Camp Downer Policies

General Policies

Camper Controlled Substance Policy:

At Camp Downer, the use or possession of any alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or other controlled substances is prohibited at all times during the camp season. Prescription medication and healthcare provider approved over-the-counter medication are kept in the Nurse’s Cabin and may only be dispensed by a member of the healthcare staff. If you have any questions about an item that may be an over-the-counter drug, please consult with the nurse during check-in. Campers in violation of this policy will be sent home immediately without a refund. A camper’s personal effects (e.g., luggage, bunk, care package, etc.) may be searched whenever a camp staff has reasonable suspicion to believe that the camper is in possession of illegal or unauthorized materials.

Camper Electronic Device Policy:

At Camp Downer, camper use or possession of any electronic device, with the exception of stand alone digital cameras, is prohibited at all times. This includes, and is not limited to, devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, handheld gaming devices, walkie-talkies, computers, pagers, etc. Any dual use electronic device, such as a phone that can also take pictures is considered a prohibited electronic device. Prohibited electronic devices will be removed from the camper’s possession and returned to the camper’s family at check-out.

Camp Downer Anti-Bullying Policy:

It is the policy of Camp Downer to maintain an environment free from bullying where all campers and staff respect the rights and dignity of all individuals. Bullying is expressly prohibited and will not be tolerated in any form. Bully can be defined as any act of aggression causing embarrassment, pain, or discomfort to another person. It can take many forms: physical, verbal, gesture, extortion, or exclusion; it is an abuse of power; it may involve either individuals or groups. All reports of bullying will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. 

Rights and responsibilities of campers: 

  • To enjoy the benefits of a safe and bully-free environment.
  • To be observant of signs of distress or suspected incidents of bullying.
  • To refrain from physical and verbal acts of aggression.
  • To report any acts of bullying against themselves or another camper.

Rights and responsibilities of Staff: 

  • To be role models in words and actions.
  • To be observant of signs of distress or suspected incidents of bullying. 
  • To report and record all instances of bullying.
  • To handle all acts of bullying with compassion and objectivity.

Consequences may include: 

  • Mediation between village leader and involved parties
  • Mediation between resident director and involved parties 
  • Mediation between resident director, involved parties and their parent(s)/guardian(s) 
  • Dismissal from some camp activities and/or removal from camp 

Camp Downer has a ZERO tolerance policy in regards to physical aggression. Any camper who commits an act of physical aggression against another camper or a staff member will be immediately removed from camp.

Personal Property Policy:

Camp Downer is not liable for loss of, or damage to, personal property occurring on camp premises. Personal property includes sports and electronic equipment.

Vehicles Policy:

Camp Downer is not liable for loss of, or damage to personal vehicles occurring on camp premises. Campers who are of driving age are not permitted to drive themselves to camp and  need an adult to drop them off at camp.

Animals Policy:

Campers are not permitted to bring animals with them to camp. 

Weapons Policy:

The use and possession of weapons are prohibited on Camp Downer premises, including in motor vehicles. Antique, imitation, and replicas of weapons are also prohibited. Discovery of a weapon carried by a person (openly or concealed) on camp premises, shall result in confiscation of the weapon. Campers in violation of this policy will be sent home immediately without a refund. Exceptions to this policy consist of ONLY Camp Downer owned shooting sports equipment used for programming purposes.

Non Binary Statement:

Since it’s inception over 75 years ago, Camp Downer has been a place for everyone.  The collective experience teaches campers and staff alike that Camp Downer can be a place for you, a summer home, no matter where you come from or who you are.  Currently, the Board of Trustees in partnership with the Resident Director are working to address the needs of non-binary campers.  Non-binary refers to individuals who do not identify as strictly male or female gender.  We are actively learning about how to better include non-binary campers and are discussing changes to both camp policy and practice.  If your child identifies as non-binary, please reach out to the Resident Director at to discuss how to make your campers’ experience at Camp Downer the best it can be!

