For Summer 2022 we are requiring all staff and campers to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, on arrival all campers will be required to complete a COVID-19 Rapid test before entering camp. We will also be conducting random testing on a regular basis throughout the summer in both Boys and Girls camp to ensure we keep all campers and staff as safe as possible.
Therefore, we will be implementing a $20 COVID-19 fee, per camper, to cover the cost of the tests administered on camp. The additional fee will be added to your invoice.
Covid-19 Additional Fee Annoucement
For Summer 2022 we are requiring all staff and campers to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, on arrival all campers will be required to complete a COVID-19 Rapid test before entering camp. We will also be conducting random testing on a regular basis throughout the summer in both Boys and Girls camp to ensure we keep all campers and staff as safe as possible.
Vaccine Policy for Summer 2022
After careful consideration we have decided to require campers to be fully vaccinated (as defined by the CDC) against Covid-19 this summer. In addition, we will again be requiring full vaccination including a booster for all staff members. We will consider medical and religious exemptions.
This decision takes into account our desire for our campers to have the full FLC experience in 2022 which begins with making them feel safe and comfortable at Forest Lake. A fully vaccinated camp will ensure that we will be able to provide the most “normal” experience possible where there are no isolation requirements for individuals following possible exposures, groups can intermingle freely, and we might once again have possibility of inter-camp competitions with other fully vaccinated summer camps. We will also feel more comfortable providing our regular transportation options from Paramus, NJ and White Plains, NY.
At this point we will likely still require rapid tests upon arrival for all campers and continue with a testing regimen throughout the summer to stay abreast of any possible exposures or infections.
We know that many of you have been waiting for this announcement before making your decision to sign your camper up for this summer. Some age groups are already full and we anticipate waitlists for certain sessions, so please register quickly or call us to discuss availability for this summer.
We are so excited for Summer 2022 and can’t wait to welcome all of our campers to FLC in a few short months.
In the last week we received another updated version of the COVID guidelines for summer camps, followed by the recent announcement by Gov. Cuomo about restrictions being lifted across NY. Camps were mentioned, however it is still unclear to what extent the guidelines provided to us are no longer relevant. We have been adapting our plans and doing our best to keep up with the ever-changing regulations that will help us keep our campers and staff safe and healthy this summer. It is our belief that regardless of the restrictions being lifted, we will still be taking certain precautions in order to ensure a safe and care-free summer for all.
Just to keep you up to date and provide an overview of what FLC is currently planning:
TESTING before and upon arrival at camp
Campers who are unvaccinated will need to provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival at camp. Parents are responsible for getting their own test through your local provider. We will also require a negative rapid antigen test upon arrival at camp for ALL campers. We will have testing on site on opening day where parents will swab their own campers with the assistance of camp nurses. It is an anterior nasal swab (lower nasal) with results in 15 minutes. If you prefer to have a test done at home or on the way to camp, the negative result must be within 6 hours of your arrival at camp. If you do your own rapid test on the way to camp you will have to show us proof on arrival of your camper’s negative rapid test (even showing us a picture is fine). Face masks and social distancing will be required during testing and screening on camp.
*Transportation: If your camper is arriving at an airport and we are providing transportation, a temperature screening and questionnaire will happen before they board the bus. The rapid test will be performed at camp upon arrival. Campers will be required to wear face masks during transportation with spaced seating. Siblings may sit together.
We will implement a hand washing routine in cabins before every meal assembly and sanitizer will be available at all activity areas around camp. Counselors will do morning health checks, as we do every summer, and take special note of any symptoms that may be related to COVID. Campers who are not feeling well will be temperature checked by the nurses and will have a rapid test on camp if necessary. We will contact parents of campers who test positive using a rapid test on camp and need to be sent to the health center to receive a PCR test. Campers with a positive PCR test will be isolated in the infirmary and parents contacted to come pick up their camper within 24 hours of notification. If you are unable to pick up your camper in 24 hours parents may give camp permission to provide onsite isolation. All other campers within their cohort or Junior/Senior camp will receive a rapid test.
Other safety measures and protocols
FLC will provide sanitizer at all activity areas for use during all activity periods. Frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized daily and sanitizing spray will be provided for counselors to use inside their cabins in addition to regular cabin clean-up done by campers. Masks will not need to be worn for regular daily activities done by junior/senior camps separately. They MAY need to be worn for camp wide activities IF they occur indoors or when spacing is not possible. We do not anticipate this being the norm as all of our activities will be conducted outdoors or in open air spaces.
Junior and senior campers will still be allowed to eat in the mess hall together, with tables spaced 6ft apart. Singing and cheering will not be restricted.
FIRST SESSION OPENING DAY (June 27th)
Arrivals will be anywhere after 9 AM, we do not anticipate staggered arrival times based on cabin.
The order of arrivals will be:
- Park in front of the welcome pavilion or behind the mess hall
- Proceed to the Confer Pavilion for COVID testing/document check. Wait 15 minutes for results.
