Friendly Pines Camp

Camp + COVID Information

Last updated: Tuesday, May 18th at 12:30PM

As we move closer and closer to Summer 2021, we will continue updating this page regularly to keep our FPC community up to date with how we’re handling the pandemic in 2021. 

We are moving forward with Summer 2021. 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 this summer, and ALL sessions have filled.
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, 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.)

5/11/21 UPDATE: Recent developments show that many campers may now be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. We are by no means requiring campers to be vaccinated in order to attend camp this summer. However, fully vaccinated campers will not have to get a PCR test done pre-arrival. We consider campers and staff “fully” vaccinated once they are 2 weeks past receiving their second dose (or first dose, if they get the Johnson & Johnson jab). If they come to camp with only one dose, just a couple days after getting their second dose, or not vaccinated at all, your camper will still need to get a PCR test no more than 7 days before (but at least 3 days before) arriving at camp and isolate at home until arrival. Vaccinated campers will need to provide proof (email medical@friendlypines.com with a picture of their vaccine card) of vaccine status

2021 Camp + COVID Discussion, Part 5

TOPIC: MASKS 

This month we have outlined the different ways we foresee Friendly Pines Camp responding to COVID-related topics such as Cabin Life, Testing, Vaccinations, and Activities. We honestly appreciate the feedback we get. As we’ve said in response to many of the emails, the input from parents does present us a perspective against which we can test how well we have thought through our protocols. 

 

We probably get no more questions on any topic than on the role of masks at Friendly Pines Camp this summer. Last week, Governor Ducey made it Illegal for any local government body to maintain a mask mandate. There was never a statewide mandate (please correct me if I’m wrong) and each city, township, village, or hamlet was responsible for deciding on their own mask mandates or lack thereof. I’m not sure if Prescott ever had any. The Governor in his Executive Order encouraged all businesses to follow CDC guidelines as appropriate and decide for themselves how they would handle the masking issue. Having said that, we are writing this email before having had much internal discussion on how the Executive Order will affect us. We certainly will need to have that discussion; though, we don’t think in practical terms, the Executive Order will have a huge impact on our thinking, at least initially. It, however, may have a significant impact on our camp families perception of how we should be handling the mask issue, which is something we will need to deal with. As we’ve said before, a lot of or protocols are aimed at a moving target. How we go into the summer may not be how we emerge from the summer. Yes, we suppose there is a chance that our protocols may need to be stiffened. We don’t really see that happening, but we’d be foolish to not at least acknowledge the possibility. What is far more likely is that the trend will be to relax some of the protocols and procedures, letting the infection rate, the R0 factor, and our  hands-on assessment of how things work at camp in real time. Right now we are having to use our imagination for a lot of things. 

So here is our surprisingly brief plan on masks.

As we have said in other emails, all staff and campers will need to obtain a negative test shortly before coming to camp, followed by a brief quarantine after testing. This is our best effort to insure that no infection will enter the camp on arrival day. Having done that, we will have some surety that each cabin group is infection free. We, nevertheless, will closely monitor the wellness of our campers, particularly in the early days. Because we will be reasonably certain that we have created an infection-free bubble in the cabin groups, we do not anticipate a great necessity for campers to wear masks during most of their daily living. They will eat with their cabin; go to activities with their cabin; participate in evening activities with their cohorts; and go on overnights with their cohorts. Given these kinds of controls we don’t see masks as being a prevalent part of cabin life. 

We do see certain situations where brief mask wearing may be required. We will use a 2 of 3 rule. We actually pilfered this idea from another camp. Basically, it says that when a camper is around members outside his or her cabin group or cohort group, 2 of these 3 conditions must be met. 

  • Outdoors
  • Distanced
  • Mask

So… Outdoors and Safely Distanced No Masks. This is the condition in which campers will most often encounter campers outside their cabin group.

Indoors and Safely Distanced – Mask. These conditions are rare, but may exist in activities like sewing or when campers visit the Infirmary. Not often.

In the end, mask wearing among campers will be the exception rather than the rule.

