Updated Tuesday May 26, 2020
Camp CoBeAc remains committed to the health and well-being of our campers, leaders, and staff through this rapidly changing world caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19.) The safety, health, and well-being of our guests and campers will remain the priority of our ministry. We are monitoring daily the global and local situation with the COVID-19 Virus as it relates to our camping ministry events and retreats. We are also staying apprised of state and government directives and regulations that could be set in regard to camps for this Summer Camping Season.
At this current time, we have postponed the month of June and will resume our normal camp weeks starting July 6. Our 2 normal family camps are combined and are scheduled for June 29-July 4. We will continue to stay this course unless we receive directives from our leadership. If any new challenges arise that we believe will hinder the health and safety of our CoBeAc guests, we will seek the proper measures and communicate to our guests in a punctual manner. WE WILL BE COMMUNICATING TO OUR SUMMER CAMP CHURCHES AND ATTENDEES AS NEW INFORMATION IS RECEIVED.
We are closely monitoring and responding to the mandates, guidance, and regulations provided to us. We know this is rapidly changing, and we are committed to making the necessary decisions from this guidance in an appropriate and timely manner. In the event of a modification to the camp season, we will communicate to our constituency ASAP.
Also, we want out parents and campers to know that we are making stringent adjustments to our health and safety protocols mandated by the state. We will be in communication with our churches, sponsors, and leaders to ensure that we are providing a safe and healthy environment for our campers. At this time, we are following advice from the State of Michigan: Michigan Defense Strategies Against COVID-19, and the American Association of Camp’s Health and Wellness resources. You can find these resources posted on our website at www.cobeac.org.
FQA: Health 2020
We believe that summer camp at CoBeAc is part of a healthy summer for kids. Campers not only enjoy the outdoors and activity, but a number of times a day are challenged from the Word of God by Bible study, preaching, and caring counselors. After this difficult season, many kids need a break from the cumulative stress of Covid-19, need a call to recommit to living a committed Christian life, and need a little fun and fresh air.
We take the health and safety of our campers and staff very seriously. Not only do we work with a local doctor, our local and state health departments, but take guidance from the CDC, the American Camp Association, and the Camp Nurse Association. We are excited for a great summer, and want to address any possible concerns you may have about what we will be doing to ensure a safe and healthy camp experience this year in light of Covid-19.
REGISTRATION & GENERAL CAMP QUESTIONS RELATING TO COVID-19:
So what calendar changes have been made? Due to the COVID-19 response, we have postponed all of our June events, and have set a course for a modified camp schedule beginning in July. Our churches scheduled for June 15-20th (Week 1) and June 22-27th (Week 2) weeks will have the opportunity to fit into the weeks of July 6 (Week 3), July 13 (Week 4), July 20 (Week 5), July 27 (Week 6), or a bonus week of August 3rd (Week 7).
I was scheduled for Week 1 (June15-20) or Week 2 (June 22-27) what do I do now? We are asking you to coordinate camper details with your church group’s camp sponsor and they will reach out to us for your group. Church groups/campers are emailing the camp office with one of the following three choices.
(1) change weeks to another week that we have available this summer
(2) transfer registrations and deposits into the 2021 summer camp season
(3) request a refund, but, to be completely transparent- we really hope that you will not choose this option. At this time, and in light of having cancelled all spring events, our early summer rentals, our first two weeks of camps, and in the likelihood of some churches/individuals not coming, we ask that you consider your summer camp deposit to be a charitable grace gift to Camp CoBeAc. (We are a 501c3 and this can be a tax-deductible donation).
Please communicate with your church leader, and they will reach out to us for your group.
If I do request a refund when will I get it back? In the event that a refund of a camper deposit is requested, we will process these transactions the week of August 1st. Certainly these have been difficult times for everyone. CoBeAc as a ministry operates on camper fees, and without having spring or early summer events, and with the likelihood of some churches/campers not coming because of Covid-19, we are working to fundraise working capital not only for refunds, but for daily operating costs.
What about the BASECAMP Build Project? As we have been committed from the beginning of this project, we are moving forward only with a cash-in-hand pace. At this time, we have the four cabins almost complete, and are truly thankful for the charitable gifts that have been given specifically for this project. This extra cabin space will be helpful in spreading out camper housing.
HEALTH & PROGRAMMING QUESTIONS RELATING TO COVID-19:
How will CoBeAc keep things clean/disinfected this summer? The housekeeping team will pay special attention to disinfect high-touch point areas around camp (cabins, buildings, and outdoor areas) each day. Cabin will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each week of camp.
The program team will be practicing new measures of limiting the number items shared in game/play times, and increasing the cleaning and disinfecting of items between small groups usage.
