Parent Handbook

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Dear Parents:

Soon you will be preparing your son for camp. Hopefully, this booklet will answer any last-minute questions about Camp Laney. If you have a question not covered in the booklet, please give us a call.

Though I have many years of experience directing camp, I am always keenly aware of the responsibility of caring for our campers. There are inherent and inevitable risks - both physical and emotional - in the camp experience. Our goal is to handle these risks wisely and create a camp culture that prioritizes health and safety with campers and staff. Several years ago we had a bumper sticker and T-shirt that read "Camp Laney, Where Fun is Number One." A longtime friend and ropes course staff trainer always adds to that slogan - "Camp Laney, Where Fun is Number One - But Safety Comes First."

I look forward to seeing you this summer!

Rob Hammond


FEES FOR ALL SESSIONS ARE DUE MAY 1st. If other arrangements are necessary please let us know. The registration fee has been deducted from the total fee. Please make checks payable to Camp Laney, Inc. Payment may be made by one check, but itemization will be appreciated.

Optional Trips

Optional trips are offered each session and are included in the camp fee. (Information on trips is sent separately.)

Health Insurance

Camper health insurance is included in the fee. There is no deductible. There is a $3,000 limit per accident and a $1,000 limit for sickness. In the event medical costs should exceed these limits, it will be necessary for parents to use their health insurance.

Spending Money

Spending money is deposited in the camp bank, and each camper has an account. Milk and juice break and the afternoon canteen are included in the camp fee. There is a store for stamps, stationery, toothpaste, batteries, shampoo, etc., where a camper may charge items. All money not used will be refunded to the camper at the close of the session.


Every camper must have a completed health form on file with the camp nurse. Please answer the form fully and as truthfully as possible, especially in the area of communicable diseases. If your son has already had his annual physical, there is no need for another. Simply have the doctor complete the form.

On the health form, please note the "parents' authorization." In the event of an emergency/ if this is unsigned, the child cannot be treated until the medical facility has phone authorization from you. In case of serious illness or accident, it is our policy to contact you as soon as possible. DeKalb Medical Center (20 minutes away) is staffed with emergency room doctors around the clock. The Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia (45 minutes away) has specialists on call. If your son is confined to the health center for any length of time, we will contact you, and you may feel free to call the camp nurse to check on his progress.

In addition to our two camp nurses, we hope to have a doctor on site for all sessions. Doctors are usually parents of our campers.


It is natural for all campers to feel some degree of homesickness or "separation anxiety" when they come to camp. Most adjust quickly with no sign that they have experienced these feelings. However, some do become upset and go through a period of adjustment. Most homesick campers do adjust and enjoy camp. The camp and the parents must cooperate if the camper is to adjust successfully. When a camper shows signs of homesickness, the staff tries to keep him busy and participating. Many times this is all that is needed. The staff will also try to discover if there is anything at camp that is causing a problem - a particular activity, another boy, a counselor, no mail. We also assure him that homesickness is a natural feeling that many people experience. One of us will share our own experience with homesickness with him, and let him know he will make it.

If the boy does not seem to be getting over his homesickness, the director will call the parents, and together they will decide if it would help the camper to talk with his parents. If you do talk to your son on the phone at camp, realize if he is upset (and he probably will be) that usually he will be fine once he is out and busy. Be loving but firm when you talk with him.

Before camp starts, do not tell a camper you will come for him if he does not like camp. We are defeated before we start. Tell him if he wants to go to camp you expect him to stay for the entire session.

For further information, please see the enclosed homesick packet and don't forget to watch Chris Thurber's "The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success" DVD/CD Set for some important information about homesickness.


There is no need to buy new clothes for camp. Since camp is fun and casual, campers' clothing should suit the experience. All clothes need to be well-marked, with name tapes or indelible ink on easy-to-find places: on socks, outside under the long arch of the foot; on pants, in the middle of the waistband at the inside back; on shirts, in the inside center of the collar (where labels are); on linens, in a corner. Be sure to mark everything, including shoes, hats, camera, toothbrush, etc. Unmarked clothing will not be sent to the laundry.

