January 21, 2021

COVID-19 Updates for Summer 2021

One Heartland is beyond grateful for the support we have received over the past several months in order to still be here to provide camp to the kids who need it most. While Covid-19 is not over, we are making plans to safely hold camp at a reduced capacity with several safety measures in place this summer. Read on for more specifics about what precautions and plans we are putting into place in order to once again welcome young people at camp.

While we are so excited to return to camp in 2021 and know our participants will need unplugged time spent in community with their peers this year more than ever, we also know and expect COVID-19 will still be with us in some way. 

The health and safety of our campers and staff is, as always, a top priority.  We have been and will continue to closely follow updated information and guidance from the American Camp Association and CDC, along with the extensive requirements and recommendations for camp operations during COVID-19 from the Minnesota Department of Health, and are planning adjustments to our programs, practices, and policies in summer 2021 accordingly. 

While we cannot 100% eliminate the risk of COVID-19 at camp, given what we have learned in the past year both about the virus and from camps that safely and successfully opened in 2020, along with our unique setting with abundant space to spread out outdoors and years of experience focusing on the health and safety of all our participants, we feel confident we can greatly reduce the risk and provide a safe (and fun!) experience for our campers.    

Given the current expert guidance we are planning for some or all of the following to be in effect this summer:

  • Reducing our participant capacity from 100 to 65 to allow for physical distancing of 6+ feet at meals, activities, and while sleeping. (Registration is currently open at this reduced capacity, and spaces will be added off the waiting list if we know we are able to safely increase capacity).
  • Keeping cabin groups of campers and staff in the same small cohort group/pod during their whole session, and for staff, during the whole summer. Any interactions between pods would be limited, and when they do occur, required to be outdoors, masked, and socially distanced, or a minimum of 2 out of 3 of these in essential situations where one of the three is not possible, such as sheltering from severe weather. (This would also include eliminating large group activities and mixed individual electives and replacing them with electives by cabin group, activity rotations by cabin, and/or outdoor large group activities with pod groups spaced a significant distance apart, as well as scheduling things such as meals and showers at different times or locations by pod)
  • Interactions within each pod group will be required to always be a minimum of 1 out of 3 of masked, distanced, and outdoors, and 2/3 or 3/3 whenever possible and safe. (For example, sleeping and showering can’t be masked or outdoors, but would be distanced, with no one from another pod allowed in the building/space).
  • Adding to our existing health center intake process to specifically evaluate for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure before and at arrival
  • Adding to our existing extensive focus on health and safety during camp to include daily COVID-19-specific symptom screening for all campers and staff
  • Altering or eliminating certain activities that don’t allow for adequate physical distancing
  • Asking that participants and staff isolate/quarantine from people not in their household for 14 days prior to traveling to camp (or potentially a shorter time in combination with a negative test result, depending on current recommendations), and follow provided guidelines for travel to camp to limit exposure to others
  • Requiring medically able participants and staff be vaccinated if a vaccine becomes widely available

Given the fluid nature of the situation, registered participants can expect there will be updates to some of the information we send you about preparing for camp or traveling to camp as summer gets closer, and potentially to the forms and information we need from you as well. We will keep all registered participants & families updated as camp gets closer and are providing our Preparing for Camp Guide and Travel Guide for registered participants as links that will be updated as needed, instead of a published final document, and we thank you in advance for your adaptability as well as your very important role in helping us provide a safe and successful summer at camp to each and every person who needs it.

For information on plans specifically for Camp True Colors Family Camp, visit here.