Health & Safety

Camp Downer’s Health Management Practices:

Camp Downer has a healthcare team who are in camp and on-call throughout the summer. Our Nurse’s Cabin is located in the center of main camp and we have access to local hospitals and health centers. The vast majority of our summer staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Medical Form & Immunization Records:

Your child’s Medical Form and immunization records are an integral part of the registration process. When registering, you will be required to input your child’s medication information, immunization records, health history, health insurance information, doctor’s information, and list any allergies or dietary restrictions your child may have. You will also be provided with the opportunity to list any activity restrictions that your child may require or whether your camper will require assistance while at camp. This form must be completed anew every year and all campers must have had a physical exam within two years of the start of their camp session.

We require that all campers are up to date with current schedule of regular childhood vaccination as per school guidelines set by the Vermont Department of Health. A list of required and recommended vaccines can be found here

If your child has not been fully immunized, you must complete either the Vermont Department of Health Medical Immunization Exemption Form or Religious Immunization Exemption. This form needs to be completed every year and sent to camp before your camper’s session.

Camper Health Exam Policy

We require that all campers have a physical exam by a licensed healthcare provider within 24 months of their camp session.

Camper Medical Insurance Policy

Camp Downer campers are required to have medical insurance.

Camper Medications

Camp Downer can only administer prescription medications in accordance with direction from licensed medical personnel. Camp Downer must have a doctor’s written direction on the original labeled bottle of medication. Over-the-counter medications must be given to camp healthcare staff in the medication’s original packaging. 

Physical and Behavioral Requirements

Camp Downer campers must be able to move daily on foot over natural and uneven terrain. Campers must be able to sleep in cabins with other campers and staff. Campers must be able to follow directions, contribute positively to the community, and participate willingly in camp activities and daily schedules. Campers must refrain from violence, verbal assault, bullying, or any other similar behavior. 

Parent/Guardian Notification of Health Matters

In the case of a medical emergency, Camp Downer will call 911. If the health matter is not an emergency but still urgent, such as illness or minor injury, Camp Downer will call the camper’s first emergency contact. This individual will be notified of the situation and Camp Downer’s healthcare staff will work with the emergency contact to form the best plan of action. If the camper’s first emergency contact is not available, Camp Downer staff will follow down the emergency contact list until an emergency contact person is reached. If no emergency contact is available and the injury gets worse or requires more serious medical attention, Camp Downer will call 911.

Camp Nut Policy:

Camp Downer is NOT a nut free camp. This policy includes both peanuts and tree nuts.

Vehicles and Transportation

Check-In and Pick-Up Times and Procedures:

Our drop-off times are between 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm on Sunday of each session and our pick-up times are between 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm on Friday of each session. Check-in and pick-up times are staggered by half-an-hour time slots organized by campers’ last names. This summer, the drop-off and pick-up schedule is to be as follows:

Camper Staggered Check-In and Pick-Up Times


Last Name 

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

A – B

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

C – F

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

G – L

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

M – R

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

S – Z


During camper check-in, all vehicles are greeted in main camp by designated staff members to check campers in. During this check-in process:

  • Camp staff will conduct a health screening consisting of a questionnaire about recent health symptoms and confirmation that all information on the camper’s health form is accurate and up-to-date. 
  • The staff member will then inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their camper’s cabin and animal group. The parent(s)/guardian(s) will then be directed to the staff member directing parking.
  • The staff member directing parking will direct each car to the appropriate parking location. Depending on which cabin the camper is assigned to, the parent(s)/guardian(s) will either be directed to park in Woodside Village or the main camp parking lot. Once parked, parent(s)/guardian(s) will be able to walk with their campers to their cabins. We ask that parent(s)/guardian(s) remain outside of cabins.
  • Medication Collection Process: Campers with any type of medication (prescription or over-the-counter) will make a stop at the Nurse’s Station. Here our Camp Nurse and Nurse Assistant will take and organize camper medication and create a plan with the camper’s parent(s)/guardian(s) and the camper about when the camper will visit the Nurse’s Cabin throughout the session to take the medication. The healthcare staff will refer to prescription plans when making these plans with the camper and their parent/guardian.