Counselors and other staff, on the other hand, may wear masks more often, because they are the group that often crosses populations. Our counselors care for a group of campers 19 hours a day and teach activities 5 hours a day. Extra precautions on their part may be necessary. Vaccinated staff may be less of a risk, but unvaccinated staff will need to be more diligent as they may pose a greater threat of hosting the virus . 

This is a pretty simple answer to a frequently asked question. I hope it is clear. Again, we invite your comments. 

5/11/21 UPDATE: Recent developments show that many campers may now be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. We are by no means requiring campers to be vaccinated in order to attend camp this summer. However, fully vaccinated campers will not have to get a PCR test done pre-arrival. We consider campers and staff “fully” vaccinated once they are 2 weeks past receiving their second dose (or first dose, if they get the Johnson & Johnson jab). If they come to camp with only one dose, just a couple days after getting their second dose, or not vaccinated at all, your camper will still need to get a PCR test no more than 7 days before (but at least 3 days before) arriving at camp and isolate at home until arrival. Vaccinated campers will need to provide proof (email medical@friendlypines.com with a picture of their vaccine card) of vaccine status

2021 Camp + COVID Discussion, Part 1

TOPIC: TESTING CAMPERS AND STAFF

This is one in a series of emails that we will be sending out this month to detail our policy, procedures, thoughts, and general ruminations on specific COVID-related topics summer 2021. These are an effort to inform our camp families and staff of our pending policies and to avoid surprises when camp starts. These March emails, admittedly, are also information that you can use to make a decision whether or not camp will be a good fit for your family in 2021.

Please bear in mind, the policies we espouse today are based on the notion that we are opening camp TOMORROW. The policies deal with the world as we understand it now, rather than trying to predict the state of affairs two and three months from now. Surely, none of us believes that there won’t be some changes in the impact of COVID come late May, and we, naturally, will closely monitor the public health situation, pay close attention to local and national public health authorities, and make changes to our policies when we can. We will ALWAYS make decisions that keep camper, staff, and family health paramount, including not only physical health, but also the mental and social health of all concerned. It is quite a balancing act, but we are up to the task.

We are like each one of you. We are sick, tired, and frustrated at having been held captive by this virus for more than a year. We achingly long for the day that coronavirus is a great big “nothing-burger” (to employ medical terminology), and, yes, there are times when we want to throw our hands up and declare, “I’m done with it! I’m not playing at this any more! I quit!” The reality is that Friendly Pines Camp does not have that luxury. By accepting your tuition, we are not only promising to do all in our power to create a fun, meaningful, and memorable experience for each and every camper, but we are also promising to be responsible custodians of your family’s health as well as those under our employ. 

Does my child need to be tested before coming to camp? Short answer, Yes. 

Here is the longer answer. Our objective is to create an environment as free of infection as is possible. To meet this end, campers will be asked to get tested before arriving to camp. We are advised that the best practice would be for the test to be administered 4 days before the child arrives at camp. Please ensure that you will get the results back before the arrival date. We also ask that after getting tested, the camper will stick close to home except for truly necessary interactions such as medical appointments. (See how we avoided the Q-word, but you saw through it didn’t you?) 

Each camper will be asked to come to camp with a negative test result in hand. If a camper has already recovered from a Covid-19 infection and can get a serology test before camp that shows the presence of antibodies, this will also be acceptable. Again, written proof will need to be presented at camp on the day the camper arrives. We will also be screening for fever and other symptoms on Arrival Day and every day thereafter.

At present, there is an ongoing “testing blitz” in Arizona that is being spearheaded by the Governor’s Office and Arizona Department of Health Services in cooperation with Embry Women’s Health. They now have 70+ drive-through testing stations around the state, and the turnaround time is 24-48 hours. The tests are free of charge and are available to minors if their parents give consent. We do not know if this program will still be functional when it is time for camp, but if so, it is likely to be the best option for Arizona residents. More information can be found at this site:

  • https://embrywomenshealth.com/testing-blitz/

If your child gets tested elsewhere, or if the program is discontinued, families will be expected to bear the cost of these tests if it is not covered by your insurance. We are hopeful that living in a congregate setting will be reason enough for insurance companies to cover the costs, but it may vary from insurer to insurer. You may want to start exploring this now.

Will my child get tested at camp?  Short answer, Not Likely.

