Frequently Asked Questions about the 2021 Camp Season

Covid Statement

North Country Camps has a detailed plan for handling Covid-19 during the 2021 season. Our Covid Planning Group, consisting of our directors, certain board members and medical professionals, has been working on this issue since last fall. We are following guidelines from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Camping Association (ACA). We have consulted with camps that ran successfully in the 2020 summer season and we’re assessing school system protocols as well. Based on our size, location and extensive open-air spaces, NCC is very well positioned to offer a phenomenal summer experience without having to make dramatic changes in its program. Consequently, we are very confident in our ability to operate safely for the 2021 summer and are looking forward to welcoming your child to camp!


NCC’s  Approach
Our goal for the 2021 season is to create a safe, fun program that stays true to our child-centered philosophy. We will continue to prioritize the social, emotional and physical health of our campers and staff. Exactly what camp will look like will be heavily dependent on the COVID situation at that time, but we will remain grounded in the values that are intrinsic to NCC: the importance of outdoor play in a technology-free environment where children can learn to negotiate with their peers while developing autonomy and honing their sense of adventure.


North Country Camps teaches skills that build resilience and we believe that campers will be able to adjust fairly easily to our 2021 camp model.  That said, everyone should come to camp understanding that some of the same restrictions we live with currently outside of camp will be in place at Lincoln and Whippoorwill this summer. 
In keeping with our goal of maintaining a culture of transparency and knowledge sharing, you will find answers to your most frequently asked questions for Summer 2021 below.  Please understand that information is subject to change based on CDC, state and local guidelines.  As we get closer to the summer and things become even more clear, we will provide additional information.

Please contact Jen and Doug at directors@northcountrycamps.com if you have questions about our plans. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Covid 19 Questions

In the interest of ensuring the health and safety of our camp community, we are not offering a chartered bus trip to camp this year. We are asking families to deliver their campers to camp by vehicle, ground transport or air travel. Irrespective of mode of transport, we plan to have symptom screening upon arrival. Any child who does not pass symptom screening will be required to isolate, away from camp, until meeting clearance by testing and CDC guidelines.  For this reason, it will be necessary that a parent, guardian or designated adult accompany all children to camp drop-off.  Our normal airport shuttle service will likely be put on hold this summer. 
    •    To our international families: We are still months away from the summer and we have no doubt that things will continue to change.  We will be monitoring international travel and welcome international families to contact us about potential plans and options.

    •     We are exploring a bus service option for the return trip from camp if it is safe to do so.


In keeping with the multilayered strategies outlined in the ACA Field Guide, our plan is to employ the following safety measures:

    •    Establish symptom screening and on-site testing throughout the summer

    •    Cohort in small groups that can expand in size throughout the summer when it is safe and comfortable

    •    Employ social distancing, mask use and handwashing procedures

    •    Expand outdoor spaces for activities

    •    Enhance cleaning procedures 

    •    Modify schedule to allow for smaller group sizes at swim and in the dining hall

    •    Restrict outside visitors and tighten travel in and out of camp for campers and staff

    •    Work towards having a fully vaccinated staff


We are following NY State travel guidelines and restrictions. If you are traveling from a non-contiguous state, you will need to abide by the travel guidance which can be found here:  Https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.  Any families planning air travel should review this information closely prior to booking airfare. We are hoping restrictions may loosen before June 27th.

While our daily schedule has not been fully determined, campers can expect that the schedule at the beginning of camp will look a little different. We plan to keep campers cohorted with their cabin groups for the first ~10 days of camp.  This will mean kids will eat, sleep and go to activities only with the campers in their bunks. We anticipate offering a greater number of instructional and skill-based activities to accommodate the varied interests of the campers in each cabin during this initial period.  For example, rather than having two activities per week for morning instruction we may have four.  Working closely with their counselor and Program Director, cabin groups will be able to create their own afternoon activity or choose from our standard offerings. They may even choose to go on a day trip together.  Swim schedules and dining schedules will also be modified to reduce capacity and increase distancing. We hope that as the summer progresses, we will be able to expand our cohorts and adapt schedules to increase the level of individual choice in our activity program.

