SUDBURY, MASSACHUSETTS - DAY CAMP
What changes did you make to operate either to your program or your camper capacity?
Camper cohorts (we called them "campfams") consisted of 10 campers, 2 counselors; By comparison, in a typical summer, our group sizes are @16-20 campers. There was no mixing between campfams, and each campfam stayed together for the whole day.
In a typical summer, we are at @600 campers per two week session; for 2020, we operated at just under 400
We measured out a large area on the grass for each group, that had 10 spots spray painted at 6' apart; this way, campers and counselors didn't have to figure out how far apart they needed to be; everyone just picked a spot.
Campers and counselors were masked when 6' of distance could not be maintained. Masks became the norm, and kids didn't even complain - they were just so happy to be together and at camp!
Only free swim this summer, no instruction. (This was a big change, as we have a strong swim program, but there was no way we could hold lessons without "cross pollinating" between cohorts, and without swim instructors being in close to the kids. At the end of the day, we decided free swim would be fun for groups - and manageable for the staff - and safe fun was the name of the game for 2020)
We ran less buses, and had more parent drivers; In a typical summer, we run 21 buses, but this summer we had 11. (Those who lived within a 5 mile radius were asked to drive, and many others opted to drive.)
Masks were required on buses, and campers were assigned seats. (Only sibs could sit together, otherwise single seating, with an empty row in between riders.)
We hired an additional full-time nurse
All campers and staff members had to fill out a daily symptom check form and temperatures had to be recorded. Without a satisfactorily filled out form, no one was allowed to be at camp on any given day.
Campfams used hand sanitizer at the beginning and end of each activity
Each campfam had their own box of supplies at activities like arts and crafts (these could be shared by members of the same cohort, but not by other cohorts). After use, supplies were disinfected
We converted water fountains into water bottle filling stations, and despite it being less "green," had paper cup dispensers by water refill stations
We made the decision to shelf a few of our "high touch" (and difficult to clean) activities, including the ropes course, zip line, climbing wall, pottery, horseback riding, as well as ones that would involve mixing cohorts (most notably swim instruction).
Hand sanitizing stations all around the property!
An isolation room, in case anyone got sick - fortunately it was never used.
Transparent/candid communication (Everyone knew exactly what they were signing up for, so there were no surprises)
How did you deal with COVID exposures?
Anyone with symptoms (or who came in contact with a confirmed case) was not allowed back at camp without either a negative COVID test, or a note from their doctor which provided an alternate diagnosis. Thankfully they all came back negative.
How well did it work?
Amazingly well! It was incredible to see. Everyone was just so happy to be outside and playing together, and the camp magic -even when it had to be modified - was still there. :)
What was the impact on campers?
HUGE! Kids got to be kids again. :)