Will my child be healthy and safe?
The safety and well-being of each child is of paramount importance to our staff. All reasonable care and precautions are taken to ensure that your child will have a safe, fun and creative experience. The application form contains an “acknowledgement of risk and liability” release, which you are required to sign. Please read these paragraphs carefully so you understand both the terms on which we accept the care of your child and the risks you assume in sending a child to camp. Any child in reasonable physical and emotional condition can thrive in our program. Though many of our activities are challenging, we support children in knowing their own limits and we respect those limits. We follow preventive safety procedures. All of the waterfront staff are qualified Red Cross Lifeguards and each of our staff members is trained to keep a sharp eye out for a child’s safety, including participating in a two-day Wilderness First Aid course. In addition to our own high safety standards, F&W camps meet the accreditation standards of the ACA (American Camping Association) and pass peer on-site evaluations yearly. We maintain four camp health centers, each staffed by a nurse or qualified health care provider; a physician is on-call daily. Rutland Regional health center is 20 miles away, and Vermont has one of the best 911 systems in the country. You will be contacted if your child has any serious health concerns, injuries, or trips to an outside health facility.
Who is eligible for the J1 and A1 sessions at Timberlake and Indian Brook?
F&W offers two week sessions for nine & ten-year-old campers who are new to the overnight camp programs. These sessions, called J1 and A1, occur during the first half of each three and a half week session. We have designed these programs to be an introduction to the delights, adventures, and opportunities offered at Timberlake and Indian Brook Camps. As these programs will have limited enrollment, be sure to register early to secure a spot.
What is your setting like and where will my child live?
Farm & Wilderness camps sit among 4,000 acres of hardwood forest, meadowland and pasture, along with two lakes in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Campers live in three sided cabins or, at Flying Cloud, simple canvas structures. The cabins are equipped with built-in wooden bunks or cots. Each camp (except for Flying Cloud) has a central lodge with kitchen and dining area, an extensive waterfront, play areas, farm animals, tool rooms, and organic gardens. Flying Cloud has its own stream-fed pond, ice house, organic garden, and unique cooking shelter. The camps also share facilities: campers from all camps may dance at Tamarack Farm’s square dance barn, be challenged at Indian Brook’s adventure course, or participate at one of Flying Cloud’s Naming Ceremonies. The immediate area is also host to many remarkable natural landmarks. Campers have the chance to spelunk in the Nickwackett Bat Caves, pick berries on top of Gork Mountain, swim in Tinker Gorge, rock climb at Silver Lake, hike up Shrewsbury Peak, and paddle around a floating island.
Are there any practices or policies I should be aware of?
Parents have told us how much they appreciate the general emphasis we place on respecting the human body as the precious gift that it is. This is done in several important ways.
Freedom to be Yourself
Today’s popular culture imposes demanding pressures on our children. Peer pressure can amplify these demands. Together, they can conspire to suffocate a child’s creativity and natural instincts to be her or his own best self. At F&W we encourage campers to find and express their potential through simple living and activities filled with physical challenges. We celebrate a child’s discovery of his or her creativity and reinforce it as much as possible. We say that young people are free to wear what they choose and have given this the name, “The Fifth Freedom.” Our costume boxes are legendary and it’s not unusual to see campers and staff parading across the lawn in outrageous outfits. No longer compelled to wear what fashion magazines dictate, campers and staff are empowered to be their own best selves.
Illegal Substances, Alcohol and Tobacco
As a community we work hard to keep the camps free from these addictive substances. Quite simply, they are prohibited. Their possession or use will be reason for dismissal from camp without refund.
F&W reserves the right to preserve the experience of the whole camp community by dismissing any camper for disruptive behavior, for an infraction of camp policy, or for other physically or emotionally inappropriate behavior, without obligation to refund any part of tuition and fees.
What is the refund policy?
The $500 registration fee is nonrefundable, unless you are applying for campership. In that case, the deposit is reduced to $250 and is fully refundable before March 1st. If the application for a prospective camper is withdrawn prior to March 1st, all tuition payments will be refunded, less the $500 registration fee. After March 1st, Farm & Wilderness expects families to be responsible for the full tuition. Exceptions are made only if the camper is unable to attend Farm & Wilderness for reasons of health. If the camps succeed in filling the place, which is often difficult in the late spring, parents will be relieved of this financial obligation.
