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Camper Health & Wilderness First Aid

Campers are required to be healthy upon arrival to camp. They must arrive at camp physically and mentally healthy, with the ability to participate in all camp activities, and without communicable illness or disease. Due to living, eating and sleeping in close proximity at camp, we must start with and maintain a healthy environment for the group. Because of the wilderness-based nature of Alpengirl's adventures, there are no base camp facilities or extra health care staff hired to care for campers who are ill or injured and unable to participate in daily camp activities.

Upon registering a camper, parents agree to contact Alpengirl if any medical or health condition changes occur before the start of the camp session which might affect the camper's ability to join us, fully participate at camp, or that might affect others in the group.

Stay At Home Guidelines

Unfortunately, illness, injury and other unforeseen events may occur prior to camp that would prevent a camper from starting camp. In this case, please notify the Camp Director right away and discuss if there are any special arrangements that can be made to have the camper join us or not. Stay at home guidelines for illness:

  • If a camper has a fever or symptoms of a cold, the flu or COVID-19 - stay at home, call us.
  • If a camper has a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, earache, headache or rash - stay at home, call us.
  • If a camper has been vomiting 2 or more times in 24 hours - stay at home, call us.
  • If a camper has had 2 loose/watery stools more than normal for the camper in 24 hours; OR any blood or mucus in stool - stay at home, call us.
  • If a camper is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has had contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 - stay at home, call us.
  • If a camper is just not feeling well, if unusually tired, low activity level, pale, lack of appetite - stay at home, call us.

Health Benefits Of Camp

The beauty of our camp is living in the great outdoors in a small group of less than 12 wilderness lovin’ girls and women. We’re breathing in the fresh air, soaking up the sunshine and taking time to bask in the sights and sounds of nature without distraction from our regular day to day life at home. At camp this summer we hope to practice “checking out to check in”. We’ll connect with our group, rely on our Alpenguides and peers, and we’ll recognize and hold onto all the good that we receive from being outdoors in a small, supportive, all-female group.

Camper Health Screening & Staying Healthy

Upon arrival on the first day of camp, each camper receives a 1:1 camper check-in with an Alpenguide where her temperature is taken, medications are collected (over the counter and prescription), and a verbal health screening is conducted to assess the camper's physical and mental health. 

Once every camper is checked in, the Alpenguides review with the group how to keep germs to ourselves by not sharing water bottles, utensils, chap stick or food leftovers, and by covering coughs/sneezes. Alpenguides also review how to stay healthy at camp by teaching and monitoring frequent and proper hand washing practices using soap and water, regular use of alcohol based hand sanitizer, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and by instructing campers to report any sickness, aches or pains to an Alpenguide right away.

Sick/Injured Campers At Camp

Campers, if you were to develop an illness or get injured at camp, your Alpenguides would need to know about it right away in order to take actions to help you and the group. We can’t read your mind, so we need your help in determining the solution for your discomfort and the overall health and safety of the group. We expect you to be proactive with stating your needs at camp. This includes telling us when you are feeling sick, tired, angry, sad, hungry, constipated, or are having menstrual cramps.

If you tell your Alpenguide that you have a headache, she will probably ask you how much water you’ve had, how much food and sleep you’ve had, and if anything in particular is bothering you at camp. She’ll probably ask you to drink water and she may be able to give you ibuprofen. Then she’ll see if you need rest, food or shade, or if you’re OK to continue with the group and she’ll check back in with you a little later to see how you’re feeling. If you still have a headache when she checks back in with you, she will ask more questions and follow up with you.

If your injury or illness prevents you from participating in activities as planned, it is a big concern to us. Some parts of the scheduled camp itinerary can be opted out of in order for you to get back to feeling better. For example, if you aren’t feeling well, the camp staff could ask you to rest in the shade while camp dinner is being prepared by the girls in cook group. But other activities are not so easy to opt out of without causing a big itinerary disturbance. For example, if you can’t walk while carrying weight, backpacking isn’t an option for you and you’ll need to see a doctor right away in a nearby town or back at home.

If your illness, chief complaint, pain, or discomfort increases over time or regularly prevents you from participating, we will have a plan in place with your parents to take you to a hospital or return you home for more care than we are able to offer during camp. We will try to accommodate you in every way we can, however, if your injury or illness is extended or reoccurring and exhausts the staff’s responsibility to care for the rest of the group, we will have no choice but to return you home for the care you need.

Trip Insurance

There are all sorts of unfortunate and unexpected medical and health situations that might arise and lead to a camper not being able to start or complete camp with us. Because of this and because program payments are NOT refundable after May 1, we highly recommend that all families review their own personal insurance to check and understand coverages and consider purchasing a travel protection plan that includes trip cancellation coverage.

The A+ Program Protection - U.S. Residents plan or the Abroad Travel Insurance - Non-U.S. Residents plan includes coverage for program cancellation, program interruption, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and more. A plan that offers a ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ (CFAR) benefit is also a good idea - try researching an insurance “supermarket” site such as Squaremouth for CFAR plans (NOTE: often these CFAR plans must be purchased within 7-21 days of paying a trip deposit).

Outdoor Medicine & Wilderness First Aid Certifications

Your Alpenguides carry a fully stocked first aid kit and are certified to provide you with wilderness first aid care but are not qualified to make medical diagnoses and must follow wilderness medical protocol as written by licensed medical doctors and approved for Alpengirls use. Alpenguides will assess your illness or injury and will determine if you need to see a doctor in order to continue participating in camp. If it is determined that you need to see a doctor for care because the illness or injury is beyond the camp staff’s level of training or ability to provide necessary care, Alpenguides will consult with your parents and either take you to a nearby clinic for examination by a doctor or return you home for parental and medical care. If you see a medical doctor while at camp, the doctor, your parents and Alpengirl must be in agreement that you are able to continue at camp without causing harm to yourself, the camp itinerary, and other campers.

What Is Wilderness First Aid?

Wilderness first aid certification courses are specifically designed for people who care for patients that are remote - over an hour's time away from an ambulance or hospital. Alpengirl is considered remote much of the time.

Each Alpengirl camp session has at least two Alpenguides that are both CPR and wilderness medicine certified. Alpengirl’s guides are required to have a minimum certification of Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and some guides may even have Wilderness EMT certifications.