Medical Volunteers

Our camp health center “The Observatory” supports camp health and wellness by providing a safe healthcare environment for all those who participate in camp programs: campers, siblings, family camp parents, camp staff, and volunteers. We could not provide the medically supervised experiences our campers and families need without quality doctor and nurse volunteers. We rely on talented physician and nurse volunteers to help provide camp magic.

We are extremely disappointed to share the news that we have made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend North Star Reach’s 2020 spring and summer onsite camp programs. For more information, please read our latest blog post with our official announcement.

North Star Reach’s health care program is led by a Medical Director (physician) and Health Center Director (nurse) who work with our Medical Advisory Board to provide leadership and guidance. Each camp session is staffed with a team of compassionate volunteer medical staff with experience caring for the camper conditions and families we serve. Watch the video below to learn more about our approach to providing campers with integrated care.

What do volunteer physicians do?
With the support and guidance of the camp Medical Director, volunteer physicians staff the health center to care for the wide range of medical issues that can arise during camp sessions. As part of the healthcare team available around the clock, camp docs evaluate campers and staff, supervise medical procedures and prescribe medication and treatments. Through the magic of small portable battery powered over the air communication devices (the technical term is walkie-talkie) which keep them in touch with the Observatory, they are encouraged to be out in camp seeing the magical, transforming fun in action. Roger that? Over and out.

What do volunteer nurses do?
Camp Nurses are responsible for the daily dispensing and documenting of camper medications, providing treatments and procedures (infusions, nebulizers, feeding tube, urinary catheter and central venous catheter care, etc) and responding to camper and staff drop-in visits for everything from splinters, fevers, and tummy aches to potentially serious accidents or illnesses. Nurses are the utility player of the health care team performing many roles each day and sometimes performing skits around the campfire at night. Nurses typically work with a specific cabin or group of cabins (a constellation in camp speak) and spend time with them at activities throughout the camp day. Support and supervision are provided by the Health Center and Medical Director and volunteer physicians.

How many days do I have to attend as a volunteer?
While we would love for you to join us for an entire session in the summer, we understand that you are volunteering to do your actual day (or night) job. Depending on your role in the Health Center, there may be different needs. We would like docs to join us for an entire session, but if a shorter time is all you can give, let’s talk! For consistency and quality, medical volunteers working with specific cabin groups are asked to commit to the entire session including Staff Development and Training which takes place the day prior to camper arrival (total of 8 days). Family camp weekends are from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

What other roles/needs are there?
We welcome licensed health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, paramedics, pharmacists, and physician assistants. If you have lots of extra letters after your name, let’s talk. Camper check-in day is always a time that we can use help. If you can only give a couple hours of your time, this might be a great way to get involved. (Note: health care professionals without a license are invited to join our team as a Program Volunteer.)

Where is the Camp?
North Star Reach is located on a beautiful peninsula nestled between two lakes in Pinckney, Michigan. Advanced care is available in Ann Arbor approximately 25 miles from camp.

What are the sleeping accommodations?
Healthcare staff accommodations are shared, conditioned bedrooms and suites with attached bathrooms. The buildings have common areas including small kitchenettes and laundry. Located in or near the Observatory, beds are a mix of single and bunked twin XL and queen-sized mattresses.

What about my medications? Will North Star Reach be requiring a physical/ health history of volunteers?
By law, all medications must be stored in the Health Center. As adults, staff and volunteers will be administering their own medications. Immunization status will need to be confirmed prior to attendance at camp. We won’t be collecting other health history, but camp staff should be aware of the intense and demanding nature of a camp session to ensure that personal health limitations will not interfere with camp responsibilities.

Can I bring my spouse/children to Camp?
As a new facility, we are focused on managing our campers and will be evaluating/determining our policy about Health Center volunteer families at camp as we develop. Like the CEU question, we will get back to you.

How do I apply to volunteer to join the camp medical team?
2019 applications will open in early January. See the links at the top of this page to apply.

Can I refer my patients to camp?
We were hoping you would ask this question! Of course you can. Health care providers are the best source to connect campers and families with camp. Click here to learn more about how to have your patients apply to camp.