Summer 2021 COVID-19 Camp Policy & Procedures


Pandemic Protocols In Place For Summer 2021

We are looking forward to having you all here at Camp Don Lee for Summer Camp 2021!

The pandemic has caused many changes in our lives, but the need for us to be in community and to experience God’s generosity through creation has not diminished; it has only increased. At Don Lee Camp & Retreat Center, we believe we have developed policies and procedures that, when followed cooperatively with our guests, can provide a fun and spirit-renewing experience at our beautiful location on the Neuse River Estuary. Our wonderfully innovative NCUM Camp & Retreat Ministry directors and staff determined we could, in fact, provide camp, albeit under rigorous restrictions, robust protocols and at a significantly reduced capacity. We created a summer camp like no other, serving almost 500 campers and delivering an amazing summer.

And we had not one case of COVID-19 across the 12 weeks of the summer season. Detailed planning, careful oversight and the resilience and commitment of our staff enabled us to provide a summer camp experience like no other time in the history of this ministry. Coming to camp to celebrate relationships with each other and with God, campers and staff reclaimed a bit of "normalcy" in a time of great disruption. Parents thanked us. Campers were delighted! And staff were given the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ at a time when 82% of camps across the country decided, with great disappointment, they just could not open for the summer season. We are profoundly grateful for these blessings.

We want you to know our biggest goal for Summer 2021 is to still keep camp, camp. While COVID-19 has entered into every part of our lives, we still want the focus of your summer to be fellowship, friends and fun!

Read below for additional information on summer protocols and review this with your camper. These changes are to help everyone stay safe and healthy so camp can run all summer long.

As the summer progresses most communication will be sent via email. Please go on to your UltraCamp account and verify that all contact information is correct and up to date. It is also important that all forms are completed, including the new COVID-19 Release Form.

We will be asking all campers to complete a Pre-Camp Health Screening Form, CLICK HERE to download, in addition to daily healthy screening while at camp. We are finalizing our infectious disease procedures with medical experts for COVID-19 and will share those with you next week.

Potential Case of COVID-19 Policy

A Healthy Camp Begins At Home
Camper families will be required to complete the pre-camp health screening document and bring it with them when they check in to camp. If there has been any potentially contagious illness or COVID-19 in the household prior to camp, contact camp for  instructions. Once at camp, campers will be required to stay with their groups and not interact with other groups at camp to reduce the chance of spread. Temperatures will be taken twice daily and recorded for all campers and staff. A nurse and physician will remain on site throughout the camp week.

Camper or Staff Presents Fever or Other COVID-19 Symptoms
If a camper or summer staffer has a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, they will be isolated immediately in our separate COVID-19 medical building and evaluated for symptoms. The parents will be contacted immediately and asked to pick up the child and take them home as soon as possible but no later than 8 hours following the initial phone call. The local health department will also be contacted. Camp will provide an N95 mask for the camper to wear home and one for the parent, should they not have access to an N95 mask. We will request that you arrange to have your child tested and inform camp of the results.

Should a camper in the group test positive, it is our policy to notify all parents and staff who are a part of the group and require them to depart from camp. Parents will be instructed to come to camp within 8 hours to pick up their campers. Staff will be instructed to depart cam as soon as all campers from the group have departed. This policy is designed to keep camp safe and healthy and not spread the virus. It also emphasizes the importance of good hygiene practices prior to camp and during the camp session.

The same testing process is in place for staff. If a staff member associated with a group presents symptoms, the health department will be contacted for further instruction and they will be isolated and depart camp as soon as possible. If the test results are positive, we will inform the parents of campers within the group and ask them to come and pick them up from camp within 8 hours of the phone call.

After Camp for All Campers
Following camp, it is highly recommended campers self-isolate for a two week period to ensure they have not contracted COVID-19 and to remain distant from anyone in the household who may have increased risk factors.

The above processes are drawn from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Camp Association's Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance, authored by Environmental Health & Engineering Inc., the State of North Carolina, our local health department and our team of camp medical experts.

Please be prepared with face coverings for all family members in the vehicle, as well as campers. Staff will be wearing face coverings, too.