It is not possible to make any reduction for entering late or leaving early, except for withdrawal on account of illness incurred at Farm & Wilderness. In that case, a partial tuition credit may be applied for the following year. There will be no refund if a camper is asked to leave during the season for an infraction of a camp rule or for disruptive behavior or if a child is voluntarily withdrawn.
What happens after I enroll my child?
With your enrollment confirmation letter, you will receive a packet of information, including a detailed Parent Handbook, a Health History Form and a Health Exam Form (which must have doctor’s signature annually). Farm & Wilderness must receive signed copies of both health forms by June 1, 2013.
Annual physical exams are required of all campers. After you are notified of your child’s enrollment, please schedule a physical exam, have your doctor fill out the Health Exam Form, complete ALL the appropriate sections and return it to F&W. In addition you must complete the Health History Form being sure to sign the permission to treat section found on the bottom of the first page. Your child may not come to camp unless we have both forms on file. It is critical that the Medical Section in the Camper Registration Form, the Health History Form and the Health Exam Form accurately reflect your child’s physical and emotional health profile.
Because the omission of health information could impact on both camper and staff safety, we reserve the right to send home any camper whose health information proves inaccurate or incomplete. In such a case, no tuition would be refunded. All campers will need a Tetanus-Diphtheria booster. As part of the Health History Form, you will provide health insurance information for your child.
What should we expect during the summer?
Parent Expectations and Homesickness
Coming to camp may be cause for a brief case of homesickness. We regard homesickness as a normal, healthy occurrence in a child. After all, leaving home can be a jolt. The counselors are sensitive to a camper’s moods and emotional adjustments. If a child is homesick, they will encourage her/him to talk it out. They try to help the child understand the emotion he/she is feeling and make an effort to involve the camper in all camp activities. Experience tells us that, within a few days, the camper will be busy, having fun and feeling secure with counselors, new-found friends, and the outdoors.
Sometimes children write painful letters home describing their homesickness. While such letters may be difficult to read, it is important not to panic. Your child may already be having a great time by the time you get the letter. Please write an encouraging letter back. We suggest that you do not say you miss her/him. The child may respond to “I miss you” by slipping back into a state of homesickness. If you get consistent homesick letters, or something your child shares with you is disturbing, please call the camp director. S/he will check in with the cabin and activity counselors and call you back.
How should I contact my child?
The best way to contact a camper is to write. You can write using the Farm & Wilderness address as follows: Your child’s name, Camp Name, 263 Farm & Wilderness Road, Plymouth, VT 05056. We encourage you to write at least once a week.
If you live outside of the United States or are traveling abroad, F&W will accept correspondence – from family members only – via electronic and faxed mail. Please note at the beginning of such correspondence that you are outside the country so it is obvious to our office staff. Note: campers do not have access to computers or fax machines and can not respond except via “snail mail.”
As you can imagine, receiving packages from family and friends can be a highlight of a camper’s day; a gift from home is always comforting. However, the constant barrage of packages can be a distraction to a camper’s experience as well as set campers apart into groups of the “Haves” and the “Have-nots.” Please limit your packages to a few over the course of the summer (your child’s close friends often fill in the gaps) and please do not send any food, candy or gum. We are trying to help children learn that they can exist on a healthy diet which excludes “junk food” (candy, gum, etc.). Food in packages will be confiscated and not given to campers. Many parents enroll their children, in part, because of the value we place on a wholesome diet. “CARE” packages with unhealthy “fun” foods undermine this effort. Relatives need to know this also.
Camper phone contact with parents is limited to family emergency use only. Our experience has been that parental phone calls frequently trigger bouts of homesickness which the camper must then overcome. The work of the staff to help the child settle into the camp experience and to feel self-confident and independent is undone.
Communication with Farm & Wilderness
Immediate phone contact with staff or a camp director is not always possible. There is limited phone service to each of the camps. If you need to contact the camps to talk with someone about your child, call the number listed on the cover of your Parent’s Handbook. The F&W office is open Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:00pm if you have general questions. For F&W contact info, please visit the Contact Us page.
I am ready to enroll my child! What do I do now?
Choose an F&W camp by looking through the website, requesting a brochure, talking with the Admissions team in the office, and/or calling one of our family references. When you are ready to enroll in one of the overnight camps, please visit our online enrollment page. To enroll at Barn Day Camp, fill out the Barn Day Camp Registration Form . You can also find registration forms, financial aid information, and early registration discounts on the Camp Registration page.
How do I apply for financial aid?
