There is no greater responsibility than caring for another person’s child and the health and safety of our campers is always our top priority. This at the forefront of our messaging during our thorough, nine-day, staff orientation and training. Countless hours of meetings, training sessions, and role-play scenarios are complemented by a comprehensive Staff Handbook, detailed practices within our Health Center, strict procedures for out of camp trips, and a Food Allergy Management & Prevention Plan.
To learn more about how we successfully navigated the 2020 and 2021 summers, visit our Safe @ Camp page.
Additional training is required for staff working at archery, the ropes and adventure course, and at the waterfront and pool. All waterfront staff, not just swim instructors, are certified lifeguards.
We understand the commonality and incredible danger that food allergies pose to many members of our community, both in and out of camp. We also believe that a child’s food allergy should never be an impediment to her feeling physically and emotionally safe at camp.
Our Food Allergy Management & Prevention Plan is reviewed in detail with every Somerset staff member and family of a camper with a food allergy. This plan defines Somerset’s operating procedures as it pertains to:
Somerset is a 100% nut free facility. We also have non-dairy milk and cheese as well as gluten-free bread and pasta. Our menu is posted daily in the dining hall and the accompanying allergy chart will clearly mark what is safe to eat. Should your child need specific foods or snacks, you may send these items in advance and they can be safely stored in the kitchen or Kate’s office.
During the week of staff orientation, we have a dedicated meeting focused entirely on food allergies. Not only will we review the Food Allergy Management & Prevention plan, but the entire staff will take the online ServSafe Allergens Course and corresponding exam. ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. The program is accredited by ANSI and the Conference for Food Protection. Both Josh and Chef Dakota are licensed ServSafe Food Managers and Josh has been licensed as a Food Safety Manager by the Washington D.C. Department of Health for 15 years. Somerset is also one of only a handful of camps that is a member of FARE, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.
In the spring, Kate and Josh will conduct an allergy intake call with every family and camper with a known food allergy so that we may best understand the allergy, severity, history, prior reactions, and treatment plan. This information will be clearly communicated to our medical staff, food service staff, and all counselors. If you have further questions or concerns surrounding food allergies or wish to discuss our Food Allergy Management & Prevention Plan, please contact .
Somerset’s brand new health center is located in the center of camp and connected to the office. This air-conditioned facility is staffed 24 hours a day by one of our six nurses. There is a private triage room and three private bedrooms in case anyone needs to spend the night. All camper and any over the counter medications are safely stored in our locked med room. Our local pediatrician visits every morning and two hospitals along with an urgent care facility are all less than 15 minutes miles from camp. A resident camp doctor lives one mile away at our brother camp, Manitou, and visits Somerset once a day and is always on call, if needed. We also have existing relationships with a local dentist, orthodontist, and various other specialists. Parents will be contacted by a director should your daughter need to see the doctor, be taken to the hospital, or require an overnight stay in the health center.
All staff and campers receive both medical and lice checks upon arrival.
To prevent against ticks, we partner with Ivy Oaks Analytics, a public health company based out of Virginia that specializes in the control of ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy at large campgrounds, parks and summer camps. Although this has never been a major issue at Somerset, we feel very strongly that we have an obligation to our camp community to do everything in our power to reduce the risks associated with ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy. Their process includes ongoing tick population measurements, landscape modification, natural control methods and more. Somerset is proud to be one of the few camps nationally with an advanced public health standards certification by implementing this program.
Campers are never away from the watchful eye of a staff member. Cabins are staffed with a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio and all activities are supervised by at least one counselor for every six campers, and more for activities such as waterskiing or the adventure course. Prospective staff members are interviewed by both Kate and Josh and require three references. Applicant backgrounds are checked through both state and national criminal databases as well as the national sex offender registry.
The camp PA system broadcasts important announcements both externally and within all buildings. Directors and senior staff along with office and medical staff communicate throughout camp via walkie. Emergency call boxes are located throughout camp with a direct line to the director walkie talkies.
All entrance gates are locked 24 hours a day and a security guard monitors the gates and grounds every day from 9:30 pm until 6:00 am. As a precaution, a mass texting alert will be sent to all parent cell phones should any situation require immediate and widespread communication.