Will campers have to wear masks? What activities will you be offering? What is busing going to look like?
These and many other questions are being asked and, now that we have day camp guidance from the provincial government, we have answers!
All campers and staff will be required to complete and submit a daily screening prior to boarding the bus or being dropped off at camp. If a camper or staff member is suffering symptoms of COVID-19, they will not be permitted to enter the camp.
First-Aid and Illness at Camp
Our Lead Counsellors in each group will be trained in standard first-aid and will have a first-aid kit with them. We will also have a minimum of three designated first-aiders at the camp each day. If a camper requires treatment,the counsellor will call for a first-aider who will supervise the Lead Counsellor and document any necessary treatment. If the first aider must assist close up they will wear the required PPE. If a camper develops COVID-19 symptoms during the day, parents will be contacted to pick up the camper.
Arrival and Departure
Parents will have two options: bus transportation or O.T. (own transportation). Home pick up will be offered in most of the usual areas.
For busing, campers will be given assigned seats on the bus and will not be able to switch during the ride. Siblings will be seated together, and windows will be open to improve ventilation. Once the bus arrives at camp, campers will unload starting at the front and head to their shelter to meet up with their group, where they can physically distance themselves and remove their masks.
Although limited in comparison to past years, we will still have programming and activities on the bus. In order to maintain the bus cohort campers will not be able to switch buses from morning to afternoon.
For O.T., families will have a designated time to drop off and pick up their campers. This time will be based on your child’s cohort. Exceptions will be made for siblings in different cohorts.
Once the campers are in their cohorts, our program will begin. Most of our traditional activities will be offered this summer. Archery, arts and crafts, nature/camp craft, climbing wall, bouldering, ropes course, canoeing (for everyone but our youngest two groups), field games and swimming will all be available. We are working on other activities such as paintball and frisbee golf for our older campers, but we can’t quite promise these yet.
Swim instruction is an activity that we won’t be able to offer this summer. Instructing swimming is difficult to do without getting close and masks are both ineffective and unwise in the pool. There are two other aspects of swimming that will change this year. First, we have added stalls in our change rooms to help campers keep physically distanced while they are inside. Second, each group will have a pool to themselves for their 30 minute dip. This will allow us to maintain the integrity of the cohort.
There will be other differences to the way in which activities are run. For example, at archery there are usually three campers shooting at once while the rest of the group waits at a picnic table. This year, we will have half the group at the range while the other half is taking part in back pocket games, having a snack, or taking a water or washroom break. Halfway through the period they'll switch. Each camper will get as much or more time to shoot, it's just that the procedure will be different. Another example is arts and crafts. In the past, arts and crafts took place in the basement of our lodge. We anticipated that public health guidance would recommend programming outdoors over indoor spaces shared by cohorts, so we have adapted the program so that each group will have enough supplies at their shelter to do the crafts there. Again, the procedure is different, and the crafts might be a bit more basic, but the activity will still be offered. Each activity has been adjusted to keep campers and staff safe and healthy. A final piece to our programming changes is that we will be limiting the number of activity staff we have in order to minimize the people who have contact with multiple cohorts. Activities such as swimming, canoeing and the climbing wall will still be supervised by certified staff from a distance. However archery, arts and crafts, nature, and others will be led by our counsellors.
The way we serve food requires some big changes. This year we will obviously not be packing everyone into our dining hall for lunch. Instead, we will deliver the food to each shelter. Our menu has been streamlined to make this process possible. Campers will eat outside and have room to eat while physically distanced even if they need to stay in their shelters due to weather. Seconds will always be available, however, distribution of the food will be trickier, so unlimited quantities will not be available. Parents will be encouraged to pack additional snacks if they feel they need to. We will also not be able to offer pasta as an option for picky eaters, so parents will be encouraged to send extra snacks if we are serving something that their camper isn't fond of. We will continue to offer alternatives all our usual dietary restrictions. Confirmed for the menu will be chicken burgers, pasta and meatballs, hotdogs, mac and cheese, and chicken fingers. There are a couple of surprise additions that we’re working on, but we’re not ready to commit just yet.
This summer, each group has a designated shelter to use as a base. Twelve of the sixteen groups will have a prospector tent set on a platform, while the other four will rely on our overnight cabins. Whenever possible, campers will remain outside. If the weather turns, the groups can take cover without the need to come into contact with any other cohort.
Masks At Camp
Our goal is for campers to remove their masks wherever it is safe to do so. There will of course be times when campers will be required to wear them. During our before and after-hours program, whenever a camper is required to enter a building (washrooms, change rooms), while riding the bus and whenever physical distancing isn't possible. There might also be times when masks will need to be worn during parts of activities. Getting in and out of canoes, but not while canoeing, and shooting at archery but not while you wait for your turn, are two examples. Any time a camper needs to take their mask off they can do so by stepping away from others two metres. There will be plenty of mask-free time during the day.
Without question, camp will have a different feel to it compared to past years, but I don't think that different means less-fun. In fact, I believe that there are some aspects of this summer's program that we will adopt long term. We are going to do our best to make the 2021 camp season one to remember - for good reasons. There will be more details in our Parent’s Handbook, which is coming soon.
Here’s to another fantastic summer at KVC!