Camper Safety

Camper Safety at Belknap


At Belknap, we believe that campers can flourish in a natural setting that offers structured and unstructured opportunities for growth and learning. Belknap leaders nurture and inspire campers, offering supervision and instruction, but also appropriate freedom to choose program activities and pursue interests. For example, at Belknap each camper has the opportunity to select the daily program he likes and does not travel with his cabin from activity to activity. Thus, every camper must be comfortable getting from one place in camp to another without accompaniment from another camper or staff person.

Even with Belknap’s emphasis on activity choice and self-motivation for campers, however, the health and well-being of your child is our highest priority each summer.

Belknap leaders are prepared and trained to care for campers in a variety of settings—from the cabin, to activity periods, to off-camp excursions or camping trips. Specific qualifications and certifications are required for leaders who instruct specialized activities (such as riflery or waterskiing), or who lead campers on trips away from Belknap (such as hiking trips or overnight canoeing or sailing trips).

All leaders and staff participate in a one-week leader training prior to the arrival of campers. This includes training on homesickness, bullying, camper health and hygiene, and cabin management. All Leaders are trained in First Aid and many leaders have certifications such as CPR and lifeguarding or Wilderness First Aid. Leader and staff training also includes substantial attention to topics around child sexual abuse prevention—including appropriate boundaries with campers, supervision, and sexual abuse reporting. Belknap makes use of nationally recognized programs—such as Praesidium and Darkness to Light/Stewards of Children —to help with training of staff and audits of policies regarding sexual abuse prevention. Belknap prides itself on being a place where we openly discuss the importance of camper safety at all levels. For more information, please see the March 19, 2019 Letter to our Community.

Belknap has a fully staffed Health Center with a registered nurse on staff at all times. Stephanie Kassels, Belknap’s co-director, is also a registered and practicing nurse practitioner. Belknap is 7 miles from Huggins Hospital, a non-profit community hospital in Wolfeboro with a range of inpatient and outpatient services.

Belknap is accredited through the American Camp Association (ACA) and licensed by the State of New Hampshire. The ACA works with accredited summer camps such as Belknap on key aspects of camp operation, program quality, and the health and safety of campers and staff. The ACA collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation to promote growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

Belknap leaders and Staff offer their support and guidance to each camper throughout the summer as they grow and learn under the pines. Please contact Seth or Steph, the co-directors, to learn more about camper safety at Belknap.