Medication and Health
Review how to prepare medications, immunization requirements, and illness protocols.
Learn about medications, hygiene, immunizations, and more.
All participant medication, supplements, or vitamins, prescribed or over the counter, must be reported on the Camp Care Info packet. Please bring enough medication to last the entire length of your participant's session. All medications, supplements, and vitamins must be in the original packaging or bottle. No loose pills. Additionally, prescription medication must include labeling that identifies the prescribing physician, the name of the medication, the dosage, and the frequency of dispensation. Prescription medications must be in the participant’s name. Please place all medication in a Ziploc bag with the medication information form.
All medications must be turned in to staff at check-in where it will be given to the healthcare team at camp or the trip instructors at BOLD & GOLD. Participants are not allowed to self-administer medicine.
Our camp health centers and trip first aid kits have most over-the-counter medication, such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, Benadryl, Dramamine, cough medicine, and decongestants. Please DO NOT send these items with your child to camp. Indicate your approval to dispense these medications in the Camp Care Info packet.
A medication information form, which will arrive with your transportation letter two weeks prior to the start of your session, must be completed and accompany all medication and vitamins being sent to camp. Directions on the container label must match your written directions on the medication form. Place the completed form with medications in their original containers in a plastic bag and turn them in at the check-in table.
We strongly discourage families whose participants are on medication throughout the year from putting them on medical holiday while they are out in the field. It is not always in the youth's best interest to take time off from their medication. We will be as accommodating as possible with your physician’s recommendation.
When youth and staff are camping in or sharing close quarters, they share stories, laughs, and life lessons. Unfortunately, they may also share germs. To reduce the risk of our staff sharing germs, we strongly encourage all staff working in our programs to have up-to-date MMR, Varicella, TDap, and Covid-19 vaccinations, and boosters when available. We do not currently require participants to have these vaccinations, but being up to date on these will help everyone stay healthy when they are in the wilderness or at camp.
To learn more about recommended vaccination schedules for youth, visit Washington State Department of Health.
Washington immunization records can be accessed at www.wa.myir.net
Cleanliness is a key component to keeping campers healthy. Campers will be required to wash their hands prior to every meal as well as several times throughout the day. Your pre-camp support of this concept is appreciated.
Head lice can become an issue anytime you gather children together at school, after-school programs, or camp. It is not indicative of uncleanliness and anyone can get them. Because lice are easily transmitted and require several steps to eliminate, we cannot keep children at camp who are found to have nits or head lice. To help ensure your camper will have a positive experience at camp, it is your responsibility to check and, if necessary, treat your child for nits or head lice the week before camp begins.
If nits or lice are found, you must do a thorough treatment of the hair and all personal belongings to remove all nits and lice before your camper arrives at check-in. Treatment information can be found online or via the health department. We intend to inspect each camper’s hair at all check-in locations.
If any nits or lice are found, we will be unable to allow your camper to check in. Based on session availability, we will be happy to move your camper to another session but will not issue a refund. If any nits or lice appear during your camper’s week at camp they will not be able to complete their session, and you will need an authorized pick-up person available to pick them up at camp. Again, we will move them to another session based on availability.
Bed bugs can be brought into camp at any time by any guest. We need your help to keep them out! Prior to your campers’ arrival at camp, we ask that you wash and dry (on high heat) all items you are sending to camp, including bedding and duffel bags. If you are concerned that you may have an infestation, please contact your camp to work through how to best prepare your campers’ gear and how camp can help make sure these pests don’t come in with your camper.
We inspect cabins on every changeover weekend for evidence of bed bugs. In the unlikely event we discover bed bugs in your camper’s cabin during their stay at camp, we will take immediate action to heat treat the cabin and the belongings of the occupants.
We will notify all parents of affected campers as soon as we learn of any bed bugs in their cabin. Because we have no way of knowing when or how bed bugs enter our spaces, we do not assume responsibility for the cost of eliminating them. However, we will do our best to prevent them from going home with you/your camper if they are discovered while at camp.
Participants with communicable diseases will not be allowed to attend camp until they are free of the disease, 24 hours without a fever without using fever reducing medication, or no longer contagious, as determined by a doctor. Campers with fractures or stitches must have written permission from their physician to attend camp.
During each camp session, camp has a medical team, generally consisting of nurses, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and/or Doctors living on-site that are available by phone or radio. They hold sick-call daily, and are available 24 hours a day for emergencies. Camp Orkila and Camp Colman are accredited by the American Camp Association and adheres to its high-quality standards. If medical treatment beyond first aid is required, staff will make every effort to contact the family starting with the lives-with parent or guardian, then the emergency contact.
