Although we love our medical staff, we sort of wish we didn’t have to hire them… can you imagine a summer without bruises or cramps, with no headaches and no sniffles? We can always dream…
Here in the real world, though, when you have hundreds of campers and staff with hundreds of bodies, someone is going to feel under the weather at some point. That’s why CYJ has invested in a Health Center that can address 99% of all camper and staff concerns. Our dedicated medical professionals are great with kids and remain available around the clock. The infirmary is supplied with modern diagnostic tools, such as rapid strep kits and community physician-directed protocols; these often allow us to evaluate and treat kids without having to leave camp.
When campers have a fever or display symptoms of a contagious disease, they can be kept in the Health Center at the discretion of the Camp Nurse. For emergencies or illnesses which call for additional medical attention, campers are taken to the local doctor or Emergency Room.
(For any accidents, injuries, or illnesses that may occur, charges for physician’s services, emergency room fees, and medications will be billed directly to the camper’s parents or their health insurance carrier. Therefore, every camper must be covered by a health insurance policy while at Camp.)
To best serve your camper’s health needs, we ask that all parents fill out the health forms on their CampInTouch accounts. The first is our “Health History” document which can be completed and submitted online. The other two are paper forms—the “Physician’s Examination” and “Medical Authorization” pages—which need to be printed and returned to us, either by uploading a file or by fax directly to CampInTouch (832-415-0584).
Unfortunately, no child can attend camp without these health forms completed. The information on these pages could be crucial to your campers’ health, and we cannot accept children who we aren’t fully prepared to care for. So, to maintain our sterling health accreditation and to give you kids an unforgettable summer, be sure to complete these forms ASAP!
Some of the topics covered on the forms include:
- Does your camper have special dietary needs?
- Do they carry an inhaler?
- Does your child have an IEP we should know about?
- Have there been any major changes at home recently?
- What sorts of prescription medicine does your child take?
- Have they been developing superhuman powers, like super-strength or laser vision? (Note: this answer may or may not be monitored by the feds)
Medication, Inhalers, and EpiPens
For safety reasons, most medicine is forbidden in the bunks and is turned over to the medical staff. The exceptions are campers who need EpiPens and inhalers. Campers should keep these with them and discuss their needs with the Camp Nurse.
The medical staff distributes all other prescriptions throughout the day. At mealtimes, kids can meet our nurse in the back of the dining hall to receive their prepared medication. Both the nurse and counselors know when campers should be taking their medicine and they work together to guarantee no one forgets.
For treatments taken before bedtime, a member of the medical staff will find campers individually and deliver their prescription every night.
Special Note: Some physicians will recommend a break from certain medications, (Ritalin, Dexedrine, etc.), for a short period each year. The summer is a commonly chosen time for this break since the child is not in school. However, please keep in mind that camp also requires a lot of attention and stability, and we do not recommend any changes in your child’s medication for the camp season. If you are still hoping to schedule your child’s medication holiday during camp, it’s important that the medical staff is informed so they can be optimally prepared.
For a list of over-the-counter medications in stock at camp, or for further details on any prescription-related questions, see our FAQ’s.
In order to maintain a safe environment and decrease the risk of preventable illnesses, we require that all members of the community be adequately immunized. We adhere to the standard recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
We recognize that some parents may choose to defer the vaccination of their children. While at CYJ-Texas, however, this is not an issue of individual rights and choice, but an issue of public health and policy. The routine vaccination of all children, staff, and visitors is a critical public health matter, especially in a summer camp environment with intimate communal living and vulnerable populations present.
We think of ourselves as inclusive, but in all honesty, there are some campers we just don’t want …we’re looking at you, lice!
We have a partnership to combat lice with a professional lice company. They train our staff on checking for lice and remain on hand for Opening Day to check and treat any cases found. Any child found with lice will be charged by the Lice company for a treatment on site at Camp. All of that camper’s laundry will be washed and dried at a high temperature to ensure everything is clear before entering the bunk.
Should a parent not want the company to treat their child, they’re welcome to pick up the camper, get treatment independently, and bring them back to CYJ when the lice are gone.
