Alpengirl's Pre-Camp Letter - Example
In late May, a pre-camp letter (similar to the one below on this page) is emailed to camp families. The letter includes detailed pre-camp information such as unaccompanied minor staff information, communication during camp, medication policies, personal property regulations, sharing tents and last minute camp updates.
Dear Alpengirls, we’re looking forward to your arrival to Alpengirl Camp this summer!
How are summer camp preparations coming along? Are you shopping for camp gear, wearing boots in, getting fit, reading your itinerary and submitting your online camp forms? You’ll find it’s all worth the effort; being prepared for camp will make your arrival to camp easy and your time at camp more enjoyable.
There’s lots of detailed and important information for you and your parents to read in this letter.
Alpengirl will be calling you on June 17th to get to know you better and to answer any questions you have and to confirm your travel plans to camp. [NOTE: calls from camp staff will be from BLOCKED numbers, please plan to pick-up blocked number calls on June 17.]
Also, feel free to call us anytime at the Alpengirl office.
We can’t wait to adventure with you! Adventurously Yours, Alpengirl
Camp Co-Directors - Alissa & Gabby
Welcome to Gabby McElwain our new Camp Co-Director! Alissa and Gabby together will make up the management team this summer, you'll likely meet one or both of us at the airport, in the field or through our blog posts. Gabatron has years of experience in outdoor recreation and teen youth expedition management and is thrilled to bring this knowledge to her role at Alpengirl. Gabby lives in Bozeman MT with her husband and son, loves skiing and being on a river, and is excited to lead Alpengirl alongside A-Grl this summer. Get to know Gabatron and the rest of our team members on our camp staff page.
Alpengirls’ COVID-19 information is found on the COVID-19 web page. It is your responsibility to review the COVID-19 web page now and review it again prior to camp arrival to look for any changes.
It is important to note that our practices and policies may change and if they do, we’ll be updating the information listed on the COVID-19 web page to adapt to current conditions.
Just prior to camp arrival, please check to see that you have the most recent packing list (your packing list may have been updated since you first reviewed and/or printed it.)
We contract with professional outfitters to provide some of our camp activities such as rock climbing, surfing, horseback riding and rafting. These professional outfitters have their own waivers that are separate from all the Alpengirl forms or paperwork you have completed. Outfitter waivers specific to each session are attached to this email (they are not found on our website.) These waivers must be printed and signed and brought with you to camp in Ziploc #1 (see packing list.) Without the signed waivers, you will not be able to participate in those activities.
[Note - there are NO waivers for the Lil’ Alpengirl sessions.]
National Park Visitor Use Form
If you're attending North Cascades, Cascades Sea to Summit, WA Lil's, Olympic Mini Adventure or Olympic Sea to Summit Adventures you will find a Visitor Use Acknowledgment of Risk Form attached to this email which should be signed by a parent and packed in your Ziploc #1 (see packing list) for collection upon arrival to camp by camp staff.
Upon arrival to camp, you'll receive an Alpengirl t-shirt. You should wear a comfortable travel outfit (select something appropriate from our packing list) and arrive to camp looking for Alpenguides who are wearing an Alpengirl camp t-shirt.
Alpengirl non-professional, un-edited snapshot camp photos are for sale for your session. You may send a $45 check to Alpengirl anytime or we can collect it from campers upon arrival to camp. You may also email us to request the photos and we'll email you an invoice that can be paid online. Proceeds support The Burnt Lake Foundation in providing camp scholarships. Photos will be made available to you soon after the camp season ends in mid to late August.
Social networking sites offer content both bad and good. At best, they provide a place for the meaningful exchange of creative ideas, memories, and dialogue, keeping people connected to the friends and experiences that matter most. In general, our camp views social networking sites (Instagram, etc), personal web sites, and blogs positively and respects the right of campers to use them as a medium of self-expression. If a camper chooses to identify as a camper at our camp on such internet venues, some readers of such web sites or blogs may view the camper as a representative or spokesperson of the camp. In light of this possibility, our camp asks, that campers observe the following guidelines when referring to the camp, its programs or activities, its campers, and/or employees:
- Campers should be respectful in all communications related to or referencing the camp, its employees, and other campers.
- Campers should not use obscenities, profanity, or vulgar language.
- Campers should not disparage the camp, other campers, or employees of the camp.
