October 19, 2020
This has been an unusual and trying year, especially when summer camp was cancelled in 2020 in the interest of health and safety for all. As we look to summer 2021, we are optimistic. Our North Carolina 4-H Camps and Centers hold and maintain American Camp Association (ACA) accreditation, demonstrating our commitment and adherence to the highest standards in the camping industry for safety, risk management, operations, programming and food service.
The ACA has worked tirelessly in 2020 to convene an expert panel of specialists in pediatric medicine, camp medicine and nursing, epidemiology, infectious disease management, biological safety, industrial hygiene, organizational design and other technical specialties to produce the Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance, a handbook for camps on running effective and safe programs in the time of COVID-19.
While we must remain nimble in light of the ongoing pandemic, we are optimistic about the summer 2021 camping season. We are utilizing the Field Guide as we make modifications to our own policies and operating procedures at all three camps, to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our campers, their families and staff. Currently we are developing:
- A pre-screening protocol for campers and staff before and during arrival
- A process of daily health checks of all campers and staff once camp starts
- PPE protocols for campers and staff in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Modifications to programming and activities to ensure social distancing measures and safety protocols
- A re-designed camper experience utilizing ‘cohorting’ – keeping campers in consistent, small groups during the week to limit campers’ exposure to others
- Modifications to daily schedules to allow additional time for safe handwashing practices before and after activities, meals, etc.
- Modifications to dining hall procedures to ensure safety before, during and after mealtimes
- Cleaning and disinfecting protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines, including the addition of new hand sanitizing stations around camp
With these measures in place and our commitment to safety, we look forward to returning to camp in summer 2021, ensuring our young people once again have the opportunity to disconnect from technology, grow self-confidence, build positive peer-to-peer relationships, and join the supportive community of our North Carolina 4-H camping program.
The NC 4-H Camps Team