Summer Camp 2020 Special Message

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Special Family Preparations for Summer 2020

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we prepare for camp.  At Don Lee our top priority is the health and safety of our campers and staff. We want to make sure we are following the guidelines set forth by the American Camp Association (ACA) and their partnered organization, Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&A), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and our state and local government and health officials.  In order to achieve this, we need your help. Below is a chart that lays out what we need families to do in order to keep camp safe this summer.

Camp Don Lee - COVID-19 - Family Preparations
Now:If you have a child at a higher-risk of severe illness:

  • Speak with your child’s medical provider to assess their risk - Higher risk individuals as defined by the CDC: CLICK HERE
Two weeks before camper arrives at camp:
  • Monitor your camper’s health daily including symptoms and temperatures
    (Symptoms:
    CLICK HERE)
  • CLICK HERE for the 14 Day Pre-Camp Health Screening Form. Bring this completed form to camp on opening day
  • Limit trips to highly populated areas
  • Practice social distancing, mask wearing, and wash hands frequently
When it’s time to pack:General camp packing list can be found HERE

  • Pack your campers items in under the bed storage bins (see here) and other easy to carry containers that can be wiped down
  • Pack two sets of bedding (in addition to sleeping bags)
  • Pack at least two face coverings (masks)
  • Pack all toiletries in a caddy or container (example here)
Upon arrival: 
  • Wait to arrive at camp until it is your designated check-in time
  • Stay in your vehicle and camp staff will check your family in
  • Participate in more detailed initial camper health screenings
  • Turn in the two week pre-screening form
  • Campers will place and keep their items only in designated area in their cabin
  • Be available to answer phone calls from camp

Camp Don Lee COVID-19 Procedures 

Camp Don Lee will follow the Field Guide for Camps set forth by the American Camp Association (ACA) and their partner organization, Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&A.). This guide uses the protocols outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO.)  We are also in communication with our state and local government and health officials. As always, our highest priority is the health and safety of our campers and staff. Healthy campers are Happy Campers! 

Here are some of the new things we’ll be doing this summer to help prevent the spread of germs at camp:

  • Bathhouses will be cleaned multiple times a day
  • Cabins and buildings will be cleaned by trained adult staff members 
  • Cleaning products used will be those recommended by the EPA
    • The recommended amounts of cleaning supplies and PPE for the number of staff and campers that will be present this summer have been ordered
  • Posters and signage will be in all bath houses and buildings as friendly daily reminders for campers and staff
  • Don Lee has always practiced small group camping and will continue to do so
    • As recommended by ACA and EH&E there will be only 1 small group in each cabin
    • Each of these small groups will travel and participate in activities together and not with another group
    • Campers will participate in activities outside as much as possible and campers and staff will be required to use face coverings when indoors as necessary
  • Campers and staff will bring appropriate face covers to camp and Camp Don Lee will provide additional face covers
  • Staff will lead small group demonstrations on the best practices to prevent spread (hand-washing and sanitizing, social distancing, coughing etiquette and camps COVID-19 policies) 
  • Campers will undergo daily screening to check temperatures and symptoms presented due to any illness 
    • A separate medical building has been set aside for any campers or staff who exhibit any symptoms of illness
  • Assigned Drop-off and Pick-up times for each camper (scheduled by Don Lee staff)

For further questions or information please explore the following links:

COVID-19 Info

FAQ’s CDC

Coronavirus Update 05-23-2020

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Dear Don Lee Families,

We are thrilled the NC Governor has ordered the start of Phase II of the reopening of the state, which includes day and overnight camps. Our minds are focused on options for Summer Camp as we review the guidance from the CDC, the American Camp Association and other expert recommendations to determine our best way forward for the summer.

We also know that camp is on your mind, and we cannot thank you enough for all the support. While some families have already informed us they cannot be at camp this summer due to health concerns or financial reasons, the vast majority of families still have registrations with us. We appreciate you waiting with us.

