7/8/21 Update: Camp is happening! Yes, it looks different, due to Covid, e.g. masks on indoors, no group tents, plus campers don't take part in food prep, but we there's still so much to do on the farm!. And being outdoors is great. For photos from the action on the farm, visit HERE. Note: we're still a "small-batch" camp, with just 26 kids per session.
5/18/21 Update: We are in full on planning mode. The American Camp Association is providing guidance on how best to minimize risk and sharing best practices. The Illinois office has been especially helpful. Staff training happens in just a few weeks.
For parents of first time campers, consider prepping kids for being away from home. Note: while many camps last more than a month, our camp is only five days.
3/20/21 Update: The State of Illinois (IL DCEO) gave overnight camps the greenlight to operate this summer! DCEO released initial guidelines which we are reviewing as we prepare our plan to safely open camp. We will share that plan with you (in addition to discussing with our local health department). We understand the safety of the campers is job #1. We added another week of overnight camp.
3/5/21 Update: We opened reservations for two weeks of Overnight camp. There are also a couple options for rustic camp farm stays for families. For more information and reservations on our overnight options please visit HERE
2/24/21 Update: We continue to plan conservatively for camp and to be prepared for any situation as it arises.
What We Know: Farm Camp will still be a place of safety, community, personal growth and fun, even as we understand COVID will impact our policies and operations.
Whatever we do will be approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health authorities. Additionally, we will be following CDC and American Camp Associations recommendations, e.g. pre-health screenings, and limiting risk in a variety of ways, including staying outdoors.
What we Expect: Based on current guidance, we don't expect to require vaccines for our campers. We do anticipate most, if not all, staff to have been vaccinated.
We are not starting from scratch, i.e. we plan to update our 2020 overnight COVID camp plan (that was approved by local health authorities, and offered as a model and shared with other camps.)
Campers will need camp for than ever and outdoor adventure and constant social experience with peers will be great for the health of kids.
What We are Still Figuring Out:
Sizes of groups, i.e. do we split camp into two PODs of a dozen kids that remain separate? What will happen if someone has COVID symptoms while at camp? What if someone tests positive at camp? Our decisions will be based on guidelines from the CDC and best practices by the American Camp Association. At a minimum, we plan to be 100% transparent of anything that happens.
As we know more, we will post here. Still have questions? Please email: email@example.com or call 773-580-7780.
Note: At this time, we have scheduled just three weeks of overnight camp.
What a wild ride 2020 has been. On top of a global pandemic, the nation is reckoning with racial injustice. We understand that racism and economic injustice is baked into every aspect of the DNA of conventional food. So, if we are all about helping to create a system of great food like we say we are, we need to figure out how to right the wrongs as it relates to people of color.
We’re also taking baby steps at bringing people out to the farm – small batch programming, with health checks and physical distancing. See the calendar for more, which includes farm tours and night hikes!
We hope to see you soon. Outdoors.
With love & peas.
Farm Camp Families, It is with heavy hearts that we write to share the news that overnight farm camps are cancelled. For three months, we’ve worked on ways to safely and responsibly open overnight camp. We stayed in the loop with relevant developments, listened to partners, purchased safety supplies and mapped out contingency plans. But, at present, overnight camps are not permitted in the State of IL. Nor has Illinois provided any guidance as to when they will be permitted. We exist to serve you and are heartbroken that we won’t be with your kids for a week of exploration, discovery and growth at their farm. 2020 been an emotional roller coaster, with too many dips. For an upturn, we are creating a new July and August calendar with opportunities for you to visit and connect. Our 200 acres of open air, with hiking trails, spring-fed creek, veggie gardens, goats and chickens are calling for visitors. We will begin processing refunds this week. We will also be back in touch with the calendar for family camps and other options for visits. In the meantime, please call, text or email.