- After a negative result, proceed to regular check-in with Brenda in the Welcome Pavilion
- Head to the infirmary for health screening including lice check with the nurses and dropping of medication
- Go to STORE to pick up your camp t-shirt if ordered
- Meet your cabin counselors and proceed to your cabin
- Parents will not be allowed into cabins or cabin areas to say their goodbyes UNLESS you are the parent of a first time camper. If it is their first summer at FLC you will be allowed one family at a time, masked, into cabins to help them pick a bunk, but please do not stay for a prolonged period of time to unpack etc. Please make your visit to the cabins as brief as possible. Masks will not be required outdoors, however we ask that you please maintain social distancing outdoors with other families and staff.
To help us cover the costs of rapid tests which will be available throughout the duration of camp, specialty cleaning equipment, sanitizer, thermometers and all other COVID related costs we are adding a COVID fee of $25 per camper. Thank you for your understanding.
We are looking forward to welcoming our first campers in just 10 days! Our staff has already started arriving and we can finally feel the pre-camp butterflies and excitement that we have been waiting so long for. We can’t wait to open our doors again for another amazing summer.
Overnight camps can reopen!
Governor Cuomo has released a statement stating that overnight camps can begin their planning for opening this summer and the NY Department of Health will be issuing guidance in the coming weeks. This is huge news for the camp industry and for FLC. Barring any other declines in the current COVID situation, we will be allowed to operate this summer! To read about his statement click here.
We are accepting enrollments for this summer and have already seen a huge jump in registrations since this announcement. Please get in touch with us if you’re thinking of sending your campers to FLC this summer. Call 518-623-4771 to talk to someone and get your questions about availability and our summer plans answered.
We are continuing to plan ahead for Summer 2021. We are optimistic that summer camps in NY will be allowed to open this year and are hopeful that the information and guidance from the CDC and ACA will help us plan for a safe, and much needed, summer.
With everyone still facing so much uncertainty around school, working from home, vaccines, and the rising concerns about the mental and physical health of our kids, we know that camp has become something that both kids and parents are really looking forward to. Now more than ever, our kids need a break. They have to have the opportunity to flex their social muscles again and to just be kids. With all that in mind, we are doing our best to prepare for this summer and are giving parents more flexibility around planning for camp as well. We have extended our no risk refund date to March 15th (deposit and tuition fully refundable) in addition to the payment protection option which allows families to cancel and receive a full refund for any reason until the morning before their camper is expected to arrive at camp.
We are confident that our 2020 COVID operations plan would have kept our campers and staff safe last summer, and we are prepared to use the same, or similar, plan for 2021. We will await guidance once again from the American Camp Association (ACA) and CDC on the best practices based off more data, including the successful openings of overnight camps in other states. We will use our 2020 plan as a foundation and peel back or layer on protocols as needed. We will keep you updated as we hear more about summer camp safety for this year.
In the meantime we are finishing up our hiring for next summer (we already have the BEST staff in place!), we’re getting kids signed up, placed in bunks, back in touch with friends and engaged with our camp community, and giving them something amazing to look forward to.
Please give us a call if you want to talk about your summer plans and to let us know how you’re doing! 518-623-4771
6/12 Important Update for Summer 2020
To our FLC Family,
Today we write with incredibly heavy hearts. As you all know we have spent the past months preparing for camp to open even during the pandemic. We assembled an unbelievably qualified Medical Advisory Board, wrote our Operations Plan, lobbied with the Governor’s office, our Congresswoman, our State Senator and others to try to have them understand our feelings that Forest Lake Camp could provide both a safe and much needed summer for our campers.
Unfortunately, despite these efforts and actions, the Governor’s office and the State Health Commissioner today made the decision that overnight camps can not go forward this summer in New York State. While we strongly disagree with this decision, we have no choice but to respect it and we know he was trying to make decisions with the safety of our children in mind.
Our sadness extends to all of our campers and their families. For the memories lost, the growth opportunities missed and the friendships that won’t be formed this summer we are truly heartbroken. It will be the first time in 95 years, since Forest Lake Camp was established, that our summer camp will not be in operation. As we write this, our team is together at camp and truly feeling the loss of what we were all so hopeful for. This news has been a blow to all of us, and we know that we are all struggling to come to terms with what this means for us, our staff, and all of our campers.
Our thoughts are with all of you as families as you, along with us, continue to navigate this unprecedented time. We have already received so many expressions of support and thank you all for being a part of FLC. We will greatly miss our Forest Lake family this summer.
The FLC Team
6/2 Operations Plan FAQs
To read a list of FAQs regarding our Operations Plan from our Town Hall please click here.
5/26 FLC Operations Plan
As the camp season approaches (and we are excited to be able to say that) our plans for operating in this unique summer are taking shape. With support from our Medical Advisory Board we have completed our decision making for the majority of how we will operate this summer and are writing to share this plan at length with you.
