• Office Address: 475 Riverside Drive Room 600 New York, New York 10115
  • (212) 242-1100

Summer Camping Safety Precautions April 2020

Scouting Friends,
We have every intention of running summer camp this season and are continuing our summer planning and preparations. We are all hoping that the current global situation makes way for one of the greatest summers ever. The camping team is excited about all the things we plan on offering our Scouts, leaders, and families this summer at Ten Mile River Scout Camps, John E. Reeves Cub World, or our day camps at Camp Pouch or Alpine Scout Camp.
As we approach the summer, we wanted to bring you up to date with our planning for this summer at our camps. Our focus has, and always will be, to provide a safe environment for our campers. Greater New York Council’s camps are annual accredited by the Boy Scouts of America and licensed with the state. The accreditation and license process include health and safety plans and standards that are designed to keep campers and staff safe while providing an outdoor experience that is purposeful and impactful. Each camp is led by a senior leadership team that is trained and certified in their positions. On top of our existing standards, our camp leadership team is working through procedures to make camp as safe of an environment as possible. In addition to our team working now to put practices in place, we anticipate that in May the State Department of Health will provide additional regulations that camps must follow.
We are still waiting for camp specific guidance from the department of health which will greatly influence our policies and procedures. Until we have this guidance, we can’t say definitively what precautions will be in place. We wanted to share with you some of the processes and plans that we are considering that will help create a safe environment for our campers. Please treat the precautions in this letter as ideas that are being considered to keep our campers safe, some may not be implemented, and some may be more stringent. We will communicate a more defined list at the end of May once we are sure the best practices and regulations are available and considered.
Research shows that 5-7% of illnesses at camp start before the person arrives.
  • Before arrival, Scouts and leaders will be asked to monitor and record their temperature for two weeks before camp. Records will be collected at camp check-in.
  • All Scouts and leaders are asked to not attend camp if they are ill. The camp reserves the right to not admit those that arrive at camp sick.
  • If a leader or Scout is considered high risk for illness, we recommend consulting with a health care provider before attending camp to discuss the camp environment.
  • Camps will conduct an opening day screening of both campers and staff that will include assessment for communicable diseases.
  • All adults or campers arriving mid-session will undergo a health screening before joining their unit in camp.
  • What if you are having difficulty getting a Part C completed because healthcare providers have limited space for well care exams? The National Council is evaluating all options while being mindful of those who have valid exams as well as those new members and adults who may have never completed a Part C exam, state and local authority requirements. Additional information will be provided as soon as guidance is available to us.
Practices being put in place for when camp is in session include:
  • Camp Staff will have an orientation on strategies to employ that help reduce illness at camp and will be evaluated on these practices throughout the summer.
  • At each camp, staff will be hired with cleaning and sanitization as their essential role. This position will clean bathrooms, showers, doorknobs and handles, and other public touchpoints in camp.
  •  Sanitization equipment will be provided in all campsites for unit use. Between sessions, all mattresses and high touch points within campsites will be sanitized by staff.
  • Program areas will have the tools needed to sanitize high touch items like bows, rifles, tables, and chairs.
  • A culture of hand-washing and /or sanitizing will be promoted throughout the camp.
  • Cough / Sneeze into one’s shoulder rather than hands will be promoted.
  • Personal supplies, hairbrushes, pillows, hats, contact lens solution, etc. belong to the owner and should not be shared with others.
  •  A Camper should only drink from their own water bottle/cup. No sharing.
  • Dining Halls will have reduced capacity which may mean that shifts in the dining hall will be the norm or additional seating will be brought in. We are still discussing a plan to reduce capacity and are looking for Health Department guidance before a decision is made.
  • Our food service provider is aware of recommended food industry standards and will ensure that all staff working in food service are not ill. Salad bars and drink stations may not be available due to these standards.
  • With canvas tents, we are considering several options. The first is a policy of sleeping head to toe rather than head to head to maximize the distance between heads. The second is a policy of one person per tent which will mean that campers are encouraged to bring personal tents to camp to help maximize social distancing at night. We are waiting for health department guidance before a decision is made.
  • For the cabins, available in some sites, Scouts or leaders will be asked to sleep head to toe (top bunk has the person’s head at one end, the bottom bunk has the person’s head at the other end). Initial guidance is that 30” is the recommended distance between beds. We are considering making cabins available to two people. We are waiting for health department guidance before a decision is made.
  •  We are considering the policy of requiring camper and leader temperatures to be taken in the campsites each morning during camp. This will allow the camp to provide care for any camper showing signs of infection. We are waiting for health department guidance before a decision is made.
  • Campers or leaders with gastro-intestinal upset will go to the health center for assessment.
  • Scouts and leaders in camp will be encouraged to remain in camp for the duration of their stay.
  • Visitor restrictions may be implemented to help ensure the safety of our campers and staff. This may impact family visits and programs during the week.
There is no question that times like these are difficult and result in high stress, but they are also the times we can rise to the occasion and provide hope and support. That is what our organization was designed to do and has always accomplished: Be Prepared and Do a Good Turn Daily.
It will get better, it will pass and we will still be here to accomplish the BSA mission and camp’s goals for our Scouts, families, and community. None of which would be possible without all of you. Your time, talent, treasure, support, and guidance is instrumental to our continued success.
Thank you for your love of our camps and our summer camp programs. Your enthusiasm for camp keeps our leadership team motivated as we work on plans to make camp a safe and enjoyable experience for all. If you have questions about the precautions being taken to make sure that our campers are safe, or have suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact our camping team at 640camping@scouting.org.
Yours in Scouting,
Chris Guarniere | Director of Support Services
Greater New York Councils
475 Riverside Drive – Suite 600
New York, NY 10115