We are so excited at Camp Ton-A-Wandah! We are looking forward to having our campers return to us on our regular camp schedule.
As with the norm in our world today, COVID is still determining what can and cannot happen at camp – but COVID does not rule all the fun we are about to have! We cannot wait to welcome our campers and share more laughter and bonding than ever before!
The good news – TAW was successful in their efforts last year to have a COVID-free summer. We have a great idea of what worked and what we want to make changes to for this upcoming summer. We are continuing our preparations to ensure we can incorporate as much of our traditional camp programming as we feasibly can!
Here is a quick overview of what guidelines we plan to implement in Summer 2021:
- Quarantine: Campers and staff will be required to quarantine at least ten days before their camp arrival. Quarantine, for camp purposes, does not necessarily mean remaining at home for ten days straight. Large gatherings, sporting events, interaction with other friends or family or public settings that are not required are discouraged. If you have any questions concerning "quaranting" prior to camp, please reach out! Every families home life is different! We do ask that you take every precaution your family can prior to camp to ensure that your camper comes to camp healthy with minimum exposure to situations that may lead to the contraction or spread of COVID.
- Testing: At this time, a molecular COVID test (PCR test) will be required to be conducted 72 hours prior to your camper’s arrival to TAW. This test must have a negative result. How this test will be conducted, either by your own provider or through a method provided by Camp TAW, is still uncertain. Our current plan does not include an antigen, rapid test upon arrival or a molecular test at least five days into camp; but may change based on guidelines provided to us by state and/or federal guidelines.
- COVID Pre-Screening Form: In addition to our normal health information required for camp, a COVID pre-screening form will be required. This will include daily temperature and symptom checks as well as a set of COVID related questions. This form will be turned in upon arrival to camp.
- Daily Temperature and Screenings: A morning temperature check and screening will be conducted daily by Area Head Staff to monitor for any COVID related symptoms.
- COVID 19 Protocols while at Camp: Camp will house an infirmary and a wellness center again this summer. We have also set aside a quarantine cabin for COVID purposes. If a camper or staff displays COVID symptoms while at camp, they will be quarantined in the infirmary pending COVID test results. Their cabin will be quarantined in their own cabin and “shadow” camping will be implemented. “Shadow” camping means they will be participating in activities, meals and evening programs away from the rest of the camp population until test results are received. If test results return positive, protocols for contacting camp families will begin and arrangements for potential exposed campers will be made.
- Positive Test Results: In the event that a camper tests positive for COVID at camp, a parent or representative of the family must be available to pick up their camper within a 24 hour time period.
- COVID Vaccine: Our camper age population will probably not be eligible for vaccination prior to Summer 2021. Staff members age 16 and over that are eligible for vaccinations are being encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity but it is not a requirement at this time. However, receiving the vaccine contributes to overall improved health and immunity of the COVID virus, but will not necessarily alter protocols at Camp TAW this summer.
TRAVEL TO/FROM CAMP
- Arrival to Camp: A guardian or representative will be required to drop their camper off at camp. It is recommended, but not required, that campers and their families travel to camp in a private vehicle. Camp TAW will NOT provide transportation from the airport to camp this summer, however, campers may arrive via plane with their families and/or representative but must arrive to camp with an adult in a vehicle. Whether campers fly or arrive via private vehicle, campers and their families are expected to practice social distancing, wear face coverings and practice hand washing and sanitizing as much as possible while traveling.
- Check-In at Camp: Campers will be assigned a specific time (more than likely early to late afternoon) for arrival, probably based on rising grade. Check in will be held on the soccer field. Health screening will be conducted where counselors will then greet campers and their families at their cars, luggage will be removed from vehicles, and campers will meet their cabin mates. Parents, guardians, or representatives will be required to remain in their vehicles during the health screening and while luggage is being unloading. After this, please say a quick good-bye and head out with hugs! Please wear face coverings when interacting with camp staff. New campers – we are working on a possible quick drive through tour of camp or a virtual tour of camp prior to their arrival!
- Departure from Camp: Parents or guardians will be assigned a morning pick up time by rising grades. Campers and their luggage will be waiting by their cabins to be loaded into vehicles. Parents will remain in their cars while counselors pack up. Super quick and easy! TAW will also provide transportation to airports if campers need to return home via plane.
- Household: Cabins will operate as a household or a family. Bunk capacity will be limited to 8-10 campers per cabin. If capacity exceeds this number in a cabin, separation of bunks will be creatively designed to ensure safety while sleeping. Campers will have six feet from head to toe. Mask wearing/social distancing will not be required within their family household.
- Neighborhoods: Each area (hillside, lakeside, and hilltop) will be considered a neighborhood. Cabins will be able to interact within their neighborhood, but will require social distancing and mask wearing when interaction is significant.
- City: Our entire camp is considered a city. TAW is hoping to conduct more programs as an overall camp, while maintaining social distancing between each neighborhood and household. Face coverings will be required if social distancing cannot be achieved between neighborhoods and households.
