Download a PDF of the Summer Programs Parent Handbook >>

To read our guidelines on COVID-19 prevention, please visit our COVID-19 Protocols page.

Orientation Plan and Mission Statement

The goal of the Friends Academy Summer Programs is to provide a safe, enjoyable and educational program for young children in the summer months. We have focused our program on children aged three through five for Little Friends, students entering grade K through three for Summer Friends, four through six for Adventure Friends, and five through seven for Survival Friends. All of our sports and enrichment programs are similarly grouped with a small span of ages. This small age range allows us to design activities that are suitable and interesting to children of that particular age group. Our program is primarily based in our Farmhouse building, academic classrooms, and much of the grounds of Friends Academy, as well as the bathroom facilities in the main building. The Farmhouse has an enclosed outdoor play area, bathrooms, a full kitchen and indoor play area, and eating and activity areas. The Friends Academy Summer Programs does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, economic differences, gender or religion. We aim to build a sense of community and friendship between our staff, children and parents and/or guardians.

Background Review of Staff Members

All Friends Academy Summer Programs staff are required by law to have background checks performed including SORI, CORI, Juvenile Checks, and fingerprint checks. All background checks are completed and kept in a locked file in the Friends Academy Business Office. Also all resumes and references have been checked and filed. Copies of background checks, health care and discipline policies and grievance procedures are all either included in this packet or available upon request.

Protocol for Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

As required by the MA Dept. of Public Health, Friends Academy Summer Programs staff members hearing or observing suspected evidence of child abuse or neglect must first report their concerns to the Program Director or Department of Children and Families. If reported to the Program Director, he or she may consult with the camp medical consultant as a resource, depending upon the nature. A team meeting is then held consisting of the reporting staff member, Head of School, Program Director, and camp nurse. If the team decides that the concern falls within the guidelines for mandated reporting to the Department of Children and Families, the program director does so with team input.

Health Care Policy

All program attendees are required by law to provide health records including immunization records, hospitalizations, required medications and individual needs and concerns. Any child who does not return the required information prior to the start of the program will be unable to attend until such documents are received by the Program director. Any child who sustains a minor injury or becomes ill will be seen by the Health Supervisor on staff. In case of suspected serious injury the child should not be moved and the Health Care Consultant should be notified immediately. The Health Care Consultant will then notify and contact the proper emergency care facilities, calling 911 and if necessary, having the child brought to the nearest hospital. In the event that an incident requires follow up care, the director will fill out an accident report. All medications brought in by students should be taken to the infirmary where they will be dispensed. Only the Health Supervisor can administer medications. All attendees must have completed and returned the Health Questionnaire (see attachment). Do not send a child to camp with flu like symptoms or fever greater than 99.9 degrees. Any camper that is assessed to have flu like symptoms or a fever of 99.9 degrees will be sent home. The child may return to camp when they have been fever free for 24 hours (without fever reducing medication.) Campers should arrive with sunscreen and bug repellent already applied. Friends Academy Summer Programs is dedicated to children’s daily sun protection. It is our intent to provide your child with the best sun protection possible during camp hours. For additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays, please encourage your child to wear a hat, sunglasses and appropriate clothing. Campers should arrive with sunscreen (and insect repellent) already applied. Camp counselors will reapply mid day if necessary.

Health Records

All health records are available in the Health Care Supervisor’s office.

Written Orders

The Health Care Consultant is required to sign all necessary written orders. These must be available for use by the Health Supervisor.

Discipline Policy

The discipline policy at the Friends Academy Summer Programs begins with the involved staff member. The emphasis regardless of the adult involved is to help the child understand the harmful consequences of his/her actions and equally important, to develop strategies to avoid such behavior in the future. Appropriate actions may be taken including talk with staff member, loss of a privilege, talk with director, communication with parent or guardian. In the case or a more serious offense, the director will be notified and may contact the Head of School, depending upon the situation. Repeated serious offenses may result in the removal of the child from the program.

As per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the following prohibitions are in effect:

  1. Corporal punishment, including spanking, is prohibited.
  2. No camper shall be subjected to cruel or severe punishment, humiliation, or verbal abuse.
  3. No camper shall be denied water, food, or shelter as a form of punishment.
  4. No child shall be punished for soiling, wetting, or not using the toilet.

Additional copies of this discipline policy may be requested by parents.

Fire Drill Procedures

The fire alarm is an alternating horn/strobe. All alarms are treated as a real fire, not a drill.

  • There is to be absolute silence during the drill
  • Children must walk quickly and quietly to the nearest exit and proceed to the designated area in the field outside the fenced in play area near the farmhouse and garden.
  • Doors must be closed and lights must be turned off.
  • Staff members are the last to leave the building.
  • Once outside, the director and staff will take attendance and will check for a missing child(ren). Inside and outside areas will be checked by designated staff who will in turn notify the nearest firefighter or the head of school.
  • A fire drill sign will be displayed prominently in the building.
  • At end of drill, three bells are rung to signify ALL CLEAR/ end of drill

Disaster Plan

Crisis and controversy are realities in today’s world. The Board of Trustees and administration of Friends feel that it is prudent to take an “anything-can-happen” attitude and prepare a plan, which will respond professionally and compassionately to the needs of the students, parents, faculty and community at large. No crisis is easy to handle, especially when it engages public or even school-wide attention, when it affects constituents, and arouses emotion—emotion that sometimes has little to do with the facts of the problem.