Our camp health centers have a limited capacity to keep campers in extended isolation. In our experience, campers with medical illnesses feel more comfortable recuperating at home. In such situations, the camp staff may contact parents and request that they come early and pick up their child from camp. Camp’s policy is that parents are responsible for transporting sick campers home.
Camps employ experienced Health Care Managers. All staff is First Aid & CPR certified. A designated emergency vehicle is on-site at all times. Camp staff uses two-way radios for activities when campers are away from the main lodge or in the field. Kayaking programs contact camp by radio each morning and evening as well as when they get on and off the water. If a participant is injured, staff are the first to provide emergency care. Staff will provide initial medical care to the level of their training and, if necessary, contact camp, or emergency services for additional care. Safety drills, including fire, water, and earthquake readiness, are in place and are conducted throughout the summer.
In the unlikely event that the YMCA decides to evacuate camps, we will attempt to contact the family, starting with the primary contact, then the emergency contact, in that order. At that time, the person we make contact with will be given further instructions as to how the evacuation will proceed. For this reason, we must have accurate contact information for parents and emergency contacts during your child’s camp session. Based on the type of emergency, the YMCA will make a decision on the most prudent way to return campers safely to their homes. Such an emergency may require parents or authorized emergency contacts to pick up their child at camp. If the need arises, information regarding evacuation will be listed on our website.
The health and safety of participants is our primary concern. To ensure our instructors have the information necessary in advance, the Camp Care Info Packet must be returned to the YMCA Camping & Outdoor Leadership office by the required deadline. Staff cannot accept health forms at check-In. For the safety of everyone, NO participant is allowed onto the bus without this information. We will not be prepared to accept these forms at check-in. This information is needed prior to check-in to allow us to prepare in advance for your participant’s care. It is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to provide accident and health insurance. The YMCA does not provide any coverage for members or participants.
BOLD & GOLD trips of two or more weeks require a Physician’s Form completed by a medical professional. Given that programs operate in remote wilderness areas, an evacuation to advanced medical facilities may take more than 24 hours. A thorough screening provides important health information and helps to avoid serious medical events.
Participants with communicable diseases will not be allowed to attend a course until they are free of the disease, 24 hours without a fever without using fever reducing medication, or no longer contagious, as determined by a doctor. Participants with recent injuries, such as: sprains, strains, fractures, breaks or stitches must have written permission from their physician to attend their scheduled trip, as well as permission from YMCA Camping & Outdoor Leadership. If you have any questions about a participant’s ability to participate in an expedition trip due to a recent injury, please contact our office at (206) 382-5009.
Head lice can become an issue anytime people gather together at school, day care, or camping trips. It is not indicative of uncleanliness and anyone can get them. Because lice are easily transmitted and require several steps to eliminate, we ask families to help ensure that all participants have a positive experience on trip. Each participant should be checked for head lice before the course begins. If nits or head lice are found, a thorough treatment of the hair and all personal belongings to remove all nits and lice must occur before the participant arrives at check-in. Information on treatment can be found online or via the health department: https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Pests/Lice
The safety of participants is our highest concern. Travel in the outdoors always involves risk. The most important thing we do to mitigate risk in our programs is to be certain our instructors follow our safety policies and practices. Expedition protocols have been reviewed by our Advisory Board comprised of Y staff and industry leaders.
In the event there is an emergency, we have developed an extensive Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that includes communication with land managers, such as the National Park Service, and provides support for all of our groups out in the field. All office staff and course instructors have been trained in the EAP. All staff are all certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, with many of our staff possessing a Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT certification. Instructors are the first to provide emergency care and will provide initial medical care to the level of their training. Additionally, our program has on-call doctors and an on-call mental health specialist available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when further assistance is necessary.
In the unlikely event that the YMCA would make the decision to evacuate a BOLD & GOLD trip, we will attempt to contact the primary caregiver(s), then the emergency contact person, in that order. At that time, the person we make contact with will be given further instructions as to how the evacuation will proceed. For this reason, it is truly important that we have accurate contact information for caregivers and emergency contact persons during their expedition. Based on the type of emergency, the YMCA will make a decision on the most prudent way to return participants safely to their homes. Such an emergency may require caregivers or emergency contact persons to pick up their young person at a predetermined location.
