Camp + COVID Information
Last updated: Sunday, January 3rd at 9:30AM
As we move closer and closer to Summer 2021, we will begin updating this page regularly to keep our FPC community up to date with how we’re handling the pandemic in 2021.
Our plan as of this update is that we are moving forward with Summer 2021 in the normal capacity. We will continue to communicate with the state and county health departments, and strive to maintain our high level of communication with our camp families regarding changes in status for Summer 2021. We appreciate your patience and willingness to work and wait with us.
We have begun enrolling for next summer. Campers have until May 1, 2021 to cancel without penalty, less a $100 admin fee. If you’re unsure about camp this summer, but don’t want to miss out on a potential space should things be good to go, we strongly encourage you enroll now and monitor the situation as the Spring progresses.
(After this May 1st cancellation date, only session/camp cancellations made by Friendly Pines Camp will be refunded.)
The following article was sent out in our Holiday 2020 Newsletter. It is/was our plan as of the mailing of the Newsletter (Dec. 9, 2020)
“What Will Camp Be Like in 2021?”
Even though the country is facing a rough spell, we are approaching the future with high confidence that camp will return in 2021. There are many reasons for hope…evidence of great improvement. After all we have been through, however, it would be foolhardy to assume that every impact and disruption of the past ten months will be completely absent from our lives by late May. We have been giving this a great deal of thought, and are preparing ourselves for the adjustments that may need to be implemented. We, therefore, want to share with you some of our thoughts, knowing that the situation can change a lot over the next half a year.
Let’s start with a bold statement. From all that we’ve read, our staff feels that camp has a very good chance of running in the same fashion as it has for the past 80 years. Friendly Pines Camp may look and feel in 2021 very much as it did in 2019 and 2018 and beyond. Sure, there might be a few new hygiene practices – more frequent hand washing and easier access to more hand sanitizer – but to be honest, these are protocols that we probably should have implemented pre-COVID. But because of the history-making progress on the vaccine front, the hope is that we may be living in a very different world come summer. Granted, a lot of things have to go right, and not a lot of things can go wrong, but one of the requirements for entry into the camp business is optimism, so we are projecting the best.
In anticipation that the coronavirus will be in our lives, albeit less threatening, when summer camp rolls around, we have prepared a list of some reasonable changes to our program that we are prepared to implement. Remember, none of this is written in stone, and much of it will depend on the progress we make as a society and the guidelines provided to us by local and federal public health authorities. You may very well find that some of the items on this list will simply fall away come April and May. Do bear in mind, however, that we will always hold the mental and physical health and well-being of our families, staff, campers as the guiding concern behind every decision we make.
Campers may remain in cabin groups. If necessary we are prepared to run a program that keeps cabin groups together all the time. As it is right now, cabin groups are together for everything but activities and meals. In a new system cabin units would eat together at their own table. They would also attend activities as a cabin group, which means that we would create a schedule for each cabin. The schedules would consider the age and grade of each cabin group so that the selection reflects the group’s greater interests. This is how we run programs for all of our special health need camps, and, logistically, it is very simple to do. Though Friendly Pines Camp strongly believes in the value of campers choosing their own activities, if the situation does not allow for it, we are prepared to make this change.
We May Avoid Crowded Indoor Gatherings. This applies, primarily, to the Dining Lodge, as we don’t gather indoors very often at camp. It might be conceivable that we will have only one-half or one-third of our campers eat indoors as cabin groups. The rest would eat outdoors at tables near their cabin or in an outdoor area near the Dining Lodge.
We may also limit the numbers in the sewing room and create an outdoor greeting area at the Infirmary.
We Will Focus On Hygiene Protocol. Even if COVID is well under control, we believe enhancing our hygiene practices to be the responsible things to do. We will create more time in the schedule for supervised handwashing and cabin cleanliness. Hand sanitizer will be a conspicuous staple.
We May Require Mask Wearing At Specific Times. Without sounding cavalier, masks certainly may not be as essential as they are at this time in your community as a whole, especially since staff and campers are outdoors and naturally distanced. It is certainly conceivable, however, that situations will arise where mask wearing is required. We don’t want redundant or superfluous mask-wearing, but if it is the right thing to do in a given situation, we will do it.
We May Require Testing. As we anticipate that testing will be easier to get and results will be quicker, testing before coming to camp may be an option to consider if the level of infection deems it prudent. Ongoing testing of our staff may also be a reasonable measure. We are hoping that quick (home-style) testing will be available to us by summer.
We May Ask For A Brief Quarantine Before Coming To Camp. If the level of infection before camp starts requires it, we may ask campers to quarantine for 5-7 days before coming to camp. If we require it, it is likely to be a common practice for all sorts of activities and functions of society.
Vaccinations. We are going to dodge this question for the moment. There are just too many unknowns right now. First of all, we don’t know if vaccines will even be available for young people by June. We are hopeful, however, that vaccines will be available for adults, and if they are, we are likely to require vaccines of all of our staff.
Again, these are some adjustments we would be willing to consider should the environment require it. We are hoping that we can run camp as “normal” as possible, but if we have learned anything, it is that we need to adjust our expectations. Summer camp teaches a child many lessons. One of the most profound is resilience – the ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks in life. Learning to make a few minor day-to-day adjustments so that your children can enjoy the greater good of returning to a summer with friends in the restorative peace of the forest, is a lesson that we hope to gift to this generation.