Camp families will receive detailed instructions surrounding expectations for safe practices  along with specific arrival information for your family. We will be using the following measures:

    •    Pre-screening: Families will be asked to conduct symptom monitoring and minimize high risk activities in the two weeks preceding the start of camp.

    •    Staggered drop-off: We will assign multiple afternoon drop off times to better accommodate families and ensure faster turnaround times for travelers.

    •    Staging area for vehicles: We will only allow vehicles in a pre-designated staging area.  

    •    Restricted access to camp:  We will ask  occupants to remain seated in their vehicles until a staff member greets them.  Camper luggage will be delivered to cabins and staff will assist campers to their cabins. Goodbyes with family members will happen at the staged drop-off location.

    •    On-site health screening to check for symptoms.


We acknowledge that we cannot create a perfect “bubble.”  Many of us would like to envision North Country Camps as our little utopia cut off from the rest of the world - but, the reality is that few (if any) camps can really function in that way.  NCC has always had staff that work at camp every day but do not live at camp. We have core staff members critical to the function of camp who, by necessity, will come and go during the summer. There will be deliveries of food and supplies delivered by trucking companies, among other “intrusions” into the bubble.  Nevertheless, drawing on the ACA and CDC guidance, we can effectively manage these types of issues and still insulate a large part of the camp community and limit outside exposures while keeping camp recognizable as the camp we all love. 

Campers and staff will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. There will be times when masks are not required and other times when campers can have appropriately distanced “mask breaks” throughout the day.  This is easy to do with our outdoor environment.  At a minimum, these maskless times would include eating meals, swimming and sleeping.  Campers will be asked to supply their own cloth masks that can be laundered or have enough disposable masks to change twice daily.  We hope that if these successful mitigation strategies are employed that we may be able to relax mask use and change distancing restrictions later in the summer.

Covid-19 testing is required for all campers and staff. We have seen significant evolution over the past several months with respect to the types, accuracy, access, and turnaround for testing. We will continue to follow public health guidelines and recommendations from our camp medical team to determine our specific testing protocols.  Testing protocols will be finalized and shared in May, but our preliminary testing plan includes the following:

Prior to camp: Campers and staff will be required to complete one molecular PCR Covid-19 test 3-5 days prior to camp.  Proof of a negative test result must be submitted (either emailed in advance or provided at check-in) before campers are allowed to enter camp.

Upon arrival: An on-site health screening will be conducted. Campers must be accompanied by a responsible adult to the designated check-in area. Any child that does not pass the health screening will be asked to isolate and follow additional testing before being allowed on camp property.

During Camp:  We will be vigilant with symptom screening, monitoring and testing.


Because we will be limiting as much outside exposure to others as possible, we have decided it is safest not to hold visiting day.  We know this will be challenging for some families but we also know that with your support, we can find a way for every family to get that needed connection with your child. 

Our plan is to keep the two camps separated initially with the hope that we can offer some mixed events later in the season.  We are planning on holding fun, special events on the weekends along with weekly council fires for us to come together as a community. Distanced check-ins with siblings at Lincoln and Whippoorwill can be arranged with the directors.

We have every intention of running a fun and adventurous trip program.  We are developing specific protocols for safe transportation and recreation in the wilderness.  We hope to run many of the same trips but it may look a little different and we have to acknowledge the possibility that a modified trip program might make it more challenging to send every trip that campers are hoping for. 

In order to reduce the risk of exposure and keep our Covid safe “bubble” as strong as possible, we have decided to cancel all second sessions.  We are hopeful that mitigation strategies combined with testing procedures will allow us to loosen internal restrictions as the summer progresses. However, having campers arrive at later dates would require us to reset our timeline to expand cohort sizes, relax mask use within cohorts, etc. We ask all families to register their children for sessions starting on June 27th.  If you have any questions please contact directors@northcountrycamps.com.