Camp YMCA Kanawana: blog

Camp YMCA Kanawana

Kanawana Town Hall - January 27

- February 05 2021

On January 27, the Camp Kanawana team, comprised of Sean Day, Kate Taylor and Kevin Slezak, met with families on Zoom to offer updates on what we know while we await public health guidelines and the go-ahead for the summer as well as answer questions on what camp could look like this summer.

  • We are awaiting public health guidelines and go-ahead but in the meantime, we are planning as though camp COULD still happen, though we are presuming that there WILL be some restrictions in place on HOW it will happen.
  • No matter what, our goal is to still be able to provide a YMCA Kanawana experience under those guidelines.
  • Should we be able to open, we will be recommending that kids quarantine when they get home from camp - keep them away from folks who are in at-risk populations. Given the circumstances, we know that there is never going to be a zero-risk scenario for camp; it is possible that your camper or our staff will contract COVID at camp, so we will be making our adjustments and recommendations according to that risk.
    > Other recommendation for now: start thinking about your COVID plan: should your child contract COVID while at camp, you will need a plan in place for who will pick them up and take them home during the summer – this is not the summer to be dropping off your kids and going on vacation abroad!
  • For registration, we will be launching a new registration system again for this season, and will not be opening registration until early March to give ourselves the opportunity to receive those guidelines and let our clients and staff know what camp will look like under those guidelines.
  • Because we are still in the information-gathering mode, we will be doing this type of Town Hall meeting again in February and March at least, to provide updates and offer more opportunities for questions as time goes on.

We are of course not alone in this, and we’ve discussing with multiple partners to maximize our chances of success:

  • Working closely with ACQ/Public Health; we have a camp staff on the ACQ board of directors and we’re waiting for directives before we make any changes to camp.
  • Working with Y camps across Canada to come up with our protocols.
  • Attending conferences and seminars virtually to learn from camps that did run in 2020 to determine best practices.
  • Working with some camp parents who are doctors for consultation on our operations.


Are we considering reducing capacity?

  • We are looking at many different scenarios, but don’t want to share details of our speculative plans because of how quickly things may change once guidelines are published. We are still awaiting public health guidelines regarding cohort/bubble sizes.

How can you support camp?

  • We are actively fundraising to mitigate the difficulties COVID has presented and the expenses it has entailed for camp. Please reach out to Sean for that specifically to see how you can contribute.

Is there any priority registration for those who’d registered for 2020?

  • Due to our new registration software we are unfortunately unable to create a carry-over of that data from last year. We will be sure to provide enough advanced notice of registration opening through the email notifications which you can sign up for here.

Will the weeks available be similar to last year?

  • 1st session would start the 28th of June and follow from there as in our typical camp calendar of 4 sessions.
  • Public health guidelines may impact the number of sessions if buffers are required after/before the school year.

When registration notification email may go out?

  • The notification email would go out a week or two before registration.

If capacity is reduced, could sessions number be increased?

  • That would involve more trips into and out of camp, increasing risk of introducing COVID to our camp cohort.  

Leader In Training Cohort size

  • Capacities will likely be affected; some prioritization may be made due to the unusual double cohort of LITs and Junior Counselors we will have this summer.

What will happen with L n’ V? (Lumbermen & Voyageurs team games at the end of 4th session)

  • Won’t be cancelled but we may need to change some of the scheduled activities.

What would the mechanics of camper cohorts be and would there be a possibility of opening up cohorts progressively?

  • With our sessions only being 12 days long and public health isolation periods being 14 days there likely won’t be a possibility of gradually loosening on site public health restrictions.

Limiting sessions per family to allow more campers to camp

  • A possibility we haven’t considered but it’s something we will evaluate as a team.

Will there be any hike & out-trips this summer?

  • We are still uncertain. The feasible of out-trips depends on public health guideline and provincial parks service operating guidelines for the summer.

Testing pre-camp arrival

  • It would help, and we’d love it if people could but it is not necessarily accessible for all our campers and so we won’t be enforcing it, we will encourage families to take as many precautions as possible in lead up to camp

Will camp staff be able to get vaccinated before camp?

  • We have no news on whether any sort of accommodation will be made for camp staff in the public health ministry’s vaccination schedule.

Will there be marketing information on the website before registration opens?

  • Marketing information is coming but may depend on how prohibitive public health guidelines for camp are.

Will there be bussing to and from camp?

  • Bussing will be discouraged, but remain as accessible as possible to serve our campers who don’t have the means to be driven to camp.

Will I be reimbursed if my child test positive pre-camp?

  • Absolutely, all medical situations are more than valid reasons for a refund.

If driving kids directly to camp is preferred, will the schedule change to start camp on a weekend, so parents who work can drive up?

  • Unfortunately this would make it impossible to provide staff time off to rest and to clean and properly disinfect camp between sessions if we move to weekend pick-up & drop-off. We will be extending the drop-off and pick-up time frames to allow for more time on both ends of camp for more cars in and out.

Will my camper have to come home between sessions?

  • We will not run changeover sessions this summer to properly give staff time off and to clean camp thoroughly.

Are there camp activities that may be restricted due to COVID-measure?

  • To our knowledge as of yet, no activities will be outright removed from our programming, but some may need to be relocated or altered to comply with best practices.

If my camper has friends in their bubbles already could they be in cabins together

  • Yes. Please email us directly if you have more than 2 cabin requests or scenarios like this one.

How is our staff holding up?

  • They are managing the uncertainty as well as the rest of us, as well as they can. It’s most difficult for those for whom working at camp is something they can financially only afford for a limited number of summers. Understandably we are endeavoring to make the safest possible choice for them and our camper in time for staff to potentially make other arrangements should camp not be possible. Their mental health is being taken into consideration in camp planning.

Will staff be quarantined onsite between sessions?

  • This depends on public health guidelines and right now we are operating under the assumption they will be able to leave for their own mental health, with the understanding that they must keep to public health guidelines on their time off at home.