Unacceptable Behaviors, Discipline, No-Return/Behavior Letters, Family Secrets and Mandated Reporting
We hope you will understand the need for this letter. It is not in response to any particular campers or past experiences. It is simply intended to establish expectations for campers and families for your children’s safety and well-being. Thank you in advance for your time and understanding.
Camp Waziyatah has been successfully providing a summer of safe, age appropriate and memorable experiences for children for many years. We have received overwhelmingly positive parental approval for our work, and the extreme majority of campers present no behavior issues at all. We try to help kids work together in a positive environment by promoting our core values of Courtesy, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility. The success of our program is based in part on:
1. High standards of care for your children
2. High expectations of ourselves and our staff & volunteers
3. A value system explained to staff, campers, and families
4. Boundaries clearly defined for campers and staff
It is essential that you communicate to your children that we will not accept behaviors such as: bullying, violence, possession of weapons, repeated profanity, disrespect, bigotry, sexism, homophobic or gender intolerant comments, inappropriate sexual behavior, drug and alcohol use, or any other unsafe or unfair behaviors that are potentially harmful to themselves or others or are generally disruptive to cabin unity and wellness. Campers must understand that a consequence of any one of those behaviors can mean removal from camp or being refused a return.
Three-Strike Disciplinary Track
For serious offenses, campers can be sent home immediately; otherwise Camp Waziyatah uses a three-strike disciplinary track. While not all behaviors require inclusion in the disciplinary system, when a camper is included, the steps are as follows:
1. Camper sits out one activity period.
2. Camper sits out multiple periods and parents are called and may be asked to speak with their children.
3. Camper is removed from camp.
No-Return and Behavior Letters
Parents must also recognize that certain behaviors that may not require inclusion in our discipline track (like general unruliness, argumentative nature, bothering behaviors, etc.) can be damaging to the wellness of other campers or the cabin’s general experience.
1.Upon registration, we may refuse to allow your camper to return, and on those occasions, we will refund your entire tuition and deposit.
2.In some cases, we may send a behavior notification letter before camp, which means that we will be happy to have your campers return, but that any infraction or continuing of disruptive behavior may result in immediate removal. If you choose at that point (upon receipt of the letter) to withdraw your camper, your tuition and deposit will be returned.
A child or children asked to leave camp may not be permitted to return in future summers and there is no refund of tuition.
Disclosure of Information and “Family Secrets”
Another area of concern has been our experience with some children who have been sent to camp with issues parents choose not to disclose, or “family secrets.” Specifically, these include:
• Campers with psychiatric problems including suicidal gestures or ideation
• Campers with serious medical problems
• Campers who are off needed medication for the summer
• Campers who were hospitalized for physical or emotional reasons
• Campers with traumatic reaction to issues such as parental separation, divorce, illness or death
In fairness to your children and all our campers, counselors and staff, we need to make informed decisions about all of the young people in our community. “Family secrets” serve no one, including those who bring them, and camp is not a place to solve or work out personal issues. There are many qualified camps to help with all kinds of emotional or psychological issues and special needs which may be a better choice for your children. We must expect that parents or guardians of any child sent to Camp Waziyatah have provided us with all the necessary information we need to keep all children safe. We ask that you do not send campers who are unable to function safely in a camp environment, and we reserve the right to ask that a child at risk to one’s self or the community be picked up immediately. All campers must sign a Camper Code of Conduct upon arrival and are given a Camper Bill of Rights. Both are available to view on the parent’s page of our web site.
Cell Phone Policy
Cell phones are strictly forbidden for all campers. If your child brings a phone to camp, you expressly agree that they will be turned in upon arrival. This is extremely important for safety and personal privacy concerns as well as legal reasons, and non-compliance with this rule may be grounds for camper dismissal from camp.
Finally, we are Mandated Reporters of child abuse. Camp staff and I have the legal responsibility of reporting to the State Central Registry any indication of abuse. The regulations are specific in that “Seeing, Hearing About or Suspected Abuse” MUST be reported immediately without our right to inform parents or do our own detailed investigation. Search the term “Mandated Reporter” and see for yourselves exactly what this issue is all about in the state of Maine.
As caretakers of your child(ren) we accept the responsibility of partnering with you and simply ask for your full cooperation. As always, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this communication or any other matter. We look forward to another fun, wonderful, magical, and life-changing summer in 2019.