We call F&W financial aid “camperships.” We give camperships to families with a wide range of income levels and circumstances. If you think you might need financial assistance with camp, please don’t hesitate to apply.
If F&W is based on Quaker values, does that mean you are a religious camp?
No, F&W is not a religious camp. We also do not qualify as a ‘Quaker Camp,’ as we are not affiliated with a Quaker meeting. F&W was founded by Quakers, and all F&W programs have, at their core, the Quaker concept that “the light of the spirit is in every person.” In practice, this translates to an environment of mutual respect and care for the unique qualities of each person. When we speak of nurturing the Inner Light, we mean that we want the F&W experience to awaken within each person that sense of truly being alive; a sense of purpose, connectedness and joy. F&W helps to remove the distractions of modern life so that each person can quiet themselves enough to listen to their own heart. We respect all religious faiths and spiritual beliefs.
What Quaker practices occur at F&W camps and programs?
The most regular Quaker-derived practice that occurs at the camps is “Silent Meeting” (read more below). At F&W, the Quaker values of Simplicity, Community and Service are embedded in the way of life. From our simple buildings and systems to the “unplugged” quality of our days, F&W is a step out of the modern world to a quieter and more reflective space. Every day, campers and staff act in service to their larger community through the sharing of daily chores, and participating in the farm and building work which keeps all at camp fed and housed. We also take our service outward to the larger community in the form of service projects.
What is Quaker “Silent Meeting”?
Each morning, campers and staff gather after breakfast for a period of reflective silence. “Silent Meeting” lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and is held outdoors, weather permitting. This F&W ritual is based on the Quaker spiritual practice called Meeting for Worship. Believing that the “Light of the Spirit” is in every person, Quakers feel that if one is quiet, the message of God can come directly to anyone, and that a person can be moved to speak (or to “minister”) to his or her community. Silent Meeting is structured in a similar way, but as a secular period of reflective silence for the camp community. Some Silent Meetings at F&W are truly silent, with each person lost in his or her own thoughts, or letting the senses fill with the natural world all around. In other meetings, many people are moved to speak. Between each speaker there is a period of silence, and those who speak do not address or respond directly to other speakers.
How can I learn more about Quakerism?
What are the demographics of the children and youth that F&W serves?
Our camp data from 2011 is fairly representative of other years. For the overnight camps, 63% the campers were returning and 37% were new. There was a 79% return rate for 2010 campers eligible to return in 2011. There were 312 males and 297 females. Campers self-identified as 78% Caucasian, 6% African American, 6% Multiracial, 3% Latino/Latina, 3% Asian American, .5% Native American, 2% Foreign, 1% Other, 1% Unknown. The campers came from 30 states (NY-236, MA-127, VT-50, NJ-22, PA-21, MD-18, NH-15 CT-12, CA-12 ME-10, FL-10) Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The majority of campers came from the urban and suburban centers of the East Coast.
The Barn Day Camp had 56% returning and 44% new campers in 2011. There was a 68% return rate for 2010 campers eligible to return. About 71% came from outside of Vermont (20 states, Washington, D.C. and 2 foreign countries and 1 foreign country) and 29% of these came from Vermont. Depending on the session, the rate of non-Caucasian BDC campers fluctuated from 16% (session 1) to 26% (session 2) and ending in 15% (session 3).
What are the program goals for the camps?
Each camp has a different focus, but all F&W programs have goals in common. A complete list of these program goals can be found here. To learn more about each camp, please visit the individual camp pages and also click the link on the right-hand side to read the summer camp blogs.
Does F&W have a camp for adults?
Yes! There were so many parents that wished they could stay at camp with their kids that F&W started a Family Camp so that the whole family could participate. For more information, visit the Family Camp page.
Does F&W run programs year-round?
Yes. The F&W office is open year-round, enrolling campers.
We have periodic weekend work events for summer camp alumni during the year to help us maintain our facilities and run the farm. For more information, visit the Work Weekends page.
Farm & Wilderness facilities are available for rental during the non-summer months. Retreat groups, family reunions, and weddings are just a few of the events that have been held here. For more information, visit the Retreat Facilities page.
Are F&W events open to the public?
In general, F&W events are not open to the general public. The exception to this is the Annual Fair, which occurs mid-August. As country fairs go, the F&W Fair is very small, low-key and non-commercial. The Fair is created and operated by campers and camp staff, and is the culmination of the summer’s activities. For more information, visit the F&W Annual Fair page.