We know that camp is a precious and powerful gift for our campers. It’s increasingly clear just how important camp is in the lives of our boys as we grapple with the ongoing pandemic. After what will be more than a year at home with limited opportunities for social interaction with friends, we know how important it is for our boys to be at camp this summer. While we don’t know exactly where we will be with this global pandemic by summer, we know we can welcome our boys home safely.
We work hard to make sure every detail is in place so each camper can have the time of their life—every single summer. This summer, in the midst of a global pandemic, there are more details than ever.
We are committed to safely operating and have spent a great deal of time learning how to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 in a small community like ours. Having successfully operated on-site rental groups and Family Camp this past summer, we have both the knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to operate safely in 2021. We have been diligently preparing for Summer 2021 taking advice from our Medical Advisory Board along with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Camp Association (ACA), and the New Hampshire State Department of Health. In addition, we are working closely with the leadership teams of camps who operated successfully in 2020 to outline successful strategies and best practices. We promise to keep you and your family informed every step of the way as we solidify procedures.
We are so grateful to be in partnership with you as we look ahead to Summer 2021 at Winaukee. We hope this guide will answer some of your questions about how we are preparing for this summer. Please reach out to us at any time should you have additional questions or concerns.
Dan & Brooke
Camp has always proven to be a safe place; we have taken drastic measures to mitigate illnesses at camp before and are prepared to do the same this summer. Given all the uncertainties in the world right now, we recognize that many things will change between now and June. With that in mind, we’re planning for a great season together at Camp Winaukee in a heightened, cautionary environment.
Having operated both on-site rental groups and Family Camp this past summer during the pandemic, we feel we have both the knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to remain safe. We have outlined all of our procedures as if camp were to open today and are prepared to run camp with diligent and strict protocols. Should the climate allow necessary precautions to lessen by this summer, we will peel away layers of compliance while still remaining safe.
We understand that we have to be flexible and that camp may look different in order to accommodate safety precautions. We value the incredible relationship we have with our camp families, and we will always consistently communicate openly and transparently about all camp matters.
There is no reason to believe that the state of New Hampshire will deny summer camps the opportunity to operate. New Hampshire allowed overnight camps to open in 2020 with health and safety modifications. We anticipate the State Health Department to issue an updated guide for overnight camp operations are asking our legislators to provide this guidance soon.
The safety of our community is our top priority. At Winaukee, we have two health centers on our property, both staffed 24 hours a day. We have access to a Camp Doctor, seven Registered Nurses and two student nurses each summer. Our Health Center Director, Nurse Lisa, has a wealth of experience and has worked with us for 12 consecutive summers. Our medical team has a vast variety of experience in emergency medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine.
All medical staff will be trained to identify COVID-19 symptoms and how to respond accordingly. Any camper or staff member who presents COVID-19 systems will be taken to our defined quarantine space and remain isolated while we conduct testing and monitoring in partnership with our local Health Department. We will immediately contact the family of any camper or staff who shows symptoms and share the plan for testing and treatment.
We are continuing to learn from camps, boarding schools, and similar youth-serving organizations that successfully operated in 2020 and/or are currently operating throughout the pandemic. As we have learned, the key to remain safe is adhering to established protocols and ensuring a culture of compliance from all families and staff. Protocols will likely include a pre-camp quarantine for our staff and health screenings, testing, limiting group gatherings, use of PPE and maintaining social distance, increased handwashing, and extensive cleaning and sanitation.
During the 10 day period prior to camp, we will likely ask all camp families to log their temperatures daily and conduct self health screenings for Covid-19 symptoms.
It is our expectation that testing will be more readily available and affordable by the summer. If that is the case, we will ask campers and staff to test within 72 hours of arriving at Winaukee and once again upon arrival at camp. Campers and staff will be tested a third time on-site at camp. We will also have tests on hand in the case any campers or staff show symptoms. We are currently in the process of creating a partnership with a test provider and will release additional information closer to the summer.
Our team will conduct daily health screenings of all campers and staff. We will encourage ongoing hand washing during the day and at meal times with hand sanitizing stations located throughout camp. We have increased the number of staff on our cleaning teams and will be diligently disinfecting shared spaces, bathrooms, cabins, and equipment throughout the day.
We are likley going to add many large, tented areas and expand our outdoor spaces for both dining and programming. Indoor activities will be reduced to an absolute minimum.
You’ve probably heard about the idea of ‘pods’ by now! It is possible that campers will be in a pod with their cabin and their counselors at the very start of camp. Once everyone has tested negative for COVID-19 and it is deemed safe by our medical team, we would hope to allow mixed groupings and all-camp gatherings and events.
Our food service will follow best practices including limiting the number of people inside the Dining Halls at once and expanding outdoor seating. All kitchen staff will be masked and gloved while preparing and serving food. Tents will be used to expand our seating capacity for meals.
It is possible that Winaukee will operate as an isolated “bubble”. Visitors will not be permitted onto camp except individuals such as our camp doctors who follow our extensive quarantine and testing policies. Staff and campers will not be permitted to leave camp. In addition, the only individuals allowed into camp are vendors who provide essential items and services such as food deliveries, UPS, FedEx, USPS, and facility technicians. Any vendor who enters the property will be masked, screened, and remain away from campers and staff.
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