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COVID-19 & NC 4-H Camps

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During the summer of 2022, our North Carolina 4-H Camps & Centers experienced the negative impacts of COVID-19 with the cancellation of two individual weeks of camps at two separate 4-H centers following a COVID outbreak among staff.

After collecting, reviewing, and analyzing feedback from our 2022 summer camp evaluation with our 4-H Agents, Program Assistants, and CEDs, it was suggested that we have an alternative plan to cancel a week of camp in the event of a COVID outbreak among staff.

Recognizing that COVID-19 still poses a very real health risk to our summer camp operation, the North Carolina 4-H Camps & Centers will continue the following measures as they relate to COVID-19 for the 2023 summer camp season:

Proactive Measures:

  • The COVID-19 vaccination is our best line of defense! It is strongly recommended that all eligible campers and staff are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination at the time of camp attendance.
  • It is strongly recommended to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 within the 14 days before camp arrival by limiting your interaction with others outside your household, especially those in high risk communities.
  • It is strongly recommended that campers complete a COVID-19 pre-arrival test within 72 hours of camp arrival, either rapid or PCR. If a camper tests positive, they should not come to camp, but contact the camp about transferring their registration or receiving a full refund minus the deposit.
  • Stay home if you are sick!  Healthy campers = a healthy camp community.
  • It is recommended to follow the 3 W’s:
    • Wear a mask
    • Wash your hands
    • Watch your distance
  • Our camps may choose to use Small Group Cohorts. This limits potential exposure of COVID-19 in the event of a positive case while at camp.
  • Our camps will complete daily health and wellness checks of campers every morning to ensure all campers are feeling healthy and well.

Responsive Measures:

  • In the event that a camper becomes sick at camp, the camper will be sent home. If a camper becomes sick at camp, the 4-H Agent/Program Assistant or parent will be notified immediately and asked for the camper to leave camp for their health and the health of the entire camp community. The camper will be supervised in a space separate from the rest of camp while they wait for their parent/guardian to pick them up, or to be transported home by 4-H staff. 
  • Campers and staff who demonstrate COVID-19 symptoms will be treated according to CDC guidelines.

Changes to 2023 4-H Camp Operations

The following changes will be made to our 4-H camp operations to provide a backup plan for 4-H camp only. This does not apply to contract camps such as Camp Corral and Operation Purple Camp or specialty camps such as Camp Canvasback or Fur Fish ‘N Game Rendezvous. The reason is that 4-H Camps will have 4-H Agents who may be able to provide camper supervision during the camp week. Additionally, specialty camps require specific training for camp activities and do not have additional support staff in the form of 4-H Agents.

  • All 4-H camp staff will be cross trained in all lower risk activity areas so that they may be able to instruct/lead camp activities in the event of a COVID outbreak among staff resulting in reduced staff. Camp activities offered will be based on available staff.
  • American Camp Association (ACA) required supervision ratios must be met using 4-H Agents or 4-H Volunteers that the 4-H Agents would recruit for camper supervision. Activity supervision ratios must be met using camp staff specific to the activity. This means there is a possibility of being able to run a girls camp, but boys camp could be canceled due to a lack of available male staff.
  • In the event of a COVID outbreak among staff, 4-H Agents/Program Assistants/CEDs will be given the option to provide supervision as Cabin Counselors during their designated 4-H camp week. Please note that you will be responsible for supervising an entire cabin group, not just your 4-H’ers from your county group.
  • The 4-H Center Director, in consultation with the State 4-H Camping Specialist and State 4-H Program Leader, has the ultimate decision regarding the status of camp based on available information at the time of the decision.
  • Please note, 4-H Agents need to understand this is a backup plan and if the proper ratios are not able to be met then the camp week could still be canceled.

American Camp Association (ACA) Required Supervision Ratios

Camper Age Number Staff Overnight Campers Day-only Campers
5 years and younger 1 5 6
6–8 years 1 6 8
9–14 years 1 8 10
15-18 years 1 10 12

Camp Activity Supervision Ratios

Activity Campers Staff
Archery 10 1
Arts & Crafts 10 1
Canoeing/Kayaking/SUP 5 1
Low Ropes 10 1
Swimming 25 1

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