Dear Manitou Families,
We wanted to provide an update regarding our plan for camp this summer amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s difficult to pick the right time to give you an update. Just like the pandemic itself, the protocols, knowledge gained, and public health guidelines will be changing right up to the summer.
The bottom line is, we can hardly wait to get to camp this summer. Your kids need camp and we need camp too. We’re doing everything we can to make it happen.
While we are not yet able to fine-tune many parts of our plan as we await official direction from the government, we want to provide you with an update regarding our anticipated framework and some of the protocols we are considering. It’s tough to decide how much information to share at this time given that many factors are subject to change in next four months, however, in keeping with our Manitou philosophy, we would rather give you more information than necessary so you can get a sense of our safety policies and procedures as they come to fruition.
It’s likely going to be a rollercoaster until July 1st. Our best guess, like yours, is that things will continue to improve, may get worse and then get better again. We are preparing accordingly and are assuming the strictest of protocols, knowing these can always be changed.
As camp draws near, we will be communicating in greater detail our countless safety protocols and modifications being made for this summer making camp a haven for the Manitou family. Many of them are outlined in the FAQ link below.
We have extended the full payment deadline to June 1st, instead of May 1st, and invoices will be sent out in April. As we have said before, if you wish to cancel, you may do so up to June 1st for a full refund. Also, all camper medical forms and other important forms will be sent out a bit later this year in early April and will be due May 1st.
In terms of other financial considerations, we have always had an all-in fee with no extra charges, but the additional costs in preparing and keeping camp safe for this summer is exorbitant without even factoring in the testing costs for our campers and staff. We will be bearing all of those costs which would include for example PPE, physical modifications to the site, tents, and additional staffing. We may need to share the cost of testing with parents and we expect the fee could be as low as $200 and as high as $400 per camper and we will advise you closer to camp.
Unfortunately, we have had to cancel Visitors Day this year. For our full session parents, we will determine the best way for you to hear from your child. We assure you we will continue our excellent Manitou communication all summer. Also, as we are doing our best to maintain a bubble environment, we will not be holding any of our shorter trial sessions for younger campers, Intercamp games with other camps or beach days on Thursdays.
If you would like to read answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions, please click on this LINK. It will include answers to the following questions:
- What is your feeling about the ability to run safely this summer as opposed to last summer?
- How will you minimize the possibility of COVID-19 entering camp?
- How will campers get tested and what will this cost?
- Will the staff be vaccinated?
- What about testing during camp?
- Will my kids go up on the bus to camp?
- Are you trying to create some kind of “camp bubble”?
- How can you bubble the staff?
- ·Is there any part of the camp program that will change at camp?
- How are you addressing meals and other snack times?
- What changes are you making to your Health Center?
- The mental health benefits of being back at camp are huge, but how are you going to handle any mental health issues that arise?
- What about PPE and will our kids be wearing masks?
- Will you contact us if our child has COVID-19 symptoms and is getting tested? Also, what happens if they test positive?
- What if a camper must go home?
- My child is registered for second session. I’ve heard that some camps have decided to cancel this session; what about Manitou?
- What about those potentially coming to camp from outside Canada?
We want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to make camp a safe and wonderful place this summer. We want to reemphasize that these considered protocols are still very much a work in progress and will continue to change as we prepare for the summer. If you do have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at any time. We remain hard at work preparing to give your child(ren) an incredible summer that will allow for more interpersonal connections, positive mental state and a place for important personal growth. We know the benefits of camp are more important now than ever before.
Being outside with friends, having counsellors to mentor and guide your child, going to 33 activities, playing in rain puddles, talking in the cabin at night, having crazy evening programs such as paint your counsellor, enjoying our famous Thursday morning brunch and making unique friendships that will last a lifetime will still be the essence of Manitou 2021.
Manitou is a family, and in tough times families support each other and create silver linings to deal with adversity. We know we have one incredible family to help make that happen!
– Mark, Jeff, Jen, Alec and Melissa