- Campers should not harass, bully, or intimidate other campers or employees of the camp.
- Campers should not discuss engaging in conduct that is prohibited by camp policies.
- Campers should not post potentially offensive or embarrassing camp photos of any other camper or employees of the camp.
Due to the nature of these wilderness trips, it is difficult to receive mail during our adventures. If mail is something you’d like your camper to have at camp, you’ll need to have mail delivered to the Alpengirl office by June 7 so that we can be sure to be able to deliver it during camp. The best option for camp mail is to pack pre-written letters in your campers bags to hand to us upon arrival; we will deliver it during camp. Please do not send candy, gum, or food items. Photos and group gifts are appreciated. Campers may send mail out during camp but if often reaches home after camp ends.
Group Care Packages
Camper parents, friends or family may wish to purchase an Alpengirl Care Package for their camper and the group. Our packages include gifts for each camper in the group + 1 special gift just for the camper whose friends/family purchased the care package.
Alpengirl Care Packages must be purchased ahead of the summer camp season (before June 7) in order for them to be packed and ready for camps in different locations throughout the summer. Care packages are 1st come, 1st served and only (1) of each type of care package is allowed per trip, so it is best to order early. To order, contact the Alpengirl office and check on availability and reserve your package of choice and we'll email you an invoice that can be paid online.
All group care packages are packed based on a full group; if there is less than a full group, the camper whose friends/family purchased the care package will receive the extra gifts.
If a group care package is purchased to celebrate a campers’ birthday during camp - a cake/dessert and candles is automatically included; we always celebrate birthdays at camp with a dessert and candles regardless of whether or not a care package is purchased.
With guidance from the Alpengirl office staff (to assure accommodation and delivery), camper family/friends are welcome to create their own group care package.
No pressure... not every camper, nor every trip has care packages, it’s just a fun extra to accommodate care package requests by some camp parents.
Alpengirl Care Package Choices:
- The Entertainer: Each camper in the group receives: a recycled and hilarious 5-minute costume party accessory, a finger puppet and yummy circus animal cookies. The special camper receives a deck of Alpengirl playing cards and an Alpengirl logo sticker. $30
- The Artist: Each camper in the group receives: a stamped local postcard, a colored gel pen and an artsy temporary tattoo. The special camper receives a set of charcoal sketching pencils and an artist sketchbook to capture the beauty around her! $50
- The Happy Camper: Each camper in the group receives: fun flavored Smashmallows, sparkly face paint, a lip smackers lip balm and Mad Libs. The special camper receives a personalized Alpengirl "Happy Camper" tin mug. $70
Alpengirl logo clothing and novelties are available for purchase during camp on all sessions. All sizes, colors, and styles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and there are no guaranteed re-orders of items and no guarantee that items can be bought at a later date, once an item is gone, it’s gone.
Typical Camp Store Prices:
- “This vehicle stops for road-side dance parties” bumper sticker $2
- Alpengirl sticker sheet $2
- Alpengirl round sticker $1
- Alpengirl hoodie $45
- Alpengirl sweatpants $40
- Alpengirl cookbook $10
- Alpengirl yoga pages $5
- Alpengirl hat $18
- Alpengirl beanie $18
- Alpengirl fanny pack $12
In addition to the standard camp store items listed above, we may have discounted close out items such as t-shirts, tank tops, water bottles, Alpengirl yoga, hats and toques.
Campers will share a tent with 2 or 3 other campers. For the first half of camp, tent mates are assigned. As a group, campers will decide after the first half of camp how the rotation of tent mates may change. If you are joining us with a friend, expect to share a tent with new friends during the first half of camp.
Campers are encouraged to bring a written list of favorite songs from which Alpenguides can create playlists for listening to as a group in the van (we won’t be using any camper cell phones capable of music storage for group music listening during camp.) Personal headphones are not allowed during camp sessions, you may wish to carry them for flight travel, but they will be collected during session.
Personal Property Regulations
Optional camper personal sporting equipment (helmets, climbing harness, etc) brought to camp must be inspected prior to arrival and be in safe condition, it will also be inspected and approved for use by Alpenguides upon arrival. Campers are responsible for storing personal gear and property. Alpengirl cannot be held liable for loss, theft or damage of any items you bring to camp. Campers are not allowed to bring their own horse or other animals to camp. Campers are not allowed to bring alcohol, drugs, tobacco or weapons of any sort to camp. Alpenguides may perform searches and seizures of weapons, illegal substances or other prohibited items.
