COVID – 2021 Summer Plans | Camp Twin Creeks

COVID – 2021 Summer Plans

What will the 2021 summer look like?

With time to plan for the 2021 summer in today’s world, we wanted to give you a clear idea of what steps are being taken to ensure the Camp Twin Creeks experience is a safe one and a typical fun sleepaway camp summer!

These steps are being shared to give you a sense of our plans at this time, several months away from the summer.  The time for formal procedures and plans for testing, screening and more will come as the 2021 summer approaches.  Rest assured we will share those with everyone concerned.  We will also take all relevant guidance from the American Camping Association, our local health department and the CDC.  This page on our website represents a work in progress and updates will be made as we learn more, discuss program options with staff and develop healthcare plans with our amazing health center staff.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions related to any of these points.

This information is current as of April 15th, 2021 and will be updated regularly as we prepare for the 2021 summer.

Cabin Capacity

In order to ensure more room in cabins for sleeping and relaxing, we will cap enrollment to comply with WV state guidelines and/or ACA and CDC recommendations.  This will likely mean 10 to 12 campers per cabin.  This represents a reduction of between 4-6 campers and will allow each camper ample space in their beds for at least 6 feet of separation.  Natural ventilation and movement of air in cabins is already excellent thanks to screen windows every few feet, a screen door and cool temperatures as a result of our fresh mountain air!  Cabins will still be home to a minimum of 2 or 3 counselors.

Reduced Sessions

After considering a number of alternate sessions and length options we decided to offer 3 of our traditional 2-week sessions rather than the 4 we normally offer.  We did this to reduce transitions in and out of camp and to further increase the likelihood that camp is a safe and healthy environment for all campers and staff this summer.  Check out these session dates here.

The fixed structure of our 2-week sessions also helps us to minimize camper transitions in and out of camp.  In addition, our traditional 1-week dream week session has been shifted to the first week of session 4 to ensure campers all start together.

Camper Health Screening

At this time the likely plan is for campers to report to camp on day 1 of their session with an approved negative PCR COVID-19 test from the prior week.  We also require campers maintain a self-quarantine in the days prior to attending camp.  Once at camp we will perform daily screenings and temperature checks to ensure the ongoing health of our camper population as well as a follow up PCR test a few days into the session.  We will have a plan in place to quarantine any camper or counselor exhibiting a high temperature or typical symptoms.  We also have access to a test facility in nearby Marlinton, WV.

Campers will not be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to attending camp.

This plan will be formalized as the summer approaches and will include a specific timetable for testing as well as the type of test required.

Dining Hall and Meals

We are fortunate to have a large dining hall with extensive seating inside and several tables outside on the porch.  Tables inside will be spaced accordingly to allow 6 feet of space between campers that are not in the same cabin/pod.  The grass area leading up to the dining hall will also be utilized for lunch as always and for other meals too if necessary.  It is our intention to still offer just 2 seatings for each meal to preserve the daily camp schedule as best we we can.  Our head chef, Pete, is also busy becoming familiar with COVID related food handling policies and best practices as a sorority chef in FL.

Cabins as a ‘Pod’

For the past 20 years, our daily schedule has meant campers spending each morning with their own cabin traveling together to the 3 different activities.  This will not change, allowing cabins to remain within their pod structure.  Afternoon activities and special events might also involve restricted mingling between pods.  Pod sizes will be determined at a suitable date closer to the summer.  We may also implement a ‘mix and mask’ approach; when campers mix outside of their pod we will ask them to wear a mask.

Activities Outside

Like most summer camps, we are fortunate that almost all activities take place outdoors.  For those activities that often take place indoors, such as dance, arts and crafts and woodshop, we will introduce outdoor alternatives.  Our Arts and Crafts building already includes a large outdoor deck that campers love to spend time on.

During rainy days programming will continue to be outside or on covered porches whenever possible.

Sanitizing and Cleaning

Everyday hygiene and healthy practices are already such an important part of a communal living situation such as summer camp.  Our health center staff always remind campers to wash hands, stay hydrated and look after themselves in general.  These reminders will now also include daily temperature checks as well as self-screening for COVID symptoms.  Mandatory hand washing protocols will be introduced between activities and hand sanitizer will also be readily available at all locations around camp.  Portable hand washing stations will also be introduced around camp.

Regular cleaning and sanitizing of common touch-spots such as door handles, sports equipment, rest rooms and water fountains will be carried out by a specific team of staff.  Between sessions, all of these same areas will undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfecting process.

Our health center staff will also help us establish guidelines and protocols in case of a suspected outbreak.  We will share these plans with all camp families prior to the summer.

Special Events, Campfires

What is summer camp without campfires, cheers and special, crazy events?  Not summer camp as we know and love it, that’s for sure!  We will be sure to evaluate everyone of these special times and determine what makes the most sense for everybody.  Campfires with 300+ campers and counselors screaming along to ‘Lion Hunt’ or ‘Country Roads’ might not happen for a while but something equal in majesty and memory will take their place!

Overnight Camping Trips

Parents always love the fact that all campers get the opportunity to spend a night in a tent at one of our rustic camping sites on, or very close to, camp itself.  Some campers love those trips too, some less so 😉  The viability of having groups of campers in small tents is not so great these days obviously.  Our plan therefore is to keep a small number of camping trips for certain age groups.  Our oldest campers will still participate in the TC Trek – 9 miles on the Allegheny Trail – and other fun and memorable trips will still take place on camp or in our beautiful surroundings of Pocahontas County, WV.  Rest assured, every camper will be enjoying as much exposure to nature and the great outdoors as usual!

Staff and PPE

Our staff missed camp in 2020 as much as the campers did!  They will be happy to do what they can to make camp happen and maintain a safe environment for everyone concerned.  It’s our aim for all staff to arrive at camp fully vaccinated, pending widespread availability.  Staff will be wearing PPE when indoors or close to campers, and being aware of who they interact with when they’re not working.  Their time away from camp will also be modified to limit their exposure to members of the public.  As always, our counselor team is a key part of the success of everything we do and that will continue to be the case in 2021.

Bus Transportation from Washington DC

We often claim that ‘camp starts on the bus’ as friends reunite and excite builds during the drive into the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia.  For this summer however, transportation on our coaches to camp will not be provided.  Transportation home from camp will be offered.  We will continue to remain in touch with our long established bus partner to learn more about their plans as well as local state guidelines.  Keep an eye on our transportation page for updates.

Resources for Families

CDC Guidelines for Summer Camps
ACA Field guide for Camps
How to talk to your kids about COVID-19
Talking to teens and tweens about Coronavirus