In our on-going commitment to meet the needs of our campers who require medication while at camp and to comply with strict state regulations regarding medication administration, we work with CampMeds Inc. a pre-packaging medication program.

Our policy and procedure for administering medicines require camp families to have all of their child’s medicine (except Lactaid, Accutane, growth hormone, injections, insulin, and birth control pills) be dispensed by CampMeds and sent to camp prior to their arrival.

CampMeds will fill:

  • Prescription medication in pill form (daily and “as needed”)
  • Prescription medication in liquid form(daily and “as needed”)
  • Prescription nose sprays, eye/ear drops, inhalers, and creams/ointments
  • Non-prescription items (OTC) such as allergy medication (daily and “as needed”)
  • Vitamins-(for specialty vitamins/supplements, email CampMeds to confirm they can provide them)
  • If you administer any daily over-the-counter medication to your child, please make sure those medications are on the physician’s exam form or included in a note from your provider. Registered nurses in the state of Maine may only administer over-the-counter daily medication under the orders of a licensed provider. The pharmacy at Campmeds does not require a prescription for dispensing over-the-counter medications.

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 have CampMeds dispense these items unless taken on a daily basis.

Please reference the following for more information:

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?

We advocate complete immunization coverage for all persons as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 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 permissable. 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. (More information) 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 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.

COVID-19 Information

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
Email: health@chewonki.org

Angie Klein RN
Director of Health Services

Susan Andersen 
MSN, RN
Summer Camp-Point Nurse

Liz Taggie 
RN
Leadership Expeditions-Point 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

American Academy Of Pediatrics
Improving Health and Safety at Camp

American Camp Association
Why an ACA-Accredited Camp?

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

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention:
COVID-19: General Information
Quarantine/Isolation Information

Immunization Resource Links

What Parents Need to Know: Maine’s 2021 Vaccine Law

Maine Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services:
Immunization Requirements for School Children Frequently Asked Questions

Maine Health Childhood Immunization Policy:
Childhood Immunizations

Explore More: The Family Handbook