Here is the longer answer. If your child is presenting symptoms, the med staff may call you and ask you if you want the camp to secure a COVID test for your camper. If you would rather your camper is not tested, you may need to pick him or her up. 

(You will notice that we use the rather wishy-washy “may”. The reason for this is that we have not formalized certain actions into firm policy. The above is one of them. We will have a meeting in late March with our medical team, during which time questions like “what to do with a child presenting with symptoms” will need to be addressed with specificity. We are also in frequent contact with the Yavapai County Health Department, whose guidance has been especially helpful and encouraging. Come early April, the “may be” will give way to a “will be” if so decided.)

If your child is here for only a week, he or she will most certainly not be tested for prophylactic reasons . For campers here for two weeks or more, we don’t think that we will have them tested mid way through their stay; however, this is not yet a firm decision. On the one hand, we feel having all campers enter without infection, and then keeping them in their cohort groups or pods, will reduce spread as much as possible. Secondly, the logistics and cost of testing are problematic. From what we’ve learned, if we have campers tested on site, the cost is around $200 per test. In order to have it covered by insurance, the camper would have to see a doctor at the medical facility – apparently an insurance stipulation. The idea of transporting 125 campers into town, having them seen by a doctor so that a test can be administered, would be a logistical nightmare that would take several days to complete. Though we haven’t given up on the idea of testing for multi-week campers, the obstacles are pretty significant.

Will your staff be tested? Short answer, We don’t know. 

Here is the longer answer. Our staff, as you know, have traditionally had dual roles. They live in a cabin with a group of campers, and they also teach an activity; therefore, staff represent a condition where one member of a pod will come in contact with members of another pod. Given this, it would make sense to have our staff tested weekly. As stated above, if we take them in town the cost can go on insurance (hopefully). If they are tested on site, we will need to bear the $200 test. With 75 staff members working 9 weeks….well, you can do the math. This is one of our burning topics of debate and we’ll need to come to a conclusion by sometime in April.

 

We have many hopes. We hope that infection rates are so low come summer that much of our plan becomes unnecessary. We hope that the variants cropping up can be knocked down by vaccines. One of our biggest hopes is that the data reveals that vaccinated individuals don’t shed the virus or shed it at a significantly lower rate. If that is the case…..gamechanger! Thoughts on this are thus far inconclusive; however, there is some promising data coming out of Israel, where a robust vaccination program is in place. Some early indications are that vaccinated individuals are much less likely to spread should they get the virus. We’ll have to wait and see, and prepare for the world as it is today.

Breaking News: Just before sending out this email, the CDC published guidance for vaccinated individuals. In that report it was stated that a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus to others. While some prevention measures continue to be necessary, the benefits of reducing social isolation “may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with covid-19” or transmitting the virus to others. 

Maybe not yet a game changer, but a big step in the right direction. 

Testing Update: After our TESTING email, we heard from several camp parents who had some connection in the testing business or had knowledge of testing procedures for large groups. Their input has been immeasurably helpful, and we believe that we now have several workable options for testing staff regularly and for testing multi week campers in a quick and less invasive fashion. More on that when we have something nailed down. Thank you all so much for your contributions and your partnership.

2021 Camp + COVID Discussion, Part 4

TOPIC: ACTIVITIES

One of the major changes in our program will be the way we offer and structure a camper’s activities. For as long as any of our current staff has been associated with the camp, children have been able to select the activities they wished to participate in, and we would create an individualized schedule based on those preferences. This approach to programming is really our first choice, and it is the method we will return once this pandemic is finally over. The approach we are using this year (which will be explained below) is not a radical one. If you attended any kind of camp yourself as a child, you may recognize our 2021 scheduling method as the way things were done when you went to camp. We believe firmly that this approach to scheduling offers campers a fun and enriching experience. 

So let’s talk about how it works. 

For the purpose of this illustration, it will be important to mention that we have expanded the number of activity hours in a day from four to five (three before lunch and two in the afternoon). The periods will be ten minutes shorter, but this shouldn’t have a significant effect. The number of activity periods a camper will be offered is listed below:

  • Adventure Camp: 25 periods
  • Mountaineer Camp: 25 periods
  • Session One, Two, or Three: 58 periods
  • Pioneer, Explorer, and Trailseeker Weeks: 27 periods

Note: Because we won’t be able to have Special Days (camp wide theme days we held on Sunday afternoons) for the two-week campers , we will have three extra activity periods in their place on Sunday. 