Following is a suggestion list of what to bring to camp. Remember that this is only a suggestion list. Send what you think your child will need during the session he is in camp. (For 1-week session see separate sheet.)

1 pair long pants (for dance)
3 pairs long pants or blue jeans (for riding or hiking)
7 pairs play shorts
10 pairs underwear
12 pair socks (white preferred)
10 t-shirts
2 cotton sweatshirts
1 sport shirt (for dance)
1 woolen sweater or jacket
2 bathing suits
2 pairs pajamas (or whatever he sleeps in!)
4 sheets (for single bed)
2 blankets
2 pairs tennis shoes
1 pair leather shoes or boots for riding (with heels)
1 pair flip-flops or Teva's
6 medium bath towels
2 wash cloths
2 pillow cases
1 pillow
1 plastic drinking cup
1 toothbrush and toothpaste
1 soap case and soap
2 laundry bags (one to send laundry in and one for dirty clothes)
1 shampoo
1 raincoat
1 flashlight
1 tennis racquet and tennis balls (racquet and balls are provided at camp)
1 baseball glove (need not bring other baseball equipment)

The following optional things may be desired at camp:
canteen   camera   sleeping bag   insect repellant

Leave the virtual world behind and enjoy the Laney reality (fun activities and friends!). Please do not bring cell phones, digital cameras, DVD players, MP3 players, or electronic games to Camp Laney. Please leave expensive watches and jewelry at home

We suggest enough changes of clothing for about ten days' wear because of laundry scheduling (once for two-week campers). Old clothes are good for camp! The camp cannot be responsible for lost clothes or lost/damaged personal sports equipment.

If you can buy or borrow a duffle bag, do so. They are perfect to ship blankets, sheets, and towels in. Send your other things in a footlocker, if possible. A large suitcase is also suitable. No steamer trunks! Make a list of everything sent to camp and paste it on the inside of the footlocker lid.

Living out of a footlocker calls for experience. Why not give your child a week's practice at home before he goes to camp? You'll be surprised how much this will mean! Chris Thurber's "The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success" DVD/CD Set has some additional suggestions on preparing your son for camp.

During the footlocker-living experience at home, discuss with your child where things should be kept and how often he should change clothes and towels. Explain to him that dirty things go in the laundry bag and will be picked up once during each session, and that damp or wet things must be hung on the clothes line for drying before being placed in the laundry bag. Remind your child that he should use his things efficiently, and not rely on wearing other campers' things as a way out. Name tapes are available from Bell of Maine, (207) 784-2964, ext.233, or Footlockers can be ordered from Texas Case, (800) 599-5384, or C and N Footlockers, (800) 535-2057 or


On opening day, if you are coming by car, please arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, Central Time. On closing day, come anytime before noon.

Most of our campers come to and leave camp by car, but sometimes campers must be sent by airplane. If your son is coming by commercial plane to Camp Laney, his airport destination should be Chattanooga, TN. We charge a nominal fee to transport boys to and from Chattanooga, but it is the nearest commercial airport to Mentone. Arrangements can be made to pick your son up at the Birmingham, Alabama airport. For private planes, the Fort Payne, Alabama airport is only 15 miles from camp.

For those of you who will be driving to Camp Laney, it is located three miles east of Valley Head, Alabama, and 40 miles southwest of Chattanooga. It is easily reached by automobile. From Birmingham (approximately 100 miles) take I-59 north to the Valley Head/Mentone exit (Exit 231) and turn right onto Alabama 117. Follow 117 through Hammondville and Valley Head up the mountain to Mentone. Approximately one mile from the brow of the mountain, look for a right turn marked Camp Laney. Camp Laney is less than two hours from Atlanta. Take I-75 north to Adairsville, Georgia. Exit, turn left on Georgia 140 west. Drive west on 140 to the intersection at U.S. 27. Turn right and follow U.S.27 to Summerville, Georgia. In Summerville turn left on Georgia 48 west and follow through Menlo up Lookout Mountain. At the state line Georgia 48 becomes Alabama 117. Follow straight into Mentone, past Camp Skyline on the right. After crossing Little River, take the first left turn for Camp Laney (Little River Hardware is on the right.)


