by Ken Treybig, CYC National Coordinator
Over the course of time, we have tried to reduce the amount of paperwork each applicant has to handle to attend a COGWA Youth Camp. First, we got rid of the paper applications. That was a BIG step. Then we eliminated the need to reenter the same data for an applicant for a second or third camp. Once it is entered for the current year, any subsequent applications remember what was entered for the first one. In addition, we moved to digital photos that could be uploaded instead of having to be mailed in or scanned.
This year we were ready to move the releases and waivers to require only one signature—and to do it all electronically. Additionally, we moved the medication management document to a page on our camp website and incorporated the agreement into the waiver documents. Unfortunately, we hit a snag when we hired an outside attorney who specializes in waivers to review ours and had to open the application system without the waivers. But by next year they will be available online for an electronic signature right after you submit an application. The confirmation email will include the appropriate link. For staff applicants, it will also include the link to get an electronic signature of your agreement to abide by our Youth Abuse Prevention Program.
At this point, the only paperwork we need from each applicant is the annual 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 that a physical be done within 12 months of the start of camp, and the form must be signed by a licensed medical practitioner—therefore that has to remain a document that can be downloaded, printed and taken to your physician or nurse.
That document is on the Next Steps page of the camp website: https://camps.cogwa.org/apply/next-steps/. The annual physical is not required before acceptance, but MUST be completed, scanned and emailed to the camp director before camp.
For adult staff applicants (those 18 or over), we require the above and one more thing before acceptance—a current background check. Background checks are now mandated by law in most locations to help ensure the safety of campers. We require staff applicants to get one every year to make sure the information is current. We only need one each calendar year. 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 the camp director decides on acceptance for your application, he will let you know about anything else that is needed—like payment (online if desired), 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.