The safety of our campers, staff, and volunteers is the highest priority for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.
Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), and the American Camp Association (ACA), we have made changes to camp operations for summer 2021, the biggest of which are described below. Though this looks different than a typical summer, the feeling is the same. We’re committed to keeping the camp experience as consistent and magical as possible.
The protocols listed below are designed to give families a general idea of camp operations this summer and are subject to change. We will continue to monitor this very fluid situation and make updates regularly.
Campers will be placed into small pods while at camp. Depending on age level, a pod might hold between 6 to 16 girls and will have their own dedicated counselors. This group will spend the week of camp together, sleep in the same cabin, have meals together, and do all activities together. Those not part of the pod will not be permitted inside of a pod’s living space. Exceptions may be made if there is a medical need within the unit the Health Officer needs to attend to, or if additional staff are needed to assist campers and counselors. This allows us to limit exposure to smaller groups and account for reliable contact tracing.
- Outdoor vs. Indoor Activities
We will limit the amount of activities that are held inside, including meals. Activities will be held outdoors whenever possible. In the event that indoor activities are required (ie. inclement weather), every effort will be made for those activities to be held in a pod’s unit. If either of these scenarios is not possible, masks must be worn by campers and staff.
- All Camp Activities
Large group activities where the entire population of camp is gathered in one place and intermingled will look different this summer. Traditional large group activities will be modified so that each pod can participate at the same time while socially distanced. For example, a campfire will have designated spots for each pod to sit which will be more than six feet away from any other pod. In addition, pods will focus on smaller activities within their own groups that they choose or design.
Campers and staff are required to wear masks. They will be asked to wear masks when interacting with anyone who is not part of their pod, when in close contact with others, and when indoors for any reason (with the exception of if they are in their own living space, are showering, or eating). Day campers will be required to wear masks within their pods in any situation where distance requirements cannot be met. We suggest campers bring at least two masks per day, and bags to store used and clean masks. Face shields are not a substitute for masks.
- Check-In and Check-Out
Both check-in and check-out processes will be drive-through. Campers will receive a health check near their vehicle and families will not be permitted inside camper living spaces. Camp staff will assist campers in transporting luggage to their cabins, setting up their beds, and other first day duties. Medication and mail can be dropped off as part of the drive-through process.
We will limit the number of people in the dining hall at one time. To accommodate this, meals might be eaten in shifts, in a pod’s living space, or outdoors. Some meals may be cooked by each pod either in their unit or over a campfire.
To assist families in planning their summers and to allow for more flexibility, we’re excited to announce the creation of Classic Camp! Instead of choosing a specific program, choose the dates that work for you!
All of our Classic Camp weeks will include all of your favorite camp activities (and some new ones) and are designed for every girl to try as many new things as possible. Classic Camp weeks will include activities such as art, canoeing (Camp Sycamore Hills), CORCLs, creek exploring, high challenge, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, and tree climbing. Though we might be able to accommodate some non-riding sessions at Camp Sycamore Hills, this is schedule dependent and not guaranteed. Campers interested in horse programming should plan on registering for a specialty horse program (see Camp Guide).
- Camper’s Choice/Pod Choice
To allow for limited exposure and reliable contact tracing, Camper’s Choice will take place as part of the pod and be called Pod Choice. Instead of each camper individually choosing activities for their free time blocks, pods will work together to choose those activities. Camp staff will work with campers in each pod to ensure that each person is able to try activities they would like.
- Pre-Camp Social Distancing
Coming to camp this summer is a commitment. For the safety of everyone involved, we’re asking you to partner with us by limiting your camper’s and your family’s contacts for two weeks prior to your camp session. This means not organizing playdates with those outside of your immediate household or traveling out of state or by plane. We’re also asking that you avoid crowds and crowded areas such as Dollywood and large festivals.
Camp staff are also being asked to limit contacts outside of camp during the course of the summer.
Prior to arriving at camp, each camper will be required to complete daily screening through CampDoc. This screening will ask you to take your camper’s temperature, monitor for symptoms, and report if any person in your immediate household has been exposed to COVID-19. Health Officers will follow up with campers who report symptoms, a fever, or exposure. A negative COVID-19 test might be required in these instances. A negative COVID-19 test is required if you have traveled prior to coming to camp (please see the travel section of our COVID-19 information).
