The safety of your child and family is our number one concern at Lutheran Lakeside Camp.
How We Choose Staff & Staff Training
Our staff are held to the highest standard in order to ensure safety for all campers that attend Lutheran Lakeside Camp. All staff are subjected to background checks (State of Iowa, Criminal History Record Check) and cross referenced using the National Sex Offenders Registry (Bureau of Criminal Investigation). We also require all of our staff to read, sign, and abide by the Lakeside Code of Ethics.
The Minister of Programming and Faith Formation, Tyler, selects college-aged individuals for the summer staff. Many of these are identified through the Camp Association congregations, at Midwest Lutheran Colleges, state universities, and Lutheran Campus Ministries. Camp staff demonstrate leadership abilities, maturity in judgment, and a call to serve in Outdoor Ministries as Christian role models. Staff are approved and hired by Co-Executive Directors, Jerry and Carolyn Fritsch, after their reference and background checks are completed. Camp Staff are trained for two intensive weeks at the beginning of the summer in recreation leadership, positive discipline, age-appropriate camper activities, basic Lutheran theology, and ALL are certified in American Red Cross CPR, First Aid, and AED for infant, child, and adult. Throughout the summer, staff maintain their training through weekly in-services and daily meetings.
Safety at the Pool
Our pool is manned by American Red Cross certified Lifeguards. We require at least 2 lifeguards to be on deck at all times. In addition to the two lifeguards, we also keep a Buddy Board person on deck. This staff member is responsible for keeping count of all campers in and out of the water by calling buddy checks every 5 minutes. Buddy checks require all campers to find their “buddy” (assigned when they enter the pool area) so that we can assure all campers are accounted for. They also assist the lifeguard in clearing the pool for checks every 15 minutes. In addition, campers must check with the Buddy Board whenever entering or leaving the pool area so that everyone stays accounted for. The Buddy Board staff member also cares for minor first aid injuries should they occur in and around the pool while the lifeguards maintain their watch and care for life-threatening injuries should they occur.
Safety on Adventure Courses
Our tower and zip-line are manned by staff that are trained by ACCT professionals in how to belay, catch, and spot. They practice their skills throughout the summer. There is always a staff at the tower, ropes courses, or zip-line to assist with fitting harnesses and helmets on campers and caring for minor first aid injuries should they occur.
Safety at the Waterfront
Our waterfront is lifeguarded by our Waterfront Director. This staff member oversees care of the boats as well as safety of campers at the waterfront area. This staff member is a Red Cross Certified Lifeguard and lifeguards for sailboats and water activities using our rescue boats (Speedboat or Jetski). An additional lifeguard is required on board when tubing. Lifeguards stand on the boat docks when lifeguarding for paddle boards. Two lifeguards are required on shore when lifeguarding for the polar plunge (an optional morning jump in the lake). Our pontoon rescue boat follows any canoers that travel across the lake to ensure safety. All campers and staff that enter the waterfront are required to wear appropriately sized lifejackets that are double checked by staff members. They must ride on all boats or sailboats with a trained staff member (or sailing camper during appropriate weeks when they are instructed to do so). Campers on paddle boards do not need staff on board with them. In order to ensure safety, campers and staff are not allowed on waterfront activities when: wind is gusting at more than 25mph, the water and air temperature do not equal 130 together, or the boat traffic on the lake is too dense.
Bug Bites, Sun Screen, & Water
All campers are reminded at each meal to drink water, apply sunscreen, and apply bug repellent. They are reminded at least once between meals and each time they leave the cabin area as well. While some years are worse for bugs than others, the summer of 2014 was particularly bad for Lakeside. We had many mosquitos until about halfway through the summer when we were able to spray for them. Now that we are able to spray for bugs, we will do so throughout each summer in the future to attempt to reduce bug bites as much as possible. Even so, with kids spending so much time outside, bug bites are bound to occur. Calamine lotion is kept in the cabins and applied generously when needed to soothe itchy or painful bug bites.
Health Care, Allergies, & Meds
A certified RN or a Lakeside Health Care Manager will be on-site each week to distribute meds, check in on bug bites, care for injuries and illnesses, and to check the cleanliness of cabins. This person checks each camper upon arrival for health concerns, chicken pox, lice, fever, or athlete’s foot. The nurse or health care manager keeps campers happy, healthy, and ready to go and encourages campers to drink water, put on bug spray, and apply sun screen at all opportunities. Each day campers must clean their cabin to ensure that they are living in a healthy and safe environment. The nurse or health care manager checks to assure that trash has been taken out, bathrooms have been cleaned, and there is a clear path of escape during an emergency. All medication is kept in the Infirmary (Nurse’s Cabin) for both campers and staff. The only medication allowed out is: inhalers for campers with asthma or other respiratory issues and Epi-pens for campers with severe allergies. All other medications are kept in the infirmary until Friday’s departure. Medications are disbursed three times daily or as needed.
If your child has allergies, severe or otherwise, please let us know by writing it on your registration form and telling the nurse in person during the registration process. We double and triple check the allergies of campers and assure that the food served adheres to our campers needs.