All Children will be checked upon arrival to Camp.
For more information about Lice checking at Camp, see our article in the Knowledge Base.
Nutrition and Diet
Many of our campers are not are not overly concerned with the nutritional content of their food—one camper told us he’d be happy with a daily bucket of macaroni. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the importance of a healthy meal, something all the more crucial for growing, active campers.
That’s why CYJ offers a healthy and kid-friendly menu, with the ingredients and variety that’ll keep your campers and pediatricians satisfied!
Our state-of-the-art kitchen includes three hot buffet lines and two separate kosher kitchens. We serve vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options at each meal. To accommodate campers with food allergies, absolutely no nuts enter our kitchen, (other than our boss, Frank… we told him about the policy, but he just won’t listen).
Here’s a short list of some of our classic camp meals:
- For breakfast: french toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels, biscuits & gravy, or breakfast tacos.
- For lunch: hamburgers, chicken fajitas, beef and broccoli, chili hot dogs, chicken nuggets, meatball sandwiches, chicken schnitzel, beef tacos, or chicken stir fry.
- For dinner: baked potato and soup, specialty pizza, cheese enchiladas, baked ziti, grilled cheese and tomato soup, or pasta with alfredo sauce.
We encourage our campers to try new foods, but they still may encounter a main course that they’re just not interested in. We keep a number of staple foods available at every meal for just such a situation. With our fresh fruits, salad bar, tuna salad, peanut butter and jelly, steamed vegetables and more, even the pickiest CYJers can find food that they enjoy.
Camp is a place where kids get to be kids, which does include getting sweaty and messy and all that good stuff. Still, in the interest of both health and good character development, cleanliness remains a central value at CYJ-Texas.
On a normal morning before lunch, we have a period in our schedule called “nikayon”, or “clean up time”. During this time, all the kids pitch in and clean their cabin, with a rotation of communal responsibilities that everyone participates in.
As far as keeping the kids clean, each cabin has private showers in them so that counselors can guarantee their campers are showering every night. Everybody gets their laundry done once a week and has their clothes returned to them folded and clean.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Being physically active is built into the fiber of our camp. In fact, with all the dancing, running, climbing, swimming, and sports going on, it might be impossible to live a day at CYJ without any exercise. The only things not getting worked out around here are the campers’ texting fingers, (and that may be a good thing…).
With all this activity going on, it’s especially important to keep our campers hydrated. Our staff knows this, and they develop systems to ensure their kids are drinking enough and have their water bottles with them at all times.
Heading up our sports activities is our team of health and fitness professionals. Some of these employees, like the lifeguards and ropes course specialists, can only be hired after receiving additional training and certification. With their safety expertise, we can offer all kinds of incredible challenges to campers of all ages.
Camp is a very happy place. Having tons of activities planned, getting exercise, and being surrounded by friends is usually enough to keep anyone feeling positive.
Still, there are several reasons a camper could feel distressed during the summer, including the simple struggle of having a growing body with changing hormones. Other campers may be missing home for the first couple days, or they could be anxious about big changes happening in their home lives.
Our staff training covers these topics and more, preparing our counselors to recognize and resolve all kinds of emotional unrest. We also have our Camper Care Team for extra support, which includes our so-called “Camp Mom”. When a camper’s feeling crummy, they know the professionals in the CC Team are available with warmth and understanding. (The Camp Mom is also the Parent Liason… sometimes grown-ups need someone to talk to too.)
For more information on homesickness and how you can help prevent it, check out our FAQ’s.
Further Safety Measures
Campers are accompanied by staff members at all times, with specialized safety staff at all of Camp’s more adventurous activities. Staff supervision continues 24-hours—our system of late-night watch duty, called “shmira”, guarantees that there are staff members awake, available, and nearby should a camper ever need them.
Our camp’s award-winning communications technology establishes a direct line between staff in their bunks and our head office. With this, priority information and instructions can be delivered immediately.
No employee is hired before clearing a series of reference and criminal background checks. We also offer security staff and maintain close contact with local law enforcement.