COVID-19 and Camp: What You Need to Know

What do you need to know before coming to BACK TO BETHEL this summer, or bringing your kids to camp? That is an important question during these uncertain and interesting times.


First of all, yes! Our summer programs are happening, with a few changes to our procedures to ensure your child’s safety.


The basics:

  • All campers need to show a hard copy of a negative COVID test upon arrival along with filling out the usual health forms. The test must be no more than three days old and we do ask that you quarantine in the time between the test being administered and your arrival at camp. Just like how we check for lice every year, this is done in an effort to minimize your child’s risk factor when attending camp.


  • All campers and staff will be asked to wear masks (properly) according to masking guidelines. Before you panic. We know and understand that masks are difficult to wear for long periods of time. They are hot and uncomfortable and the tan lines are going to be a nightmare. Which is why our staff is working hard to create safe activities and safe zones in which campers may be able to safely take a break from wearing their masks. We are also paying close attention to the recommendations regarding masks during both high and low contact sports. Special considerations will be taken into account for any camper who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons. So, along with your closed toed shoes and cans of bug spray, please remember to throw a couple of face coverings into your bags.


  • Our staff will perform daily checks on themselves and the campers for COVID symptoms to ensure the health and safety of everyone at camp. These will include checking for fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Each staff member will receive training on what to screen for before the start of each camp.


  • Visitors will not be allowed during camps and campers and staff must arrive and leave during designated arrival and departure times.


Camper Arrival Time: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Sunday

Camper Departure Time 10:00 am to 11:00 am on Saturday (Thursday for Elementary Camp)


Now, for the slightly more complicated rules:

  • This summer we are limiting our summer camp capacity to 24 campers (12 boys and 12 girls) per age group. This is in an effort to limit the number of campers in each cabin and minimize any chance for the spread of any communicable disease. Our campers will also be divided into two competitive teams to keep any high-risk activity from exceeding the state mandated 16 person limit.


This is another change that we know will make camp look very different this year than it has in the past. You may feel some apprehension about this, even worry that you will not be able to spend time with friends. That is something we are actively trying to avoid. We want you to see and enjoy your friends, that is what camp is about, which is why each team will be embroiled in a week long competition. You and your team will not only spend time together learning about how to move forward in your walk with God in this ever changing world, but also earning points in games and activities and directly competing with your opposing team. Much like in the house cup competition in Harry Potter, points will be awarded to each team and cabin during games and activities, as well as for good things you do throughout the week.  At the end of the week, we reveal which team and cabin earned the most points for a special prize.


We have a few other tricks up our sleeves to help make “social distancing” a little more fun and a little less of a chore.


  • All of our staff and volunteers will be vaccinated. Camp Bethel has decided that the best way to ensure both your child and our staff’s safety is by asking all of our staff to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before their arrival at camp. This will allow them to respond more safely to an emergency or to leave the premises in case of an emergency without having to receive a second negative COVID test. This was a decision our board of directors did not come to lightly.


But, what if someone gets sick at camp?


Our goal with all of these safety procedures and protocols is for no one to get sick at camp, but it is better to plan for the worst than be surprised by it.


If a staff member or camper starts exhibiting COVID symptoms, he/she will be moved to the Spruce Lodge for a 24 hour quarantine supervised by the camp’s nurse. Parents will be notified immediately. Their cabin and small group meeting spaces will be sanitized. If 24 hours pass without fever he/she may return to camp activities. If not, parents will be asked to pick up their child. Campers within their team will continue to be monitored for symptoms.