COVID UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2021
We remain cautiously optimistic that California and Los Angeles County will allow us to operate this summer, but we also understand that our families and staff have many questions surrounding safety, restrictions, new protocols and expected changes for Summer 2021.
First and foremost, safety has and will always be paramount at Canyon Creek. Simply put, we would not operate if we didn’t think we could do so in a safe environment for your child. However, because of the successful experiences of over a thousand residential and day camps that operated all over the U.S. last summer and along with the protocols established by The American Camp Association and the Center for Disease Control, our team is hard at work on creating protocols that focus on a culture of compliance as written about by The ACA.
Due to the ever evolving pandemic situation and the fact that we haven’t received the final guidelines that LA County will be requiring of us, it is difficult to release any detailed protocols just yet. Nevertheless, our goal is to release our detailed covid plan before our cancellation deadline so that you and your camper will be able to review the document and make the best decision regarding attending Canyon Creek this summer. Over the months leading up to camp we will continue to assess our policies and protocols and make adjustments where they are needed and or required. Our hope, like yours, is that by the start of summer not all of the measures answered below will be necessary, but we will be prepared to meet any and all health requirements given by health professionals.
While we hope this page and subsequent FAQ will help answer questions and ease any worries, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone if you want to discuss further. During a time of such uncertainty it’s vital that we are all united for the same goal which is to provide a safe and memorable summer for your camper - our kids need it now more than ever before!
Peace, Love, & Camp
Below are links to the covid guidelines from both the ACA & CDC that we are using as the framework upon which we are building our own protocols and procedures for Summer 2021.
Canyon Creek COVID F.A.Q. (Updated February 2021)
*Please note that many of these answers may evolve as we get closer to summer.*
Will you be running camp programs at full capacity?
We are confident that we will not be allowed to operate at full capacity, but are still waiting on what exact limitations the state and county are going to require. Because of this, we have reduced our camper enrollment by nearly half for each session which in turn has produced higher waitlists than in years past. As soon as we get confirmation from the state/county we will adjust our numbers accordingly. Regardless of what the county says, we anticipate maintaining lower than normal capacities for all of our sessions.
Will campers need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to camp?
We anticipate asking all families to provide us with a recent negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours from the start of your session. We also will require that campers and their families use appropriate COVID-19 precautions in the 14 days prior to camp. We will provide specific details at least one month before each session.
Will campers be required to be vaccinated prior to arrival at camp?
At this time, it doesn’t seem likely that vaccines for COVID-19 will be widely and easily available for children by summer and therefore a Covid-19 vaccine will not be required for enrollment.
Will staff members be vaccinated before summer?
We are hopeful that many of our adult staff members will be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the start of camp and we will be doing everything in our power to help get as many staff vaccinated as we can prior to summer.
Will you offer bus transportation to camp?
We are continuing to assess this situation and are working on a variety of alternatives and options for our families. We will provide a concrete answer by May 1st, but at this time we are planning on not offering bus transportation and parents will need to drive campers to and from camp.
Can campers fly from out of state or out of the country to camp?
At this time, we do not know what travel restrictions or requirements will be in place this summer. Campers from out of the area may need to enter California 14 days prior to the beginning of the session, responsibly isolating for the next 14 days, then presenting a negative COVID-19 test result prior to arrival at camp. We know that this is a very big ask and our hope is that requirements will be less cumbersome by summer.
Will campers need to wear a mask while at camp?
Campers will need to be prepared to wear a mask during certain times, but will not need to wear a mask within or around their cabin group or while participating in most camp activities. They will be required to have a mask with them at all times for instances when they are indoors or when six feet of distancing from others outside their group cannot be maintained (such as during entry/exit into the dining hall).
Will you be putting campers in pods/cohorts?
At this time we are planning on individual cabins being grouped into slightly larger pods based on age (e.g. - younger, middle, oldest, etc.) that we will use for all meals, med disbursements, camp programming, etc.
Will there by changes to the CIT (Counselors In Training) Program?