Technology - Cell Phones, E-book Readers, GoPro, etc
Alpengirl policies regarding technology at camp:
- Campers are not allowed to use e-book readers during camp. Campers may bring books with them for reading during camp in the evenings before ‘lights out’ in tents.
- Cell phones with camera function may not be used at camp, the camera MUST be separate from a cell phone.
- Cell phones (and any other device that allows texting or calls) are collected at the start of camp, turned off and stored for non-use during most of camp (read more about campers and cell phone use below.)
- Please don't bring a GoPro or video camera to camp. Alpengirl does not allow campers to take video of people during camp. If interested in self video or landscape video, please call us for request and further discussion.
“Medication” is any substance a person takes to maintain and/or improve their health. This includes vitamins and natural remedies. Bring enough medication to last the entire time at camp. Medication brought to camp should be in original pharmacy containers with labels that show the campers name and how the medication should be given. (If re-packaging any medications, you MUST include a photocopy of the original container label.) Medications brought to camp must be listed on the health form and include dispensing directions on the container that match dispensing directions given on the health form. If your doctor has recommended dosages different than what is stated on the container, a doctor’s notation on the health form is required for administering during camp. Upon arrival, Alpenguides will collect camper medications and dispense them during camp as directed by individual health forms.
If you are (or think you may be) severely allergic to bee or wasp stings or foods/plants and require medication, you are REQUIRED to bring 2 of your own .3 mg self-injecting EpiPens.
If you require an inhaler, you are REQUIRED bring 2 with you to camp (1 inhaler can be kept in the possession of those with the prescription.)
Campers that arrive with medications not listed on their health form will not be given the medication until a parent gives verbal permission.
The following non-prescription medications may be stocked in the camp first aid supplies and are used on an as needed basis to manage illness and injury (unless you indicated on your health form that they are not to be given):
Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), Pseudoephedrine decongestant (Sudafed®), Generic cough drops, Diphenhydramine antihistamine/allergy medicine (Benadryl®), Epinephrine emergency treatment of allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) (EpiPen® auto-injector), Laxatives for constipation (ExLax®), Loperamide anti- diarrheal (Imodium A-D®), Aloe, Anti-itch creams or sticks
Alpengirl will be providing and using Aqua Mira® chlorine water purification drops or iodine tablets during most backpacking trips, if you prefer an alternate method for water purification, please let us know before camp. NOTE: Most of the time during camp we have potable water to drink and the only days when we’ll need to use these methods to purify our drinking water is during multi-day backpacking, horse, canoe or raft portions of the trip (typically less than 5 days of any camp session), or possibly other times when on a hike or canoe trip.
Eating, Drinking & Self-Health Care
Participants will be instructed on how to keep warm, clean, dry and hydrated/nourished while at camp, in outdoor environments. Participants are expected to follow these instructions during camp, to monitor their own health, and to report all health care concerns they have for themselves or for others to Alpenguides immediately. In most cases participants will drink more water, experience altered digestive activity, experience different sleep and eating patterns, and eat different types and quantities of foods than they do at home.
Additionally, we ask parents to lay out their expectations for their campers in regards to wearing of sunscreen and mosquito repellant during camp. Camp staff will remind campers to apply/reapply sunscreen and repellant but we could really use parent help in setting the expectation for this before camp.
Pre-Camp Calls - Before Summer Season
Each camper/parent will receive a phone call from one of her Alpenguides (or Alpengirl office staff) in June. During the call we’ll re-confirm travel itineraries and meeting plans, confirm that you have required waivers packed for outfitted activities, ask questions about health forms, answer last minute questions, and assure that you are ready for a great adventure!
Pre-camp calls are scheduled to be placed anytime on June 17. Camp staff will place the pre-camp call 1x to each parent/guardian telephone number you have provided. If unavailable, a message will be left confirming travel and meeting information and will address any other items of great importance.
[NOTE: calls from camp staff will be from BLOCKED numbers, please plan to pick-up blocked number calls on June 17.]
If you have important questions and think you may miss the pre-camp call, or if you want to make sure your camper has an opportunity to talk to a camp staffer, or if you just want to make sure your questions are answered well ahead of camp, please contact the Alpengirl office as questions arise.
