A successful camp starts well before the bus arrives. Like most things in education, planning is the key. Here’s a handy ‘countdown to camp’ timeline to help school camp coordinators avoid sleepless nights.
Several months before
- Liaise with the school principal (and previous camp coordinators) to discuss camp arrangements e.g. school camp policy, staff attending, review risk assessment, especially emergency information.
- Clarify the learning objectives for your camp and work with the Camp Concierge to develop a day by day program specific to your needs.
- Ensure the dates are firmly on the school calendar and organise transport.
- Flag any courses staff may need to complete in preparation e.g. first aid, water safety etc.
- If possible, visit camp site especially if unfamiliar with the surroundings.
- Before finalising your booking undertake a site risk assessment.
Two months before
- Meet with staff attending camp to discuss individual needs of students.
- Read our blog post on using camp to enhance your curriculum and consolidate the camp program.
- Develop a risk assessment plan specific to your group e.g. uneven ground for mobility issues, water safety procedures for weaker swimmers, asthma and anaphylaxis actions plans.
- Organise to meet with parents regarding students who may need an alternative program or extra support.
- Collect all consent and medical forms and send relevant information to the Camp Concierge.
- In the classroom start to focus on any areas students may need to upskill to get the most out of the camp experience, e.g. general fitness, swimming lessons.
Three weeks before
- Circulate a suggested packing list and talk through with students.
- Contact camp to give details re food allergies, modifications for individual students etc.
- Make and distribute copies of health management plans e.g. asthma, diabetes, anaphylaxis.
- Start building excitement and a positive vibe amongst the students.
- Use our blog post to help parents prepare their child for camp.
- Meet with staff and allocate jobs according to expertise, interest, gender balance etc.
- Designate who will be in charge of caring for and administering medication.
- Confirm all transport arrangements and camp plans.
- Read our safety tips to help with your planning process.
One week before
- Double check all paperwork is returned, collated and circulated as required.
- Establish a code of conduct for students on camp.
- Organise activity groups, cabin groups, duty groups etc.
- Gather extra gear needed e.g. sports equipment, props for drama, prizes for games, art materials.
- Prepare first aid kits. Each group leader should have their own.
- Be open and available to parents for any last-minute questions.
- Double check all arrangements e.g. transport, camp menu, activities.
- Maintain ongoing communication with all staff involved.
- Focus on pre-camp activities with the students.
- Go over program with staff and students.
- Double check all medical arrangements are in place, e.g. how medicine will be stored and administered.
- Contact parents/ guardians of any absent students to check health status.
- Make a list of any students who may need to sit at the front of the bus for the journey.
- Distribute first aid kits for staff and reconfirm chain of communication in the case of an emergency.
- Try to relax and have a good night’s sleep knowing you’ve done your best to create an engaging, nurturing and positive camp experience for your students.
At Coffs Coast Adventure Centre, we understand the work involved in planning a school camp. Molly, our Camp Concierge is only too happy to help you every step of the way.
See also our downloadable Ultimate School Camp Checklist.