  • Each camper family will be assigned a check-in time for Sunday. You will receive this time the week prior to your camper's session
  • It is very important that you arrive at camp at this time. The gate will be closed to all guests unless it is your time to check-in
  • When you arrive, staff will guide your vehicle to the designated drop-off area
  • We ask that only campers exit the vehicle, please say good-bye to your camper before they get out of the car.
  • Please pack your camper's under-the-bed tubs in the trunk of the car, as staff will assist your camper in the removal and precautionary sanitizing of these items
  • Counselors will be at this designated drop off area to meet your camper
For Summer 2021, cabins could be at half-capacity. For some cabin layouts, this will mean only 2 campers per room (where there had been 4). For other cabins it may mean 4 campers per room (where there had been 8). This will allow for 6-feet between campers while sleeping and with 2 staff members per cabin, each cabin will follow the Phase 2 guidelines of only 10 people in a building. It will be very important that each camper's gear can be stored in under-the-bed containers. Additionally, because all campers will be here for more than 1 week, a weekly assigned laundry time will be given to each cabin group to wash bedding and other personal items. Sheets will be changed weekly. Please make sure you send a non-mesh laundry bag with your camper. We will provide laundry detergent but if you camper has any sensitivity please consider packing your own. 

Cleaning & Meals:
Campers will be asked to do daily sweeping, trash-removal and cleaning of their living areas. Each building, cabin and bathhouse will be cleaned and disinfected by trained staff.

Meals will also look slightly different this summer. Instead of eating family style in the dining hall, there will be designated outside and inside areas for each camper group to eat. These will be exclusive to each group to help prevent cross-contamination. Meals will be served modified family style for each group. One or two staff members will be designated to serve the meal to the group. If a camper has dietary needs, those will be packaged separately and delivered with the group's meal. It will be marked with the camper's name on the outside of the container. Campers and staff will eat every meal with their designated groups.

Daily Activities and Groups:
As in summers past at Don Lee, campers will eat and participate in activities within their small (16 campers) groups. Under the guidelines put forth by both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Camp Association (ACA) this practice is highly recommended (YAY!). Summer camp activities will proceed as usual, with activities such as Encounters and Crafts happening outdoors. At activities such as sailing, canoeing and archery where equipment is needed, each camper will be assigned an equipment number. This means they will always use the same boats, paddles and bows when participating in these activities. This is to help with contact tracing and lower the risk of cross-contamination. Equipment will be sanitized between groups. Additionally, each camper will be assigned a life jacket (or they are welcome to bring their own) which will travel with them to each water activity and will be hung in their room. The few all camp activities, including worship and the dance, will proceed normally but with social distancing between groups and face-coverings will be worn during times of singing.

The Camp Store will operate a little differently in 2021. We do ask that you still put money on your campers account, no cash or card will be accepted. A sign of available drinks and snacks will hang outside a screen door to the store for campers to purchase during their designated store time. If family members are interested in buying shirts or other memorabilia for the summer, CLICK HERE to access the Don Lee Online Store. If you wish for your camper to have one of these items while at camp you can purchase them online, choose "Local Delivery" and staff will deliver it to your camper during their store time.

For Summer 2021, Don Lee will not be accepting any camper packages due to COVID-19. Daily mail of small letters and cards will still be accepted. If your camper has forgotten an important item please email and call the office at 252.249.1106, we will work with you to get this item to your camper. Bunk Notes, Bunk Replies and Bunk 1 photos will still be offered. For the best experience, please CLICK HERE for more information and to download the Bunk 1 app.

Rainy Day Procedure:
If there is inclement weather and campers do need to be inside they will go to either their cabin porch or a building assigned exclusively to the group for the duration of the camp session. The small groups will be split up to these areas by gender to limit the indoor gatherings of 10 people or less. This will be the practice until North Carolina moves into Phase 3. Staff and campers will be asked to wear a face covering during this inside time. Camp will be able to provide some face coverings but your camper is encouraged to pack several of their own. We do recommend one "buff" type face covering. This will provide sun protection while on the water as well as being a health safety precaution.

Pick-up will be scheduled for between 10:00am and 11:00am on Friday mornings. To allow for optimal cleaning and airing out time of cabins between camper groups, camp sessions will end on Fridays. Campers will have their luggage with them at the front gate for pick-up. We will ask that parents and family members stay in their vehicles during this time. Staff will help with the loading of the under-the-bed boxes.

After Camp for All Campers
Again, following camp, it is highly recommended campers self-isolate for a two week period to ensure they have not contracted COVID-19 and to remain distant from anyone in the household who may have increased risk factors.

The above processes are drawn from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Camp Association's Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance, authored by Environmental Health & Engineering Inc., the State of North Carolina, our local health department and our team of camp medical experts.

Thank you all for your patience and flexibility in this, we understand how difficult these months continue to be. If there is something we missed or you have additional questions, please email us at Camp Don Lee is ready to see the youth of our ministry in action continue celebrating God's creation!