Paperwork 101

Help, I'm Drowning!

by Ken Treybig, National Camp Coordinator

The dreaded time comes immediately after filling in an application for camp! The PAPERWORK! Do you ever feel like this meme? If so, let me see if I can help relieve a little of your distress. No, I cannot do the paperwork for you, and I cannot waive the need for the paperwork. But let me see if I can help you understand the need for the paperwork and give you a clear path through the process.

You were already required to upload a current photo (taken within the last 3 months) to start the application system.

What else do we need from each applicant for a director to make a decision about acceptance?

  1. Signed waivers and releases document
    Why does every well-organized camp require this of every applicant? It’s simply because camp—while it can be loads of fun, educational and life-changing—involves being in nature. Therefore, even though we work very hard to make things safe, sometimes things happen that are outside a camp’s control. In addition, we like showing photos and videos of people having a great time at our camps, so we need releases. It’s a four-page legal document that needs to be signed and dated by each applicant, and in the case of a minor (anyone under age 18), it needs to be signed by both parents or by guardians.
  2. Signed medication policy document
    We need this item because we take everyone’s health seriously at camp. If you or your child brings medication, including life-saving items like epi pens, we want to keep those safely stored so they are available as needed. We don’t want someone else getting that medication and possibly getting injured or sick from it.

  3. Current physical
    Our camps, like most others, are active, and we want to make sure everyone is healthy enough to enjoy the experience. To ensure that, we require a physical to be done within 12 months of the start of camp and the form to be signed by a licensed medical practitioner. We don’t require a lot of detail—just what we have on the form we provide.

All three of these items are included in a single PDF document, the CYC Agreements on the Next Steps page of the camp website: https://camps.cogwa.org/apply/next-steps/.

For staff applicants (only those 18 or over), we require all of the above and one more thing—a background check. Background checks are now mandated by law in most locations to help ensure the safety of campers. We are required to get one every year to make sure the information is current. You can find additional information and a link to the page to start your order of a background check at the same location, the Next Steps page: https://camps.cogwa.org/apply/next-steps/.

Once all these things are in place, the camp director has what is needed to decide on acceptance for your applicant. The director will notify everyone, and let you know about anything else that is needed—like payment, transportation details, etc.

If you have any questions about the camp, contact the camp director by going to the web page of that camp and clicking on the green button for “Contact Camp Director” in the right sidebar. You will also find the director’s phone number under the photo in that same sidebar.