My children are worried about coming to Camp and seeing their other parent. What should I tell them?
All of the staff at OCB are aware that camp may be stressful or an uncomfortable situation for some participants. Our goal is to welcome everyone and provide a safe and secure space for you all to do the work of repairing the divide in your family. You should explain to your child(ren) that everyone involved wants to help them and that you, as their parents, are hopeful that some change can occur to allow the children to engage with both parents in a healthy manner in the future.
What will happen when we arrive?
You will be greeted by the smiling faces of our camp staff ready to meet your family and welcome you. The recreational staff (lovingly called “Green Shirts”) are folks whose job it is to make you feel comfortable, safe and provide camp fun! The Green Shirts will escort your children to their cabin. It is important to pack each child’s possessions separately as they will sleep in the designated kids’ area with the other children. The boys and the girls will be in separate cabins with two staff persons in each cabin.
What should we bring to camp?
We will be sending you a camper packet about what to bring and what to leave at home. We also have a phone conversation with each adult camper prior to camp to be sure everyone knows what to bring and to be sure we can have food and other things you may need to make your experience as stress free and comfortable as possible.
What do “Green Shirts” do?
Each group of campers have assigned staff who run activities, sleep in gender segregated cabins with them and act as facilitators for you, the participants.The Green Shirts come from all walks of life, many have worked at camp before. They all have a strong desire to support your family. During the day, they run the many games and activities like Crazy Kickball, clay, arts and crafts, water balloon volleyball and more – lots of fun stuff to do!
For many of these activities, campers remain in their assigned groups and for others, especially as the week progresses, there activities involving all campers. In the evening, the Green Shirts lead the campfire, games and other traditional camp activities.
When you say the adults have staff also, what do you mean?
We will have enough staff available for kid and adult campers to feel safe and supported at all times. We always want everyone to feel a part of the camp. Green Shirts escort campers at night and team up with them to facilitate their days. They also plan and lead activities for the adults and participate in all of the camp fun and sleep in gender-segregated cabins with the adults.
What should we leave at home?
While you may bring cell phones to camp, children are not allowed access to them during camp. Adults may use their phones at specific times. We do not allow any other technology, including computer use, during camp. We are committed to working hard and making the most of time at camp. In order to focus on the task at hand, we require folks to leave their outside distractions at home.
If you do bring valuables to camp, we have a space to keep them. Please leave any valuables with us as we cannot be responsible for valuables left in cabins.
What will we do all day? Is there a schedule?
There is a skeleton schedule that gets revised each day depending on the needs of the campers. These needs are determined by the clinical team. In general, after breakfast, the participants are divided into their morning groups – East or West for parents and Common Ground for the kids. You will have a snack break about half way through the morning. After lunch, afternoons provide time for each group to do an activity, followed by an all-camp program. Also during the afternoons individual families will meet with the clinical team in different groups including parent-parent meetings, parent-child meetings or other groupings determined by the clinicians. At dinner and other meals seating is assigned. Some sample evening activities are all camp games, a movie, or a campfire with s’mores. After evening activities each group goes to their cabins. Until bedtime, children stay up play cards and hang out with their bunkmates and Green Shirts.
We expect you to participate in the activities and give these days your best effort.
What do we eat?
Three camp-style vegetarian meals a day and snacks and drinks are always available. Common Ground Center (the family camp location) is known for its delicious vegetarian, organic and local when possible, food. There is a salad bar available at lunch and dinner and we offer a burger night during the week.
We work hard to accommodate all special needs and requests. If there is a special “something” that will make you or your kids happy, please let us know when we call or put it on your Youth Form. We will do our best to make sure we have it on hand. You are always welcome to bring special items that will be kept safe for you.
Food is not allowed in cabins or sleeping spaces due to pests.
Where do we sleep?
All of the cabins are relatively new and we keep them exceptionally clean. Adults share cabins with adult Green Shirts. We usually have five families, which means you will share a cabin with other adults and staff. The children have their own cabin area and the boys and girls are separated into cabins with two Green Shirts each. At night there is a night watch. No adults, except kids’ staff, are allowed in the children’s area.
What kind of organization is Overcoming Barriers?
Overcoming Barriers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit developed to support a family systems approach to children resisting or rejecting a parent in post separation families and to promote children’s healthy relationships with both parents. We have been developing programs and resources for families since 2008, and many people involved with the organization have been doing this work for a lot longer than that. Besides running programs and trainings for professionals, we do a lot of work raising money to support programs and make them affordable.
What is included in the Summary of Interventions and Agreements that families receive at the end of Camp?
It is exactly what is says: a summary of interventions at Camp and any agreements that parents made at Camp. The summary is presented to parents on the last day. Parents have a chance to review it and make any corrections or additions. Here are a few examples:
- On the first day Dr. Z intervened with Jane Jr. before dinner to get her to participate in camp.
- Drs. Y & Z met with Jane and John for 1.0 hours to discuss mutual needs and wants from the other.
- Parents met with child and acknowledged their delight at child overcoming his initial resistance to involvement with the camp program.
- Jane will provide a written log for John that includes bulleted information about schedule, activities, behaviors, appointments, etc.
- Parents agree to the use of a parenting coordinator to reduce inter-parental conflict, assist in implementation of the parenting plan, provide education, structure and accountability. The PC will help the parents disengage and create a more functional parallel coparenting arrangement. The appointment term will be no less than two years.
What is the confidentiality policy at Camp?
Overcoming Barriers follows a strict confidentiality policy with all camper information. This means we don’t share personal information about a family with other families at Camp. Campers can chose to share their stories with one another as they choose. Campers are not allowed to take photos or video at Camp.
What is included in the service agreement?
The service agreement covers a great deal of details related to Camp including confidentiality, expectations for parents and for kids, payment and refund rules, and aftercare policies. Applicants will receive a Draft copy of the Service Agreement for review. Contact us for a copy of the Draft Service Agreement.
How do families apply for Family Camp?