We approach the summer with an abundance of caution as we analyze and re-analyze how we might do things to best reduce risk. We also lean heavily on the American Camp Association and their best practices (per their work with the CDC). If we don’t believe we can run camp safely camp will not happen. We will also cancel camp if the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Boone County Health Department do not think we can run camp safely. We sent our camp plan to the Health Department outlining our Safety Precautions. In summary, it covers only the things new to camp that we changed to reduce risk due to COVID-19. We have also updated our Camp Parent Handbook and Health Forms which include these precautions. If you would like a copy of this plan, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Other important notes: In addition to changes on health and logistics, we are shortening camp by one night, and reducing camp fees. SESSION DATES Camp will begin Sunday afternoons at 3:00, and end on Thursday morning at 11:00. Note: with staggered drop-offs and pick-ups, your exact time will vary slightly. July 12 – 16, campers aged 8-12 July 19 – 23, campers aged 8-12 July 26 – 30, campers aged 12-15 Aug 2 – 6, campers aged 8-12 Previous Camp Fee: $1095 New Camp Fee: $995 We still honor our commitment to offer refunds to any camp families who request them. Thank you for your patience and your support. These are difficult times, especially parents with growing kids. We will get through this and we hope camp will be a place to help heal, learn and grow, as an inclusive community. We are preparing like we’ve never prepared before. Sincerely, Jackie and Tim Nature’s Farm Camp at Angelic Organics Learning Center Jackie de Batista Executive DirectorAngelic Organics Learning Center Building sustainable local food & farm systems since 1999. 1545 Rockton Rd. Caledonia, IL 61011 www.learngrowconnect.org Office: (815) 389-8455 Jackie Cell: (815) 742-6781 Tim Magner Director, Nature’s Farm Camp Tim Cell: (773)580-7780
5/19/20 Update: To Our Camp Community, Your farm looks fantastic: bees buzzing, cows calving and seeds sprouting. At the same time, we miss kids and we struggle with not knowing exactly when that will change. We also understand that this is a challenging time for all families, and our thoughts are with you. This is a note to update you on overnight summer camp and our plans for responding to current challenges. To begin: nothing is more important than the safety of campers, camper families and our staff. We work hard to reduce risk and keep everyone safe, and this year will be no different. Please know that the safety of campers, their families and our staff is all that really matters to us. All of our thinking starts and ends here. We’ve been on a daily mission: learning about all the new and necessary health protocols, the heightened sanitation procedures, possible new required infrastructure (e.g. hand washing stations), devising new check-in/check-out procedures, determining wellness/medical training, and deeply understanding and evaluating all the risks. We’re using the just released best practice guidelines from the American Camp Association (based on CDC information) to craft a plan specific to our circumstance and will partner with our state and local health officials to ensure we are best prepared. While no determination has been made for the entire season, we have decided to cancel the two June weeks of overnight camp. We are using May as a time to gather more data and input from partners and governing bodies, before making a decision on camp for July and August. So, we remain in a holding pattern and thank you for your patience. Even as we haven’t made a decision on what July and August overnight camp will look like, we are still planning for camp and using time productively, e.g. daily farm chores, physical work to the property and staff training. Importantly, This pandemic will end and we want to emerge better equipped to fulfill our mission. Angelic Organics Learning Center has been around for more than twenty years and, in the midst of this, we are making plans for continued growth and expanded impact. Immersing kids in outdoor adventure and great food and supporting growth will remain central to our mission. That’s all because of people like you who love this place and support it through your attendance, your service, and your generous financial support. We appreciate you trusting us with your most precious assets. We look forward to seeing you all hopefully this summer, but if not, in the not too distant future. We plan to be back in touch in two weeks with an update. Please note: We stand by our decision to offer full refunds to any family who decide not to take part in camp this summer. As you know, Covid-19 has impacted people and communities differently. Angelic Organics Learning Center is struggling due to a loss of substantial income with continued program cancellations; some of you may be struggling with job loss and reduced income. We hope none of us are struggling with our health. If you do not end up at camp this summer and have the ability to convert some or all of your deposit or camp fees into a donation to help support our mission, we’d greatly appreciate your assistance. If you’re unable to do so and would like a full refund, we fully understand.
