Guidelines for Out of Camp Trips

Planning for your trip

  •  Is this a unique experience (something the kids could not easily do at home)?
  •  What are our Jewish educational goals for this trip?
  •  What are our other goals/learning objectives?
  •  Are the activities/destinations age-appropriate?

Trip-leader will meet with the Assistant Director at least one week prior to traveling out of camp for a trip briefing, to review:

  • Trip itinerary, including destinations/activities, addresses, telephone numbers, schedule, check-in time (at minimum: daily check-in for overnight trips) and RAIN PLAN.
  • Intended route (printing directions to and from each destination) & identifying hospitals along the route in case of emergency (with address & contact information). Plan rest stops for bathroom use. For overnight trips, identify all possible evacuation routes and emergency pick-up locations from the overnight route and location.
  • Review trip itinerary to identify risks and mechanisms to minimize them. Plan for any participants with physical limitations. Review individual camper issues with your Yoetzet.
  • Complete roster – list of all staff and campers who are participating in the trip (and noting anyone from your edah not participating in the trip or not participating for the full itinerary), including specific bus lists, identifying bus captains and which campers are on each bus. Also include “facebook” with photos of all participants.
  • Communication plans and emergency telephone numbers (Camp office, CEO, Marp, Kitchen, Hospitals, Staff members on trip) and insurance coverage – this list should be distributed to all staff-members on the trip.
  • Emergency contact cards (including Rosh Edah, Camp office, CEO) copied & given to all participants.
  • Make reservations and receive a written confirmation.
  • Ensure all permits are arranged and fees are paid (including any deposits).

Arrange with the COO:

  • Review budget
  • Petty Cash & Checks
  • Campers’ money (if applicable)

Arrange with the Mirpa’ah (Health Center):

  • Medical forms for both staff and campers (make additional copies if group is separated); take special note of any allergies.
  • Signed permission from parents/guardians of all participants to seek medical treatment, or a signed religious waiver.
  • Pack out all necessary medicine for campers and staff (both regular and emergency, such as ibuprofen and EpiPens), and review methods for administering.
  • Staff member with current first aid and CPR/AED certification present on the trip and properly oriented to the health conditions of the participants and any environmental hazards associated with the area.

Arrange with the Kitchen:

  • Pack-out for food (meals and snacks) and drinks.
  • The kitchen must be advised if you are missing a meal or need to make alternative meal arrangements..
  • Make arrangements for any participants with allergies or other food issues.

Trip-leader will meet with the Assistant Director, Co-Director, and COO at least 3 days prior to traveling out of camp for a final trip review.

 Do not leave camp without all of the above items, as well as:

  • Trip orientation completed for all participants (see below)
  • Fully charged cell phones (minimum one per bus; additional are required if splitting into groups)
  • Satellite phones (if going to a campground or other area without cell service)
  • Safety check of any and all equipment (if applicable)
  • First Aid Kits and other emergency accessories, including ice packs (one kit per vehicle)
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Birkat Hamazon Cards (& Mincha/Maariv cards if applicable
  •  For overnight trips: siddurim, as well as everyone’s tallit, tefillin, toiletries, and sleeping bags
  • Other items may be required depending on the nature of the trip.

Trip Orientation for Participants, run by Rosh Edah or senior staff-member:

It is important to give all staff and campers a suggested packing list, which should include at least the following:

  • Appropriate clothing and footwear (example: hiking boots)
  • Camp t-shirt (if applicable)
  • Hat
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Kippot

All staff must be trained on their supervisory roles and responsibilities, and all participants must be oriented to:

