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Your In-Depth Guide to Medication at Overnight Youth Camp

by Pine Cove


Everything in One Place

You can find all your pre-camp information in one handy-dandy place right here!

Updates for 2024

We are continually evaluating the latest state recommendations for our procedures to protect the health of campers, staff, and parents. Major updates are summarized below.

    • For any medication you bring (see guidelines below), please only send the amount your camper will need in the original prescription bottle with current dosage instructions. The rest should stay at home, so all you need to pick up is an empty bottle at the end of your session.
    • We’ve upgraded our medical information system this year to better provide care, but it will mean you need to input information in again that you’ve entered before in the past. So sorry for the extra work! It’s worth it!
    • While we encourage you to leave all over-the-counter (OTC) meds at home, if your camper needs a daily OTC allergy medicine, please bring that with you and check it in with the nurse.

Safety at Pine Cove is a big deal. Especially medical safety. We distribute over 200,000 medications each year and put a lot of time and energy into training our camp staff and medical staff to provide the highest level of care possible when it comes to storing, giving out, and overseeing medication.

Meds, understandably, bring with them a number of questions. We’ve put together this guide to help you know what’s what when it comes to camper meds.

If you have additional questions or concerns about your camper’s medical care, email us!

For our East Texas camps (Towers, Ranch, Timbers, and Shores), email

For our Central Texas camps (Silverado, Outback, and Ridge), email

For our Southeast camp (Springs), email

How do I tell you about my camper’s medical needs?

It is critical to communicate about your camper’s medical needs on the camper’s medical form. These forms become available in your account to fill out one month before your camper’s camp session. It’s important to have ALL medications (including daily over-the-counter allergy meds) on the medical form before we can accept them at check-in. Make sure that if you make any last minute changes to your child’s medication before arrival at camp, that you also update the medical form. 

All medications must be entered into our system through your medical form. We can’t handwrite in new medications at check-in, so save yourself time from having to log-in and add medications at check-in, and do it beforehand!

If this is your first overnight camp experience, you also completed a required health information form as part of your registration. This is the form where you will make sure to let us know about any bigger picture concerns, like diabetes or individual care needs your camper may have. It’s important to let us know about these needs as soon as possible before their camp session so we can make sure both our camp teams and medical teams are prepared to serve them safely.

Where can my camper keep their meds?

State law requires us to store all medications at the health centers. This applies not just to campers, but also to our staff, so there’s no possibility of a camper getting into a staffer’s luggage and accessing medication.

When we say all medication is stored at the health center this includes over-the-counter medications. Please do not store any over-the-counter (OTC) meds or vitamins in your camper’s luggage. Exceptions are made for rescue inhalers, diabetic supplies, and epi-pens. If your camper is going to self-carry any of those items, please mention your camper will be carrying these things with them on the medical form and we encourage you to send a second item to keep at the health center for easy accessibility in case a camper forgets an item in their cabin.

Your camper will have access to the camp clinic if they are need of occasional medication. We stock a variety of commonly used medications.

What meds should my camper bring?

Please leave all non-prescription medications at home for the week. Standing in line for meds during mealtime is not most camper’s favorite thing to do, so if it’s not essential, your camper will thank you too! If you believe your camper must have their own over-the-counter (OTC) medication, like a daily allergy pill, please add it to their medical form, then bring it with you to drop-off and check it in with the camp nurse.

If they take prescription medication, we’ll take care of making sure they get what they need! Read the question below about packing meds for more instructions on how prescription medication needs to be packed.

We are well stocked with most OTC medications for as needed, occasional use! 

How should I pack my camper’s meds?

Make sure to keep just the doses of prescription medication your camper needs in its original prescription container with current dosage instructions.

That’s a long sentence so let’s break it down. Any prescription medication should:

  1. only be the doses your camper needs for their session (if they take a pill a day and are coming for a week put six pills in there)
  2. be in the original prescription container (see below for creams and boxed meds)
  3. be labeled with current dosage instructions

We cannot mail prescription medication (it’s actually a felony by law!) so only packing the dosages your camper needs helps you not to waste (potentially expensive) medication by forgetting to pick it up after camp.

