4-H Summer Camp Parent Letter
Dear Camp Families,
With the approach of Summer 2021, we want to let you know that we are taking steps to ensure a safe, healthy and fun camping season. We are planning our programming this summer in anticipation of the Governor of Virginia updating and allowing for overnight camps. Our staff team is continually utilizing several resources to adapt operations this season including: The American Camp Association, Virginia Department of Health, Association for Camp Nurses and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Our leadership team will be providing resources to help answer some of the questions you may have. (see below)
While there will be many changes this summer, one thing that won’t change is the opportunity for campers to have positive life changing experiences. Campers are still going to try new things, make new friends, create lifelong memories, and gain the independence that comes from a week at 4-H Jr. Camp. Those experiences are the cornerstone of what 4-H is all about, so while some things may look different, please know that we are tirelessly combing over the details to make camp a safe and fun environment for camper growth this summer!
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we gear up for Summer. We hope that you will consider joining the fun in 2021! Please see the information provided and feel free to contact one of the 4-H Educational Centers or your local 4-H Unit for more information.
We look forward to serving you this Summer!
Virginia 4-H Camping Team
Covid Frequently Asked Question
Is The 4-H Educational Center Currently Open?
Yes, we are open but not in our traditional way. If state and local regulations allow, we plan on offering 4-H Junior Camp at a reduced capacity this season. Limiting our program to 50% capacity and using limited staff will help us to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
What health and safety protocols will the 4-H Educational Centers be taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 4-H Junior Camp or in overnight Specialty Camp Programs?
● Campers will be placed in small groups or pods during their time at camp.
● Youth and staff will be required to wear face masks at all times. Exemptions to this are listed below.
● We are operating the Dining Hall at 50% capacity; dining options will be available inside and outside (weather permitting).
● Camp participants will be asked to remain with the same pods for living, dining, & programs. We will operate at a lesser capacity in our cabins and lodges than we would in a typical summer. This helps reduce group sizes in indoor spaces and helps create optimal sleeping arrangements. Campers will be lodged according to ACA, CDC and local VDH guidelines for optimal safety. When in their cabin/lodge spaces, campers and staff will be required to wear masks at all times except when sleeping, showering or brushing their teeth. Campers will be spending as much time as possible participating in programming outside while utilizing limited indoor spaces.
● Locations will be designated for mask breaks, where campers are allowed to remove their masks safely away from other camp participants. Masks will not be required for aquatic activities or on the firing line for shooting sports.
● In addition to the Health History Form, all camp participants will be required to answer COVID-19 screening questions upon arrival. If a camper shows symptoms before arriving to camp, they will be asked to stay home. If those symptoms are present upon arrival they will be sent back home.
● Campers will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently and use the hand sanitizing stations around camp when hand washing is not possible.
● The 4-H Educational Centers use cleaning products and protocols which meet EPA guidelines and are approved to be effective against SARS CoV-2(COVID 19)in addition to other viruses, bacteria and other airborne/blood-borne pathogens. Public spaces as well as camp materials/equipment will be disinfected regularly.
● Check-in will be largely “touchless,” and families will need to remain in their cars on arrival and departure days if dropping off. Bus procedures (if an option) will be similar. Check-in and check-out procedures will be shared closer to arrival day, please check with your Local 4-H Unit Office for details.
What is a Daily Health Screening?
● Daily health screenings including a temperature check and general health questions will be given to campers and staff each morning.
● Temperature Check – Temperatures will be taken once a day. Any camper with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above may not stay at camp. We will ask the family to pick up their child. Any camper experiencing the following symptoms before arriving to camp, will not be able to attend camp: fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, or lethargy.
Will a negative COVID-19 test be required for participation?
Per the Governor of Virginia’s Executive Order, all campers and staff must provide proof of a negative COVID test within seven days prior to the beginning of camp OR provide a 14 day symptom screening for the camper and family members. By utilizing the symptom screening, campers must restrict their close contact with those outside the family for the duration of the 14 day period .
Resource for free testing sites:
The above is a link to COVID Testing sites in VA – you can choose your location and select type of testing (free, drive thru, etc…) All local Health Departments and some pharmacies are offering free testing to uninsured or underinsured. Follow this link to see what is available in your area
Will transportation to and from camp be provided?
We will not be providing transportation to or from camp
What programs will my camper participate in?
Camp is all about the camper! We will adapt our program schedule to offer age appropriate activities throughout the day. Camp participants will remain with their lodge/cabin group and will have the chance to experience a little bit of everything camp has to offer. Activity periods may be a little longer than in a traditional summer in order to immerse children in learning a new skill that may spark a lifetime of interest. All campers will rotate through programs at camp such as:
Nature, Creative Arts, STEM, Shooting Sports, Athletics, and Aquatics
Evening programs will be adapted to maintain appropriate social distancing. Check with your Local 4-H Unit Office for a more detailed list of activities.
How will the Dining Hall operate this season?
Camp participants will stay with their pod throughout the day- including at meals. For meals served indoors, the dining hall will operate at 50% capacity to maintain social distancing. Some meals may be served outdoors. Outdoor seating will be available for all meals weather permitting. Meals will be served as a grab and go or buffet style; family style dining will not be an option this summer.
What happens if my camper is exposed to SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) while at camp?
Your camper’s safety is our number one priority! The 4-H Educational Center, in conjunction with the local health department, will use contact tracing to determine if any campers were directly exposed. Exposed campers will be quarantined at the 4-H Educational Center and parents/guardians will be contacted immediately. We continue to update protocols using guidelines from the American Camp Association, CDC and State/Local Department of Health as they become available.
What is your refund policy?
If your program at the 4-H Educational Center is cancelled by us, or by the state or federal government, fees will be refunded. Deposits are not refundable after 6/1/2021. Full payment is not refundable after 6/14/2021.
How will you manage staff days off?
By law we cannot restrict staff time off. With that, we are highly encouraging our staff to stay onsite during their days off. We will be providing space for our staff to disconnect from work while also keeping the community safe. All staff will be screened before returning back to their pod after a day off.
Are you requiring staff to be vaccinated?
Receiving the vaccine is an individual choice. We are not requiring that our staff receive the vaccine, however we are encouraging vaccination before camp. We will be following all health and safety protocols as outlined above to mitigate risk.
What training does your camp staff have regarding COVID-19?
All staff will receive comprehensive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols, based on current guidelines.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Appropriate PPE will be worn by all staff based on their role and responsibilities and in adherence to state or local regulations and guidance. Gloves will be worn by staff whose responsibilities require them, including housekeeping, dining, and medical staff that are in direct contact with campers. Youth and staff will be required to wear face masks. Campers should be prepared to bring their own mask, however, there will be additional masks on hand if needed.
If adverse weather conditions require indoor programming how will that be handled?
Camp leadership will determine this as locations have been identified with maximum capacity and protocols in mind. Severe weather is a reality of summer camp and staff are trained to facilitate rainy day programming in locations that are appropriate for the situation with social distancing in mind.
The video link below is provided by the CDC. Even though this video is directed at schools, camps will use the same strategies discussed. As you watch this video when you hear the word schools just replace that with the word camp!
Here are some tips on staying safe at camp provided by the CDC.
Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps | CDC American Camp Association Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance
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