First and foremost, we want to answer the question that is so often on people’s minds: With so many camps having cancelled this summer, how and why does FLC think it can operate safely AND still provide a full camp experience for its campers?
The short answer is that we are very lucky at FLC to have a number of characteristics that work in our favor that, though not unique, are not the norm across camps.
- We are a small camp, already divided by “cohorts” through our structure as Boys Camp and Girls Camp and by Junior and Senior groupings within those camps
- We have a large campus relative to our size, with 823 acres of trails and wilderness available to us for use in a summer where we won’t have the chance to get off camp.
- We are on our own private lake so there is no interaction with the public near our water facilities.
- Our recently constructed buildings are extremely large for their use (Mess Hall, Confer Pavilion and new Dance Pavilion) so creating distancing is easier for meal times and activities.
- With very small exceptions (Arts & Crafts and Science) all of our activities already occur in outdoor or open air spaces.
- Every cabin has its own bathroom and shower facilities.
- Our staff are generally self-contained and we don’t rely on people who come and go each day to operate our program.
- TESTING: Though not a characteristic of FLC, by continuing to prepare for camp to occur as the situation evolved, we are now in a place where testing, and importantly rapid testing, will be available to us this summer. This will allow us to have ALL campers confirm two negative COVID tests prior to entering camp. Of all the safety measures below, we can not overstate the importance of how testing availability will allow us to create a safe bubble.
While none of these is unique in the camping world, the combination of all of them means that with appropriate safety modification, we can provide a complete FLC experience this summer. All of the moments that you hear about from your FLC campers will remain in place, though sometimes in slightly different formats. Color Wars will be enhanced, Campfire will remain, the mess hall will sound as it always does with cheers and noise happening, activities will look almost the same and cabin life will provide the same rich experience of being part of the Forest Lake Camp family.
Our operations plan substantially follows the guidance provided by the CDC and American Camp Association (ACA) and utilizes language found in the guidance from both organizations. It has been formulated based on applying best practices from the ACA with our facilities, structure and operating principles at Forest Lake Camp and has been vetted by our Medical Advisory Board. The goal has been to meet or exceed the best practices from the ACA document for every instance possible.
The goals of the plan are to:
- Prevent the virus from entering camp through pre-screening and testing, arrival testing, and establishment of the camp “bubble”.
- Practice appropriate strategies to limit the spread of the virus should it appear in camp through management of hygiene, distancing and concentric circles, or “cohorts”.
- Maintain the feeling of Forest Lake Camp as a safe second home for our Forest Lake Family.
The outline of our Operations Plan is below. It begins before you even leave for camp and carries forward in everything we do until camp ends and your camper returns home.
- Testing: 3-4 days prior to arrival, FLC will ship a home test kit to a camper’s home OR families can choose to get their own test from their local provider provided it is a PCR test. We will provide more detail on the testing in the near future. Evidence of the negative test must be sent to camp prior to the camper’s arrival.
- All families will be asked to complete a pre-screening plan which will include monitoring for symptoms and limiting exposure to public spaces for the two weeks before camp.
We are going to ask each family to pay an additional medical fee of $220 per camper this year. Approximately $130 of this fee will be used to cover your at home test and should be reimbursable through your health insurance provider. The amount will cover a second test at camp and a small portion of the additional camper supplies and equipment we will need to safely operate camp.
While arrivals day will look different this year, we are going to do everything we can to make camp feel welcoming and warm when each camper drives up our road. This is a critical moment for ensuring a safe and fun camp season that will require strict adherence to our new arrival day policies.
- Testing: In addition to the test that will occur at home prior to camp we are going to require a second test upon arrival. This will ensure that we are able to discover any case of Covid that might have occurred in the short window between the home test and arrival at camp This test will be a rapid test with results available in 15 minutes.
- Arrival to camp will be staggered according to camp and cabin with the schedule coming out approximately 7 days prior to arrival.
- For parents bringing multiple siblings to camp, they should arrive at the earliest time slot for their children and will be able to drop off all of their campers at the same time.
- Note that FLC will not be offering group transportation to camp this year. If this is a major hurdle, please reach out to us and we will try to help with your individual arrangements.
Managing Camp in a COVID world:
Once we have created a COVID-free camp through our testing and arrivals procedures, we still need to operate with the idea that it is impossible to close every hole in the bubble. However, by following guidance from the ACA and CDC, we are going to limit the gaps and prepare for containment in the unlikely event that it proves necessary. This will require small changes to our program that will minimize contact while NOT in any way causing us to lose the camaraderie and feeling of home that makes FLC so special.
FLC will operate following the CDC/ACA guidelines of concentric circles and cohorts. Each circle represents a different area of safety and caution and requires different protocols. Fortunately, this is how camp has operated for years and poses no change for our staff and campers.
- The smallest cohort will be the cabin, which represents each campers home unit. Cabin life will closely resemble cabin life in the past.
- The next cohort is the Junior and Senior camps. This is much how we have always operated in the past where sign-ups and activities occur within the Junior and Senior camps.
