Safety Procedures and Risk Management
Staff to camper ratio: 1:5.
All staff, whether paid or volunteer, participate in one-week of full-time training prior to the beginning of the camping season. This training includes emergency procedures and precautionary strategies, including handling injuries, fires and earthquakes, and search and rescue procedures. Every member of the counseling staff receives Wilderness First Aid certification. Key program staff are trained as Wilderness First Responders.
Staff assigned to specialized program areas such as Ropes Course and Adventure have additional training and certification by a nationally approved trainers, in accordance with the American Camp Association's requirements. The swimming pool is staffed by lifeguards with American Camp Association approved lifeguard certification.
A full-time Health Specialist is on staff throughout the summer. This position is filled by a trained Wilderness First Responder who can both respond to injury and illness in camp and respond appropriately to injury or illness in the back-country. The Health Specialist works out of a dedicated Health Lodge, which includes an examination room and space for ill campers. All prescription medicine is kept locked in the Health Lodge and administered here by the Health Specialist.
Every cabin group of six (6) to ten (10) campers is supervised by one counselor, one assistant counselor, and one counselor-in-training, which allows one staff member to remain with children in any circumstance. Staff is required to be aware of their camper’s locations at all times, including during choice time or open program in the afternoons.
Upon arrival at Camp, all campers are oriented to the Camp Jack Hazard site and rules. This includes instruction on expected camper behavior and an orientation to the site. Campers learn appropriate conduct on the trails, areas that are off-limits, and the requirement that campers be accompanied by staff at all times.
There are areas of natural risk around camp, including rocks and cliffs; these areas are off-limits to campers without explicit program design. The busy schedule at camp leaves little time for campers to roam away from program areas and activities.
Campers also learn rules concerning animals in the wilderness, including types of animals, the prohibition against having food in cabins, and how to respond in the presence of any animal that might be encountered.
These initial instructions are supported by on-going curriculum in wilderness camping and Leave No Trace philosophy, which are essential parts of the Camp Jack Hazard experience.
Areas of the Camp Jack Hazard facilities that pose risks to children, such as the kitchen, the maintenance shop, and the generator, are off-limits to campers. Maintenance or kitchen personnel are charged with keeping structures or storage areas where risks are present locked at all times.
Hiking and Backpacking
All hikers must wear sturdy shoes, protection from the sun, and must carry a water bottle.
Wilderness First Aid training provides staff with appropriate awareness of potential risks such as dehydration and heat stroke so that these can be prevented. Camp staff provide frequent gentle reminders about staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen.
While hiking and backpacking, campers are required to stay on trails, as they are in camp. Trails are well-maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and well-marked, increasing safety for users. Camp staff have experience on the specific trails on which they hike and are trained in orienteering. As in camp, staff keep children in site at all times during hiking and backpacking.
We have an intensive emergency response system in place to ensure camper safety while groups are in the backcountry. Program staff remains on-call in camp during the entire overnight period in order to respond to any emergency situation. Both CJH staff and the U.S. Forest Service are provided with route and schedule information for all groups, including campsite location.
Ropes Course and Rock Climbing
Activities such as the ropes course, rock-climbing and rappelling are conducted only with trained and certified instructors. Campers wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets and harnesses. Participants are belayed by instructors. Webbing on anchors is doubled for safety and two carabineers are used for every junction. Proper spotting techniques are taught and reviewed at the various stations.
Our ropes course is regularly inspected by a qualified challenge-course professional, in accordance with requirements of the American Camp Association. The license for the challenge course is renewed annually prior to the start of every season.
Swimming Pool and Swimming
The swimming pool surrounded by a fence and kept locked when not in use. Swimming is permitted only at times approved by the camp director(s) and in the presence of a certified life guard.
All staff is instructed in how to supervise and manage children near natural water areas. Rules are reviewed by leaders prior to hikes planned near rivers or other natural water areas. Swimming in natural water areas occurs only with approval of the site director and in the presence of a certified life guard.
Campfires are an important part of the summer camping experience at CJH. The CJH facilities include two distinct campfire areas for group campfires. Campfires are lit and supervised by trained staff, and camper seating areas are well-back from the open fire. The purpose of the fire itself is to provide atmosphere and light for skits and songs, not to warm children on summer nights. Campers are instructed to bring flashlights and warm clothes to campfires, and staff completely extinguish campfires at the end of the campfire activity.
Transportation Safety Rules
The safety of your children is our paramount concern. In order to provide the safest possible travel experience, we require that all campers:
- Remain seated during the entire time that the vehicle is moving. We make exceptions for emergency bathroom trips on buses that are equipped with restrooms.
- Use seat belts in vehicles that are designed to use them.
- Resist the urge to throw any objects in the vehicle - there will be plenty of chances to throw balls, pine cones, and other things safely when you get to camp!
- Sit facing forward. The safety systems in vans and buses were designed assuming that the passengers are facing the front of the vehicle.
All visitors are requested to provide 24 hours-notice to the Site Director before visiting CJH. Upon arrival, visitors are required to check-in at the director’s cabin. Signs instructing visitors to do so are clearly visible upon entry to camp. All staff are trained to courteously approach unannounced visitors spotted in camp to find out their purpose in camp. If they have neglected to register with the camp director, they are instructed to do so. The gate providing entry to camp is locked at night.
Camp Jack Hazard has well-developed emergency procedures for handling a variety of potential emergency situations, including fire, earthquake, and encounters with wild animals. Emergency procedures are explained to campers at orientation, and practiced in a drill during the first day of camp.