Dear 2021 Summer Camp Parents!
Just like that, in exactly one month, we welcome our first group of campers out to the grounds of Camp Tekakwitha for the summer of 2021. The much anticipated wait has almost come to a close – our leadership team has been out here working harder than ever to make sure this is a summer to remember and the administrative team is constantly updating our covid protocols to ensure we’re following best practices to maintain the highest level of camper health and safety at all times.
As promised, this will be the first of many updates in regards to our Covid plans for the summer of 2021. We will plan on updating you all again on June 1st, June 20th, July 1st, and July 20th – at the very least – as policies evolve and change. Our number one goal is to make sure we are mitigating the spread of covid and ensuring the health of all those out here at Camp Tekakwitha. There are several key factors we need to keep in mind as we make decisions. We know that not everyone will agree with the decisions we are going to make. That being said, if, at any point, you do not feel comfortable with the plans we have in place, you are more than welcome to reach out and we will generate a full refund for you for your children’s registration for camp – no questions asked. We want to make sure you are comfortable with sending your kids to camp and that your kids have the best possible experience. We never want to jeopardize your child’s experience for any reason.
Please keep in mind these policies are likely to loosen as we get closer to summer. We will definitely send updates and you are more than welcome to reach out if you have any questions, however, below is what the current plans are.
As of right now, we are not planning on requiring campers or staff to wear masks while outside. Folks are more than welcome to wear masks if that would make them feel more comfortable, however, it will not be a requirement. Anytime we are able to open windows or in the case of the Chapel, the whole side walls, we will not be requiring masks. In the event of inclement weather, when all campers and staff are gathered in one space, we will be requiring everyone to wear a mask. This will, hopefully, be very limited to only a few times a summer (if that). We will ask all campers to bring at least 4 masks to have on site, in the event they will need them.
We are planning on utilizing the 37 acres of land to our advantage ---- we have such a large space of land and so we are going to space out as much as we can. The current plan is to split all camp activities up into smaller groups – instead of one opening campfire, we will have 2 opening campfires – all happening at the same time – just in different areas; instead of one game of the night, we will have 2 games of the night – same type of situation. We are hoping as the summer goes one, we are able to merge more back into one group; however, we will have to play this by ear based on covid.
In addition to the smaller group sizes, the programming supplies we use will be sanitized on a regular basis. We have hired additional staff to make sure this happens. We will have four staff members who are assigned to ‘sanitation’ each day. Their job will be to not only make sure supplies are sanitized, but the bathrooms are cleaned regularly, water stations are filled and cleaned on the regular, etc.
Dining is another area that will be affected. We hired additional kitchen staff to help this summer because we knew we would have to put extra effort into ensuring additional protocols would have to be followed. We will be changing our dining from ‘family style’ meals to either individual or cafeteria style where the kitchen aides will serve the food. Some food will be prepackaged and others will not. As of right now, we will be utilizing two different areas of camp for dining – the current dining area and the new conference space. This will help us to abide by social distancing and help keep everyone safe.
In addition to all of the current ‘changes,’ we are putting in place, you will also see quite a few ‘hand washing’ stations around camp, both outside and inside. Camp is messy and dirty and silly and fun. This year, we are going to be intentional about making sure that we try to be a little cleaner and more careful to keep everyone feeling safer and healthier to enhance the camp experience.
Our goal is to keep as ‘normal’ as possible while making small changes to keep everyone healthy and safe. Two summers ago, we started to split the group in half for different activities and so most of the campers will not even notice a huge difference in camp. In fact, most of the changes really are for the better of camp and will be for the long term. We are so excited to be able to have camp again this summer and are looking forward to welcoming your kids back out to the grounds of Camp Tekakwitha. We’re looking forward to the best summer yet!
Please know of our prayers for you and your families as you prepare for this summer and please keep us in your prayers as well. We are looking forward to sharing in community with and your families this summer! Until the next update on June 1st…
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Pray for us!
Rebecca Sievers, Camp Director