Purpose of the Plan: The Crisis Management Plan is offered to provide a general framework of procedures and administrative structures to be used in the event of a crisis that involves Friends Academy. The goal of the plan is to ensure the safety of all members of the Friends community and to preserve the well being of the school through effectively managed responses to any crisis.

Evacuation Plan

In the event that students need to be evacuated from the buildings, they will follow the normal procedure for a Fire Drill. If it is not possible to return to the buildings, we will coordinate site evacuation under the direction of the Town of Dartmouth Emergency Management Agency. Plans approved by the town call for the relocation of students and faculty to the Old Town Hall on Russell’s Mills Road or the Senior Center on Dartmouth Street. Tremblay Bus Company of New Bedford will send busses to campus for evacuation. Camp staff will ride in the bus with students. Once relocation is complete, the office staff will coordinate the telephone chain to parents for pick-up arrangements. The Business Manager and Plant Manager will remain on site to work with local officials and provide information to arriving parents who have not been contacted by telephone.


If a child is missing for any amount of time, all staff members will be notified and a search party will be formed. All other campers will remain under tight supervision by staff. All areas of facility will be checked and searchers will report back to supervisor. Head of School will be notified of any missing or lost campers. If camper is not found and search party has exhausted all areas the Dartmouth Police Department will be contacted and informed of the situation. They will be asked to assist in a continued search. Parents will be notified if the local police are called in to assist in the search.


Our Farmhouse and campus does not have swimming facilities and therefore does not require a lost swimmer plan. However, if our program takes children off campus for a day trip to a facility or area that does have access to swimming facilities the staff member noticing the missing child will immediately notify the lifeguard on duty. At such events, staff members will be given a list of specific children they are responsible for watching. The staff member will check frequently for all children under their supervision. In case of a staff member needing to leave his/ her supervisory post, that staff member will notify the director and lifeguard of his/ her departure and return so staff can be re-assigned to supervise children. All off-campus day trips which will involve swimming activities will include accompaniment of a certified lifeguard. If location is a public or municipal facility, certified lifeguards on duty will be notified of our arrival and number of attendees. Cell phones and emergency numbers will be brought on all off campus day trips.


During camp sponsored canoe trips the following watercraft safety plan will be in effect: No swimming will be allowed, and all campers will remain in canoes at all times. Campers and staff are required to wear U. S. Coast Guard approved floatation devices. There will be a direct line of sight between all canoes, from the front to the last canoe in the line at all times, as the curvature of the waterway allows. A certified lifeguard will be in attendance at all times.

Traffic Control Plan

On file at Friends Academy Business Office

Day Camps Contingency Plan

If a camper is not picked up within 30 minutes after the scheduled pick up time, and prior arrangements have not been made to pick up child late, the parent or guardian will be contacted to pick up their child. If the parent or guardian is not available, the person listed as the child’s emergency contact on their registration form will be contacted to pick the child up. If the emergency contact is not available, repeated attempts to contact the parent, guardian and emergency contact will be made. Child will have to remain on campus until a parent or emergency contact arrives to pick the child up.

If a child becomes ill and needs to leave early, the child’s parent or guardian will be contacted to inform them of the situation. If they cannot come to pick the child up, the emergency contact will be notified. If neither are available, the child will stay on campus in the infirmary until a parent or guardian is reached.

If a child who is staying for a full day does not arrive with a lunch, a proper lunch will be provided for that day. Parents will be notified and reminded that students who are staying for the full day need to bring a bag lunch from home. The Friends Academy Summer Programs does not provide regular lunches for campers.

If the weather is inclement on the day of a scheduled outdoor event, every attempt will be made to reschedule the event, however due to time and scheduling constraints, not every event will be rescheduled as originally planned. Alternate activities will replace the cancelled event.

Any children who have registered for the half-day program are invited to attend any field trip or event that lasts longer than the scheduled half-day without cost increase. Children who need to picked up at the regularly scheduled half-day time will need to make arrangements to arrive at the field trip site to pick up their child.

The Friends Academy Summer Programs would appreciate, but does not require, notice of a camper who will not be attending the program for any length of time due to illness or any other circumstances. If a child who is registered for camp does not show up for the day, without prior notice of their absence, Friends Academy Summer Programs staff will phone the child’s parent or guardian in order to find out when the child will be returning to the program.

Children may not attend camp unless they are registered and the camp tuition bill is paid in full.

The Friends Academy Summer Programs reserves the right to make decisions based on unforeseen circumstances. These decisions will be made in the best interest of the campers and staff involved.

Program Vehicle Drivers

All children are to be dropped off and picked up by parents or guardians. The Friends Academy Summer Programs does not provide transportation to and from the school. In case of car pools or alternate persons picking up child(ren) from the program, the program director must be notified in writing of the person’s name and relationship to the child before the child may leave campus with that individual. Without such notification, the child will not be permitted to leave campus until confirmation of the plan with parent or guardian. When children are taken off campus for day trips, commercial transportation will be used. Drivers will be appropriately licensed to operate the vehicle reserved by the program. Children may not be driven off campus by any staff member.

Surround Care

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Before and After Care will not be available in summer 2021. This is to prevent the mixing of individuals from various groups on campus.

“This camp must comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local board of health.”