- The next sized cohort will be the camp division and will include the 2 camps within FLC as separate and distinct cohorts (girls camp/boys camp).
- Any counselor or Administrator working across boys camp and girls camp will wear a mask when safe distancing is not possible.
Mess hall/meal times
- We will follow ACA practice of reducing density while ensuring a minimum distance between tables of 6 feet during meal times.
- We will minimize the use of shared utensils, campers moving around out of their seats during meals, and all meals will be served family style at the table and the salad bar will be staffed so utensils are not shared.
- Outdoor patio seating will be available whenever possible to further decrease density.
- Procedures for setting and clearing tables will be done with proper equipment and disinfection.
- Mess hall staff will fully disinfect the mess hall between meals, including sweeping, wiping down benches, tables, and condiment bottles.
- Cabins, including counselors, will undergo additional health checks from one to two times per week where each camper’s temperature will be taken.
- Activities will be held outside or in open air buildings ONLY. No activities will occur in a closed building unless as a cabin group only.
- All off camp overnights, inter-camp competitions and trips out to the general public have been cancelled including water skiing (we will process appropriate credits for those who have paid already for water skiing). Otherwise, we will be able to run our full slate of activities including enhanced Color Wars competitions, and on-camp wilderness trips and overnights.
- In addition to normal cabin cleanup, staff will be responsible for disinfecting cabin bathrooms, door knobs, and frequently touched areas in the cabin daily.
- Each day we will clean and disinfect all common areas and buildings.
- All activity areas and equipment will be cleaned between any use from a different cohort.
- We ask that parents reduce the number of packages that are sent to camp and restrict them as much as possible to necessary items. This will help reduce the amount of delivery traffic we have from outside delivery services during camp.
- FLC will create pre-assembled care package options through the online camp store that will include many new fun items. Packages can also be custom ordered with items for sale in the camp store.
- No restrictions on regular mail.
Staff Configuration and Time-Off
Our staff will also have adjustments to their cabin staffing and to their normal off time that will make sure we maintain the closed bubble at FLC.
Cabin & Activity Staffing Best Practice:
- Staff will be assigned to a cabin for the full 5 week camp period.
- Staff will be primarily assigned wherever possible to teach activities within their camp cohorts.
- Staff teaching campers from another cohort will be required to wear a mask when appropriate distancing can not be accomplished.
- Camper to staff ratio will not be affected.
Cabin Staff Time-Off:
- Staff are not permitted into any public places off camp during time-off.
- We are creating a myriad of new options for our counselors this summer to make sure they are able to enjoy their time at FLC while putting the camper first. This includes opening up activity areas during non-activity period times for their use and offering them many options (and of course pizza!) for activities together.
We pride ourselves in always putting the camper first at FLC, and armed with this plan, we and our full staff are committed to honoring that promise to you this summer. We know how much our campers want to be at FLC, and our team will continue to do whatever we can to let them be kids this summer.
We look forward to discussing these plans with you during our Town Hall on Thursday May 28th at 7pm. We will try our best to answer as many questions as we can during the Town Hall, we also welcome you to send them in advance by responding to this email and we will try to address them on Thursday. If you have not already confirmed your session choice for this summer, please let us know by this Friday to assist us with our planning. After Friday we can’t guarantee space in your preferred session.
Please register for the Town Hall by clicking on the link. Once you are registered you will receive information on how to join the Zoom.
Register for the Town Hall:
The FLC Team
5/15 Update from FLC
As our planning for an exceptional summer at FLC continues, we are writing to provide a further and more specific update on our plans for making the summer of 2020 safe for our campers, counselors and their families.
Much still remains unknown and there is currently very active debate happening with the CDC, ACA and political officials which unfortunately have bogged down the issuance of more detailed guidelines for many businesses including summer camps. These delays mean that we aren’t yet fully able to deal with some of the detailed operational guidelines that we will be putting in place for the summer. We were also expecting some news from the Governor of New York this week, however he did not provide any information or update regarding summer camps in his briefing today. Nonetheless, we have actively engaged our Medical Advisory Board and we are proceeding with our operational planning. There is a lot we do know now and are considering, and we wanted to share those thoughts with you based on the concepts that have been outlined to us already (to see the ACA’s outline for guidance please click HERE). The sections in the outline are updated by the ACA as they become available.
In the past, many have heard us discuss the idea of a camp bubble; the existence of camp as a separate landscape full of special memories and people that frees our campers to be their best selves while forming lifelong relationships with their camp family. This year the camp bubble will take on new meaning, and this is the general idea behind how the summer operations will be constructed. We will establish the most solid bubble possible around camp, using the current situation and guidelines provided to us as they evolve towards our summer season. Within the larger bubble of FLC there will exist smaller bubbles in various ways that will minimize the risks of exposure and outbreak. The fewer the leaks in the bubble, the safer the environment for everyone. Bottom line is we believe we will be able to provide a safe and solid bubble for all of our campers and staff to live while still enjoying camp.
