March 5th, 2021 Update: Masks & Gathering
We continue to prepare for a fun and safe summer of camp at Lutheridge, Lutherock, Luther Springs, and Lutheranch. And you have been sending us great questions about what camp will look like for your camper.
You have asked many questions about how we are planning to incorporate masks into our camp days. And you’ve also asked about how we will gather campers together into groups.
Our Program Directors have been consulting American Camp Association‘s Field Guide for holding camp safely during this pandemic. We’ve also been learning lessons from camps that safely gathered in 2021. As a result, the team at NovusWay has created phases for masking and grouping, guiding us in determining and communicating how campers will use masks and gather this summer. Leading up to and throughout the summer, Program leadership will consult transmission and vaccination statistics in our communities and recommendations from local government and health departments. That information, combined with years of experience keeping campers healthy and safe, will help determine the phases during your camper’s week at camp.
First, some fancy jargon definitions; when we talk about households, we are talking about something you are very familiar with at camp. We are talking about cabin groups or adventure groups, the smallest group (no more than an 8:1 camper to counselor ratio) that your camper is gathered together with their friends and counselor. You will also see us talk about cohorts. These are program areas or, in some cases, the entire camp with which your camper gathers. We use terms to help define the size and composition of who your camper will be in contact with while at camp. Reducing the numbers of people we are in contact with minimizes transmission rates while also improving our contact tracing ability. But we know that one of the joys of camp is being in community and meeting new people. That is why we hope, as conditions become safer, we will be able to move into a phase that allows more interaction and maintains a high safety level.
We will be taking a similar strategy with wearing masks while at camp. We know that face coverings are among the most critical approach in reducing the transmission of this virus. And we also know that being able to see one another’s smile and clearly speak words of hope and promise is very important at camp. That is why we hope, as conditions become safe, we will be able to move into a phase that allows for less masking and maintains a high level of safety.
Here is a visual of these phases so you can understand the conditions your camper will be under at camp:
(Click on the images above to see them in more detail.)
So how will this work? For example, suppose we were to hold summer camp right now on March 1st, 2021. In that case, it might be a little chilly for camp. And using these phases, our Program Directors have determined we would be in Cohort Phase 1 (trending towards 2) and Masking Phase 2 (trending towards 3).
We will communicate these phases to campers and parents in the email we send to registered guests on the Thursday before their week of camp. We will also update our phases at the top of this web page. We will not be changing phases mid-week unless we determine that we need to move back a phase for the highest health and safety level. With any of these phases, all campers and guests should still plan to come to camp ready to wear a mask for some amount of time.
Our staff and counselors will also be living under these phases while at camp. We will begin our summer staff orientations at the highest phase level to ensure we start the summer off well. And as conditions allow, we will move staff into a lower phase. Camp staff not directly in a camper area, including general duty and program directors, will always be operating at a phase above where campers and counselors are.
As we continue to prepare for a fun, safe, and faith-filled summer at camp, we plan to continue our clear and transparent communications about how we are doing that. Later in March, we will share disinfection procedures around all of our camps and the role vaccines will play in counselors’ safety. Until then, please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have. You can email our registration team at email@example.com or Deacon Chandler Carriker, VP of Program for NovusWay, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want you to feel safe and secure in your decision to send your camper to camp this summer.
Registration is now open for the summer at all of our camps! With experiences that get your camper outside, form faith, and build leadership skills, we know the great things in store for summer at Lutheridge, Lutherock, Luther Springs, and Lutheranch. We also are continuing to look for great young adults to serve as counselors at all camps. Click here to apply today or encourage someone to apply.
January 19, 2021 Update
At NovusWay camps, we are just as excited as you are to see the calendar change from 2020 to 2021. We believe this year will bring with it many wonderful reunions with and returns to the people and places we love. We also know right now, in January, many of your communities are facing the most challenging moments of this pandemic. As we actively prepare for a healthy and safe summer at Lutheridge, Lutherock, Luther Springs, and Lutheranch, we are aware that the effects of this virus may be with us when camp gets here. Because of that, we are planning how to incorporate various levels of overlapping, preventative measures into the camp experience that you love. There are still some unknowns as we plan for summer camp, but we wanted to give you an update and share the steps we will be preparing for over the next two months.
Using the American Camp Association’s most recent field guide for camps, we have highlighted the more impactful measures for reducing virus transmission. Here is how we see incorporating these into your camp experience.