Put a face to the voice on the phone; take a look at the staff page on our web site to learn more about your guides before they call you. Your camp staff Alpenguides are:
Campers Calling Home During Camp
Campers call home on these scheduled occasions during camp...
- Campers arriving by airplane will call home within 2 hours of airport arrival.
- Campers will be calling home 1x from camp (except Lil’s sessions.) This call is scheduled during the day before camp ends from personal cell phones in the morning, afternoon or evening. Campers will be able to try calling home only during the time allotted; again, phones and time are limited on these adventures.
- Campers departing by airplane will be instructed to call home before boarding planes upon departure.
Parents Calling Camp
If parents have a need to call camp during their camper’s camp session, parents should call Alpengirl in Montana at 406-570-6312. Alpengirl office staff will be checking voice mail at least one time each day except for multi-day backpacking, horse or raft trip days when we may be with groups in remote wilderness locations all day. If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, you should assume we are in the backcountry, we will return your call as promptly as possible. Returning your call and responding to your needs at home may be delayed due to the nature of our wilderness trips. Alpengirl groups have a cell phone and satellite communication device available for emergency use only. Alpenguides check in with the Alpengirl office and camp director regularly throughout each session.
Staff Calling Parents During Camp
Alpenguides or Camp Directors (Alissa Farley or Gabby McElwain) or Alpengirl office staff will be in contact with parents as needed during camp. We will call you if there is more than a bit of homesickness, illness, or injury that requires more than a band-aid. We air on the side of caution and take your campers concerns seriously. And, remember, “No News is Good News.”
Alpenguides or Camp Directors (Alissa Farley or Gabby McElwain) or Alpengirl office staff will be calling home on 1 pre-scheduled day during your camper’s session (except Lil’s Adventures & Olympic Mini Adventure.) This call may be placed at any time; morning, afternoon, or evening on that scheduled day. Reminder - this call will be from camp staff, NOT your camper. Please understand, these are wilderness based trips, we have one scheduled day to get in touch with all parents during the trip, phones and cellular services on other days or other times of day are not guaranteed. If we can’t reach parent/guardians at any of the numbers you have provided on the day we are scheduled to call you and at the time we are able to make calls, a detailed message will be left to update you with news from camp and of your camper. [NOTE: calls from camp staff will be from BLOCKED numbers, please plan to pick-up blocked number calls while your child is at camp with us.]
The schedule is as follows during your adventure:
- Montana Wild Explorer - Monday June 26, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Majestic Big Sky - Friday July 21, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Montana & Yellowstone - Thursday July 6, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Yellowstone Horseback (I) - Tuesday July 11, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Yellowstone Horseback (II A) - Tuesday June 27, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Yellowstone Horseback (II B) - Tuesday July 25, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Wild & Scenic Salmon Raft - Tuesday August 1, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Cascades & Coast (I) - Thursday June 22, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Cascades & Coast (II) - Thursday July 6, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- North Cascades - Tuesday July 11, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Cascades Sea to Summit - Wednesday August 2, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
- Olympics Sea to Summit - Sunday July 22, 2023 (morning, afternoon or evening)
Blog & Social Media Updates
Alpenguides will be providing the camp directors and office staff with information about camps from the field while camp is in session. Highlights from camp with be shared 2-3 times per camp session via our website blog. You may sign up to receive the Alpengirl blog via email or you may go to the the Alpengirl Blog on our website and look for blog email sign-up link. Due to the wilderness nature of our trips, the frequency of our blogs and Facebook and Instagram posts are limited during the summer.
Please double check that you have followed the Travel Info page on our website when arranging travel for your camper this summer. It is important for parents to check both the date and the time to see that your campers travel plan matches what is outlined on the Travel Info page of our website. We will do our best to review the travel information you provide on your campers Travel Form and to let you know if we see an error, however, ultimately, it is the parents responsibility to have booked or arranged travel according to the Travel Info page and if mistakes are found parents are responsible for paying for any additional travel fees associated with correcting the error. If you are in doubt or just have questions about travel in general, please contact us anytime.
Air Travel: Unaccompanied Minor (UM) Tickets
If your camper is flying to camp with an “unaccompanied minor ticket” (UM) purchased, she will receive airline assistance during travel. Please review the Travel Info page of our website for complete arrival/departure details.
