Hancock Information for Students and Families
Fall Hancock 2023
Tuesday, September 19–Friday, September 22
Among Commonwealth’s most enduring traditions, our biannual Hancock events allow us to come together as a community and get to know each other beyond the classroom.
We are delighted to be returning to Camp Kingswood for this year’s fall Hancock, happening Tuesday, September 19, through Friday, September 22, 2023, for cooking, hiking, deep discussions, music-making, reading, crafts, sports, and more.
We encourage all students and families to carefully review the information below in advance of the trip.
- Weekend Contact Information
- Location and Directions
- Packing List
- Sleeping Arrangements
- Jobs and Activities
- Health and Safety
Students are expected to attend fall Hancock, though we understand if some unavoidable commitments make doing so impossible. If students cannot attend, they (or their parents/guardians) should reach out to Ms. Borman. Students should also complete the Hancock RSVP Form (coming soon) to confirm their participation and transportation.
- Kingswood landline: 603-989-5556
- Jackson Elliott: 617-888-2518, email@example.com
- Rebecca Jackman: 617-680-8682, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jennifer Borman: email@example.com
- Stephanie Poynter: 617-266-7525, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Cell phone reception at the camp is poor, but there is a landline (603-989-5556) and WiFi (available only to faculty and staff). If you need to reach your child, we recommend calling the Kingswood landline and emailing the Commonwealth contacts above. We also encourage students to limit use of smartphones over the weekend, so please resist the temptation to text or call your child unless absolutely necessary.
Departure: Tuesday, September 19, 2022
- 7:30 a.m.: Day Heads and Bus Loaders arrive at Commonwealth School
- 7:45 a.m.: Food Czars and Tech Crew arrive at Commonwealth School
- NEW 8:00 a.m.: All other students arrive at Commonwealth School
All students taking the coach buses should be at the school no later than 8:00 a.m. (Buses will depart Commonwealth promptly at 9:00 a.m.) Be sure to contact the front office (617-266-7525) if you are sick or running late. In addition, please label all belongings—and pack a hearty lunch! Note: the first meal served at camp will be dinner.
Alternatively, students may arrange their own transportation to Kingswood if necessary; they should plan to arrive at the camp Tuesday afternoon. Please note that students cannot drive themselves or other students. Students will indicate whether they will take the bus or arrange alternate transportation to and from Kingswood in the Hancock RSVP Form.
Return: Friday, September 22, 2022
The buses will return to Commonwealth on Friday, September 22, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., when students will unload them per usual. We will then follow the pick-up protocol below, which returning students and families will recall from our spring 2023 Hancock:
- When the buses arrive at school, we will notify parents and guardians via our text and email alert system with specific pick-up windows by grade; 9s and 10s will have a ~30-minute pick up window, followed by a ~30-minute pick up window for 11s and 12s. Please refrain from coordinating an earlier pick-up, because it creates unnecessary congestion along Commonwealth Avenue, and we need all students to help with the final unloading of the buses.
- If the pick-up windows pose any hardship (particularly since they fall in the middle of a workday), the building will remain open until 4:00 p.m. to accommodate later pick ups. If needed, students wishing to take public transportation may leave their bags at school over the weekend, which must be picked up Tuesday, September 26.
- Lunch will be provided on Friday (students will make their own bagged lunch before we leave camp), and students can relax and play games at school while they wait for rides.
Parents/guardians who pick students up at Commonwealth on Friday are asked:
- to not park by the school along Dartmouth Street, as the buses need to park there;
- to not double-park on Commonwealth Avenue (though a quick stop is okay); and
- to confirm they have all baggage and gear.
Alternatively, students may arrange their own transportation from Camp Kingswood if necessary; they must be picked up by 9:00 a.m. on Friday if so, checking in with a faculty or staff member before they leave. Please note that students cannot drive themselves or other students. Students will indicate whether they will take the bus or arrange alternate transportation to and from Camp Kingswood in the Hancock RSVP Form.
Because Kingswood is at a fairly high elevation, the temperature can be quite cold, especially at night. Accordingly, we want to emphasize the importance that EVERY student bring a VERY warm sleeping bag (or two!) and warm clothing. Please contact Jackson Elliott if you need to borrow a sleeping bag.
We also strongly recommend labeling belongings, particularly duffle bags, sleeping bags, tents, and otherwise nondescript bags!
- Bagged lunch for Tuesday
- One winter-weight sleeping bag or two summer-weight bags (Please contact Jackson Elliott if you need to borrow a sleeping bag.)