- Prescreening: If there are measures you need to take before coming to camp or documents you need to sign off on related to health or contact before camp, we will inform you and provide you documentation at least two months before camp.
- Cohorts or “households”: Many of the ACA’s recommendations are based on campers being assigned to specific cohorts or households during their time at camp. This is easy as the cabin group or adventure group is already central to our campers’ experience at our camps over the week. Interaction between cabin groups may be reduced to minimize contact and allow for easier contact tracing if a camper becomes ill.
- Contact tracing: As a team, we are developing a contact tracing strategy that will allow us to quickly identify where and with whom campers and counselors were in contact while at camp. Suppose someone does become ill while on camp. In that case, it will allow us to more quickly monitor those they were around and keep them separated from the rest of the camp if the situation warrants.
- Wearing a face-covering: Universal face-covering use, especially indoors, is reported to reduce the risk of transmission by 80%. We also know that face-covering while at camp sounds no fun. We will work to define places where face-covering is most needed and impactful. And we will work to define opportunities during your camper’s week when they can be safely face-covering free.
- Physical distance: Within program groups at camp and between program groups, we will encourage appropriate six to nine-foot distance between campers. When this is not possible, or groups are inside, we will require face-covering.
- Safety culture: The measures we incorporate will be a part of our summer staff orientation and a part of the learning and growing we do together at camp. This will be just one more way that, as a camp community, we put others’ safety and care first.
- Maximizing outdoor programming: We are an outdoor ministry. The safest place for all of us to gather during this pandemic is out in God’s good creation. We will be looking at ways to move even more activity outside and maximize the fun!
These high impact strategies will be central to how we provide a healthy and fun experience for your camper this summer. These measures are not yet a certainty for this summer, but they represent some of the ways we will be preparing. Keep an eye on this space next month as we share more about how our preparations are progressing and what you can expect at camp this summer.
Registration for all our summer camps is now open at novusway.org/summer-camps.
Please note, we are excitedly looking for outstanding young adult summer staff. If you know someone or are looking for the summer of your life, go to novusway.org/summer-staff to learn more and apply.
November 23, 2020 Update
We are excited to share with you that registration for Summer Camp will open online on January 1st, 2021. Beginning on Monday, December 7th, you will be able to see on our website all of the incredible experiences that our teams at Lutheridge, Lutherock, Luther Springs, and Lutheranch are preparing for you and your camper. We look forward to an exciting summer of laughter, games, experiencing God’s good creation, forming faith with new friends and old, and building relationships with our excellent young adult counselors.
As we have moved through this pandemic, we’ve learned how to welcome guests on-site in life-giving and healthy ways. The past nine months have changed so much in our daily lives: how we gather, how we worship, and how we do school, among other things. We know what hasn’t changed is the importance of gathering together and being out in God’s good creation, and we at NovusWay are therefore all the more excited about Summer Camp 2021. We have missed having you at these sacred spaces.
We know that there will be many questions about what camp will look like for your camper in 2021. Will they need to wear a mask? Will they be able to sing camp songs? Will they be able to do group activities and play games together? In any case, we will continue to follow the latest guidance and safety protocols from the CDC and the American Camp Association. We will keep you updated regularly on what that will look like for your camper. You can expect monthly updates leading up to summer camp beginning in January 2021. Look for the most up to date information on our health guidelines and precautions at this page novusway.org/summer2021.
And for those young adult counselors looking forward to spending your summer with us, we will be releasing our summer staff applications on Tuesday, December 1st. Working at summer camp is an incredible way to make a difference in the world, build leadership skills for the future, and join a faith-filled and fun community. We hope you are considering working with us and inviting your friends to join you. To all of our camp friends, please share this opportunity with any young adults in your life who would be an incredible counselor. Learn more about this opportunity at novusway.org/summer-staff.
Again, here is a summary of dates to remember:
- December 1st, 2020 – Summer camp counselor application opens.
- December 7th, 2020 – Summer camp preview is available online.
- January 1st, 2021 – Summer camp registration opens.
Thank you for making camp a part of your family, your congregation, and your child’s life. God’s blessings to you, your family, and your community! We can’t wait to see you at camp!
Hear this announcement from Deacon Chandler Carriker, VP for Program & Engagement at NovusWay.