So, what activities will campers get to do? We refining the details of that right now, but let us share with you what we have so far. We have a set of activities for campers 6-9 year olds and another set for campers 10-15. Because we house chronologically, there will be cabins occupied by both 9 and 10 year olds. Those cabins will participate in the  10-15 year old activities.  Below is the basic list. There will be some variations and additions that we’ll explain in a moment.

10-15 Year Old Campers

Times per Week

6-9 Year Old Campers

Times per Week

Canoeing & Kayaking

1

Canoeing & Kayaking

1

Campcraft

1

Campcraft

1

Challenge 

3

Challenge 

3

Drawing and Painting

1

Drawing and Painting

1

Free Swim

1

Free Swim

1

Handcrafts

1

Handcrafts

1

Hiking

1

Hiking

1

Sports

1

Sports

1

Sewing 

2

Sewing 

2

Western Riding 

2

Western Riding 

2

Archery

1

Jr. Archery

1

Fencing

1

BB Guns

1

Riflery

1

Pet Care

1

Tomahawks 

1

Pony Carts

1
  

Toby’s Hole

1

 

The lists above indicate the activities and the frequency of the activity in a week. You will note that campers will have some activities multiple times per week. They will participate in Challenge 3 times (or for 3 hours). Sewing will be 2 times so every camper can make a project. And everyone will go Western Riding twice.

Big Change for 2021: Our insurance company will no longer cover us for Waterski because of risk. We will not be offering it this summer, and possibly beyond. 

Campers staying for a two-week session will do each of the above activities for their age group twice as often.

If you’ve done the calculations, the selections above represent just 18-19 hours. Most campers will have at least 25 hours of activities in a week. Below are some of the activities that might fill in the blanks for one-week campers.

  • Basketball
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Earth Lore
  • English Riding
  • Improv
  • Ranch Hands
  • Tennis 
  • Vaulting
  • Fishing

The multi-week campers may have some of the above activities, but may also be offered

  • Videography
  • Podcasting
  • Choice (some opportunities for the cabin to make a choice of several options)

As you can see, each camper will have a full menu of activities that he or she will enjoy with the rest of the kids in the cabin. We hope this lends some clarity. For those long-time campers, we know it will be an adjustment, but are certain that the experience will be wonderful even though a little different.

2021 Camp + COVID Discussion, Part 2

TOPIC: CABIN LIFE

We appreciate the feedback we received from the mailing on TESTING. We were offered many helpful suggestions as well as insights to consider, all of which will be helpful as we finalize our COVID protocols.

Before we enter into an explanation of CABIN LIFE, we wanted to acknowledge that our prescriptions for the summer are from an administrative perspective and probably sound very clinical and calculated. The reality is that they ARE clinical and calculated. Many parents may read these emails and wonder to themselves, “Hey. I thought Friendly Pines Camp was supposed to be fun? Who’s running this camp? FEMA?” Fair enough. We are giving you a glimpse behind the scenes. Not only are we offering you our procedures, but we are also sharing the thoughts that justify the action. If we can get these practices in place and leave little room for error, the counselors and staff will be free to create the magic that makes summer camp the wonderful, enriching experiences it was intended to be.

CABIN LIFE

How will you house campers?  Assigning campers to cabins will proceed just as it always has. We will house campers chronologically (age and grade are both considered). Sometimes that chronology is skewed a bit when we honor bunk requests, but it never seems to make that much of a difference.

You have 100 to 170 campers on the grounds, all coming from different places. How will you ensure that my camper is not exposed to infection? Step one, as detailed in our TESTING email, is to make sure that all campers are tested just before the first day of camp, followed by a home quarantine until arriving at camp. When campers arrive, the staff will conduct a check-in that includes seeing written proof of a recent negative test and temperature taking as a final wall against infection.  From that point on, campers will spend their time with their cabinmates. Working under the assumption that no infection has entered, the campers will live in an infection-free bubble.