Here a few important reminders regarding UM tickets:
- Don’t wait until you’re checking in your camper for her flight to find out what the airline rules are regarding minors. Each airline has their own UM rules and fees. Be prepared ahead of time and avoid travel day stress by checking in with your airline NOW about what their rules and requirements are for purchasing unaccompanied minor tickets.
- There are 3 options for paying for the UM ticket for her departure from camp: 1) Pay for the UM departure ticket in advance of travel (online or at check-in) and provide Alpengirl with a paid in full receipt. 2) Pack cash in your campers carry-on Ziploc #1 (see camp packing list) for collection by Alpenguides upon arrival to camp (Alpengirl will then pay for the fee on camp credit card on the way home). 3) Pack credit or debit card in your campers carry-on Ziploc #1 (see camp packing list).
- Upon flight check-in with your UM ticketed camper, it is important to double check that the correct Alpenguide name, contact phone and driver license address is listed. Double-check at the check-in desk regardless if you already did it online or if your travel agent did it, this Alpenguide is the only one allowed to collect your camper upon arrival to camp.
- Arrive earlier than normal to check-in a UM, it can take a surprisingly long time with all the paperwork.
If you have a UM ticket purchased for your campers ARRIVAL to Alpengirl, you MUST have this Alpengirl camp staffer listed as the UM adult who will collect her on arrival to camp:
- Session: ________________________
- Arrival Name, Contact Phone & Address: _________________________
If you have a UM ticket purchased for your campers DEPARTURE from Alpengirl, you MUST have this Alpengirl camp staffer listed as the UM adult who will assist her ondeparture from camp:
- Session: ________________________
- Arrival Name, Contact Phone & Address: _________________________
Air Travel: Baggage Fees
There are 3 options for paying for the airline baggage fee for her departure from camp: 1) Pay for the bag fee in advance of travel (online or at check-in) and provide Alpengirl with a paid in full receipt. 2) Pack cash in your campers carry-on Ziploc #1 (see camp packing list) for collection by Alpenguides upon arrival to camp (Alpengirl will then pay for the fee on camp credit card on the way home). 3) Pack credit or debit card in your campers carry-on Ziploc #1 (see camp packing list).
Trip & Travel Insurance
Accidents, injuries, illnesses and other events or situations can occur before or during camp which may prevent a camper from starting or staying at camp with us.
A camp family can incur costs and/or losses due to trip delay, cancellation or interruption or early termination, medical treatment or evacuation on a trip or otherwise, or costs incurred from cancelled flights, lost baggage, or other costs.
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that parents consider purchasing trip and/or travel insurance that may include coverage for paid program tuition or other fees and cover some of the costs and/or losses as described above.
NOTE: Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) plans may require purchase within 7-21 days of paying a trip deposit.
Camp families are encouraged to choose any 3rd party insurance program or company that they prefer in order to best protect their investment this summer. If you need a place to start researching plans, try Travmark Insurance - contact agent Mark Ceslowitz
Alpengirl’s cancellation and refund policy and insurance information is provided in the Terms of Agreement section of the Registration Form.
Reminders Just Before Camp
- Did you print the latest packing list and do you have everything required for camp participation (e.g. waterproof rain jacket with hood?)?
- Did you list all medications (midol, advil, vitamins, etc) on your campers’ health form?
- Any recent changes to your campers mental or physical health since completing the health form? If your camper has a recent illness, injury or mental health issue, please call Alpengirl to discuss.
- Did you pack 2 self-injecting Epi-Pens if you know (or suspect) that your camper is severely allergic to bee/wasp stings or foods/plants?
- Did you pack an extra inhaler if your camper requires an inhaler?
- Any new or changed parent/guardians telephone numbers or contact information? If so, email Alpengirl.
- Check your calendar and make arrangements to be accessible to a phone on the call from camp staff day & the camper call home day (see schedules above).
- Arrange pre-written letters and group care packages (no food or candy) for your camper to receive during camp. Alpengirl Care Package orders are due by June 7. (Optional)
- Have you checked with your airline regarding rules and age restrictions for minors traveling alone?
- Have you checked that you have arranged correct date and time for travel to and from camp according to the Alpengirl Travel Info page?
- Print and review the travel information with your camper.