COVID-19 and Camp - FAQ's
Last updated 5/14/21
What might be different during my time at camp this summer because of COVID-19, and how should I prepare? Most of what our campers love about camp will still be part of this summer’s experiences. Most activities will take place with smaller groups (pods) with increased sanitation measures. Campers will be doing more things outside, including worship and meals! We are working hard to do our part to control the risk of spreading COVID-19. We've recently updated our Summer 2021 COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Procedures. These include things you should do before and during camp to help keep yourself and everyone at camp safe.
Will my camper have to wear a mask while attending camp? CDC and state guidance is changing rapidly on the topic of masking. At this point, campers (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will not need to wear masks within their assigned pod/cohort group including time in the cabins and outdoors for all activities. Campers will be asked to wear masks only in high density/mixing settings including indoor mealtimes and when gathering with other pods. Events with larger attendance may require facemasks during camper check-in/check-out. While camp is in session, other situations may occur when facemasks are requested to be worn. We require consistent and correct use of well-fitted masks that cover the nose and mouth and we ask that campers, staff, and volunteers bring least one new mask for each day of camp.
I am planning to work/volunteer at camp this summer and I am fully vaccinated, will I have to wear a mask at camp? Vaccinated staff and volunteers will be asked to wear masks only in high density/mixing settings including indoor mealtimes. Fully vaccinated means that you have received your second/final shot no less than 2 weeks prior to your arrival at camp.
I am planning to work/volunteer at camp this summer but I am NOT currently fully vaccinated, what may be different about my time at camp? Unvaccinated staff and volunteers will be asked to wear masks when meeting indoors with all camper groups, especially in common high density/mixing spaces including indoor mealtimes and worship spaces, and outdoors when 6’ of physical distance is not possible.
Will you require campers, staff, and volunteers to be vaccinated in order to attend or work at camp? If eligible, we strongly encourage campers, staff, volunteers, and family members to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Ideally, wait two weeks after completing the final vaccination for COVID-19 before traveling to camp.
What happens if safety guidance changes before I arrive at camp? Our protocols and procedures are based on current guidance and are subject to change. Please know that we’ll continue to pay close attention to COVID-19 conditions and will update any modifications as needed. Since our staff expects updated guidance from state and national health officials as we approach summer, it’s important to stay connected with Dakotas and Minnesota Camping during this time. Information will be shared regularly through social media, email, and website updates. Please check back often for the most current information
What COVID-19 safety precautions might be part of my time at camp this summer? Information concerning pre-camp requirements and specific protocols for your time at camp have been emailed to you. These include requiring masks and physical 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 and national health information and the American Camp Association guidance.
Will my camper have to wear a mask while attending camp? CDC and state guidance is changing rapidly on the topic of masking. At this point, all campers, volunteers, and staff are required to wear face masks when using indoor common areas, when group/pod mixing occurs, and potentially outside when physical distancing is not possible. . This is based on current safety information and are subject to change. We require universal and correct use of well-fitted masks that cover the nose and mouth and ask that campers bring least one new mask for each day of camp. Campers will not need to wear face masks while eating and drinking, sleeping, or swimming..
Will my camper need to take a COVID-19 test in order to attend camp? Testing your camper for COVID-19 prior to arrival at camp is not currently required of all campers but may be necessary based on some circumstances.
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 most likely be sent home.
Is there anything extra I will need to bring this year? Campers need to bring one new face mask for each day of camp and hand-sanitizer. Additional items may be listed in your welcome letter.
Will my camping event be full while I am there this summer? The capacity at each of our campsites has been lowered 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.
What are the before, during, and after camp policies and procedures related to COVID-19?Information concerning pre-camp requirements and specific protocols for your time at camp were emailed to you recently. You can also view them here.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com, or give us a call at 855-622-1973 (toll free)