Camper Release Verification Policy:

Campers must be picked up by their parent(s)/guardian(s) that are specified on their CampBrain account. Camp staff will ID individuals during pick-up to ensure that campers are released to their parent(s)/guardian(s). If a camper needs to be picked up by an adult other than the adults listed as their parent(s)/guardian(s) on their CampBrain account, the parent(s)/guardian(s) should email the resident director or registrar using the email that is listed on CampBrain.

Late Arrival and Absentee Campers Policy:

If a camper is going to be late arriving to their session, their parent(s)/guardian(s) must communicate this with Camp Downer staff by either calling the camp or emailing the resident director or registrar. Once communication has been made, both parties can make a plan for receiving and welcoming the camper.

If a camper does not arrive during check-in hours and the parent(s)/guardian(s) did not notify camp staff of the tardiness, Camp Downer will assume by 5 pm on Sunday that the camper is not attending the session and they will be unable to attend the session.

Camper Transportation Policy:

Camp Downer does not provide transportation for campers between camp and home or pick-up/drop-off points. In the case of an emergency, Camp Downer will call 911. If the matter is not an emergency but still urgent, such as illness or minor injury, Camp Downer will call the camper’s first emergency contact to create a plan. If the camper’s first emergency contact is not available, Camp Downer staff will follow down the emergency contact list until an emergency contact person is reached.

Payments and Refund Policy:

There is a deposit due at the time of registration per camper/per session. This deposit must be paid online with a credit card at the time of registration. Prior to May 1st, this deposit is fully refundable for any reason. After May 1st, this deposit is non-refundable. Registration deposits may be transferred to another session with written approval via email from the registrar. 

The remaining balance of the tuition is due two weeks prior to the check-in date of the camper’s session. This balance should be paid via credit card online. 

It may be necessary for a parent to cancel a camper’s registration. After May 1st, Camp Downer will refund the paid tuition when a cancellation is made 14 or more days prior to the start of the session. However, the initial deposit will be non-refundable. Cancellation notifications and refund requests should be made via email to the registrar at

If a camper has to leave camp during their session due to voluntary or involuntary withdrawal, no refunds will be given. Prorated refunds will be considered if a camper is sick/injured or if there is a death of an immediate family member. In the unlikely event that Camp has to close with little notice, the Director will also consider prorated refunds in this situation. The prorated schedule will be as follows: total tuition, minus non-refundable deposit, divided by the number of days the camper misses up to a maximum of four days during a one-week session and nine days during the two-week session. Prorated refund requests should be made no later than September 1st of the current camping season.

Swim Test Policy and Procedures:

Only campers who can prove they have the ability to swim safely in the deep end of the pool will be allowed to swim in the deep end.  All other campers will be restricted to only swimming in the shallow end of the pool.

There are two ways campers can be able to swim in the deep end of the pool:

  • 1. Bring Proof of their current swim level to camp:
    • American Red Cross -Level 4 or higher
    • YMCA- Level 4 or higher
    • Boy Scouts- Swimmer or higher
    • Girl Scouts- Swimmer or higher
    • Other organizations not listed will be at the discretion of the testing lifeguard
  • 2. Campers will need to take and pass a swim test at camp. The test consists of the camper’s ability to complete all of the following requirements:
    • Jump into the deep end of the pool
    • Swim 1 full lap of the pool
    • Tread water for 2 full minutes

Camp Downer conducts swim tests during the following times:

  • Campers assigned to Swimming Program: First activity on Monday
  • Campers not assigned to Swimming Program: First free time on Monday, first activity on Monday

Campers who pass the swim test will receive a bright green wristband. Campers will need to wear this wristband all week, so when they are at the pool, lifeguards can readily identify them as able to safely swim in the deep end.

Campers who do not have proof of swim level ability or do not pass or take the swim test do not receive a green wristband and are only allowed to swim in the shallow end of the pool.


If you have questions about any of these policies please contact the director at