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Camps and Events

COVID-19 and Camp - FAQ's

Last updated 2/12/21

What might be different during my time at camp this summer because of COVID-19?

Most of what our campers love about camp will still be part of this summer’s experiences. Many activities will take place with smaller groups and increased sanitation measures. With COVID-19 conditions and safety guidelines changing regularly, we won’t know until closer to our camp dates the impact on what campers can do and how they may do it, including camp and cabin capacities, camper activities, use of common spaces, and group gathering sizes.

What COVID-19 safety precautions might be part of my time at camp this summer? 

COVID-19 conditions and safety guidelines change regularly, so we don’t know for sure.  However, we anticipate that many of the current CDC guidelines will be in place at the start of camp. These include requiring masks and social distancing in common areas, lots of handwashing, fewer campers per cabin, campers staying in “pods” to minimize contact with other onsite groups or staff, reducing group sizes as needed, and maximizing time outdoors when possible. We will make adjustments to safety protocols as necessary, following state health departments and the American Camp Association protocols.

Will my camper have to wear a mask while attending camp?

Sometimes, yes. Each camper will be part of a cabin group, or “pod,” while they are at camp. These pods will be like families and masks won’t be required when they’re interacting only with their pod mates. However, when your camper interacts with someone outside their pod they will need to wear a mask.

Will my camper need to take a COVID-19 test in order to attend camp?

 We’re paying close attention to local, state, and CDC guidelines and expect guidance on this and other questions as we approach the start of summer camp. Please check back often- we will update our website with current information as it becomes available. You will be informed well in advance of your time at camp of any pre-camp requirements, changes to the schedule, and safety protocols that will be in effect during your time at camp.

What happens if someone gets sick at camp? Will everyone have to go home?

We anticipate that the pre-camp information, precautions, proactive mitigation measures, and operational changes we are implementing while campers are onsite will allow all campers, volunteers, and staff to stay for the entire length of their summer camping event.  However, if a camper, volunteer, or staff member presents with COVID-19 symptoms during camp, that person, and all campers and staff in their “pod”, will be isolated and may be sent home.

Is there anything extra I will need to bring this year?

We will send you specific camp COVID-19 protocols, including everything you’ll need to bring with you to camp, prior to the start of your camp event. But you can plan now to bring masks and hand-sanitizer!

Will my camping event be full while I am there this summer?

At this point, we have reduced the capacity at each of our campsites to reflect the safe distancing guidelines from the CDC. This will reduce the possibility of in-cabin exposure. If positivity rates go down and the risk of exposure is reduced, we hope to open more spaces for campers.

Why are we asking our campers, families, and guests to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines?

As followers of Christ, we are called to care for those who are most vulnerable. We are called to love our neighbors and to act for the good of the whole. We are called to heal a broken world. Our camp policies and procedures, as well as the proactive mitigation measures and operational changes that we are implementing at your UMC Camps, are in place to show love to our neighbors and care for the most vulnerable so that all may have an opportunity to attend camp. 

What resources are our camps using to help make decisions as we approach summer? 

In addition to working closely with local and state health officials, your camp leaders use the Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance.  This guide was developed for the American Camp Association by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) to offer guidance and assist camps regarding current practice considerations in addressing COVID-19.  The Field Guide is a living document and will be updated as new information becomes available for summer 2021.  

Before, during, and after camp policies and procedures related to Covid-19 (check back soon!)

Will you require staff and volunteers to be vaccinated in order to work at camp? 

We’re paying close attention to local, state, and CDC guidelines and expect guidance on this and other questions as we approach the start of summer camp. Please check back often- we will update our website with current information as it becomes available. You will be informed well in advance of your time at camp of any pre-camp requirements, changes to the schedule, and safety protocols that will be in effect during your time at camp.  At this time, we are not requiring vaccinations for staff as access to vaccines are limited. 

What happens if the event I want to attend is full, and I was put on a waitlist?

Current COVID-19 safety guidelines include reductions to overall group size and camp capacity, so we will have less space in our summer camping events. If an event is full, you will be placed on a waitlist. But don’t give up! As COVID-19 conditions change we hope to adjust our capacities upward and register those on our waitlists for their chosen event. You will be notified no later than 3-weeks prior to the start of your event if you are moved from a waitlist onto the event roster. Please let our central office camp staff know as soon as possible if you decide to register for a different event and no longer wish to remain on the waitlist. 

Are camps open now for retreats and gatherings?

Yes! Your Dakotas and Minnesota Camps are OPEN for small group gatherings and retreats, personal/family time away, or volunteer group work projects! Each campsite follows COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures that meet guidelines set by each state and the CDC.  These include requiring masks and social distancing in common areas, limiting space in individual bedrooms to family groups, minimal to no contact with other onsite groups or staff, reducing group sizes as needed, and maximizing time outdoors when possible.

How can I use the money left in my Camping account from last year?

Money left in your account from previous years is available to spend on registrations this year! It is now called a “Payment Voucher” and you can view the available amount for an individual or family in your online registration Dashboard. You will be given the opportunity to apply it after you have registered and are making a payment online. If you are registering by mail or phone, we can apply it for you at the Camping Office. Contact us if you need to know the amount available for you.

Since camp was suspended in 2020, what happens if I am too old now to attend an event that I was really looking forward to?

We don’t want you to miss out! If possible, we will allow you to attend the event of your choice. Please contact us at info@dakcamps.org or 855-622-1973.

What is the cancellation/refund policy this year?

If the camping office needs to cancel a camp, you will be notified and receive a full refund.

If a camper needs to cancel, we will provide a full refund in the event of illness, COVID-19 exposure, or a family emergency. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to request a refund. A refund will be issued only if requested. All camper cancellations must be received in writing at info@dakcamps.org. Please call the camping office at (855) 622-1973 (toll free) with any questions.

During Summer 2021, we will provide a full refund for a cancellation for any reason up to two weeks before the start of the event.

  • Between 8-14 days prior to the start of camp, we will give a full refund minus a $100 processing fee.
  • Less than 7 days prior to the start of camp, no refund will be issued.

  • A no call/no show to camp will result in forfeit of all payments.

If I chose to use my 2020 camp deposit as a down payment for a camp in summer 2021, but I am unable to attend - what happens to it?

We would be happy to refund you at any time. Simply contact the Central Camping Office at 855-622-1973 or info@dakcamps.org.

How do I stay connected with camp this summer?

Please check out the social media platforms and website regularly! Keep checking our website throughout the summer, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  You can also follow our individual camps on their Facebook pages: Lake Poinsett Camp, Storm Mountain Center and Wesley Acres Camp.

How can I support the camp I love? 

We are so thankful for your support of your camping programs in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Now, more than ever, your support is critical to helping your camps to remain healthy, thrive, and move forward. We appreciate your prayers and your advocacy for United Methodist camping programs. We would also welcome your financial gift during this challenging time.

Gifts may be given in the follow ways:

  • Donate online here
  • Send a check to: DAK/MN Area - Central Camping Office, 122 W. Franklin, Ste. 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404. Check can be made payable to: Dakotas UM Camps

You are welcome to designate your gift to a specific camp or cause, or simply allow the camping ministry to determine where it’s most needed. 

We’d also welcome volunteers to help with a variety of projects around camp.  Individuals, families, and small groups, who will be required to follow all health and safety guidelines while on site, are encouraged to contact the campsites directly for details.

Don't see the answer you're looking for? 

E-mail us at info@dakcamps.org, or give us a call at 855-622-1973 (toll free)

UMC

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