This will require us to do many things differently, but the goal is that by creating a strong bubble, we will be able to create a near-normal experience within it. This is the concept that is being discussed within the camp community and we expect to see it as the baseline for many of the recommendations that are currently being considered. Again, while we aren’t yet able to get to the most detailed level because of the lack of formal guidance, we can share our thinking on the questions and concerns that we have heard the most from you in our conversations:
CREATING THE FLC BUBBLE
The issue that will most impact our day to day structure within camp is the availability and type of testing for the virus. Regardless of the type of test available (rapid response, 2-3 day delay etc.) our hope is that some testing will be available to all of us by the time camper arrivals begin in July. Through early conversations with our Medical Advisory Board we believe this to be a possibility but not a certainty. This specific information has a major impact on how we will conduct arrivals day, who will be allowed entry into camp and how we will structure daily operations throughout camp. In any possible case, drop-off will not look like it has in the past. All campers arriving by car will be screened prior to being allowed into camp. Parents will not be allowed out of their vehicles and will unfortunately have to immediately leave camp after drop-off as likely examples of some of the many changes that will take place.
Other items under consideration here will be the attendance of campers or counselors from international locations which will be driven by the travel rules in place at the time. We already have established that staff week will be two weeks so that all staff will have been quarantined for at least 14 days on site before campers arrivals.
KEEPING THE BUBBLE CLOSED
Once the bubble is established, we will look to keep it as closed as possible. There are many variables that will determine what this looks like and how we will keep exposure to the outside world limited. All of the following are being considered with the final structure to be determined. This is not an exhaustive list, but examples of what is currently under discussion by us and the broader camp community include:
1) No Visitors Day – we will not have a Visitor’s Day this year and parents will not be allowed out of their vehicles on camp at any point.
2) Restricted Staff movement – we have already told our staff that time-off rules will look different this year and staff likely will be significantly restricted in their off-time activities if they are allowed to leave camp at all.
3) No outside instructors or people on camp – this may impact our activities but likely will mean limitations on events like our tennis and science specialty clinics and perhaps riflery as well. This most likely will include no inter-camp competitions.
4) Minimal session flexibility – by moving to a 5 week summer, we are restricting camper arrivals to just two days this summer. We don’t anticipate cutting this further pending future developments.
5) Meal Service – Meal times and the way food is served may be adjusted based on the recommendations of the ACA and CDC.
MAKING SMALLER BUBBLES
Within the larger camp bubble, there is a possibility that we will create smaller bubbles within camp and this concept, called cohorting, is part of the discussion within the CDC, ACA and camps at the moment. The idea is that smaller cohorts, or family units allow for a feeling of normalcy within the cohort and limit exposure should the virus make an appearance. The size of the allowed cohorts is TBD, though a size of up to 50 people is being most discussed. This would allow for camp to be broken up into smaller bubbles. For example, creating 4 cohorts of 2 junior camps and 2 senior camps (1 each for boys and girls) would split camp up into groups that would sleep, eat and take activities together with their dedicated counselors. The good news for us is that we are already set up this way and we would anticipate only a few adjustments to meet these requirements.
The great part of this smaller group setting is that while limiting exposure, it also would allow for camp to still feel like camp. Within the group there would likely not be social distancing requirements though these would still exist for any exposure to those outside the cohort. Again, testing will play a major role in determining how this could work and the size of each cohort.
As the days go by, we can start to see a plan taking shape that will allow our campers to feel the joy of a summer at FLC and that will make sure camp feels like camp while also protecting the health and safety of our campers. While we don’t know the final shape or extent of all of our procedures at this point, we can assure you that every day that goes by we are talking about and planning based on the best information we have.
We will in the coming days announce a Zoom based town hall that we will invite all Forest Lake families to attend in order to answer your questions live about the upcoming summer.
Thank you for all your patience, encouragement and support as we navigate these unprecedented times. We hear from families every day about how much their children need camp and we are working tirelessly to make that happen safely. Meanwhile we encourage you to reach out to Caroline ([email protected]) to confirm your summer sessions as this is critical to our planning process. Thank you and please stay safe and hopeful.
5/5 Plans for Summer 2020
Over the past couple of months we have seen a lot of change and we have all had to make adjustments that we probably never expected. We have heard from so many parents about how much they want camp to happen this summer and how much their child needs FLC more than ever this year. We are pleased to share with you our plan to offer a 5 week summer beginning on July 11th that balances the health and safety of our campers and their families while providing an amazing summer at FLC. The 5 week summer also allows us to move forward confidently with our plan for Family Camp and our USHThis camp to begin as scheduled on August 15th.
We are making this decision now to provide us with the time we need to make camp the safest possible place for your child. The extra weeks mean extra time for our staff to isolate before campers arrive, time to procure the necessary PPE and equipment, and to make the changes around camp that we feel are required. We still await the guidance from the CDC and American Camp Association and the State of New York still needs to announce its plans for opening, but have begun our own preparations preemptively with outlines of safety plans soon to be reviewed by our Medical Advisory Board.
