During a summer spent at Woodcraft, injury and illness have always remained potential obstacles for campers, making a health center necessary for the camp’s operation. While Woodcraft has always managed to provide the essential services needed for campers, this summer the camp received a noticeable upgrade with the addition of the Waterfield Health Center.
Prior to this summer, the health center was restricted to three rooms and two cots in Woodcraft Headquarters. Emma Bjornstad, a Woodcraft nurse, explained that because space and resources were limited, campers were often shuttled to the main Health Center in Upper Camp, and this process quickly became inconvenient for both kids and staff.
Juli Danti, the Academies’ nursing supervisor, expanded on the unintended consequences of the limited space. Since the old location could only effectively care for one to two campers at a time, other facilities, like the Dispensing Center and the main Health Center, became overloaded with campers, adding congestion to several areas.
Primary support for the project came from the Waterfield Foundation, Inc., whose members include two Woodcraft graduates (Dick W’85 and Randy W’86) and a Naval School graduate (Dick N’59). And another generation of Waterfields are beginning their own experience at Woodcraft.
Support was also provided for the project by Sam and Judy Lumby. Sam is a Woodcraft graduate from the class of 1955. Other alumni and friends also chipped in to bring the project to full fruition.
After the generous funding was in place, Woodcraft could proceed with the installation, repurposing the lower level of old Nature Center. “Once we knew what the layout would be, we could envision how this would work and what this would look like,” Danti said. “After that, it was a pretty seamless transition.”
Bjornstad explained that throughout the formation, nurses provided counsel on factors like the layout of the health center, the supplies typically in demand, and the decorations that might provide a comforting environment for campers. The facility is fully equipped with the necessities: eight beds, two examine rooms, and a foot soaking station. These additions have made caring for kids a much more efficient process.
And while “our numbers haven’t changed, we’ve seen a decrease in work load in all three areas because it spread it out,” Danti added. “They can pretty much meet all the needs right in this building.” Now the Upper Camp Health Center acts only as a last resort option for issues like high fevers and serious injuries, and the Dispensing Center can focus solely on administering medicine.
The summer only continues to showcase the extensive benefits. The Health Center now employs more staff which ensures greater efficiency and accessibility. For instance, now Woodcraft can host sick call seven days a week, and on weekdays, twice a day.
Mark Maes, who has been the major in Division 7 for the past few years, has been extremely pleased by the change. “This year it is so easy to send the campers down to the Health Center to get a Tylenol for a minor headache, or to be seen by the doctor.”
The Waterfield Health Center alleviates much of the difficulty that once complicated attending to campers, and instead gives Woodcrafters more time to enjoy all the fun that comes with a summer at camp. Perhaps Maes puts it best: “I think that the new Woodcraft Health Center has been nothing short of amazing!”