Creating a Covid-Conscious Camp
We have continuously consulted the Morris County Health Department, resources from the UCC-Outdoor Ministries Association, American Camp Association, and a virtual community of camp professionals to implement strong and safe practices that we can use for our camp going forward. The cleaning and germ prevention tactics we’ve used for Covid-19 will be in place at WMC from now on, allowing camp to stay proactive on disease prevention. We’ve updated our Health and Safety manuals and our Emergency Action Plan includes a clearer sense of how to monitor and manage communicable diseases.
We canceled all camps and large events for 2020. To keep the camp spirit alive and find alternative revenue that was in line with our mission, we opened our doors to families and small groups to rent cabins and activities. Our hope was to provide respite from the chaos and an opportunity to get outdoors. Thanks to our spacious grounds and facilities, groups can isolate by household and keep distance from others by staying in different cabins. We opened our pool to on-site renters with no lifeguards on duty and followed guidelines recommended by Red Cross. We adapted our High Ropes Course and Archery to meet CDC guidelines. We allowed at least two days between cabin use for sanitization which helped keep our staff safe. Guests were provided pre-mixed bleach water spray bottles and notified of health expectations prior to their arrival. We require the use of masks, social distancing, and handwashing.
This summer was possible because groups were responsible for their own well-being. But what about those that are in our care – our campers? We will be monitoring methods used in schools. If we cannot open fully, then we may offer alternatives like weekend-long family camps, limit event sizes to smaller groups, or offer weekend Day Camps. We will research and implement tactics from camps that remained open and safe in 2020. Read below to see tactics successfully safe camps used this summer that we may consider implementing.
- Share health screening tips for parents
- On-arrival temperature checks for campers and staff
- Set aside a room for quarantine away from others
- Daily temperature checks for staff
- Maintain social distancing indoors (staggered eating groups, limit group size, etc)
- Frequent scheduled handwashing breaks
- Daily cabin sanitization done by staff
- Travel and interact in cabin groups only
- Require and provide facemasks for staff to wear at all times and campers to wear when interacting outside of their cabin group.
A camp is successful when it is operating at its safest. Safety brings comfort, and comfort causes the community to grow and creativity to thrive. We want campers to be able to disconnect from the world of over-stimulation and negativity and have fun. So while implementing extra procedures and structure may seem counterintuitive to our goals, it is the means to success by providing our staff and guests the foundation that we all need to feel at ease and have a positive camp experience.
For 2021, We will set “decision deadlines” to share if and how we will proceed based on information we have at that time. We welcome an open dialogue about our hopes and expectations. In the meantime, we’re here to answer any of your questions, provide clarity, and encourage you and your camper to stay involved with camp.