Summer Campers, Take Caution – Attending an In-Person Summer Camp During COVID-19? Be Careful!

Ask The Questions and Know The Facts Before Sending Your Child to an In-Person Summer Camp

take-caution-if-you-attend in-person-on-location-summer-camp

Attending an in-person summer camp may not be the safe option this summer. Tempting for sure, but not safe. Please, for the sake of your family (not just your children, but your entire extended family), make sure you take the following precautions before sending your childr(en) to an in-person summer camp:

1. Familiarize yourself with all of the camp’s safety standards from the camp you plan on attending. However, more importantly, compare procedures against reality: facts and science. It’s easy for a camp to decorate their website with all of the action steps and policies that will be followed, however the reality is, operating a safe camp is a lot different than marketing a safe camp.

2. Review the facts and medical incidents from summer camps that already have opened their doors for live camp. Educate yourself on the challenges they faced and sadly, the manifestation of Covid-19 cases that have emerged. Search Google – the results are not positive and quite frankly, a bit scary.

3. Ask the camp owner or director to produce a written operational and employee training guide, directly related to how Covid-19 guidelines will be implemented. Follow up with questions that pertain to (a) how the procedures were adopted, (b) have they ever been tested/implemented, (C) how effective have the procedures “played-out” at other camps. In other words, does the camp have any experience or are they simply, “following the guidelines”? 

4. Stick around and watch your child(ren) participate in the camp. Already, there have been multiple situations where parents drop off the kids, but as soon they leave, the masks go off, social distancing barriers are broken, and despite all of the planning, the entire scene looks no different than last year’s camp. Again, demand, not ask, that you are permitted to stop by to confirm all of the marketing buzzwords are indeed being followed and implemented. 

Families, please take caution this summer. Be careful if you are going to attend an in-person or on-location summer camp this season. We know parents and children are ready to get outside to enjoy the summer. The biggest question we all have: is it safe?

The majority of the families we surveyed told us it was a case-by-case, and personal decision. Statements from parents included: “We will send our kids if we trust the camp’s Covid-19 policies”, and, “Our kids have attended a specific camp for years, so we trust them.” The results primarily support whether or not the parents believe it is safe or not, however, very few mentioned science-based or medical-testing based facts. This is concerning, but let us be clear.

Our company had to cancel ALL of our in-person and on-location camps this summer. We refunded over 2,000 families and provided DOUBLED any credit a family decided to keep in their account (ie: if a parent spent $3,000 on summer camp registration with our organization, and the parent elected to keep the credit with us and denied a refund…as a thank you, that parent received $6,000 in total credit). In other words, while it was the proper customer and business-friendly decision to make, our company will pay the price as we continue to pay off loans for years to come. The point: it would have been a lot easier and much less of a financial burden NOT to cancel camp and instead operate our in-person programs this summer. 

However, our decision to forgo all of the live in-person camps did not come down to “trust” or what we “felt was right” or even “our ability to operate the camp with such strict guidelines. No, our decision came down to our top core value: SAFETY. In our 22+ year history, never once have we ever compromised safety based on a financial decision or situation. And, despite the economic hardship we will endure, our company was not going to sacrifice safety for dollars.

We suggest asking these questions so you do not put children, yourself or the camp company in danger. While many camps are eager to open their doors, it is important to know the steps they have taken to keep campers safe. You want to know that safety measures and insurance coverage are fully in place. Any mishaps or mistakes due to negligence could lead to big problems and possibly business-ending litigation.

6 Questions To Ask the camp director

  1. Liability Insurance: Do you have liability insurance? If someone becomes ill at camp due to COVID-19, does your liability insurance cover children, counselors, or parents?
  2. Workers’ Compensation Coverage: Do you have workers’ compensation insurance coverage? If someone becomes sick at camp due to COVID-19, does your workers comp insurance cover your employees?
  3. COVID-19 Plans, Procedures and Policies: Can you please send me a copy of your safety plans and safety protocols? Please include what measures you have instituted from the ACA (American Camp Association) suggestions and the CDC guidelines (Center for Disease Control).
  4. Camp Stopped Mid-Summer: What will happen to my camp registration dollars if camp has to be cancelled or postponed? Especially if someone becomes sick during the camp and camp does not resume?
  5. Parents Bringing Supplies: Do I have to pack all of the supplies that my kids will use this summer at your camp? What happens if another child also uses the supplies packed and available for my child only? How do you handle that situation? What is provided and what is not provided?
  6. Thermometers From Home: It is highly recommended that a personal oral thermometer is used; not a wand. Ask the camp director how the camp plans on keeping the thermometers sterilized and organized – not just for campers, but for everyone who is on location at the camp.

Again, summer campers, take caution. For the safety of all, we strongly encourage you to take caution if you are going to attend an in-person or on-location summer camp this season. We love summer camp, and we have offered in-person camps for nearly 25 years. We also support all camps who are going live on location this summer. However, we know how hard it will be for camps to follow all recommended policies and procedures. Therefore, please do your research. Make sure you fully trust the camps that can provide you with the answers to the questions above. If they cannot produce these answers in writing – take caution!

About Online Adventure Camps

With close to 25 years of experience operating summer camps for kids, we are a nationwide leader (both on location and over the web). Therefore, we are here to help guide parents and children through the online summer camp or virtual summer camp programs process.