Due to the forthcoming covid requirements, we have been hard at work rethinking our CIT Program and how best to adapt to the new restrictions. One of the biggest changes to the program that we are anticipating is not assigning CIT's individual cabins to work with because of the cohort/pod strategy (see above). We understand that this part of the program plays a vital role in helping the CIT gain both leadership and mentor experience, and because of this we are working on expanding our program that involves other aspects that will still prepare them for working with kids while teaching leadership skills. We plan to accomplish this with more large scale opportunities such as creating and implement various camp activities, leading campfires, camp service projects, etc. Later this spring we will send a more detailed description of the program once we are closer to summer and have a better understanding of the requirements passed down by local health authorities.
What will night activities, theme nights, camp dances, etc. look like?
We anticipate needing to break some all-camp events into smaller ones. For example, night activities and free choice might take place within your pod and not the entire camp. The traditional end-of-session theme night and dance, held completely outdoors, may potentially be split into smaller dances or a larger dance that is segmented into designated dance areas by age cohort. Some program activities and events may be altered or not offered based on the county/state health recommendations at the time of your camper’s session.
Will you still have campfire each night?
Great question! Campfire has been one of our longest and most cherished traditions at Canyon Creek, and we will do everything we can to still be able to have them. Because our amphitheater is very big/wide coupled with a smaller overall capacity - we remain hopeful that we will be able to lead campfires in a safe, socially distanced, and masked manner. However, there is a possibility of age cohorts being assigned specific nights for campfire with a potential all camp campfire towards the end of the session.
What if there’s a positive test result at camp?
We will be testing symptomatic campers and staff members at camp, and isolating those individuals as we wait for results. Once an individual has a negative COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic for 24 hours, they may return to normal camp activities. A camper who tests positive for COVID-19 will be isolated, and parents will need to make arrangements to pick up the camper that same day. Closer to summer, we will know the specific quarantine and testing requirements for cabin groups and other age cohort campers and staff who were in contact with a COVID-19 positive community member.
Are there any enhanced changes being made regarding the Health Center?
We are currently working on hiring a number of full time staff who will complete our medical team and will be working and living on site for the entire summer instead of single sessions. In addition our Health Center will continue to have different check-in areas for medications, injuries, and sickness.
What precautions will you take regarding using common space areas at camp such as restrooms, the dining hall, etc.?
As always, common areas like the ones listed above will be cleaned regularly throughout the day. Our incredible housekeeping team will clean each cabin daily with a deep cleaning scheduled 1-2 times each week.
Dining Hall/Meal Times: All meal times will be scheduled and staggered by cohorts and will utilize a combination of indoor and outdoor eating to help further promote social distancing. A modified salad bar and drink station with most items “grab and go” or served by our kitchen staff will reduce the amount of utensils and surfaces touched by campers and staff.
Camp Store: Visits to the camp store have always been scheduled but this summer even more attention will be made regarding timing. The camp store will be cleaned in between groups and the scheduling will be spread out to reduce crowding in and around the store. The store will be open for browsing on a limited basis for one cabin group at a time. Campers will order food via a walk-up outdoor window system.
The number of covid infections and deaths are at all time highs. How are you so sure that you will be able to run safely this summer?
Great question. In all honesty, despite the numerous changes being implemented and the wealth of resources we are utilizing from the ACA, CDC, and other camp colleagues - right now the safest option is for everyone to shelter at home. There is a risk in any gathering, including camp. But, kids are getting to a point where, for many of them, the isolation carries its own set of risks. Only you as a parent or guardian can weigh the options but we are here if want to talk things through or ask any questions.
What can I do to help ensure that the state of California allows residential camps, including Canyon Creek, to operate this summer?
The main barrier to Canyon Creek operating in-person for 2021 is a lack of guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. Though we are working with our professional organizations to get those guidelines released, we think that the voices of our camp families can also help. Please visit SAVENEXTSUMMER to learn how you can help urge the state of California to release guidelines for resident camps for the summer of 2021. Residential camps who followed EHE/ACA/CDC guidelines operated successfully in other states during the summer of 2020. Day camps located in less restricted counties were allowed to operate, and did so with great safety and success in California. We, along with other residential camps in California, want the opportunity to get kids back to camp this summer and remain confident that once we are given official guidelines, we will be able to do so in a safe and successful manner.