Parent Camper Handbook
Click Here to Download - or Continue Reading coming soon
This handbook has been put together to help parents and campers prepare for an exciting experience with
us at Camp Marshall. We recognize that parents and children have many choices when choosing a summer program and we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to provide a fun, safe, and supportive environment in which to grow. Please read this handbook carefully and contact us if you have any further questions.
Please note: There have been some minor changes to this handbook from years past. If you are a returning camper we ask that you read through all materials. Thank you.
Sunday Registration for Overnight Campers: 2:30 pm. Campers and parents will report to Andrews Hall upon arrival. At this time, necessary forms will be filed. Campers and parents will then move to the Health Care Manager/Nurse and he or she will review necessary health forms, medications forms, and take any medications. All camp activities for the week should have been picked on-line or mailed in prior to arrival. Campers will be given their cabin assignments at this time. The Camp Store Will be open during registration to purchase Camp Marshall apparel along with setting up an optional camper's store account. Campers and parents will then take luggage and belongings to the assigned cabin where counselors will be waiting to help everyone move in. Parents may leave after move in. Swim tests will be given to all campers on Sunday afternoon. Horse campers will have riding evaluations on Sunday after they have their swimming test.
Monday Registration for Day Campers: When day campers come in on Monday, between 7:00 to 7:45 am (flag is at 7:45), campers and parents should report to Andrews Hall upon arrival, at this time necessary forms will be filed. Campers and parents will then move to the Health Care Manager/Nurse and he or she will review necessary health forms, medications forms, and take any medications as needed, a simple head check will also be done. Campers will be given their cabin assignments at this time. All camp activities for the week should have been picked on-line or mailed in prior to arrival. Campers will head to meet the staff and enjoy a great Camp Marshall breakfast to start their day. Horse Day Campers will have their evaluations on Monday Morning after breakfast.
Camp Store: The camp store will be open on Sundays during registration, at check out on Fridays, and each day at specific times. Parents are asked to create an account (cash, credit cards, and checks are accepted at registration or online for their camper, campers should not have money in their cabin). Each camper then has their own account created and is processed each day, to avoid overdraft. Camp apparel is also available at this time. Parents can authorize additional funds to be added to the child's account.
Programs & Activities: A week at Camp Marshall in the Traditional or Equestrian programs offers a variety of programs and activities which should be chosen by the camper online at least 2 weeks prior to arrival. Equestrian campers also need to fill out this form for their third period class.
Unexpected Weather and Extreme Heat:
Unfortunately, we at Camp Marshall cannot control the weather. We do our best to keep our daily schedule for all our programs but must put the safety of our campers and horses first. We reserve the right to rearrange the schedule as needed according to the weather each day of camp. Equestrian campers will not be allowed to ride during thunderstorms, extreme heat or any other questionable weather circumstances. The safety of our campers and horses is our top priority. We try very hard to ensure the maximum amount of riding time for all campers. However, in the event of cancelled riding lessons, campers will be given a variety of options for other horse-related activities including tack cleaning, horse bathing, extended barn class, viewing a horse themed film, and possibly the chance to participate in water games or extra swim time.
Cabin assignments are made in the best interest of the camp, your camper, and other campers. Cabin assignments are completed the week prior to each session and campers are assigned to cabins by their age. Cabins will have at least one staff member per cabin. Cabins sleep between 6 and 10 campers.
Cabin mate requests are honored when both campers request each other. If only one of the two makes a request, the request may not be honored. Cabin mate requests will not be honored for campers who are more than one year apart in age. Cabin mate requests must be sent in with applications. CITs are not allowed to make cabin mate requests, as living with various age groups is a requirement of their training. Please keep in mind that campers are never far apart and spend much of their day in activities together.
What to Bring to Overnight Camp
Large towels (2), Washcloth or loofah, Comb/Hairbrush
Toothpaste and a toothbrush, Soap, Body Wash
Shampoo,Deodorant, Insect repellent (no aerosol spray cans)
Sweatshirt, Light jacket
Long pants (Equestrian campers will need multiple pairs for riding)
Bathing suit, Swimming trunks
Wednesday night apparel per theme week
Sneakers, closed toe/closed heel
Flip-flops/Shower shoes (showering and waterfront only)
Boot with a sturdy ½-1 inch heel, closed toe/closed heel (Equestrian only)
Sleeping bag or sheets and blankets
Pillow and pillowcase
Writing paper, envelopes, stamps, pen
Flashlight w/ extra batteries
What to Bring to Day Camp
Jacket or sweatshirt
Flip Flops (optional, Waterfront area only) -
Insect repellent (no aerosol spray cans)
What NOT to Bring to Camp:
Weapons: Do not bring weapons of any kind to camp, Camp Marshall reserves the right to search and seize personal items if possession of weapons is suspected. This is for the safety of other campers. This also includes pocket knives.