At the YMCA of Greater Seattle, we are committed to becoming an anti-racist and inclusive gathering space where people of all colors, religions, genders, and backgrounds are welcomed and have the opportunity to succeed, be healthy, and thrive. That means closely examining what we do – our systems, hiring practices, partners, contracting, and programs – to ensure we are learning, adapting, and doing all that we can to build a more equitable, healthy, and just community.
The Y believes in the unique potential of every young person. We strive to provide support to ensure all youth are successful in our programs. From the moment participants arrive, staff work to build an inclusive space with clear expectations. Additionally, we partner with parents and guardians on strategies for working with participant’s individual behaviors. Should behavioral support be needed, staff will make every effort to call the family starting with the primary contact, then the emergency contact.
We know that certain behaviors can cause lasting harm. We do not tolerate bullying: aggressive behavior that is intentional, is repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength, and bigotry: making derogatory comments, including making fun of the individual or individual family’s national origin, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation, gender; threatening bodily harm to the individual or individual’s family/friends.
Staff make every effort to ensure each participant has a positive experience. The Y strongly believes that youth programs are an exciting, safe community for youth to explore, build confidence, develop skills, and make lasting friendships and memories so they can grow as individuals and leaders. It’s a place where participants can discover who they are and what they can achieve. We strive to help each person develop positive self-esteem while fostering self-direction.
Our Y staff work with each participant to support their development in self-management and self-direction. Some examples are:
When a participant does not follow the behavior guidelines, Y staff take the following action steps:
The Y believes in the unique potential of every young person. We strive to provide support to ensure all participants are successful in our programs. To limit instances of bias and to respond in a way which aligns with our organizational values, Camping & Outdoor Leadership is focused on implementing trauma-informed, restorative justice practices into the curriculum, daily routine, and culture. Our staff teams are trained to add social and emotional learning aspects into all programs, create community, and facilitate conflict resolution.
These practices are introduced to and practiced by participants throughout their experience through intentional community building activities like teambuilding and values sessions. We are committed to building strong communities within our programs and assisting participants in dealing with conflict in a healthy and productive manner. We aim to address the root of behavioral issues and conflicts by finding solutions which use restorative practices as the foundation for overcoming conflict and addressing bias.
When the welfare of the camper, other campers, or camp property/equipment is jeopardized, the parent(s) or guardian(s) may be notified to pick up their camper at their own expense. Travel arrangements will always be made in advance with the parent or guardian. Program fees will be forfeited. In the case of a serious incident, the campers involved may not be invited back to camp for future experiences.
A principal endeavor of the Y is to provide a healthy atmosphere for the growth and development of youth and children. Thus, the mistreatment or neglect of youth or children and the resulting severe effects are of primary concern to the Y. Child abuse is mistreatment or neglect of a child by parents, another child, or others, resulting in injury or harm. Abuse can lead to severe emotional, physical, and behavioral problems. Because of its concern for the welfare of children and youth, the Y has developed policies, standards, guidelines, and training to aid in the detection and prevention of child abuse. In addition, all employees are screened, and background checks are conducted upon hiring or rehiring.
Additionally, employees who have contact with children and youth receive training in recognizing, reporting, and preventing child abuse, which includes training in recognizing signs that a child is being groomed for abuse. Some of the guidelines employees are expected to follow are:
As a partner in your child’s success, the YMCA of Greater Seattle is committed to providing a safe environment for all participants and staff. We work hard to create an environment that is both physically and emotionally safe for children. If at any time throughout the summer you are concerned about the physical or emotional health of your child, please do not hesitate to speak to a staff member.
Talks As part of our program, staff engages in discussions designed to increase children’s understanding of touching and personal space limits. Y staff will model the use of correct words for body parts and functions, and respond to conversations and questions in age appropriate ways.
Reporting Y staff are required to report immediately to Child Protective Services (CPS Intake), licensor, or police any instance when there is reason to suspect the occurrence of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, child neglect, or exploitation. We may NOT notify parents if this occurs except upon the recommendation of Child Protective Services or the police.
Explore the magic of Camp Colman and Camp Orkila through water activities, challenge course experiences, campfires, and more while getting to spend quality time with your loved ones.
Camp Colman and Camp Orkila offer kids and teens the chance to explore their individuality, become a part of their own community, and enjoy the classic camp experience of archery, rock climbing, and s’mores over the campfire.
Our outdoor leadership trips will take teens to some of the most beautiful and natural places in the Pacific Northwest while inspiring them to be their most courageous and confident selves.