- Tent—only needed if sleeping outside
- Extra tarp—only needed if sleeping outside
- Insect repellant (preferably one effective against ticks, mosquitoes, and blackflies; also see “Health and Safety” below)
- Warm jacket
- Toilet articles
- Two pairs of solid shoes
- Several changes of warm clothes
- Pillow and pillow case
- High-quality mask (also see “Health and Safety” below)
- Reusable water bottle and/or mug
- Bathing suit (swimming will be weather and lifeguard dependent)
- Musical instruments
- Games, playing cards
- Sports equipment
- Plastic bags (for field clothes; also see “Health and Safety” below)
- Rapid antigen COVID test
For those camping, we strongly recommend conducting a thorough gear check as you pack: Do you have all of your tent stakes? Are there any holes in the outer tent/rain fly? Etc.
We aim to maximize social interactions at Hancock. To that end, we discourage students from bringing electronic devices, other than a phone. Some students and faculty elect to go device-free while we are there.
Please check the weather forecast for Piermont, New Hampshire, as you pack for the trip and note the temperature is often 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit colder in camp than down in the valley. If rain is likely, make sure that sleeping bags and suitcases are in labeled plastic bags so they don't get wet.
All ninth graders will sleep in faculty-assigned cabins. Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders will be given the option of sleeping in a cabin or tent. The school can provide some tents, if needed. All returning students will be given the opportunity to request cabin/tent groups. They will then be assigned to sleeping spaces, confirmed the week of Hancock, with their preferences taken into consideration. After arriving at Hancock, students cannot change their sleeping arrangements unless they have special permission from our “Night Owl” (evening/overnight chaperone), Mr. Letarte.
With the exception of the bagged lunch on Tuesday, which students need to supply themselves, all meals will be provided by student kitchen crews. They will prepare each meal with faculty or staff supervision in a commercial kitchen. Snacks will be provided as well.
- Students with severe allergies and food restrictions should coordinate their needs with Ms. Dale and Mr. Hodgkins before departure and Ms. Shu and Ms. Sundberg while at Hancock.
- Students are welcome to bring their own food if they wish, including food that meets special dietary needs. They can store perishables in the camp kitchen refrigerator as well.
- Beverages, including water and hot coffee, tea, and cocoa, will be available. We recommend packing a water bottle as well as a canteen or mug for hot beverages.
Coach buses will transport students, along with faculty and staff chaperones. Buses will leave the school promptly at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19. Please contact the front office (617-266-7525) if you are sick or running late. See the "Schedule" section above for our return protocol on Friday, September 22.
Alternatively, students may arrange their own transportation to and from Hancock if needed. Please note that students cannot drive themselves or other students. Students will indicate whether they will take the bus or arrange alternate transportation to and from Kingswood in the Student Hancock RSVP Form.
Note: In the event that a student becomes symptomatic and tests positive for COVID while at Kingswood, their emergency contact will be called to come pick them up. If you think you may be unable to pick up your child at Hancock, please arrange for a designated alternate driver. The student will wait in a quarantined area until their ride arrives.
Student jobs/crew assignments and daily schedules of activities will be shared with students in advance of the trip. Students may reach out to Mr. Sherry and Mr. Elliott with questions in the interim.
In addition to morning activities, unstructured time in the afternoons, and the traditional talent show and dance, students might join faculty and staff for:
- Ping Pong
- Card games
- Playing music (bring your instruments!)
A registered nurse will be at the camp for the duration of the trip. Students should contact the nurse or the nearest faculty or staff member IMMEDIATELY if they begin to feel unwell at any point.
We will call 911 in the case of a medical emergency. The nearest emergency medical facility is Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, New Hampshire.
If an individual tests positive while at Camp Kingswood, that person will be taken to a designated isolation area, and a student's emergency contact will be called to pick them up. Our expectation is that students will be picked up as soon as possible. If you think you may be unable to pick up your child at Hancock should the need arise, please arrange for a designated alternate driver.
Tick Prevention and Checks
Ticks are common to the woods of New Hampshire, and it is important to take precautions to limit tick exposure, including the following:
- Pants should be tucked into socks or boots to prevent open areas for tick-to-skin contact.
- Students should pack extra pairs of long pants and socks, insect repellent for ticks, and permethrin for treating the outside of their tent if they are going to field tent.
- Students who have been out in the fields or woods should do self-tick checks as soon as they come in, shower, and put on clean clothes. Worn field clothes should get tied up in plastic bags, and kept separate from their clean clothes.
- Students should conduct a thorough tick check upon returning home, as ticks can remain attached for up to 36 hours.
We will remind students about procedures to prevent exposure to ticks, and we encourage families to do so, as well.
Swimming will only be offered under the supervision of the camp’s lifeguard—who will only be available if the weather is favorable. Boating may be available with Commonwealth faculty/staff supervision, also weather permitting.