Youth camps preparing for summer with CDC guidelines, encouragement of leaders

(ABC4) – What will camping for young people look like in 2021? They did a lot of things in 2020, according to local camp directors and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recently released new guidelines for operating summer camps for youth during COVID-19, even though the pandemic appears to be reaching some kind of conclusion in the United States with vaccination reaching critical mass.

Camping guidelines include pursuing many of the same procedures and jargon that became common during the coronavirus days, such as social distancing and wearing a mask. Additional updates include a recommendation that all camp staff, volunteers and eligible campers should be fully immunized before attending activities.

Knowing that having a cabin or group full of children on board with mask-wearing and social distancing, local groups, such as the YMCA of Northern Utah, plan to stick with what has operated last summer when COVID-19 transmissions and case counts were much higher.

Courtesy of the YMCA of Northern Utah

Rich West, CEO of the YMCA of Northern Utah, told ABC4 that when campers arrive at their overnight camps, which include Camp Roger and Camp Mill Hollow, they will stay in their small groups of around 10 for the entire time. duration. Being part of these groups, or “camp families,” as West calls them, campers will not need to wear masks all the time, as real families living outside of camp do in the life of the camp. everyday.

If the different groups intersect or participate in activities together, wearing a mask and social distancing will be the order of the day.

This procedure was in place last summer and it seemed to be working, according to West.

“We haven’t had any cases coming out of our overnight camp. And, from our seven day camp, we had three or four cases that came out, but because of our policies, we never had to close a camp because we were really good at our policies and procedures. This camp group just needed to be told they needed to quarantine themselves, but the other groups, because they maintained social distancing and wore their masks, didn’t need to shut down, ”West said.

Of course, as with last year’s camps, some activities must be suspended. Usually Camp Roger and Camp Mill Hollow have weekly campfires throughout the camp, but not this year. The Thursday night camp dance is also on hiatus. However, families or groups at the camp will still be able to do many other activities, such as archery and horseback riding.

“We still maintain our policies and hope this is the last summer that we have to do this, but we are definitely broadcasting more on the conservative side. We will continue to operate as we did last summer, ”West said. “We were one of the few camps across the country that had our overnight camps organized last year and we are really confident and happy that we did. We have had excellent feedback from our families.

Courtesy of the YMCA of Northern Utah

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that youth camps such as youth conferences and young women’s camps are an integral part of the experience of young people as members of the Church. .

A recent letter to members from Mr. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, advises church leaders that they should still be working to provide youth camps this summer.

“For 2021, we strongly suggest that stake and ward leaders, including class and youth quorum presidencies, plan and hold a youth and Young Women conference. and Aaronic Priesthood Camps, ”the letter read.

The letter also indicated, however, that some camps such as the For the Strength of Youth conferences would be postponed until 2022.

With guidance from the CDC and encouragement from religious and secular camp leaders, the youth camps are slated to take place this summer. Bring graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows, camp is open.

About the author