Jackie de Batista Executive Director, Angelic Organics Learning Center Building sustainable local food & farm systems since 1999. 1545 Rockton Rd. Caledonia, IL 61011 www.learngrowconnect.org Office: (815) 389-8455 Jackie Cell: (815) 742-6781
Tim Magner Director, Nature’s Farm Camp Tim Cell: (773)580-7780
4/27/20 Update: All spring programming at Angelic Organics Learning Center has been cancelled. We are hopeful, however, that the shelter-in-place order will end next month and it will be safe to run our small camp. So, we are considering ways to change procedures, e.g. health forms, screening, site sanitation, staff testing, etc. that reduce risk. We hope to have a more comprehensive plan to share in ten days. Note: We are also in communication with the American Camp Association and understand we will take guidance from our local health agency, and the state of Illinois.
4/7/20 Update: Coronavirus shouldn’t stop connection. We’re planning interactive, engaging weekly options for you, our camp family. If you’re interested in Friday afternoon Zoom calls, please send an email to food(at)naturesfarmcamp(dot)com and we’ll send out details. P.S. For updates on the new additions (kid goats!) and other happenings (e.g. garden tips), take a peek at Angelic Organic Learning Center’s Facebook page.
3/20/20 Update: Dear Camp Families, In this difficult time of shutdowns, closures and cancellations due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we understand if you’re questioning what is going to happen with Nature’s Farm Camp at Angelic Organics Learning Center. We are watching the COVID-19 developments closely and are in regular communication with our local health department and the American Camp Association. Our first priority is, and always will be, the safety and wellbeing of your children. As a small camp with room for only 26 participants each week, we’re in a unique scenario where, if needed, we can limit registrations to 20 campers and 5 staff. We also follow strict cleaning and disinfecting guidelines which protect against this and other contagions at camp. However, if restrictions tighten or recommendations to enforce six feet social distancing continue, we would simply be unable to move forward with camp. Because we just don’t know what summer will bring, we’re moving forward as if the situation will improve before June. As new information becomes available we will continue to reassess and update plans, and communicate them to you. In the meantime, there are a few things we can say for sure:
We are still accepting registrations for camp.
We will refund your money in full if camps are cancelled.
We are not processing refunds right now. Even if you plan to pull your kids from camp, we cannot process your refund at this time.
I bring up #3 because we have two solid months of programs for April and May on the books at Angelic Organics Learning Center. These groups and participants need attention, communication and potential rescheduling and or refunds before we get to summer camp. We are a small organization so must prioritize what needs to be done to handle things in an organized fashion and ensure accuracy. In the meantime, exciting things are still happening here on the farm. Tim is finalizing the hiring of camp staff, Katie is updating and finalizing health forms and waivers, I’m working on American Camp Association standards, and Robb and Randy are making minor repairs at the lodge in preparation for camp. Baby goats are also due any day now…and as your kids know, farm animals need to be cared for everyday. If you have already registered, we will send an email from HealthECamper next week with our updated health related forms. We thank you for filling them out sooner rather than later. In the meantime, please get yourselves outside when possible to preserve your physical and mental health. We hope you and yours are healthy, and are very hopeful camp is a go this summer. We can’t wait to spend a week or two with your amazing children. Please fee free to reach out to me or Tim with questions and concerns. Sincerely, Jackie and Tim Nature’s Farm Camp at Angelic Organics Learning Center
Jackie de Batista Executive Director Angelic Organics Learning Center
Building sustainable local food & farm systems since 1999.
1545 Rockton Road Caledonia, IL 61011
Office: (815) 389-8455 Jackie Cell: (815) 742-6781
Tim Magner Executive Director, Nature’s Farm Camp Cell: (773) 580-7780 tim(at)learngrowconnect(dot)org