  • Representing camp — appropriate behavior
    • Be respectful and polite to the people you meet
  • Safety regulations
    • Staff need to regularly count the campers in their group
    • Staff must remain with their group at all times, and no camper is allowed to leave their group
    • Be aware of your surroundings and interactions with strangers
  • Emergency procedures
    • What to do if you get lost from the larger group
    • For staff: what to do if you’re missing a camper
    • If someone gets hurt: how to obtain medical and emergency assistance
  • Activity-specific procedures (boating, hiking, etc.)
  • First Aid Procedures
    • Who is holding onto and distributing meds
  • Health/sanitation practices
    • Don’t leave garbage on the bus; clean up when we depart our area/the place we’re staying
    • Hat/water bottle/sunscreen if outdoors
  • Practices to protect the environment
    • Carry out-carry in
  • Site-specific rules & boundaries, and off-limits areas
  • Rendezvous times and places
  • Bus rules (see below)
  • Kashrut and allergies
  • Derech eretz


  • Campers should be encouraged to utilize the bathroom prior to departing.
  • Please obey your “Bus Captain” and all Ramah staff-members at all times.
  • Passengers must remain seated at all times with hands and arms inside the vehicle. (This requirement to remain seated at all times may be modified, as appropriate, when traveling aboard motor coaches with toilets on board.)
  • All personnel in vehicles must buckle up before the vehicle can leave camp, and remain belted until exiting the vehicle after it parked. If applicable, persons in wheelchairs are seat-belted into wheelchairs that are in locked positions and secured to vehicles.
  • Campers should be careful not to be disruptive during the bus ride (no yelling, running around on the bus, etc.). Videos and other entertainment must be quiet enough not to distract the driver.
  • Do not disembark from the vehicle without the express permission of your Bus Captain.
  • Do not leave any garbage on the bus



  • Safety check on the vehicle:
    • Lights
    • Windshield and wiper condition
    • Emergency flashers
    • Horn
    • Brakes
    • Mirror
    • Fluid levels
    • Fuel levels
    • Check tires for proper inflation
    • Check all doors and windows
  • Check emergency kit:
    • First aid kit
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Emergency flashers
    • Reflectors
    • Copy of Emergency Procedures Manual
  • If the vehicle is new to you, take the time to look at the owners’ manual for information. Check location in the car of fuse boxes, buttons, locks, controls, etc.
  • Check out a cellular phone from the Misrad. Make sure the phone is charged and that the camp switchboard has the number.
  • Take some trash bags with you for use during the trip. Contact the Business Manager to see if any food (snacks, lunch etc.) is needed during the ride.
  • Have directions or a map handy. READ THEM. If in doubt, ask before you leave. All drivers should have complete directions to their destination(s) and appropriate telephone numbers.
  • For all trips over 10 miles from camp, the staff member accompanying the group must have medical forms for all passengers.
  • Vehicle capacity is set by the number of seat belts. Vehicle must be loaded within the passenger safety limits established by the manufacturer.
  • Check-in passengers and staff. Have the appropriate paperwork in hand, including (if transporting a group) a completed Trip Form, medical forms, complete list of passengers, etc etc.
  • A camp vehicle can never transport a hitch hiker, or a person or persons not enrolled in camp or on staff.
  • Passengers should be instructed in the following safety procedures:
    • Passengers must remain seated at all times with hands and arms inside the vehicle.
    • All personnel in vehicles must buckle up before the vehicle can leave camp, and remain belted until exiting the vehicle after it parked.
    • Radios, videos and other entertainment systems must not be such that the driver is distracted from his/her true task: safety.
  • The use of personal vehicles in camp for purposes of driving to work, meals, activities, etc., is absolutely prohibited, regardless of the hour or the weather. Only a senior staff-member may grant permission to drive anywhere around camp past the Main Office. Under no circumstances will a camper be transported in a staff-member’s private vehicle.


