H.B. Whitehorne Middle School will be moving the fifth grade environmental trip previously held at Camp Bernie in May to a YMCA camp in Sussex County in February. The new location is the Fairview Lake YMCA in Stillwater, N.J., next to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The new dates are Wednesday and Thursday, February 13 and 14, 2013.
HBW Principal Yvette McNeal had indicated that the 2012-2013 trip would likely have to be moved from Camp Bernie because the new fifth grade class is larger than last year’s fifth grade. Fairview Lake’s winterized facilities–three cabin complexes and one lodge–can accommodate up to 318 people. The overnight trip is intended to foster cooperation and team-building among the middle school students and provide environmental education.
But the 2012 Camp Bernie trip had created a controversy because parent chaperones violated the trip food policy, failed to supervise children who needed to use the restrooms, left their assigned cabins to sleep in their cars, made campfires in and around sleeping cabins and held a private party that allegedly included alcohol. The Board of Education said in June that it would be making changes to its field trip chaperone policy as a result.
At the August 28 BOE meeting Verona Superintendent Steven A. Forte gave a preview of what those changes will be. He said he intends to introduce a resolution this month on new rules for school field trip chaperones. The new policy will cover the responsibilities of the school and parent chaperones during a trip, the chaperone selection process and the educational value of the trip. There will also be a form for parent chaperones to sign as part of their participation.