- Screening at Check-in and During Camp
Once you have arrived, everyone in the vehicle with the camper will undergo a temperature screening. If anyone in the vehicle is found to have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or answering “yes” to any questions on the screening questionnaire without prior discussion from the Health Officer, the camper will be unable to attend camp that week.
Campers and staff will be screened for fever and other symptoms daily. Any person with symptoms will be evaluated by the Health Officer and isolated until they can leave camp. Please plan to be able to come get your camper if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
Camp staff will be tested weekly for COVID-19. We also will test staff if they show symptoms of COVID-19 while on property. Families are asked to test their camper for COVID-19 if they show symptoms while at camp or after they return home and to report these results back to camp for the purposes of contact tracing.
Campers who answer “yes” to any question on the screening form will be required to present a negative test prior to checking in for their camp program. This includes if a camper is showing symptoms, has been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, and/or has traveled out of state or by plane in the 14 days prior to camp.
We reserve the right to require testing of campers or staff with limited notice. Please be aware that you may be required to have your camper tested prior to coming to camp.
For the safety of the camp community, we’re asking campers and staff to not travel in the 14 days prior to camp. If a camper travels by plane or out-of-state, that camper must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than three (3) days prior to coming to camp. The CDC recommends that unvaccinated travelers self-isolate for seven (7) days and get tested three to five (3-5) days after they return from travel.
- Cleaning and Sanitizing Facilities
In addition to our already robust cleaning program, we will add additional cleaning steps. Cabins, indoor facilities (bathrooms, classrooms, activity spaces), and buses will be sanitized several times per day. Campers will also be required to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer between activities.
Activities that require campers to use the same materials will either be modified to use single-use items or will have a process in place to sanitize items between each use.
- Day Camp at Camp Holloway
Though many of our protocols are designed specifically for residential camp, they will also be implemented for day campers. Check-in and check-out procedures will be drive-through only and campers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily, as will staff. Day camp staff might not reside on camp but will be screened each day when they arrive at work. Any staff with a fever or symptoms will not be permitted to work that day.
To operate within our current protocol, neither aftercare nor overnight experiences are available this summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What steps are being taken to protect against COVID-19?
We take the health and safety of our campers, staff, and volunteers seriously. Per recommendations of several organizations, we will screen campers, test staff weekly, operate in a cohort system, enhance our cleaning protocols, and limit indoor activities. For more information on our COVID-19 protocols, please see above.
- I don’t see the programs from last year. Why did the camp offerings change so much?
We prioritize camper safety in all of our program offerings. Due to the protocols required by COVID-19, we have changed our offerings to allow families to have more flexibility and plan their summers more easily. All campers will experience classic camp activities (weather, age-level, and camp facilities permitting) such as arts and crafts, campfires, canoeing, cooking, CORCLs, high challenge, horse programming (very limited, non-riding), nature and hiking, rock climbing, swimming in the pool or splashing in the creek daily, and tree climbing.
- Does my camper have to wear a mask?
Yes, when participating in facilitated activities and interacting with people outside of their pods, campers and staff are required to wear a mask. When campers are in their pods with no other additional staff or in their own living unit, they will not be required to wear a mask. We recommend you pack at least one mask per day, and both clean and dirty bags for campers to store their masks.
- What is the protocol if someone tests positive for COVID-19 or has suspected symptoms?
If symptoms or a positive test is confirmed and the camper or staff member is not present at camp, they will be asked to remain off property for two weeks and/or after testing negative for COVID-19. If the person is at camp, they will be immediately isolated/quarantined and sent home. In addition, we will notify the Health Department of the county in which the camp is located. If your camper is in a pod or has come in contact with someone who has tested positive, you will also be notified.
- What is the refund policy for this summer?
Full refunds will be issued until May 6, 2021, for any reason. After this date, refunds will only be issued due to illness of camper, exposure to COVID-19 or a positive test within two weeks of the camper’s camp date, or a family or other emergency. Please contact your camp director to request a refund in writing. See our camp guide for more details regarding our cancellation policies.