In the next 48 hours we will be sending out another message detailing the session dates, tuition adjustments and specifics surrounding this change to 5 weeks. We are also going to be reaching our families in the coming days to check in and discuss what this summer will look like. We will begin those communications with those families most affected by the schedule change. Even with our new camp start date of July 11th, we are still beholden to the timeline and decisions made by the state and local authorities. We will continue to monitor the information from the government and update you on any adjustments that need to be made.
We are filled with hope for the summer and confident that the change to 5 weeks brings us another step closer to making camp possible. Making this decision now is allowing us to be excited about the amazing and safe summer to come at FLC. Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions.
The FLC Team
4/29 Update- Introducing FLC Medical Advisory Board
Even during these difficult times we are so encouraged by our camp community and the messages we have received. Hearing about how much our campers need to be at FLC this summer has only affirmed our belief that Camp is going to be more important than ever. We are continuing to do everything we can to open camp and make it as safe as possible. The CDC is releasing guidance this week for camps but it does not appear they will include specific information for overnight camps, so we will wait to hear from the ACA as they develop operational guidance for camp. In the meantime, we are proceeding with our own plans to ensure the health and safety of our campers this summer:
Forest Lake Camp Medical Advisory Board
- We have gathered a team of doctors and experts from our community who have agreed to review our health and safety plan and help us make sure it is as robust as possible. The four members bring a wealth of experience as health care professionals and as members of our extended camp family. For more information on the members of our advisory board, please read the bios below*. We are extremely grateful to have them join our team.
We are preparing for program changes that MAY include:
- The possibility of a shortened summer. We are continuing to revise our program and make adjustments in the event that we have to move to a 5 week season.
- Restricting or eliminating of off camp activities for campers and staff
- Possible density restrictions in cabins and activity periods
- Extending staff training to incorporate 14 days of quarantine before campers arrive
- Potentially forgoing visitor’s day this summer and minimizing change-over days
We will be making several health and safety additions to protect everyone at FLC. This includes:
- Proceeding to source health and sanitation supplies such as extra sanitizer stations for installation around camp, tests, thermometers and oxygen readers
- Sourcing extra PPE for our nurses, kitchen staff
- Planning for potential changes for our arrivals day requirements
- Establishing hand washing stations outside Mess Hall
We are determined to be as prepared as possible and know that the addition of our advisory board and program adjustments will only help to bring us closer to our goal of providing camp for our kids this summer. As additional guidance becomes available and our plan evolves based on that guidance we will continue to update you. We anticipate the next communication to be within the next week.
The Forest Lake Camp Team
*Advisory Board Members:
Dr. Chris Davison is the Medical Director of Greenwich Hospital in CT which has cared for hundreds of Covid-19 patients since the initial outbreak in neighboring New Rochelle, NY. Dr. Davison has been a practicing ER physician for over 20 years and has attended FLC for Family Weekend with his family for 10 years. He is very familiar with both the demographics of our campers and staff as well as our FLC facilities.
Dr. Michelle Karten joins our advisory board as a Pediatrician, specializing in pediatric medicine where she has worked in both urgent care and primary care settings. Dr. Karten brings nearly 20 years of experience providing care in her community and working closely with families. She currently practices at Nemours DuPont Pediatrics and is the Medical Director of the Nemours Population Health Management team. In these roles, she has been very involved in the response to the pandemic, creating safe systems of care to keep patients, their families, and staff safe. Dr. Karten’s experience with children and first hand knowledge as an FLC parent brings a very personal point of view to ensuring the safety of campers and staff at Forest Lake this summer.
Dr. Bennett Lorber joins our task force with a lifetime of experience working with infectious diseases and immunology. He has recently retired as the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Lorber sits on the American Board of Internal Medicine Subspecialty Board on Infectious Diseases and has a particular interest in the impact of societal change on patterns of infectious disease. Dr. Lorber is an active Alum of Forest Lake Camp as well as an Alum parent. He is very familiar with our FLC infrastructure, programming and demographics and is eager to help in any way he can ensure the health and safety of our campers and staff.
Dr. John Rugge is the founding CEO and Executive Chairman of Hudson Headwaters Health. HHH is a system of 17 community health centers that serves residents throughout the Adirondacks and has served the health needs of Forest Lake campers and staff since 1974. Dr. Rugge is a supporter of Forest Lake Camp and joins our board with an awareness of the local and seasonal medical topography arguably better than anyone in the world.
