This is your central resource for our latest communications regarding the BYM Camping Program’s operations, policies, and guidelines for COVID-19 safety and prevention for campers, staff, and families.

All of us in the BYM Camping Program are dedicated to ensuring that this is a joyous, restorative, and safe summer for all of our campers and staff. It is a collective and collaborative effort drawing on the experience and wisdom of our Camp Directors, of the medical and public health experts in our community, of the volunteers on our Reopening Task Force, of the General Secretary and Trustees of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and on the guidance of the American Camp Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of our policies and plans are still in development, so we encourage you to check back here and read our emails over the coming months to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns at any time. If there is additional information you would like to see on our website related to our COVID-19 planning and preparation, please let us know by emailing brian@bymcamps.org.

We are cautious, and determined, and hopeful. We believe that 2021 will be a magical summer. We’re excited to do the work necessary to get there, together.
Peace,

Brian Massey
Program Manager, BYM Camps

January, 2021 – Update: BYM Camps Reopening in Summer 2021
February 2021 Update – BYM Camps Reopening Task Force


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Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated on 2/12/21

List of commonly asked questions for reopening BYM Camps in 2021. We will add to this list if we see more questions come to us as we go along. If you have a question that is missing from this list, please don’t hesitate to contact Brian Massey, the Program Manager for BYM Camps, at brian@bymcamps.org.

Which summer camp programs are you planning to run in 2021?

We are planning to have all four of our camps open and fully operational in 2021: Catoctin, Opequon, Shiloh, and Teen Adventure.

What are BYM Camps doing to prepare for the 2021 camp season?

We plan to implement new safety protocols and adapt our programs and facilities to make the summer camp experience as safe and fun as possible for our campers, staff and families in 2021. We have a Reopening Task Force which is supporting the Program Manager of BYM Camps and the General Secretary of BYM in this work, and our plans will be guided by recommendations, guidance, and requirements from local, State and Federal agencies.

How will camp look in 2021? Will it be drastically different?

We are committed to making sure that the spirit of camp, the feeling it engenders in campers and staff, will remain the same as it has always been. There might be details that are unique to this year, especially around arrival & departure procedures, use of personal protective equipment, and the frequency of large group & whole camp activities. But it’ll still be camp, and it’ll still be magical.

Will you have a testing policy or system?

Yes. However, COVID-19 testing technology is evolving quickly, and we have not yet determined the testing system and processes we will use. We anticipate that we will be asking our campers and staff to obtain a COVID-19 test shortly before arrival at camp. Only staff and campers with a negative result on the pre-arrival diagnostic test will be allowed to come to camp. We are also exploring the possibility of testing campers and staff at the camps during the summer, but we have not yet finalized our plan.

What will drop off at camp look like?

We will likely request that as few family members as possible travel with their camper(s) for actual drop off. We plan to employ a curbside drop off where the family member remain in their car or next to their car as they say goodbye to their camper(s) before they depart. Physical distancing and masks will be required during drop off. We also will likely stagger drop off times; families will receive their specific arrival times and the detailed procedures before they arrive.

What are the arrival day health screening procedures?

Our standard procedure in any year is to screen all campers and staff upon arrival. In addition to our normal intake screening process, we will do temperature checks, ask questions about any recent signs and symptoms of illness, and review any required pre-camp home health log.

We require that we have complete and updated health information and physical health forms for each camper before arrival at camp.

What are the quarantine requirements for campers before arriving at camp?

We will follow the State of Maryland’s and the State of Virginia’s quarantine guidelines for summer camps. We may adjust our policies as we get nearer to the outset of camp, based on new state guidance and requirements, recommendations from our advisers and updated guidance from the American Camp Association (ACA).

We are currently planning for all campers to spend at least the start of the session in “Unit Pods” for a period designated by the State’s guidance. Therefore, campers are not required to quarantine at home prior to arriving at camp.

Families coming from out of state who intend to drop off their camper(s) at one of the BYM Camps will be subject to any cross-state travel guidance.

Before coming to their BYM Camp this summer, families and staff might be asked to change their behaviors for some period to minimize possible exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 regardless of where they are living. The state guidelines may require they maintain a home health log, which would include taking a daily temperature check and monitoring for signs and symptoms of illness.

All families will receive detailed guidance later this spring related to pre-arrival quarantine expectations and requirements.

Will you be requiring campers and staff to wear masks and physically distance?

Yes, campers and staff will be required to wear masks and practice physical distancing as two of our main strategies to mitigate exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. There will be times when masks are not required, at a minimum when campers and staff are eating, swimming and sleeping.

We are in the process of developing our policies in these areas for both campers and staff, and we hope to have our policies complete by early May, and families of all registered campers will receive a copy of our policies. If a family disagrees with our intention to set specific mask-wearing and physically distancing policies for campers, we recommend that they do not register their children this summer.

What is your approach to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Because the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available for children and youth, we do not anticipate requiring that campers be vaccinated against COVID-19. We will immediately notify families if there are any changes to our current vaccination policy. Campers will not be allowed to leave and return to camp to receive either a first, second or only dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

At this time, we strongly recommend that camp staff and work grant volunteers who have access to a COVID-19 vaccine be vaccinated.