Drugs, Alcohol, or Tobacco Products: Camp Marshall reserves the right to search and seize personal items if possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products is suspected. Any camper, LIT or CIT will be immediately dismissed if illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products are found and/or used on camp property, and appropriate authorities will be notified. Possession and/or use of illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weapons, or fireworks of any kind are forbidden and constitute grounds for immediate dismissal. We are serious about our commitment to keeping Camp Marshall a safe and healthy environment.
No pets are allowed. This includes dogs, cats, goats etc. Horses may come with equestrian campers specifically for the Bring Your Own Horse program only. Horses must come with the appropriate health and immunization records signed by a veterinarian.
Vehicles: Do not bring vehicles of any kind including dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.
Personal sports equipment:
Do not bring archery equipment, riflery equipment, or sports and games equipment such as bicycles, skateboards, roller skates etc. Camp Marshall will supply program and safety equipment for all programs. Equestrian campers or those taking horseback riding may bring riding helmets and riding boots. Helmets must follow ASTM standards, be less than 5 years old with no cracks/damage.
Aerosol spray cans: This includes hair spray and insect repellent.
Radios, walkie-talkies, music playing devices, valuable sunglasses, valuable jewelry, and cell phones should be left at home. Camp Marshall will not be responsible for the loss, breaking, or damage of any of these items.
Cell phones: Camp Marshall believes that summer camp is the ideal place for campers to disconnect from technology that is so prevalent in today's society and reconnect with nature. While games and social media can be a great form of entertainment and education, we aim to provide an experience that is as much "off the grid" as possible. By doing so, campers are more easily able to immerse themselves in the much more basic style of living provided by camp. This includes learning how to live with others in a group setting and exploring their natural environments without the intrusion of digital updates, notifications, and alerts.
It is against our policy for any camper to be in possession of a cell phone. If a camper is found to have a cell phone while at camp it is going to be taken, put in a secure place and notify the parent/guardian. Phones will be returned at check out.
Campers do not need money during camp. There is an option to create a camper's store account for the camper to make purchases at the Camp Store, which is open during registration, most days after lunch, and on Fridays at departure time.
Inappropriate materials: Possession of age-inappropriate items, such as pornography, at camp is considered unsuitable. Parents of offenders will be notified immediately and the item will be secured in the Camp Office until departure.
Communication with our Campers:
Campers are not permitted to use the telephone while at camp without permission of the Camp Director or Health Supervisor/Nurse. We strongly discourage telephone calls between campers and parents. Feelings of missing home are exacerbated and can have a very negative impact on the camper’s stay at camp. For the same reason, CELL PHONES ARE NOT ALLOWED AT CAMP. If you have an urgent matter to discuss with your child, call the main camp office.
Due to the possible delays in the postal system, we encourage parents who wish to send letters or care packages to do so by dropping off these items during Sunday check-in or by sending letters through our Email system. Please indicate on dropped off packages and letters what day you would like your camper to receive it. Mail is handed out daily.
Campers with birthdays during camp will receive a birthday cake during a meal on the day of their birthday and “Happy Birthday” is sung to them by all.
We encourage campers to write home at least once during the camp week. For this purpose, we suggest that you supply your camper with postcards, or paper & envelopes, and stamps.
Usually a brief note from your child is indicative of a busy, happy camper. Please do not be overly alarmed if the note suggests otherwise. Campers are up and down emotionally, especially during the first few days of camp. Also, keep in mind that when you receive the note, several days have passed since the note was written and it is likely that your camper is now happily involved in camp life. Please feel free to contact the main office if you are concerned.
Camp Marshall E-mail Express:
We are proud to offer a super simple way to stay in touch with your camper while they are at Camp!
Visit our website at and click the "Camper Email" button.
Emails will be delivered to your camper along with the rest of the mail for that day.
Friday Pick Up Procedure:
Campers must be signed out on the lower grounds prior to be being picked up by their parents or guardian. Only those individuals who are on your "Authorized to Pick Up" form will be allowed to take your child. Photo ID’s will be requested. Any necessary changes to this form must be made in writing in advance and brought to the office.