4/16- Update from FLC
To our FLC Family,
We hope you and your families are continuing to stay safe in your homes and are enjoying your extra time together. Our camp family is always on our minds as we continue to work towards providing an amazing summer for our campers. This summer could be more important than ever for our campers and we remain hopeful that camp will run as normal (or as close to it as possible). Our ongoing preparations include:
- Furthering our construction projects
- New tennis court
- Arts center
- Facility improvements
- Completing staff hiring
- Arranging our Food Services, horses and camp vans
- Turning on our water systems and beginning water treatment and testing
- Developing a comprehensive staff training week
We also understand that everyone is facing a lot of uncertainty about this summer, and we are acutely aware of the implications of the current health situation on summer camp. While we are hoping with all our hearts that this summer goes ahead as intended, we are currently planning many possible outcomes, including:
- Opening camp as scheduled
If we are able to open as scheduled, we will adhere at a minimum to guidance and procedures set by the Department of Health as well as the American Camp Association for setting up camp, leading up to opening day and throughout the summer. We also will be actively considering ways that we may need to go above and beyond the outside guidance to make FLC the safest possible place for your child to be this summer.
- Shortening the summer schedule
If we need to delay the opening of camp to insure the safety of all our campers and staff then a shortened schedule will be arranged. In this case, a new start date will take into account our staff training program, any procedures set by the Department of Health as well as the expected last day of camp set as August 14th. If this option becomes a reality, we will reach out to the camper families affected by the change to make sure we are taking into account the best way to adjust this schedule.
- Closing camp for the summer
This is not the scenario that we are hoping for but nonetheless it is one for which we have to be prepared. Our commitment to you is that we will do everything possible to open camp safely this year. While some camps have made the decision already to not run summer camp programs this year, we remain steadfast in our belief at FLC that if we can open camp safely we will. With so much uncertainty we do not believe we know enough today to make a decision on a camp season that remains more than 10 weeks away. As May unfolds we will evaluate all of our options and will make a final decision on what we think is achievable for this summer.
Updated Tuition and Payment Policies
In our previous communication we let parents know that if we have to make the decision that camp is unable to open this summer in light of COVID-19, all tuition and deposits are refundable. This remains our policy. With that commitment as a backdrop, we have added additional detail to our payment terms and conditions for this summer.
Should camp be in operation but a family decides not to attend:
- Deposits – our current policies state that deposits are non-refundable after January 15th. While this remains true, we will offer to roll over your deposit to summer 2021
- Tuition – if you pay your tuition and decide to cancel after May 1st, your tuition will be rolled over to 2021
- If you purchase Payment Protection you have the option for a full refund or to roll over to 2021.
Should camp be unable to open in 2020:
- Deposits and tuition are 100% refundable
- All fees can be rolled over to 2021 to secure your bunk and lock in 2020 prices guaranteeing no rate increase for next summer
Tuition payment deadline
As we continue to plan for summer 2020 we would ask those who are less affected right now to meet the tuition payment deadline of May 1st. We understand that this may not be possible during this time for some families, and so we have decided to waive the fee for late payments that come in after that date and will maintain your child’s place in their bunk. Please contact Brenda if you intend to extend the payment deadline for your family ([email protected]).
Finally, as we live through this unsettling time we are continuing to stay connected to our camp family online to keep the camp spirit alive and provide social engagement while we remain isolated. Our daily Instagram Live get-togethers have been really fun and are something we look forward to each day. We invite you all to join in and ask you to encourage your kids to tune in as well! Current online activities include:
- 12:00 Free Time with Caroline. Tune in to hear conversations with current staff or alumni and hear about different people’s experiences at FLC.
- Tea at 3pm with Brett. Enjoy your afternoon tea break in the company of others while enjoying some fun Q&A.
- 5pm “Quoops” Quiz night! Join in for our 30 question quiz night (plus a music round!) for a chance to win some amazing prizes.
- 11am Virtual Chapel in the Woods. Enjoy the amazing view from Chapel at FLC and listen to some uplifting stories about camp, life experiences, and ways to reflect.
- April 19th at 4:30pm- Virtual Campfire. We will be hosting a Campfire over ZOOM, complete with campfire acts and stories! RSVP to receive the link and password. All are welcome! (RSVP: [email protected] or [email protected])
We will continue to communicate proactively with you as the situation evolves. Our next update on the summer will be shared by April 30th. Please stay in touch with us in the meantime and join in online whenever you can! We hope to see you at camp for Summer 2020.
With fond memories of summer days and crossed fingers,
The FLC Team
4/9 - Update from FLC
Forest Lake Camp is continuing our preparations for Summer 2020. Like the rest of the world, we are learning more about COVID-19 everyday and are monitoring and planning accordingly. The safety of our campers and staff is paramount and will be the basis of all the decisions we make. We continue to monitor information from the CDC and WHO, and are receiving guidance from the American Camp Association and local health authorities to help us determine best practices this summer and under what conditions we will be able to safely operate. The usual springtime preparations are underway, with additional protocols, staff hirings and facility improvements progressing.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update our website and camp community as we gather more information in the coming weeks. Despite all the uncertainty that still threatens our summer plans, we are doing what we can to plan and make informed decisions so we are ready for whatever comes.