Before leaving for camp, discuss the question of letter writing. Parents are often so eager to hear from their children that they themselves forget to write. Your youngsters may be having a lot of fun at camp, but it is vital that they receive mail. Even if you don't have much to say, be positive and cheerful. Don't discuss bad news or problems at home.

Type your letters if your child is young.

If your child is young, it is a good idea to fix for him a set of self-addressed and stamped envelopes or postcards, to make mailing easier for him. It might also be a good idea to have your son practice writing a letter to you.

We discourage phone calls to campers. If you must talk with your son, call through the camp director at 256-634-4066. Campers are not allowed to use the telephone on their own. However in rare instances (such as illness, family emergency, or persistent homesickness), the camp director may bring campers to the phone.

Please limit your calls concerning transportation and administrative matters to the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., C.D.T.


We prefer that parents and friends see the camp and meet the staff on opening and closing day of each session. Visiting while camp is in session can be disruptive and, in some cases, may cause the camper to have to "readjust" to being spearated from home and family.


We try to honor cabin mate requests if grade level and age allow and if the parents of both campers request it. It is good for a camper to be in a cabin with two or three friends, but we want to avoid cabins made up of boys all from one town. This does not allow the boys to branch out and make new friends, and it can maintain a bad school or neighborhood situation.

Please limit your requests. The deadline for cabin mate requests is June 1st.


The following brief discussions are taken from the American Camping Association booklet, Preparing Your Child For Camp. We feel that this advice is very practical,and that it closely parallels our experience in these areas. We have changed some of the remarks to fit our situation at Camp Laney.

Your Son
Your first consideration should be your camper-to-be. Are you ready to have the child leave home? Does he want to go to camp? Is he prepared to leave home? What do both of you expect of camping? Are the expectations mutually understood and mutually agreeable?

Your Attitude
Your attitude toward the camping experience is equally as important as what the experiences at the camp itself might be. Be sure that you are ready to have your child leave home, that you trust him to be on his own, that you are not fearful of the risks and the rare, but possible, mishaps connected with camping. Talk about camping as a happy adventure. Be positive at all times. Try to process any recent negative family event before your son comes to camp. Discuss the recent death of a family member or pet, a recent separation or divorce, or any other recent loss, as best you can. Unresolved family issues may fester and induce homesickness.

Personal Habits
Remind your son that when he is away at camp good health habits are important (bathing, brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.)!
Please see enclosed letter, "Staying healthy at camp."

Friendly Chats
You can do much to prepare your child for the new and uncertain, yet highly rewarding, experiences that will be encountered at camp through friendly chats about things that might seem different. You will think of many things to talk about, but here are a few to start you off.

Darkness - The night sky at Mentone is spectacular. You are able to see many stars and constellations you cannot see in a big city. Nights at camp will seem darker than in a city or town.

Noises - Normal city noises of sirens, buses, horns, and airplanes will be exchanged for the natural sounds of the woods.

Space - Undeveloped land is becoming a thing of the past. At camp, however, children have acres and acres for playing and hiking. It may be a child's first encounter with space, and this new world may seem very large. We adults have a tendency to forget that things we long ago accepted may still present adjustments for children.

Children- Mention that there are different kinds of children, and that it will require "give and take" to get along, to make friends, and to get the most out of living at camp.

Religion - People have different religions and religious customs, and each has a right to believe in his own way.

Security - Security lies within a person, himself. Camping is not a personality, athletic, or endurance contest, but it is a place which encourages self-confidence in people for what they are, as individuals, and not by comparisons.

For further reading, we recommend The Summer Camp Handbook by Christopher Thurber, Ph.D. To order, call 1-800-330-5851 or order from

Also, remember to view Chris Thurber's "The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success" DVD/CD Set for some additional ideas on preparing your son for camp.

Camp Laney for Boys

TELEPHONE 256-634-4066/4067
FAX 256-634-4098



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