Will campers and staff who have been vaccinated be required to wear masks and physically distance?

Yes. While the COVID-19 vaccines have proven effective at preventing severe disease, the question of whether or not they prevent asymptomatic transmission of the virus is still being studied. Therefore, campers and staff who have received one or more dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be required to follow BYM Camps’ mask-wearing, physical distancing and other virus mitigation protocols.

Will you adjust your plans and policies to reflect changing dynamics in the pandemic?

Flexibility and diligence have been two of the most important characteristics for all of us to possess this year, families and organizations alike. In that spirit, of course, all plans are subject to change, based upon changing conditions and evolving understandings and continuing revelations.

We commit to communicate honestly and openly and transparently throughout the winter, spring, and summer.

What is the refund policy for 2021?

If you withdraw the registration for your camper prior to April 15th, all tuition payments minus for the $50 registration fee will be refunded. If you withdraw the registration after April 15th but before May 15th, all tuition payments minus the deposit will be refunded. After May 15th, no refund is available. Our full refund policy can be found on our general FAQ page: https://bymcamps.org/faqs/.

In the unlikely event that camp is cancelled, either due to our own decision or one by state & local agencies, we will offer a full refund, minus the $50 application fee.

Will there be opportunities to ask questions and find out more about the emerging plan?

The Program Manager and the Reopening Task Force will send out periodic updates to all families and staff throughout the winter and spring. We will also organize a virtual town hall later in the spring so that everyone can ask questions and listen to the staff of BYM Camps describe how we’re going to make this a safe and joyous summer. Please stay tuned for those details, and always feel free to send questions to brian@bymcamps.org.

What can the BYM Camp community do to help?

Similar to so many other families, organizations, and businesses, BYM Camps face a lot of uncertainty right now. If you are able, please consider donating to the BYM Camps General Fund to help us adapt our programs and support as many families as possible.

Beyond financial contributions, we acknowledge that our return in 2021 will required us to make several changes to our operations. To that end, we are looking for contacts and connections in procuring discounted or donated items to help us keep costs low. These items include:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns for the health team, etc.)
  • Cleaning Products (bleach wipes, EPA approved COVID cleaning and disinfection products, cleaning equipment, etc.)
  • Tents (various sizes, commercial event grade, NOT camping tents)
  • Building materials, lumber and plumbing supplies for hand washing stations and water bottle fill stations
  • Porta Pottie
  • Kitchen equipment, service wares, paper products (plates, cups, silverware, to go boxes)
  • Portable camp / stadium chairs

Thank you for your ongoing interest in camp and please reach out if you can help support our preparations for a safe and healthy camp season!

What resources have the BYM Camps been using to develop the COVID-19 policies and practices?

While we have been and will continue to be open to good science and best practices from any source, we have been primarily relying on resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Camp Association as we build out our COVID-19 policies and practices.

What if I want to work at a BYM Camp this summer?

We’d love to receive your application! Staff applications are being accepted currently, and Directors will start scheduling interviews and making hires shortly. Please visit the Employment page of our website for more information. If you have specific questions about how COVID-19 policies will impact staff, please call 301-774-7663 or email brian@bymcamps.org.

Will parents be able to visit camp in 2021?

Our policies around family visitation are still being developed, but it is likely that the rules around visitor will be much stricter this year than they have been in the past, and all but the most essential visits will be discouraged. This makes us sad, of course, and we can’t wait to have parents and families be more present at camp in future years!

Will there still be Work Grant volunteers at camp this summer?

Yes, we will still be hosting Work Grant volunteers at all three residential camps this summer. Sign up using our main registration system. There will be different rules and guidelines for Work Grant volunteers than in the past, similar to what we put in place for all staff. We will communicate those policies as they emerge, but if you have specific questions about how COVID-19 policies will impact Work Grant volunteers, please call 301-774-7663 or email brian@bymcamps.org.

What will happen to campers who would’ve been in Unit 1 in 2020?

Campers who would’ve been in Unit 1 in 2020 will be allowed the option of returning to their residential camp – Catoctin, Shiloh, or Opequon – for one final summer, or moving on to participate in the Teen Adventure program designed for campers between the ages of 15 and 17. It is completely their choice.

What about the campers who were going to attend Teen Adventure in 2020?

Campers who were going to attend Teen Adventure in 2020 are welcome to attend this year. In fact, we’re expecting and excited to have them! We have raised the age limit so that campers who were to be in the second-year Teen Adventure Leadership Training (TALT) program will still be able to sign up. We’re looking forward to a great summer at TA!

How can I talk to the Program Manager and other staff members with BYM Camps?

Feel free to contact Brian Massey, the Program Manager for BYM Camps, with any question or concern or about any issue and at any time, at brian@bymcamps.org. You can reach him by phone by calling the BYM Office at 301-774-7663. You can also schedule a meeting with him putting yourself on his calendar: https://calendly.com/bymcamps

Opequon fire circle