Lakeside upholds a partnership with area physicians. If campers are in need of a doctor, leadership staff (Program Director or Assistant Program Directors) will bring them in town to our partnering clinic. For emergency situations, they will be taken directly to the Emergency Room in the Hospital less than 5 minutes away. Ambulances have come to camp and know their way around so that if a camper or staff is in critical care, they are able to come and help as quickly as possible
Bullying & Sexual Harassment/Abuse
Please realize that these changes are proactive, not reactive. We are working hard at LLC to prevent bullying and abuse from ever occuring on our site. We understand that bullying and sexual harassment have, unfortunately, become more common in the world we live in. Therefore, all of our staff go through intensive training on bullying prevention, sexual abuse & harassment prevention, and how to recognize when either are occurring. We spend hours working on Mandatory Reporting and how to recognize the signs of an abuser or one who is being abused. We follow the rule of three, meaning that there are never only two people (staff, campers, or a combination) alone at a time. Our staff work hard to ensure that no camper is ever left alone with another camper or staff member. During shower times, we assign support staff to monitor the shower houses. They stand outside of the building and listen in to ensure that all campers are safe from bullying and harassment at all times. Changing times occur inside the cabin. Staff members stay within hearing distance, but not in eyesight of campers while they are changing. Staff members do all they can to ensure that no awkwardness is felt by campers and that everyone stays happy and safe, both physically and emotionally.
Safety in Activities
In order to keep all of our campers safe, we base their activities on their age levels. To see a list of activities available to your child, please click HERE!
Ratios in the cabins are kept at 8:1 or 14:2 Camper : Staff, but vary slightly based on age and ability. Our goal for each week is to keep our ratios at LESS than 8:1. Special Needs Adults ratios are 4:1.
We discourage this because camp is an opportunity for the camper to learn to meet new friends and to “break out of their shell”. We will call if your child is ill or if your child is too homesick. In this case, “no news—really is good news!” Our practice is to try to encourage the camper by keeping them involved in all the fun of camp. If they think you are going to come and get them, they will never give it an honest try. Many times we have heard the story of the camper who was afraid at first and then wasn’t ready to go home at the end of the week because they so enjoyed their camp experience.
Homesick Prevention Ideas
Twelve million kids go away to camp each summer. For most summer camp is an opportunity to be independent, learn self-reliance and experience adventure. However, with so many children going to camp, some will become homesick. While homesickness is usually mild and temporary, it’s not fun for your child – or for you. Fortunately, you can help prevent homesickness with these steps:
What to do before Camp even begins:
- Help your child learn about Lakeside before they get here: Watch our online promotional videos, look at pictures on our website and Facebook pages, read the information we have provided, find out names of other kids who have gone to camp and have your child talk to them about what happens when they are here. Discuss with your child what their time at camp might include.
- Do a practice run at a family or friend’s house: Let your child stay at Grandma’s house or attend a friend’s sleepover to practice being away from home.
- Tour Camp beforehand: Come to our FREE Practice Day Camp at the end of May, come for a week of Day Camp, or call ahead and make arrangements to tour the camp when you are available.
- Save the date: Mark a calendar with the camp dates so that your child can visualize the beginning and end of the trip
- Pack together: Encourage your child to pack a picture, stuffed animal, or other comforting memories. Send a picture of you with your camper. This helps the camper be less homesick because they can still ‘see’ you.
- Help them connect: Send along paper and stamped, addressed envelopes so that your child can write home.
- Have a heart-to-heart: Explain that everyone gets homesick sometimes. Be positive and enthusiastic about your child’s independence. If you have your own separation anxiety, keep it a secret!
- Don’t promise an early pickup if your child is homesick: This puts your child’s focus on getting home – and it sends the message that the experience won’t be a success.
- Discuss ahead of time what to do if our child starts feeling homesick: Write down your ideas and pack it in their suitcase. Some ideas might be: Talk to a friend or counselor, do something fun or new, look at a picture from home, think about something good that happened that day, or write a letter home to share your camp experience.
Lutheran Lakeside Camp
2491 170th Street
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Homesick Camper Policy
If a camper does become homesick, Lutheran Lakeside Staff will follow these steps:
- Before homesickness even begins: Counselor encourages the camper to become actively involved in activities and to have fun. Team building activities are planned with the cabin to bring the group closer together.
- At the first sighting of homesickness: Counselor will talk individually with the child about their experience. Campers are given stuffed animals to sleep with or cuddle if desired, books to read, and are connected with other staff members to form bonds. If homesickness results in stomachaches, the nurse’s cabin is always open.
- If homesickness persists, the Program Director and APDs are informed. Camper is connected with LLC’s on-site social worker and given the task of walking our camp dog, Sofi. This gives the camper time apart to talk and relax. The company of Sofi helps them to feel loved and at home. We have found that almost all cases of homesickness are cured by this step.
- In the rare occurrence that the homesickness continues after step 3, the Program Director will contact the parents or guardians and consult as to how they would like their child’s homesickness to be handled. The parent’s or guardian’s instructions will be followed, but we encourage parents or guardians to find ways to help their child without removing the child from camp.