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Forest Camp– Message to Camp Families Week Prior to Session

Fells Forest Camp Information You’ll Need for Next Week

 

Dear Forest Camp Families,

We’re looking forward to welcoming your child next Monday to a week of fun and exploration at Fells Forest Camp at our new location, Medford High School!

Our staff is excited to facilitate a week of nature-based, experiential learning opportunities for your child as we explore the Lawrence Woods section of the Middlesex Fells.

A new location and COVID-related requirements have made this year’s camp instructions necessarily extensive. Please carefully review the content of this email, as we provide information that is required by the Commonwealth to be shared with you and is important to the health of your child and the safety of our camp community.

We’re looking forward to seeing you and your child soon!

New location at Medford High School

This summer our camp is located at Medford High School. All camp age groups (Forest Kindergarten, Forest Explorers, and Forest Adventurers) will be run from this location at 489 Winthrop Street in Medford.

Medford High School is a great home base for our camp, with better bathroom facilities, a larger space to relocate campers and staff indoors in case of a weather or other emergency, and plenty of parking for drop off and pick-up. It is also immediately adjacent to the Fells, and offers great hiking and nature opportunities. We’re excited to explore this area of the Fells this summer with our campers.

We’re prepared for a safe and rewarding camp experience

Our staff has been working diligently to ensure your child has a safe and rewarding time at Fells Forest Camp this summer. In addition to working with DCR and the Medford Board of Health to coordinate reopening plans, we have modified our camp operations to comply with new guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

New health safety measures include:

  • Checklist screening of staff and campers for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the start of each camp day;
  • Active visual monitoring children’s health status throughout each day;
  • Staff training on new protocols if a child becomes unwell at camp;
  • Staff training on encouraging camper hygiene (e.g. proper hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes);
  • Separation of children into discrete “camp families”, social distancing, and mask/face-covering protocols (see below for details).

If you have any questions about our preparations related to COVID-19, please contact Chris Redfern, Friends of the Fells Executive Director, at chris.redfern@fells.org.

The Commonwealth’s guidance also includes a number of requirements that must be followed by families of children attending day camp. We have incorporated these requirements into the following instructions:

 

PARENT/GUARDIAN INSTRUCTIONS

Every morning before leaving your home

  • Print the Daily Screening Protocol checklist, write today’s date and your child’s name at the top of the form, answer all questions on the form, and sign the form on the “Parent/Guardian Signature” line.
  • If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, do not bring your child to camp and call or text us at (857) 626-4407 to report her/his absence.
  • If you are not able to print the form at home, review the checklist verbally with your child prior to leaving home to determine if your child may attend camp. A printed form will be available for you to complete upon check-in.

IMPORTANT: A Daily Screening Protocol checklist must be completed and submitted to us each and every day your child attends camp. We cannot admit a child to camp without a completed checklist signed by a parent/guardian.

Drop off and pick-up instructions

Our Fells Forest Camp Map illustrates the location of our drop off and pick-up location at Medford High School at 489 Winthrop Street. Park in the parking spaces facing the Fells forest and walk to our screening and check-in area noted on the map.

Traffic cones will be spaced for guidance in practicing social distancing while in the check-in line. During drop off and pick-up of campers, parents/guardians must wear a mask or face covering per MA regulations. Also, we request that only one parent/guardian accompany the camper during check-in (do not bring along non-camp siblings or other adults if possible).

Morning program drop off is at 9am (except for families with 4-5 year-olds – please arrive at 8:45am each day instead) and pick-up is at 11:30am. Afternoon drop off is at 12:30pm and pick-up is at 3pm. All-day drop off is at 9am and pick-up is at 4pm.

Separation of children into “camp families”, social distancing, and face covering policies

Regulations require us to separate campers into “families” of children and instructors to limit the mixing of children and staff. This protocol will be followed to reduce the likelihood of transmission and to allow for easier contact tracing if an individual at camp tests positive for COVID-19.

Regulations also state that camp providers “must attempt to maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times and limit contact between individuals”. Our staff understand this requirement and will work to encourage compliance with our campers, while acknowledging that instances of non-compliance are bound to occur. When non-compliance happens, our staff will remind campers and reinforce social distancing behaviors.

Children are expected to wear a mask or face covering at our camp program. Throughout each camp day, we will also define certain activities as “mask-optional” and will communicate to campers when such activities are offered. These include activities such as active hiking when physical distancing is possible for older campers and periods when campers are stationary and engaged in an activity where they can practice social distancing (such as nature observation, journaling, and drawing).

In all cases, providing opportunities to engage in “mask-optional” activities is at the discretion of our instructors, and will depend on the group dynamics and behavior of each “camp family”. Campers are welcome to keep their masks on during these activities if they so choose.

Camp policies and rules and what to bring to camp

Our website provides additional information on essential preparation for camp. Before sending your child to camp, please be sure to review our camp policies and rules and the waiver you signed when you registered your child for camp.

For detailed information on what your child should bring to camp and protection against ticks, mosquitos, and poison ivy, please review our camp general information page. A water bottle, snack (or multiple snacks and lunch, if attending all day), rain gear, sunscreen, and insect repellant are must-haves, and should be packed in a day-pack your child will carry with her/him each day.

Our on-site camp phone number is (857) 626-4407

If your child will be late for arrival at camp or absent for the day, or if you have an emergency and need to contact someone at our site, please call or text (857) 626-4407 to reach Lead Instructor Kelli Hanson in the field. If she does not answer, please leave a message. Her top priority is the safety of the children she is watching, but she will return your call or text as soon as possible.

Final note

If there is anything you’d like us to know about your child and have not done so already, please email us at forestcamp@fells.org as soon as possible. We are committed to providing your family with a great camp experience this summer, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

We’re looking forward to sharing our love for the Fells forest and having fun with your child at camp this summer!

 

Chris Redfern, Jesse MacDonald, and Kelli Hanson
Fells Forest Camp