Are you thinking about sending your children to an overnight camp this summer?
Here at Camp Mini-Yo-We, we really do believe that kids need camp.
If I was looking for a core piece of advice to give every parent considering sending their kids to a camp this summer, it would be: ask ‘has the camp you’re thinking about sending your kids to this summer actually hosted anyone during the pandemic?’
What experience does the summer camp that you’re thinking about sending your kid to have with all the various required protocols and related issues to ensure that your kids are healthy and safe at camp this summer?
If you’re considering sending your kid to Camp, you should be looking at a summer camp that has invested the last few months not just being shut down, waiting for a vaccine, but by actually hosting guests in a safe and appropriate manner.
Hosting campers during a pandemic is not theoretical for us. Camp Mini-Yo-We has hosted 923 guests since the start of the pandemic, with zero transmission.
We’ve done this through our Family Adventures in the summertime, where guests came in their family pods to enjoy a day away at camp. Over the last few months, we’ve had volunteers helping around our facility to get it ready for your campers to arrive. And in the fall we hosted a series of large volunteer work parties, where people came en masse to serve at camp.
All of those guest experiences helped us learn how to host guests safely in the midst of a pandemic, so that we are ready to host your campers in the summer of 2021, in a safe and effective manner.
There have been so many lessons that we’ve learned over the last few months of hosting people on the property. We are working closely with the Ontario Camps Association and the provincial government to develop and implement rigorous policies for the summer to ensure the safety of our community. In addition to our regular safeguarding processes, we are implementing new policies involving heightening cleaning and disinfection practices, pre-camp screening, cohorts of campers and staff, and reducing overall capacity.
Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
Our teams have learned not only how to clean everyday surfaces, including counters, doors and windows, but have also been through the process of cleaning camp-specific materials like climbing ropes, harnesses, canoe paddles, life jackets and waterfront accessories.
Each one of these cleaning regimes has required us to work through the protocols to meet the sanitation standards that we need.
We have now done these cleaning regimes at scale with no transmission from all the guests that we have had on the property.
Screening and Contact Tracing
If you’ve been studying closely how to control COVID-19, one of the critical pieces of the puzzle is tracking very carefully who has come onto the property, and who they have interacted with.
Again, screening and contract tracing is not theoretical for us. The reason we know there have been 923 people we’ve engaged with is that right from the beginning we’ve invested time, effort, and energy to ensure that our screening protocols are of a high standard and that we know exactly who has been on our property.
In the summer, when campers come to our facility, we will do daily, documented health checks of all staff and campers, and then take appropriate action with each person who displays potential COVID symptoms.
We have been designing and using these screening systems already, to learn what works and what doesn’t, so we can confidently host your kids in the summer of 2021.
A critical way to control the spread of COVID that we’ve seen in multiple environments like overnight kids’ camps is keeping the “cohort” size small. This means limiting the total number of campers and staff that your kids will come into contact with for the summer of 2021.
We have made adjustments to our activities, based on what we’ve learned already around cohorting activities, to ensure that your campers interact with as few people as possible while they are with us.
We are confident that with small cohorts your kids will not only have a great experience at Mini-Yo-We, but we can also ensure we do it in as safe a manner as possible.
Working with Regulatory Authorities
It’s been my honour, as the executive director of Camp Mini-Yo-We, to be part of an Ontario Camps Association working committee on the opening of camps for this coming summer. This has given a unique insight into both our industry association and Ontario Public Health. It’s been a privilege to serve fellow camps as we get ready to host guests for the summer of 2021, as well as to help ensure that our plans for the summer are based in the best practices being considered.
We have already reached out to our local health unit, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, to open dialogue around how we can work together to ensure the summer of 2021 is safe and healthy for all of our campers.
At Camp Mini-Yo-We we take pride in not just meeting health and safety regulations but exceeding them. We approach these issues with care and concern.
You should send your kids to Mini-Yo-We this summer. We’ve hosted 923 other guests safely.
We believe, at the core of our being, that every kid in Ontario needs to come to camp.
I invite you to send your kids to Camp Mini-Yo-We, but I would also encourage you to explore any program your children attend and ask them what their experience has been so far in working with kids, staff, and other guests during the pandemic.
Keeping people safe and healthy during COVID-19 is not theoretical for Camp Mini-Yo-We.
We have taken it very seriously and we would be deeply honoured if you would give us the opportunity to serve your campers this summer.
Summer 2021 Registration
For the summer of 2021, we are choosing to reduce our registration capacity by 50% due to the restrictions we believe the Ontario government will place on overnight camps like ours when we open.
This does create registration pressure for families like yours who are considering sending their kids to Camp Mini-Yo-We this summer. We anticipate that we’ll sell out quickly. The summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019 were our largest ever, yet this year we are reducing our capacity by 50%.
As public health guidance documents are released we will update our community on our policies for summer 2021.
Registration is next summer is now OPEN! Secure your spot for just $1 when you register today. Got questions about this summer? Contact our Customer Care Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-385-2629.