Equestrian Demonstrations will begin at 12:30 pm on Fridays. This will give those enrolled in the equestrian program a chance to demonstrate what they have learned with their horse during the week. All parents and family members who plan to attend this event must check out there camper after the horse show at lower grounds, showing a photo ID and signing out the camper, before going to the riding arenas.
Demonstrations will be held at the riding rings near the main barn area. Awards will be handed out after the completion of riding demonstrations.
Camp Closing ceremonies begin at 1:30 pm on Friday and normally takes approximately 30-60 minutes to conclude. Parents are encouraged to join us for this event. The ceremony includes awards for campers who excelled in certain areas of the camp community, as well as highlights of the week and a display or demonstration of accomplishments of our campers. We do not offer dinner on Fridays. All campers should be picked up by 3:30 pm. Please be sure that you take all your camper’s belongings with you including those items on the clotheslines. Also, stop by the Health Supervisor/Nurse to retrieve any medications. Before you leave camp please make sure to do the following:
Check Lost & Found table and cabin area for belongings
Pick up any leftover medications from the Health Care Manager
Settle Camp Store accounts
Lost & Found will be located in Andrew’s Hall or at the checkout table. Everything else is located at the check in table on lower grounds.
The promotion of your child’s health and safety remains our highest priority at Camp Marshall. The camp employs a full time Health Supervisor. Our infirmary is located in Andrews Hall and is staffed 24 hours a day. We have a Healthcare Consultant who provides us with guidance as needed and reviews our Health Care Plan annually. In addition, all of our staff members have current certifications in First Aid and CPR. In the unlikely event of a camper emergency, 911 will be called and the Spencer Rescue Squad will transport the camper to either UMass Medical (Shrewsbury), UMass Memorial (Worcester) or St. Vincent’s Hospital (Worcester). Parents will be notified by the Health Supervisor or Camp Director as soon as possible of any incident requiring transport by ambulance. A Senior Staff member will accompany the camper to the hospital and remain with him/her until a parent or guardian arrives.
-In the unlikely event that a camper becomes ill or injured, the Health Supervisor will contact a parent via phone to inform them of the camper’s condition and actions being taken. If the first parent/guardian cannot be reached, the second parent/guardian will be called followed by the emergency contact person. We will continue to call until we speak to someone personally. You will not be contacted if the injury is minor, such as a small cut or scrape requiring a band-aid, or a minor stomach ache that does not persist.
-In the event that a camper becomes ill and cannot remain at camp, his/her parent will be notified and will be requested to pick up the camper as quickly as they are able. We are unable to keep ill children at camp. Any ill child will be kept in the isolation room of the infirmary until the parent arrives. In some cases, the camp will require a doctor’s note prior to the camper’s return to camp.
In order to assist us in providing the best care, Camp Marshall utilizes CampDocs.com.
Once registered, families will be e-mailed a link to the CampDocs website. We hope that you will find this service to be an easier process on their secure website. It will allow us to have online access to all health forms. In the event of missing or incomplete medical forms, your child will only be able to stay for 24 hours. If the necessary forms are not received by camp within 24 hours campers may be asked to leave the program until they are completed.
Campers are not allowed to have medication, including over-the-counter medications, in their cabins at any time. All medications must be turned into the Health Supervisor during Sunday or Monday registration. All medications must be in their original container with the physician’s orders on it, and the child's name.
All campers will be checked by the Health Supervisor as part of the Sunday or Monday registration process. Please advise us upon arrival of any recent developments regarding your child’s health or any other pertinent information that you might find necessary for our staff to know.
Protection from the sun:
State Requirement: 430.163: Protection from The Sun
The operator shall at all times encourage campers and staff to reduce exposure to ultraviolet exposure from the sun. Such measures shall include, but need not be limited to, encouraging the use of wide brim hats, long sleeve shirts, long pants, screens with a solar protection factor of 15 or greater and lip balm.
In accordance with the above state law, we do request permission for our staff/volunteers to help, when and if needed, to apply sunscreen to your camper. You will be asked to initial the box at the end of this book stating you give permission.
These forms are for informational purposes provided by the DPH. This information can be found on our website under FEQ’s
Does Camp Marshall get inspected?