It’s easy to want to consolidate when you are packing and put all their meds for the week into a baggie—we get it! However, state regulations require all medication to be in containers processed by a pharmacist or manufacturer. We cannot make exceptions. 

We still need a prescription label with dosage instructions for boxed medications, like inhalers, epi-pens and prescription creams. So either pack the box, or ask your pharmacy to print you an additional label that you can stick to the inhaler, packet or tube.

We stock many over-the-counter (OTC) medications in our health center for occasional as needed use. There is no need to pack any common OTC meds for your camper – we’re fully stocked with them!

Regulations require us to follow the directions on all prescription medicine bottles and blister packs.

What else should I know about giving out meds?

Speaking of state regulations, we cannot administer prescription meds that are:

  • Expired. All medication must be currently valid.
  • Prescribed to other people. Medication must be prescribed to the camper only and not other family members.
  • Out of date dispensing instructions. If dispensing instructions have changed for any medications, please ensure the label is updated by the pharmacy.
  • Compounded or mixed at home. We can administer medicines that have been compounded or mixed by a pharmacy (as long as they are properly labeled, including creams), but we cannot administer medicines that have been mixed or compounded together at home. Our nurses at camp are also unable to mix or compound medicines together. If you need this, work with your pharmacy ahead of time to bring a pharmacy mixed medicine with you.

Regulations require us to follow the directions on all prescription medicine bottles and all blister packs, whether prescription or over-the-counter. 

I typically give my child a higher dose than the label or prescription recommends for their age or weight. Can you do that at camp?

Sorry, but state law mandates that we follow all dosing guidelines and prescription guidelines. Work with your physician to update your dosing instructions for any prescription meds. If your camper needs to take a higher than recommended dose of an over-the-counter (OTC) med, please bring a physician’s note to the nurse’s table at drop-off.

The most common area this is an issue for parents is with melatonin. Check your melatonin packaging and see what the recommended dosage is. If you need need them to take more, we’ll need a physician’s note. They also will be pretty worn out by the end of the day and may not need melatonin at all.

Should I let my camper take a “medication vacation” during their time at camp?

Some parents use time at camp to “take a vacation” from routine prescription medication, especially ADHD medication. We want to set your camper up for a successful, seriously fun, Christ-centered week, and keeping them on their regular prescription medication is an important factor for success. The camp environment is highly stimulating and most campers find they need the help their regular prescription provides.

When are meds given out?

During summer, medication is given out at meals from Monday breakfast to Friday dinner and bedtimes beginning Sunday night. Note that we do not give out meds at dinner on Sunday or breakfast on Saturday, so make sure to give your camper their dinner meds early when you drop them off at camp and their breakfast meds on Saturday when you pick them up.

At Winterfest, medication is given out at from the first dinner through the last breakfast.  If you need a med to be given at another specific time, contact and they’ll set that up with you.

Make sure to communicate with your camper what meds (if any) they should expect to be taking at mealtime, so they’re aware. It’s important that they know if they are supposed to go to the meds station at meals before they arrive. 

As part our safety protocols, campers are asked to scan their camper bands at meals before receiving medication. This allows our medical team to visually verify that the correct camper is getting the correct medication. Please upload a recent photo of your camper as part of their camper profile in order to help our team accurately identify them.

What about essential oils or vitamins?

Due to the already large amount of medicines tracked and given out during camp, we do not administer essential oils or vitamins, unless they are prescription and labeled with dosing instructions from a pharmacist. Please do not send them in your camper’s luggage.

What about CBD oil?

Similar to essential oils, we do not administer CBD oil to campers, unless prescribed by a physician. Please do not pack it in your camper’s luggage.

What about allergy drops?

We will administer allergy drops, but need a copy of the physician’s allergy treatment and clear dosage instructions on the bottle similar to a prescription (camper name, DOB, dose, how often to give it).

How do I get my meds back?

At pick-up you can get your meds from the meds pick-up table before or after picking up your camper. Please don’t forget! We legally cannot mail prescription medication.

Posted Mar 1, 2022

Pine Cove

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