*This is a general overview as of 4/14/2021 and is subject to change as we get closer to the camping season. Any changes will be disclosed via email and social media updates from the Region when changes are made*
After ongoing conversations with the Illinois Department of Public Health, attending webinars provided by the American Camping Association (ACA) and the Christian Camping and Conference Association (CCCA), and working with our own staff and volunteers within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), we believe it is possible to safely hold overnight programming at Camp Walter Scott this summer. If we are advised that it is unsafe to hold programs or the State of Illinois does not change its position on camps, we will not open camp.
We want to be as transparent as possible regarding how we reached this decision and how we move forward in this process. To that end, here is a video link to the most recent ACA webinar, which showed statistical evidence of safe camping practices being able to be implemented with social distancing, mask wearing, testing/monitoring, and altered programming. The most encouraging statistics shared from the webinar included the fact that very few camps had outbreaks (defined as more than three people being infected) last summer and most held alternative camping programs without any cases at all.
This document will hopefully help outline what responsibilities the Camp Walter Scott staff and volunteers will be working through to make summer 2021 safe and healthy in compliance with the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control. Many of our policies come from ongoing conversations with the health department in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines of safe summer camps found here –https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html
Many people may be vaccinated, many may have negative Covid tests, even, but the health department and the evidence from the ACA has reminded us that we do not know enough about the virus or the vaccine to be able to make plans around them. If someone is vaccinated, there may still be a chance that person could carry the disease and transmit it to another person who has not yet received the vaccine. Because of this, all of our protocols will be required to be observed and adhered to by every person who will be at Camp Walter Scott this summer. This includes staff, campers, and volunteers. Anyone who refuses to adhere to these guidelines will be asked to leave immediately as we are needing to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of the wider community.
**Note** It may be possible that as we approach the time when camp will be happening that there will be enough vaccines, the Covid numbers may go down drastically, or the Center for Disease Control may change their recommendations for how to have safe practices for summer camp. We are open to changing our programming to resemble a more “normal” year, but we will only do so under the guidance of the health department. This is a working document and it will be continually updated as we get more information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, and as we develop more of our policies and procedures for Camp Walter Scott 2021.
If you have any questions that you believe are unanswered by this document, please reach out to our Associate Regional Minister for Young Adults, Youth, and Children Rev. Eli Rolon Jeong at [email protected] or our Camp Host Laura Williams at [email protected] to make sure that your questions and concerns can be addressed.**