Well, here we are…2021. While the date stamp says January, all of us are already working overtime to determine the best and safest way to deliver our summer programs (again for some) in a COVID world. The good news is that we have been living in this world for the past 11 months and have more options and resources at our fingertips compared to where we were in the spring of 2020. The challenging part, a least for us, is figuring out how to make a plan without knowing state guidelines, vaccine plans, etc.
Enter…the Cart and Horse.
Last summer and into the fall/winter seasons, our camps ran modified programs. Even with this slight advantage of “been here before”, we are still trying to navigate the most effective way to move forward. Here is our current thinking:
Lean On Resources
One of the greatest bright spots during this pandemic is how our camp community has come together more as colleagues than competitors to share best practices and plans. These are some of the resources we are relying on to help us make decisions:
- NCDHHS Guidelines for Overnight Camps (11/23/20 latest version)
- ACA Updated Field Guide (now details on testing, managing exposures, etc.)
- Our Camp Doctors and Nurses (we’ve created a task force to help us determine the best plan for screening, isolation and testing)
- Schools and Universities (learnings primarily around staffing time-off plans)
- NCYCA and ACA webinars (proven platforms to help guide decision making)
We have created a planning team that meets weekly to develop various scenarios related to staffing, program/cohorting, and dining. For each of these, we are using three filters: most restrictive, less restrictive and least restrictive. Here are some examples: Bed CapacitiesMost restrictive = 50%Less restrictive = 75%Least restrictive = 100%
Most restrictive = cabin pack outs
Less restrictive = buffet styleLeast restrictive = family style
Most restrictive = onsite only
Less restrictive = combination onsite and limited offsite (onsite fun options)
Least restrictive = offsite in cohorts as much as possible It is exciting to think about this coming summer and reuniting with our camp families.
A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted positive enrollment numbers around the country so far validating parent’s interest in overnight camping for the upcoming summer. Fingers crossed. https://www.wsj.com/articles/despite-covid-19-outbreak-risks-summer-camps-are-filling-up-quickly-11610470954
Please leverage every last resource to help with planning for this summer. It will be here before we know it, and what an amazing summer it will be.
VP of Camping ServicesYMCA of the Triangle – Sea Gull, Seafarer and Kanata