How are campers' daily medications, vitamins and supplements administered at camp?

We administer medication four times daily: at approximately 8:30am (breakfast) 12:40pm (lunch) 6:30pm (dinner) 8:30-9:30pm (bedtime, depending on camper age.) We can help your child take their medication however works best for them - please be in touch with our Health Center with any special needs.  

Summer camps are regulated by the New York state health department so we are required to follow a very specific protocol when administering any medication or supplement to a camper.  These regulations apply to prescription medication and to over-the-counter medications that your child takes regularly (Zyrtec, Claritin, etc) as well as vitamins and supplements like melatonin.  For safety reasons, campers are never allowed to keep any medications, vitamins or supplements in the bunk or on their person except epi-pens or inhalers, as medically necessary.  

For anything* a camper takes on a regular basis, we must have:

  • A prescription or orders signed by a physician or other licensed prescriber
  • The medication or supplement in a new, unopened, sealed original packaging 

In order to ensure compliance with New York state law, we require all* camper prescriptions to be filled by our specialized camp pharmacy, McCarthy's.  McCarthy's packages camper medications, vitamins and supplements in single-dose blister packs, labeled with the camper's name, birth date, dosing and prescription information.  This virtually eliminates human error and allows us to safely care for the more than 400 hundred children we welcome to camp each year.  There is a Pharmacy Medication Request form in your forms portal in CampInTouch that is due no later than 30 days before the start of your child's camp session.  McCarthy's will bill insurance but you will be responsible for a processing fee and any late fees.  

*Exceptions to the medication policy:

  • Controlled substances (ie: Ritalin, Vyvanse or Methylphenidate, etc) You must bring your child's current medication in the original packaging, labeled with your child's full name, date of birth and dosing information to camp and drop it off with our Health Center staff, along with the prescription/orders and required camp forms.  If there is not enough to last the entire session submit the prescription to McCarthy's for refill.  We will return any unused medication to you at the end of the session.  
  • Epi-pens and inhalers that your child carries with them. Please ensure these rescue medication are in their original packaging labeled with your child's full name, birth date and dosing information. You will also need to submit the prescription/orders and required camp forms.
  • Please note that any other prescriptions or supplements your child takes, in addition to the controlled substance/rescue medication, must be fill by our camp pharmacy.  
  • If your child takes medication that cannot be filled by McCarthy's we ask you submit a Camp Pharmacy Exemption Application as soon as possible

What if I don't want to use the camp pharmacy?

Any camper who arrives at camp with prescription medications (other than controlled substances, epi-pens or inhalers, as above), vitamins, supplements, homeopathic treatments, or over-the-counter medications, will be charged a $175 per medication drop off fee and we cannot administer dropped-off medications, vitamins or supplements without a prescription or signed doctor's orders. Please understand how difficult and dangerous it is for our nurses to receive unexpected medications on drop-off day. An enormous amount of vetting, cross-referencing and safety-checking is required before we can administer anything, and unexpected medications inhibit our ability to maintain these strict safety standards.

What if my Child Needs an Over-the-Counter Medication or Treatment for Something Unexpected?

Things happen, and kids do get sick or injured occasionally. If your child develops an acute need that requires treatment with an over-the-counter medication or supplement (ie: Tylenol, arnica gel, Miralax, etc), our nurses will obtain and administer them as needed.  You have the opportunity to approve the items we stock in the Health Center via the Permission to Administer Over-The-Counter Medications, found in your CampInTouch forms portal.  We will never give your child a medication or supplement without your permission as given via the form or in consultation with you as needs arise.  

If you have questions about medications at camp, please reach out to Director of Community Care, Maggie Shapiro Haskett.

We look forward to a happy, healthy and magical summer together!