As camp people, we are used to dealing with both the expected and unexpected challenges that come with running a camp. In the meantime we will stay at home and ride out the next few weeks with all of you. Camp will be as important, if not more, for kids to have this summer, and we will do everything we can to make sure our campers have the chance to come home to FLC. In the meantime, stay connected with us on Instagram for daily activities and virtual gatherings
Thank you for your continued support of Forest Lake Camp. We look forward to another amazing summer.
3/24 - Update from FLC
Dear Forest Lake Family,
We hope that you are taking some solace in time with family during these troubled days. We are all dealing with the unprecedented effects of Covid-19 in our personal and professional worlds and adapting to information that changes daily. At Forest Lake, we are, to the best of our ability, continuing to prepare for a fantastic camp season to come. We continue to believe that under the right circumstances, Forest Lake can be the best and safest place your child can spend the summer of 2020 and we are doing everything in our control to be ready for that to be the case.
This is also a time for transparency. As such, we will continue to provide you with any updates on our plans for the summer season and we hope to establish an open dialogue with our Forest Lake family as we work through all of this together. This will include sharing with you in unprecedented ways how we are coping with some of our financial decisions at FLC given this difficult environment.
There is no doubt that we are living in trying times for small businesses. While of course we are a bit nervous as to what lies ahead, we also know that as a community we are strong, resilient and look after each other. In light of the uncertainty of the time, we are immediately amending our refund/cancellation policy as follows and until further notice:
- If FLC Summer 2020 can NOT go forward due to a government mandate or our own decision at FLC, ALL tuition and deposit money will be FULLY refundable by your choice of check or by rolling it over to the following summer.
- For additional certainty on your end, we will extend by 2-weeks the ability to purchase the Tuition Payment Protection Plan through April 15th for all past and future enrollments. This would add to the policy above by allowing you to cancel your camp plans up to the day before arrival by your own choice for any reason. If you are interested in purchasing Payment Protection please contact [email protected].
- All other terms and conditions as outlined in FLC’s policies with regard to deposit and tuition payments remain in place and can be found at: https://forestlakecamp.com/parents-info/rates-dates/
We are making this change in policy now to take away any near term fear of losing your significant investment through no fault of your own or losing a spot in your child’s cabin because of the uncertainty. We feel this is the right thing to do and want to assure you that your investment is protected in full should we not be able to open.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be reaching out via phone to check-in with you on this and to see how your family is weathering the storm. In addition to the practical business issues, we have begun efforts to bring the FLC family together in this time through a series of online activities and events on Instagram that began with last week’s Friday Quiz and are continuing this week with more contests, trivia and social gatherings.
We have also launched a dedicated page on our website for coronavirus updates and news on any online camp activities.
3/9 - Coronavirus Update from FLC
To our FLC Family,
It is unavoidable and appropriate for all of us to be concerned with the news we are getting every day about the COVID-19 Coronavirus. In our case, that means making sure we are prepared to deal with the effect the virus could have on a summer at Forest Lake Camp.
Like all summer camps we are closely monitoring the developments of the virus but it does not currently threaten our ability to run camp this summer. In fact, we hope that Forest Lake Camp will be the safest place your child can be this summer. We have the great benefit of being on our own 800+ acres of land, with our own lake, at the end of a dead end road, with very little exposure to the outside world during the camp season. In past years, we lightheartedly reference arriving at the end of Forest Lake Road as “entering the camp bubble”. This year, we intend that expression to have real meaning making it the best possible summer option for your children to be safe. Our intention is to keep the virus away from Forest Lake. To do this, we will at a minimum be following the recommendations of the American Camp Association, WHO, DOH and the CDC in addition to adding to our robust health policies and asking for your help in the run-up to opening day at camp.
Already at FLC our arrival day screening procedures include a detailed health check. This year, we will be adding to our check-in process and will be requiring a pre-screen for potential virus symptoms. We will outline these steps in detail prior to your arrival at camp. As news, regulations and best practices continue to evolve as more information on the coronavirus becomes available, we will evolve our process in real time.
At FLC, our activity structure has always been child-centered and flexible. This provides the added advantage of allowing us, if necessary, to take other steps in the moment to minimize risk. This could include limiting camp activities that occur off of the camp premises including inter-camp competitions and/or camp attendance at other large functions. We will be in further communication about these policies and any potential changes as the summer approaches.
As a practical matter, we still understand the concerns that exist regarding the larger world that is outside of our control and we would remind you that we are one of the few camps that has its own payment protection policy. This is available for just an administrative fee (6%) if you decide to cancel attendance even if camp is in session. Payment protection is available through the online enrollment form and guarantees a full refund if you cancel for any reason until 9:00 am on the day prior to your child’s scheduled arrival at camp.
At FLC, the safety and health of our campers and staff has always been the highest priority. This year, this takes on special meaning and import and we will work together with our entire community to make sure our campers have a summer free of worry or concern about the virus or any other health issues.
If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call or send an email to [email protected]
Stay healthy and well
The Forest Lake Camp Team