We’ve got this!
Our priority is, and has always been, to provide a physically and emotionally safe experience for our campers. We are confident in our plans to open for Summer 2021 and to provide our campers with the community, love and safety that they need now more than ever. While we hope that by Summer 2021 the world is closer to some kind of normal again, we are nevertheless preparing to operate camp in a variety of circumstances, with three key strengths on our side:
We are fortunate to be at the forefront of national planning efforts regarding Covid-19 and summer camps….
- Our owner Scott Brody is National Board Chair of the American Camp Association (ACA) and has spent months delving deep into the intricacies of planning for camp in this dynamic environment.
- In Scott’s capacity as ACA National Board Chair, he led the decision to partner with a health consultancy firm called Environmental Health and Engineering (EH&E) in spring 2020. The ACA retained EH&E to develop extensive and detailed recommendations on all aspects of camp, and they continue to release guidelines with a “Field Guide 2.0” due for release this fall. EH&E also describe best practices in mundane, but crucial aspects of camp life, including hand-washing, sterilization and hygiene; guidelines for bathrooms, dining facilities, cabins, and individual activities (ranging from ropes courses to lakes).
- Scott is also on the NH State Task Force who are revising guidance for operating next summer.
Our incredible partner camps (Everwood Day Camp and Camp Sewataro in Massachusetts), did continue to operate this summer, and so we have the benefit of their experience (in addition to so many other camps who successfully ran their programs) as we plan for the future….
- Both Everwood and Sewataro are day camps also owned by Scott, and both ran for 9 consecutive weeks this summer, providing a safe, successful camp experience for 600 campers and 200 staff each day with ZERO cases of COVID-19! In fact, Everwood Day Camp is taking things to the next level and providing a remote learning program for the next 10 months, so not only does our team have the benefit of our partners’ summer experience but we will continue to learn from them and alongside them for the remainder of the school year.
- At Kenwood & Evergreen, we focused on running a unique Taste of Camp weekend tour option, allowing prospective families to experience a day and night at Camp (which in a normal summer is not possible as – the bunks are filled with campers!). This program included a full tour of campus, family and child activities, an evening campfire and the provision of meals and accommodation. While these tours allowed us to meet some fantastic kids and families (and to still get a ‘taste of Camp’ for ourselves!), they also provided another very important opportunity: to provide a safe and enriching experience in a challenging environment.
In a ‘normal’ year, we begin planning for the following summer the minute Camp ends. This time, we got a head start on this process, and we have been preparing for Summer 2021 since June…
Some of the plans we’re making include:
- Testing will only improve in the months between now and the summer, and we will be utilizing the most effective methods available at Camp
- Vaccinations will hopefully be available for staff
- Cohorts of campers will be carefully planned, to minimize group interactions (and will be revised in accordance with state guidelines)
- Screening procedures will be in place: staff will be screened by our health care team upon arrival and our training weeks will function as a quarantine period, during which everyone’s health will be monitored; campers will be screened before they arrive at Camp and
- The Great Outdoors – Campers and counselors will engage in outdoor activities almost every period of every day. This includes camp programs that have traditionally been “indoor” activities (e.g., arts and crafts, dance).
- Masks & distance – both face coverings and physical distancing procedures will be in place to ensure that they are followed when necessary
- Insulation – we are equipped to operate camp as a bubble, with extremely limited coming and going. We have our own lake, septic system, kitchen, health center and laundry, and can function as a ‘closed community’ quite easily.
- Program modifications – all activities will be assessed and amended as necessary to ensure they adhere to our safety standards.
- Trips modifications – all trips will be assessed and amended as necessary (we’re already planning some new fun and safe options for 2021!). We are building new campsites on our property to still allow for the magic of overnight trips, in a safe and manageable way.
- Intentional sessions – we have adjusted our sessions in part to provide flexibility around the impact COVID-19 may still have, so that all campers can arrive on opening day, and still have the most fulfilling experience possible
- Cleaning – we already have a stockpile of appropriate supplies (we are the proud owners of two electrostatic sprayers!) and have protocols in place to ensure common high-touch areas/surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals throughout the camp day
- Hygiene – Campers and staff will be instructed in proper hand washing techniques and required to wash their hands regularly throughout the day. Liquid hand sanitizer dispensers are also available throughout camp.
- Food service – our dining hall is an enormous building, with many options for mitigating contact between groups and minimizing numbers at any time. We are able to space tables out effectively, utilize outdoor space, open windows and doors on all sides and operate huge ceiling fans for air flow.
- Staff training – Summer 2021 will contain new staff training sessions around COVID-19, both in terms of policy and procedures designed to keep everyone safe, and also in terms of the additional impact the pandemic has had on both children and staff’s emotional wellbeing.