As many activities as can be moved outside instead of indoors- will be moved outdoors.
How will CoBeAc help my camper use healthy practices? Before each meal, cabins will in orderly fashion take turns washing hands. Counselors will remind campers to use soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. Signs are posted in all bathrooms with general guidelines for correct hand washing. Each time a campers enter his/her cabin, the camper will wash his/her hands with soap and water. We also have a number of hand sanitizer stations around camp.
No hand touching- this summer, we will encourage campers not to give high-fives, or gather closely together for cheering and celebrations. We will replace this with new ways of interacting and celebrating.
Will campers maintain personal space? Campers will be reminded to maintain their personal space, with signage in indoor spaces, and for junior campers this will be a call out for rock climber pose (Hands and feet stretched out and wide). Our schedule changes and program adjustments will help creating activities with fewer people per space.
Campers will sleep in their bunks with all lower bunks pillows in one direction, an all upper bunks with pillows at the opposite, and be reminded to keep their personal belongings in their luggage space.
When a camper needs a summer staffer to assist in close contact, the summer staffer will pull up a bandana/face shield, as recommended by the CDC. At orientation, we will teach campers that this one way to help keep everyone healthy. Counselors will be taught how to make this a fun and light-hearted protocol for junior campers, especially (i.e. cabin names the bandana “Oscar” and chooses what type of silly accent the counselor will speak with when wearing it. The counselor then when pulling up bandana says, “Oscar’s back! Let me help you.”).
Who is healthy? In order to maintain a healthy camp environment, this summer, we are requiring all campers, sponsors, and summer staff to fill out a Recent Health Questionnaire, a series of questions to indicate wellness within the two weeks preceeding arrival to camp. As typical for camper admitance to camp, there is a Health Check; this year we have added a temperature check of each individual. A means of ongoing health assesment will be daily temperature checks at breakfast for everyone.
Who needs to fill out a Recent Health Questionnaire? Everyone! Yes, everyone. This is the first step in ensuring a healthy camp environment this year. The questionnaire should be filled out within 48 hours of arrival to camp. The questionnaire is designed to assess an individual’s health of the two weeks preceeding arrival to camp. For those under 18 years old, the questionnaire must be signed by a parent/guardian. The questionnaire can be accessed at cobeac.org as a printable form.
How will CoBeAc limiting exposure to illness? A number of prescreening and ongoing screening measures of campers, sponsors, and staff are addressed in other answers. Also, in order to limit exposure to illness, we will be limiting vendors and visitors to our property during camp weeks.
How does CoBeAc plan to care for campers’ health? We want to work with you to ensure safe and healthy camper experience. It is expected that campers and staff arrive for their camp experience in good health. Please do not send your camper in the event that they are ill with in 72 hours of the beginning of a camp experience. The camp reserves the right not to admit an ill person, and also to dismiss anyone who is suffering from symptoms of Covid-19.
Health Center and Health Tech Team- CoBeAc has a Health Center that is staffed by a nurse and first aid/CPR/AED American Red Cross trained team. This team is equipped to maintain general health of the campers and staff, respond to injuries, and identify illness. We have measures in place to isolate those who become unwell at camp. This summer, we will be hypersensitive to the symptoms of Covid-19 so campers who run a fever over 100.4, have a persistent cough, shorntess of breath, or general feeling of being unwell will be isolated and arrangements will be made for that camper’s dismissal from camp.
How will meal times look differently this summer? We will be using our giant deck and dining hall for meals, as well as picnic options and cabin meal times being staggered. Seating will be spread out to create social distancing by cabin, and there will be no self-serve.
Will CoBeAc be practicing social distancing? Yes. Although large chapel services and group games are typically the norm at summer camp, this year, it will not be. Our program team is working to create a plan for energy and excitement in other ways. We are putting limitations on the number of kids in all spaces of camp, mitigating large groups, and ensuring social distancing at chapels and meal times. Signage in indoor spaces will remind campers to maintain their personal space. This year cabins will mostly move about camp as a unit and only be interacting within a small group setting based on the state guidelines.
How will my everyone know the new health and safety protocols and practices?- For campers: At the beginning of a week of camp, we have always have an orientation time; this year, we will be adding updated safety and health protocols and practices.
For summer staff: At the beginning of each summer, we have pre-arrival summer staff training followed by two weeks of intensive training for the summer season. Summer staff will be trained on updated safety and health protocols and practices.
Thank you for your patience and consideration. We are asking God for His wisdom, guidance, and protection. If you have a specific question in regard to this, please reach out to me personally.
Aaron Wilson, Director
(Click the link to read “Communicable Disease Management in the Camp Setting” by the American Camp Association)