How do I prepare my child for camp?
Try to visit and see camp first hand. Ask for their input, but as parents you make the ultimate decision based upon multiple factors which only adults can recognize. Once a decision has been reached, tell them you have chosen a camp because you feel it is the safest place and that there are more people there who will watch over them. That is what is most important for them to know. At Pontiac you will be contacted during the winter and spring by a head counselor and during the week prior to camp your child’s group leader will call you. We hold a “new camper day” at camp in May where we provide a day of activities and bonding with other new campers in the group as well as a parent orientation program. Typically, in the spring, each younger group has an additional get together. Finally, when they ask questions or have concerns, if you are not sure of the answer, don’t wing it. Call us and we will work with you to create a strategy to make them feel comfortable and allay any anxieties.
How do you deal with “homesickness?”
Homesickness is not an illness but rather occurs when campers have difficulty in transitioning from home to camp with separation issues and anxieties. Firstly, we partner with the parents to help ease the transition prior to camp, as well as throughout the summer. Extra parental contact with their camper may be required to reassure them that they are in a safe, fun-filled and nurturing environment. We establish a “support team” comprised of multiple staff members. A designated counselor advocate works closely to monitor the camper daily, especially during “down time.” They are introduced to specialists and program heads in activities that they enjoy for an added connection and increased participation. They are paired with campers of shared interests to create a sense of friendship and belonging. They meet with one of our camp counseling staff members who are school guidance counselors, social workers or family therapists with years of camp experience to oversee the entire process and coordinate with the parents.
Is Pontiac a Co-ed or Brother/Sister camp?
We have the geographic layout to enable us to operate Pontiac as both. We are a Brother/Sister camp in that we have separate facilities and programming, enabling “boys to be boys” and “girls to be girls” during the entire daily programming. On the other hand, the conveniences of the immediate proximity of both campuses creates the ability to experience an age appropriate, well supervised social life with a co-ed family feeling where boys and girls can learn to grow together and respect one another. We live in a co-ed world which Pontiac teaches our campers.
What is your bullying policy?
There is a distinction between a bullying mentality or just being annoying. We have a zero tolerance if there is true bullying – where an individual is continually targeted and demeaned. The situation is immediately addressed and if it persists will result in expulsion from camp. We will not permit any child to infringe upon the happiness of another.
How is illness handled?
As physician/owners, we strive to set the gold standard of medicine in the camp industry with two separate state of the art health centers managed by a medical director, 3-4 physicians always on site, 12-14 nurses, an EMT and health center administrators. We can provide campers and staff the most experienced camp medical expertise available. If your child develops a medical condition and needs admission to one of our health centers, you will be contacted that day. Likewise, if your child requires outside services (specialists, ER, blood tests, X-rays) you will be apprised and be closely involved in the process for any significant medical issues.
Where do your campers come from?
We have a very diverse geographic camper population, with 20% from New Jersey/Philadelphia area, 20% from Westchester/Connecticut, 33% from Long Island, 10% from New York City, 12% from Florida, and 5% from the remaining states.
How do campers travel to camp?
We provide coach buses from Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and LaGuardia Airport round trip. Our Florida campers fly on chaperoned flights to and from camp.
Are you a uniform camp?
Yes, with one caveat. We wear traditional camp uniform three days weekly,
any Pontiac clothing or red and white clothing the other three days and on Thursdays we supply specialty Pontiac tees for College Game Day and Tribals.