While we are finalizing our plans and will be sharing them with you soon, I want to give you an update. Here are some things we do know and want you to consider. Camp will be different this summer, but we are committed to offering a variety of camp experiences to as many campers as possible. We intend to offer the traditional Don Lee experience - sailing, swimming, faith formation, friendships and more - but with modifications needed due to COVID-19. Here are a few items we want to share so you can begin thinking more about summer and discussing it with your camper:

  • There will be increased cleaning procedures prior to camp and daily at camp completed by staff, not campers. Campers and staff will be required to wash their hands many times daily and use hand sanitizer frequently at the various program areas.
  • We will do as many activities outdoors as possible, so increased sun and insect protection will be suggested, including sun protective clothing, insect repellent and rain gear. Campers and staff will wear masks on the rare occasions we have to be indoors for extended periods of time, except when sleeping.
  • As many of you know, Don Lee provides a small group camp experience and has for more than 70 years. Campers will be required to stay with their group at all times and social distance from other camper groups at camp.
  • Parents will need to agree to and be available to pick up their camper from camp should they run a fever or display symptoms of any illness. As in past summers, we will have an RN or physician on site and have adequate resources to safely isolate a symptomatic camper or staff member and appropriate PPE for our staff. We will share more details on our procedures soon.
As a reminder, final payments are not due until June 7th. This has been a very challenging time for all of us and we ask for your continued patience and grace as we work to respond to questions, answer emails and phone calls, and issue refunds. We are a small full-time staff handling more than 1,000 camper families registered this summer. We have more seasonal help arriving in the coming weeks and our response times will improve.
We expect to share more definitive plans with all of you sometime next week. We know that, especially in these times of uncertainty and exhilaration, we can offer camp, Jesus walks with us. Join us in our joyfulness that we have opportunities to provide our ministry this summer.

Grace and Peace,

Kate Cooper Metts, Director
Don Lee Camp & Retreat Center

He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged.
-Deuteronomy 31:8

Coronavirus Update 05-09-2020

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Dear Camper Families,

Thank you for all your calls and emails this week as we continue to gather information on safely operating camp this summer. We miss you. Camp has been far too quiet for too long!

While our early information suggested we would have most of the guidance needed to discern a way forward for summer by now, it became apparent this week there is still more to come from the American Camp Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then, the state of North Carolina and our local health department. In the meantime, we are using the guidance we do have to prepare to offer summer camp that not only meets all the recommendations, but exceeds them where we can. As always, safety for our campers and staff is our top priority.

Thus, we want to extend the deadline again for final payments from families to June 1st so you have ample time in this uncertain environment of COVID-19. Based on current guidance, we recommend any campers with underlying conditions, including diabetes, autoimmune disease, or respiratory conditions, should consider not planning to attend camp this summer due to potential serious illness from the virus. Please email me at kate@donleecenter.org and we will work with your family on options for your camper.

At this time, please know our intention is to offer summer camp programming this year. It may look a little different, but we would like to offer the ministry to our campers and staff if we believe we can do it safely.

If you have questions, the best way to reach us is at info@donleecenter.org. Please be patient as our staff is working reduced hours. It may take 3-4 days to hear from us, depending on our work schedule.

Thanks for sticking with us during this challenging time and we will share more updates as soon as we have them. Until then, God bless you, have a wonderful Mother's Day and please stay safe.Grace and peace, 

Kate Cooper Metts, Director
Don Lee Camp & Retreat Center

He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged.
-Deuteronomy 31:8

Coronavirus Update 04-25-2020

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Dear Camp Family,

We hope you and your family are well and safe. These are extraordinary times - you've been homeschooling, working remotely and stockpiling toilet paper - things we could not have imagined when we were registering for camp in the Fall. Please know you and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers as we've all adjusted to this new reality.

We also know camp is on your mind and we cannot thank you enough for all of your support. Like you, we are continuing to closely monitor developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and make adjustments: from cancelling our spring school group and retreat season for thousands of participants, to understanding recommendations for screening people and sanitizing facilities, and considering various possible scenarios for our summer camp programs.

As we approach the Summer, we want to update you on our decision-making process and status moving forward. Establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy camp community remains our top priority. The American Camp Association (ACA) is working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to develop specific guidance for day and overnight camps, and we will follow their guidance when it becomes available. We will also work  with our state and local health officials as they lay out the conditions with which we will have to follow. We also will consult with our Summer Medical Staff who understand specifically how we operate to make sure we are delivering the camp experience in a manner that is safe for campers and staff.

By mid-May, we hope to share broader updates regarding our Summer plans. Per earlier communication with parents, we have extended our deadline for final camp payments until May 15th. Should we need to alter the camp schedule or cancel summer camp sessions due to COVID-19, we will offer a number of options to camper families, including refunds. We remain hopeful that camp can be delivered this summer!

For those of you who are on the frontlines of this crisis: a special THANK YOU for your service during these challenging times.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have specific questions or concerns at info@donleecenter.org or see our website for additional information.

Grace and peace,

Kate Cooper Metts, Director
Don Lee Camp & Retreat Center