- Activities: TAW will provide a mixture of pre-scheduled and cabin chosen activities for Summer 2021. This system will allow for our campers to experience our more popular activities (Swimming, Archery, Arts & Crafts, etc.) as well as add choice to the equation. Campers will attend activities as a cabin.
- Horseback Riding: Unfortunately, horseback riding has been cancelled again for Summer 2021. Our riding ring is our largest flat area and is the only space we can convene as an entire camp during a COVID season! We will welcome our horses again in 2022!
- Trips: TAW has chosen out of camp trips that can be conducted outside with zero to very limited interaction with the public. Each vendor that we have contracted with has COVID protocols of their own that mimic what TAW is implementing. We are excited to provide these opportunities to our campers once again and to add more exploration of Western North Carolina!
- Nations: Nations are on our agenda for this summer! TAW is developing programming to include as many nation events as we can. We need nation spirit – so bring lots of red, purple and blue!
- Evening Programs: TAW will host a variety of different evening programs that will range from larger gatherings in our riding ring to smaller programs conducted as areas (hillside, lakeside, and hilltop). Prior proper planning will allow TAW to provide as many evening programs together in a wide open outdoor space!
- Meals: Meals will look a bit different again this summer. We will be having staggered meal times, with bigger tables to accommodate your camper’s whole cabin while maintaining at least 6 feet from another table. Cabins will eat with their households and their neighborhoods. We will encourage our households to grab meals to go and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. We also have some big plans up our sleeves - fun cook-outs, Wacky Wednesday Meals, and even cabin pizza delivery nights!
Face coverings have become a normal addition to any attire! Masks are considered the most protective, non-pharmaceutical device in the prevention of COVID spread. TAW is blessed to be provide outdoor opportunities to our campers, with most of our buildings being open air. TAW is developing their programming to keep face coverings at a minimum, but masks will still be required in the following locations or circumstances:
- In enclosed buildings (such as the Dining Hall, Infirmary, etc.).
- When social distancing cannot be achieved between cabins and neighborhoods.
- When walking into or out of group settings like the Dining Hall, Chapel, or Evening Programs in the Gym.
- When traveling in a vehicle (out of camp trips).
- Vaccines: It has been highly recommended to staff to receive the COVID vaccination, but not required.
- Testing: Staff will be tested with a molecular, PCR test 72 hours prior to their arrival to camp and then again at least five days into their training weeks.
- Time Off: Staff will remain, for the most part, on camp property for their time off. Structured activities are planned for the team along with potential out-of-camp excursions where exposure to the public is limited.
- Face Coverings: Staff will be required to wear face coverings when interacting with cabins and neighborhoods outside of their own cabin.
- Full-time vs. Part-Time: Most staff will be full-time summer staff and will live on camp property. If a staff member arrives to camp during the middle of the summer, they will be required to quarantine prior to their arrival to camp and conduct a molecular COVID test (PCR test) within 72 hours of arrival. A rapid test will also be required upon arrival to TAW. Local staff (very limited) will be required to temperature and daily symptom check upon arrival to camp, will wear face coverings around our camp population and be asked to limit interaction with the public when not at camp.
Local, state and federal guidelines are being reviewed continuously and may change at any time. We are collaborating with the American Camping Association, the North Carolina Youth Camping Association and other camps to stay up to date with current information to operate safely and successfully! TAW will continue to communicate any policy and/or protocol changes that need to be made up until and during camp.
Camp successfully completed Summer 2020. It is our intention to proceed with camp in Summer 2021 as scheduled unless otherwise restricted by State and/or Federal guidelines. At this time, our cancellation policy remains in effect, which is as follows:
If cancellation is made:
On or before February 1st, $300 of the $600 deposit will be refunded upon written notification to the camp office.
After this February 1st, the entire deposit will be forfeited.
Cancellation on or after May 1st will result in a forfeit of the entire tuition.
There will be no refunds based on individual concerns of COVID unless we have to adapt our schedule and/or are required to close down for the summer. TAW will continue to work with families individually that carried forward their tuition from Summer 2020.
- American Camping Association Field Guide: Field Guide
- CDC Guidelines: CDC Guidelines
- NCDHHS Interim Guidelines for Overnight Camp Settings: NCDHHS Guidelines
- Planning A Spring Break? These 5 Tips Can Help Minimize Risk: Spring Break Article
- 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic: Nature Activities
- Will Summer Camp Be Safe in 2021? Here is what you need to know....
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Guidelines for Safe Summer Camps
Camp may look a little different than years past, but – remember what matters – taking advantage of the great outdoors with friends that last a lifetime. That Ton-A-Wandah is not just a place, but a place in your heart. Can you find a better place to spend your summer?
Please share with your campers.
As always, we do enjoy talking to our camp families. So, if you have any questions or need further clarification, please give us a call at 828-692-4251!
Thank you, as always, for your continued support and trust! We can’t wait to welcome our campers for Summer 2021!