  • Driver must obey all posted speed limits and traffic laws. The designated bus captain should assist the bus driver in setting the trip conditions that permit safe operation (see above).
  • Refrain from conversation with passengers or the driver that may cause distractions.
  • At no time may a driver be operating a radio, telephone, ipod, etc. while the vehicle is moving.
  • If the campers being transported are being disruptive, the driver should pull off the road in a safe area until the situation can be resolved.
  • Vehicles should be kept a safe distance apart if traveling together. Drivers should pre-establish rest stops to check in with each other.
  • Backing up: Do so slowly and carefully using your mirrors, with a person guiding you outside the vehicle if possible. The bus captain should assist the driver if requested (posting a person outside the bus to guide the driver) to back up safely.
  • Unloading the vehicle: Keep passengers together in a safe place while unloading gear. Load and unload in places that are free from vehicular traffic except in an emergency. Count passengers often en route to the destination. Before resuming driving after any stop (rest room break etc.), count the number of passengers to make sure no one is left off the bus. Follow all trip safety guidelines.
  • Fuel: The designated emergency vehicle should not get below half a tank of gas. Always refuel before getting down to a quarter of a tank. If possible, refuel when the vehicle is empty of campers. If transporting campers, they are to remain in the vehicle when refueling. Do not allow unsupervised campers to leave the vehicle for any reason.
  • On airport runs, check in unaccompanied minors with airline. Wait until flights depart before returning to camp.


  • Clean the vehicle of all garbage and debris. Do not ever leave a dirty vehicle.
  • Make sure all windows are closed and all doors are locked.
  • Turn in all appropriate paperwork (receipts, medical forms etc.) to the appropriate areas.
  • Turn in the key to the Misrad.
  • Fill in Maintenance request Form for any problems with the vehicle.
  • Return Medical Forms to the Infirmary.


If a passenger is injured or ill:

  • Consult emergency procedures listed in this manual.

In case of an accident:

  • Remain calm. Assess the problem. Make note of your exact location. Call for help (AAA, 911 as appropriate). Notify the camp (413-283-9771) of your delay and the steps that you have taken. Request camp to notify the airline, parents, as appropriate.
  • Place reflectors or emergency flashers as appropriate.
  • Instruct passengers to exit vehicle, when appropriate, using the buddy system. Group uninjured passengers together in an area safe from oncoming traffic to await instructions and/or pick-up. Campers must be supervised by an adult at all times.
  • Find games to play, songs to sing etc. to keep campers and staff calm. Let kids know it’s OK to be worried or scared, but that the group needs everybody to be calm and brave.
  • Obtain and record the following information: 
    • Name, address, phone number, drivers’ license number, state, license plate number, make/model, year of vehicle, owner’s name and information from registration forms, and insurance coverage information of all others involved.
    • Description of damage to vehicles and property. (Use the camera in the emergency kit to photograph damage.)
    • Name and badge number of any police officer responding.
    • Names, addresses, phone numbers of witnesses
  • Fill out the accident report.  If there are injuries, fill out an incident report. It is best to write this out in narrative form as soon as possible while it is still fresh in your mind.

Dealing with vehicular break-down:

  • Move off the road as far as possible. It’s better to drive on a flat tire than to park in an unsafe place.
  • Place the transmission in low, reverse or park. Turn off ignition and remove key.
  • Set the emergency brake.
  • Set emergency blinkers.
  • If vehicle must stop in a non-designated parking area (ie, the side of the road), carry reflective triangles between yourself and the oncoming traffic when placing reflectors in the following places:
    • On the traffic side of the vehicle, within ten feet of the front or rear corners
    • About 100 ft. behind and ahead of the vehicle, on the shoulder of the lane in which you are stopped.
    • Back beyond any hill, curve, or other obstruction that prevents other drivers from seeing the vehicle within 500 feet.
    • If stopped on or by a one-way or divided highway, place warning devices 20 ft.,100 ft., and 200 ft. toward the approaching traffic.
  • If safe to do so, unload passengers and move them well off the roadway away from the vehicle. Make sure campers are supervised at all times by an adult.
  • Contact the camp office.


  • Thank passengers for keeping their heads, staying calm, helping deal with the situation. Let the kids know that if anyone finds part of the situation scary, it’s OK to talk to you, their counselors, or their Yoetz afterwards.
  • Complete an after-action report: what happened (when, what, where, why), what you did to resolve the situation and anything that happened as a result of the situation. Do this while it is fresh in your mind. Turn this in to the Misrad. Also hand in copies of any police reports, names of people involved etc., if applicable.