Yes, The Department of Public Health inspects and licenses Camp Marshall each year along with the Fire Marshall. Camp Marshall is also accredited by the American Camp Association ,our most recent accreditation with ACA was during the summer of 2017.
430.190 ( C ) This camp must comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local Board of Health.
Anti-Discrimination Policy for Staff and Campers:
The Worcester County 4-H Center, Inc. (hereinafter “Camp Marshall”) seeks to secure and retain qualified staff. As employers, it is believed that this Personnel Policy reflects the 4-H Philosophy of employment. Camp Marshall, its programs and employment shall be operated in accordance with State and Federal law and the policy of nondiscrimination adopted by the US Department of Agriculture through the University of Massachusetts Extension.
In the interests of the health, safety and total welfare of campers, and Employees and the quality of 4-H programming at Camp Marshall, the highest standards of conduct and performance shall be required of all Employees. Employees shall agree that while participating in Camp Marshall programs they shall adjust their personal habits and actions to the policies, ideals and traditions of 4-H and Camp Marshall. The conduct of all employees, both in and out of Camp Marshall, shall be professional and their role an exemplary model for campers; be non-discriminatory toward, but not limited to, race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, learning, physical or mental disabilities, ancestry, genetic information, and any other protected class; and shall exhibit respect for the environment and world. Employees shall be prohibited from promoting their personal life styles, political views, or religious preferences to other Employees, participants, parents, campers or other volunteers.
In the interests of the health, safety and total welfare of every camper, and the quality of 4-H programming at Camp, the highest standards of conduct and shall be required of all campers. Campers shall agree that while participating in Camp program they shall adjust their personal habits and actions to the policies, ideals and traditions of 4-H and Camp Marshall.
Campers shall agree that while participating in Camp Marshall programs they shall adjust their personal habits and actions to the policies, ideals and traditions of 4-H and Camp Howe. The conduct of all campers, while at Camp Marshall, are expected to be , non-discriminatory toward, but not limited to, race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, learning, physical or mental disabilities, ancestry, genetic information, and any other protected class; and shall exhibit respect for the environment and world.
Campers and/or Staff that do not uphold these expectations while at Camp Marshall will adhere to our Discipline policies. This can be found in the Discipline Policy in this handbook.
The Worcester County 4-H Center, Inc shall not tolerate, under any circumstances, without exception, any form of discrimination based on race, creed, religion, color, age disability, pregnancy, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, national origin, political affiliation, sex, predisposing genetic characteristics and any other status protected by law.
“Our” Camp, Camp Marshall is a ZERO TOLERANCE Facility
The staff at Camp Marshall strive to create a healthy and safe environment for all campers. The camp has a number of systems in place to recognize and respond to behaviors that are detrimental to the health of the camp community and its members. With many behaviors, behaviors, and devise a plan for improvement. In rare instances where these initial steps are unsuccessful, we will often enter into personal verbal behavior contracts with the camper outlining the specific expectations and consequences. On occasion, certain behaviors or repeated infractions require parental notification. When appropriate, we will seek guidance from you as to strategies that may have worked at home or school that we may employ with your child at camp. In the event that the administrative staff, after investigating senior staff concerns, determines that the conduct of a camper is unreasonably disruptive to the program, cannot be controlled, is detrimental to the safety of other campers, is bullying, violent, inappropriate, or threatening to staff or campers, the camp director has the right and responsibility to send that camper home. If a camper is sent home for reasons of behavior, no refund will be given. The Discipline Process is as follows:
State Requirement: 430.191: Requirements for Discipline
(A) Discipline and guidance shall be consistent and based upon an understanding of the individual needs and development of a child. The operator shall direct discipline to the goal of maximizing the growth and development of the children and for protecting the group and individuals within it.
Corporal punishment, including spanking, is prohibited;
No camper shall be subjected to cruel or severe punishment, humiliation, or verbal abuse;
No camper shall be denied food or shelter as a form of punishment;
No child shall be punished for soiling, wetting or not using the toilet.
(C) The operator shall describe in writing, the camp’s procedures for disciplining campers. The written plan shall also include the prohibitions of 105 CMR 430.191(B)(1) through (4).
In accordance with the above law, you will be asked to initial the box at the end of this book noting you have reviewed this policy.
All visitors (including parents) must sign in at the Camp Office. Campers will be called to the office to greet their visitor. Visitors may not enter the living areas under any circumstances without being escorted by a staff member.