So will my child ever get to meet any other campers, or just the 3 to 5 in her cabin? We feel it is important that the campers have a little bit broader group of acquaintances and potential relationships, so each cabin (4-6 campers) will belong to a larger pod or cohort. 

We’ve provided a map to help you visualize this description of cohorts or pods. Let’s say your child is assigned to Havasu cabin. She may belong to a pod consisting of the cabins nearby. In this example, Mescalero (with whom Havasu shares a breezeway) and Cocopa (which is actually below Havasu) would join Havasu in membership to the same pod. The girls of these three cabins would be roughly the same age and grade. We would use these pods for things like evening activities and overnights. It is likely that the entire pod might be scheduled for the same activity from time to time, horseback riding for example. The girls would attend the activity in cabin groups, but riding is one of those activities in which we can safely accommodate more than one cabin at a time. 

What will the eating arrangements be like? As we have mentioned before, we will avoid large gatherings, particularly large gatherings indoors. We are envisioning a situation where at any given meal ⅓ of the campers will eat in the dining lodge; ⅓ of the campers will eat in the Kiva, which is an open air ramada, and ⅓ of the campers will eat at picnic tables near their cabin. Even with our largest sessions, that would put about 57 campers in each location – that would equate to roughly 10 cabins. So 10 tables in the Dining Lodge (there are usually 20), 10 tables in the Kiva, which is about the same size as the Dining Lodge, and 10 cabins eating outdoors. We will still serve family style, so the counselors and/or leadership trainees will pick up all of the food from lines inside the Dining Lodge door and deliver it to their table. We will then rotate the eating space assignments with each meal. 

What will the sleeping arrangements be like in the cabin? Almost every cabin is set up to accommodate 10 bodies. We will have between 7 and 8 in the most crowded (6 campers and 1-2 staff). We use bunk beds, so we won’t be able to have one whole bunk per single camper, but they will be a little more spread out and sleeping head to toe. Open windows and additional window fans for ventilation will be employed. 

Since kids will be kept strictly to their cabin groups and pods, will my children ever see their brothers and sisters? You would be right in anticipating from our descriptions that kids won’t have the freedom to wander over to see their brother or sister as they may have been able to in the past. They won’t be scheduled into the same activities. They may not see one another at meal times or evening activities For this reason, we are planning to create a time each day when they can sit together and talk. We’ll call it something like Family Time. It may be 15-20 minutes after lunch and just before siesta, where brothers and sisters can gather safely and talk, share letters from home, and check in how the other is doing. We will keep them socially distanced but not in a way that will seem super weird. 

We acknowledge that as you read these policies, you can’t hope but notice an air of optimism throughout the state and beyond. Yes, there are still lots of reasons to exercise caution, and as responsible stewards of your child’s health we must yield to these reasons; but for the first time in a long time, the sun seems to be breaking through twelve months of cloud cover. We can’t jump the gun. We know that we must stay focused and plan on that teasing glimpse of sun to suddenly fall behind another bank of dark clouds, but one can’t help feeling that golden day is very close to breaking through and warming everything – that the buds will burst, the grass and flowers will rise up, and we will live under a canopy of new green leaves that have been so long absent from our lives. We are charged with the duty of planning for the clouds and the lingering rains, but will always be prepared to make the prudent changes in our policies and protocols once it is obvious to all that it is finally sunny enough to go outside.

5/11/21 UPDATE: Recent developments show that many campers may now be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. We are by no means requiring campers to be vaccinated in order to attend camp this summer. However, fully vaccinated campers will not have to get a PCR test done pre-arrival. We consider campers and staff “fully” vaccinated once they are 2 weeks past receiving their second dose (or first dose, if they get the Johnson & Johnson jab). If they come to camp with only one dose, just a couple days after getting their second dose, or not vaccinated at all, your camper will still need to get a PCR test no more than 7 days before (but at least 3 days before) arriving at camp and isolate at home until arrival. Vaccinated campers will need to provide proof (email medical@friendlypines.com with a picture of their vaccine card) of vaccine status

2021 Camp + COVID Discussion, Part 4

TOPIC: VACCINATION

This the third in a series of emails detailing our policy, procedures, thoughts, and general ruminations on specific COVID-related topics summer 2021. These are an effort to inform our camp families and staff of our pending policies and to avoid surprises when camp starts. These March emails, admittedly, are also information that you can use to make a decision whether or not camp will be a good fit for your family in 2021.

