As always, Camp Tuckahoe and Hidden Valley Scout Reservation remain committed to the safety of our summer camp Scouts, leaders, volunteers, and staff. We consult regularly with our local and state health departments, as well as our Executive Board, to prepare and implement appropriate protocols to help better prepare for the summer and keep everyone safe.
The BSA published a document in June of 2020 outlining guidance for the Restart of Scouting and how to stay SAFE (Supervision, Assessment, Fitness & Skill, and Equipment & Environment) in doing so. In keeping with this model, we have outlined below how we will remain SAFE this summer at both Camp Tuckahoe and Hidden Valley Scout Reservation.
As stated previously, we have remained in regular contact with our local and state health departments to understand guidance on preventing COVID-19 exposure. We have engaged with these individuals, our Executive Board, and neighboring councils to plan and prepare necessary adjustments, as needed, for our summer camp operations this year.
As a part of this process, we will be communicating regularly through newsletters, email blasts, and social media our plans for the summer. Likewise, we will be having monthly Leader’s Webinars to prepare for summer camp. While these webinars will focus on topics other than COVID-19, COVID-19 will certainly have a key part in them.
In the weeks and months leading up to summer camp, as we determine definitive plans for the summer, we will be publishing guides and amendments to our Leader’s Guides to ensure everyone is informed and prepared on what to expect at summer camp.
As state and local guidelines change and adapt, we are constantly reevaluating and updating our procedures and plans to ensure we are in full compliance with any directives we are given.
We are taking the time to slowly assess each aspect of our camp procedures, programs, and activities from the second a Scout enters camp to their departure ensuring every aspect of camp is as safe as it possibly can be. In this process, we are looking at each and every scenario of how something could play out and what various procedures may be. While we do not have any procedures set in stone, we have created a document outline what summer camp may look like as a result of this assessment process.
FITNESS & SKILL
Health and safety has always been an important part of Scouting. As a result, Annual Health and Medical Records are required for all Scouting events, and this year will be no different. It is important for everyone attending camp to be in good health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, please ensure you have approval from your health care provider prior to resuming in-person Scouting activities. Every Scout, leader, volunteer, and staff member must evaluate their unique circumstances and make an informed decision before attending summer camp.
COVID-19 screening has been a part of daily operations for our Professional Staff and our weekend operations for campers. As a result of these screenings, there have been no COVID-19 cases from any of our camps. This shows the importance of these screenings and how they can be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. It is likely over the summer a screening for any new or worsening signs or symptoms will be done upon arrival and each day while at camp.
EQUIPMENT & ENVIRONMENT
Understanding of the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and local and state guidelines, we are prepared and looking at purchasing additional equipment to better handle hygiene, social distancing, sanitation, and overall safety. This includes ensuring there are adequate handwashing stations around camp and hand sanitation dispensers for times when handwashing is not possible.
Thankfully, camp is best spent outside, so Scouts are already used to being in the open air. To ensure we are in compliance with current social distancing guidelines, we are looking at alternatives to our indoor locations we traditionally use at camp, switching to either outdoor locations or spreading individuals out more in indoor facilities.
More sanitation and cleaning equipment will be available this year than ever before. Individuals will also likely be recommended to carry their own sanitation to make it as easily accessible as possible.
We are making it our duty to ensure camp is a safe environment for Scouts, leaders, volunteers, and staff alike.
Camp will certainly look a little different this year upon your arrival, but we still plan on providing each Scout the best program, camping experience, and summer camp opportunities as we always do. Likewise, we hope to bring back as much familiarity to Scouts as we possibly can. Thus, our program and structure will remain unaltered, only making adjustments as needed to how we do something to comply with current guidance at the time. At the end of the day, our goal is to put everyone’s safety before everything else while sticking to the traditional camp Scouts are used to as much as possible.
While we make it our top priority to be safe this summer, it is important to remember that does not equal risk-free. Precautions and mitigation efforts are important, but they cannot eliminate the potential for exposure to COVID-19 or any other illness when in-person activities occur. People with COVID-19 may show no signs or symptoms of illness, but they can still spread the virus. Some people may be contagious before their symptoms occur. The fact of the matter is that someone with COVID-19 may pass the required health screenings and be allowed into camp and program activities.