If for any reason you must take your child from camp, you must inform the Camp Director in advance. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, we must have an accurate headcount of our campers at all times. Any camper who leaves camp property must be signed in and out from the Camp Office, or from the Infirmary in case of illness. Returning campers must be back on the premises by 9:00 pm or must wait until 7:15am the following morning.
Although parents are welcome, please consider whether a visit is at all helpful to your child. Even though your child may be having the time of his/her life leading up to your visit, your presence can result in an intense desire to go home with you. It can be a difficult time for both camper and parent. If you come for a visit, and you experience this, please consult with the Camp Director.
Camp Photographs: Please be sure that you complete a Photo Release Form prior to the start of camp. This allows us to use photographs of your child in our Camp’s publicity. Names of campers are not used.
All Camp Marshall Staff and Volunteers have been required by law to be CORI/SORI Check, along with the National Sex Offender Registry. All staff that begin on the start date of training are CPR/First Aid/AED certified.
430.190: General Program Requirements: (D) The operator shall inform parents at the time application forms are provided that they may request copies of background check (as the law provides), health care and discipline policies as well as procedures for filing grievances.
Parents are asked not to tip staff members. Words and letters of appreciation are gratefully received. If you wish to show your appreciation further, we encourage you to make a donation to the camp. Camp Marshall is a not-for-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. You may choose to specify that your donation is for a particular object or item, or is made on behalf of the efforts of a particular staff member. We also encourage you to consider donations of items such as sporting goods or tools. Please contact the office for details of what is needed at camp.
Upon registering your camper, an online invoice will be emailed to you. You can pay this invoice online or send in the payment. Please call us in the event you need to make any other arrangement.
Financial Aid: There are camperships available for limited amounts. Applications are due by May 15th. Call the Camp office, 508-885-4891, or go online, ww.campmarshall.net, for campership applications if you wish to be considered.
Spending the night away from home and parents is a significant milestone and rite of passage that is important for children to achieve. Camp is a perfect environment to do this! We recognize, however, that some campers will struggle with feelings of homesickness from time to time.
please do not promise your camper that if he/she does not wish to stay at camp that he/she can call you and you will come immediately to pick him/her up and bring him/her home. By making such a promise, the message is sent that you believe that your camper is unable to achieve this very important goal and their focus will be on going home rather than enjoying camp.
take the time to talk about camp with your camper and what he/she can expect during their time with us. Talk about the daily schedule, food offerings, programs, and extra activities. A visit to camp prior to their week would be a good experience to help prepare for his/her upcoming week away from home. Familiarity with camp will increase his/her comfort level and decrease the chance of her becoming homesick. We offer several Open Houses leading into the camp season.
send a few familiar objects with your camper such as a favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal. This will certainly make your child more comfortable while at camp. In our experience, campers display more signs of homesickness at night when they are tired and not as busy. Keeping the bedtime routine as similar to home as possible by sending these objects could be the key to a successful week at camp for your camper.
Staff members are trained in how to communicate effectively with children who are struggling with homesickness and will do everything in their power to make your camper comfortable and happy. If our efforts do not appear to alleviate these symptoms, the Camp Director will determine whether we need to contact you to see how you want us to proceed. We will make late night phone calls to parents only in instances of physical illness. Refunds for homesickness are not issued.
Cancellations before June 1st will receive a refund, minus the non-refundable deposit of $100 plus $25 handling fee. There will be no refunds for cancellations after June 1st, unless the child physically cannot participate, which will require a physician's letter, and will only apply to 50% of tuition, minus $100 non refundable deposit.
Refunds will NOT be issued when a camper is dismissed for violation of camp rules or if the camper leaves due to homesickness. All refunds will be mailed during the month of September.
If you have a complaint that you feel needs to be addressed, please send an email to the Center Director at or via US mail to:
Worcester County 4-H Center/Camp Marshall 92 McCormick Road Spencer, MA 01562. All complaints will be addressed on an individual basis. Please do this immediately as you become aware of the situation. Refunds are not guaranteed; please refer to refund policy in this handbook.
Per Massachusetts law, parents may:
430.190: General Program Requirements: (D) The operator shall inform parents at the time application forms are provided that they may request copies of background check, health care and discipline policies as well as procedures for filing grievances. All Camp Marshall background checks are kept on file for a minimum of three years.
Thank you for taking the time to review the previous information. We hope that you found it informative and useful. Please feel free to contact our office if you have questions or concerns.
Please also visit our website - FAQ’s for more helpful information