Originally, this email was going to address ACTIVITIES; however, we have received a number of emails inquiring about our plans for vaccinations, and we thought it best to push the ACTIVITY discussion back a few days and spend some time on vaccines. 

VACCINATIONS

It is our plan to require that all adult staff be vaccinated or, if they have already had covid, to produce some authoritative evidence to that effect. We believe that all of our staff should be able to get a vaccine as child care workers, which in Arizona is stage 1b. Kevin Nissen, in fact, though he was too young (barely) for the vaccine based on age, was able to get his first shot as a child care worker. Logistics will dictate our overall success in having all staff fully vaccinated. Late hires, for example, may not be fully vaccinated or may not have even started the process. It would be great if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was widely distributed so that our staff can get the one-shot vaccine; however, we know vaccinations are largely a matter of taking what you can get when you can get it. We will encourage all late-hires to get their first shots as soon as they can, knowing that they may not be fully immunized for 6 weeks after that first jab. In these cases, staff who are not fully immunized may need to follow more stringent protocols, which may include but not limited to more mask wearing and frequent testing, along with some restrictions on their comings and goings. Again, these are protocols that will need to be worked out over the coming weeks, but we wanted you to know that the situation is on our radar.

Another factor that we are keeping a close eye on is the degree to which vaccinated adults will shed the virus. Some initial evidence suggests that fully vaccinated don’t spread the virus at the rate of those not vaccinated. If this bears out, it would be huge for us. To have staff that (1) are protected against the virus and (2) don’t shed it even if they do take on some of the virus would be a massive game changer. Time will tell. The question is, how much time will we need before it tells?

As for campers, we are not at this time requiring vaccinations. One, in most states non-adults can not get the vaccine. And that could very well be the case come summer. 

What happens if the vaccine is approved for children over the next couple of months? In that case we will strongly encourage campers to be vaccinated, but we probably won’t be able to require it. We, therefore, will  keep all of our protocols in place. 

That is our vaccination plans in a nutshell. Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Below are some of the highlights from the CDC’s guidance report for fully vaccinated people.

There is growing evidence that people who are vaccinated don’t spread Covid-19, but scientists are still trying to understand how long vaccine protection lasts.

  • Fully vaccinated people can other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing
  • Fully vaccinated people can visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
  • Fully vaccinated people can skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days
  • Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask and keep good physical distance around the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19, or if the unvaccinated person has a household member who is at higher risk
  • Fully vaccinated people should wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people who are from multiple households.
The following article was sent out in our Spring 2021 Newsletter. It is/was our plan as of the mailing of the Newsletter (March 5, 2021) 
“What Will Camp Be Like in 2021?”

As each day passes, our confidence in a fun, safe, and important camp  that camp will return in 2021. There are many reasons for hope. After all we have been through, however, it would be foolhardy to assume that every impact and disruption of the year will vanish 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 just the next three months.

It is our greatest hope that Friendly Pines Camp will 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. 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 on 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. We are prepared to run a program that keeps cabin groups together all the time. 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.

Cabin groups may belong to a larger cohort group. One of the great values of camp is the chance to meet new people and make new friends. We, therefore, may have two or three cabins of like age, gender, and location belong to the same cohort group. This will be used for things like camping overnights and evening activities. It will allow each camper have a larger (but still safely manageable) group of camp mates.

We May Avoid Crowded Indoor Gatherings. This applies, primarily, to the Dining Lodge, as we don’t gather indoors very often at camp. Conceivably, 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 will 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 required to try to insure a covid-free bubble here at camp. 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, but who knows. We are working with testing facilities in town right now.

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. Some of this may be eliminated if we can get tests 72 hours before. All will depend on the turn-around time..

Vaccinations. We are hopeful that logistics will allow our staff to be vaccinated. We think we can use the child-care worker category to move up the list

Again, these are some adjustments we are prepared to implement 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.

JANUARY 3, 2021
The following article was sent out in our Holiday 2020 Newsletter. It 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. 

Camp + COVID Questions

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