The wellbeing and safety of campers is our highest priority. Keewaydin has mature, responsible and well trained staff. With a return rate of over 75% each summer, our staff provide a firm foundation to our program. Over half our staff are over 21 years old and approximately 50% are former campers. Staff training starts two weeks before the campers arrive for new staff and includes a week-long Trip School, which is a three night canoe trip during which Keewaydin’s methods and camping skills are taught or reinforced. This is required for all new staff, even those who have been long term campers and/or went on multiple wilderness trips. Returning staff report one week before camp opens and during this time there are leadership training sessions, waterfront safety drills, time spent reviewing information submitted by parents and each camper's “letter” to his counselor. Staff hold current Wilderness First Aid, CPR and Small Craft Safety certifications. Each year we also invite an expert on camping and children, often a psychologist, to conduct sessions with our staff. Sometimes our consulting psychologist, Michael Thompson, conducts these sessions during staff training.
Campers’ health is watched and maintained by a consulting physician and resident camp nurses. All campers are checked in at the Health Center on the first day of camp. The physician is available all summer on an as-needed basis. Our nurses live in the McPhee Dispensary (Health Center) which was built in 2002. The McPhee Dispensary is fully equipped for basic first aid and has quiet, comfortable space for campers who need to spend a day or night there resting. Camper medication prescribed from home is kept in the Health Center and handed out by the nurses; likewise for any medication prescribed by the camp physician. Porter Hospital is 15 minutes away in Middlebury, for emergencies.
Staff supervise campers’ personal hygiene including basic hand washing before meals, brushing teeth, and showers several times a week. Shower facilities for campers have hot water and private shower stalls. Camp water comes from a well on campus and is state tested each year.
Our food service works with us to ensure fresh, healthy meals. The menu is varied and includes camper favorites from burgers, chicken, hot dogs, tofu pups to, spaghetti, pizza, tacos and vegetarian options. There is an extensive salad bar at lunch and dinner each day, as well as vegetables and fresh fruit daily. There is a garden on the Songadeewin campus and as produce ripens throughout the summer it is integrated into the menu choices at both the boys' and girls' camps.