As we plan for the 2022 season, we will again be relying on guidance from the American Camp Association (plus the CDC and local governing bodies). We will monitor the situation closely and institute best practices to minimize risk.
In an effort to reduce the stress that the unpredictability of Covid brings, all camp fees will 100% refundable until three weeks from your camper's session. If within three weeks of your camp session, Covid prevents your child from attending camp, your fees, minus the deposit are refunded. If Covid cancels the entire camp, your entire fee is refunded.
We commit to keeping in close communication with camp families on our plan to manage risk. We understand the health of the campers, their families and the staff is top priority.
Summary of 2021 Camp Experience
We ran three weeks of overnight camps, plus a Teen Summit (for girls aged 16-19). Camp looked different than pre-Covid, e.g. health screenings upfront, wearing masks indoors, no group tent experience, kids didn't help with meal prep.
All overnight camps went off without a hitch. We had one camper who experienced Covid-like symptoms, so her parent came and picked her up, took her to be tested. Once the test came back negative, she returned to camp.
For the Teen Leadership Summit (campers aged 16-19), all staff and campers completed rapid tests upon arrival and tested negative.
For photos from the action on the farm, visit HERE. Note: we're still a "small-batch" camp, with just 26 kids per session.
Note: In the spring of 2021, Nature's Farm Camp also organized stewardship days in the Cook County Forest Preserve. With a Cook County Steward supporting our efforts, we cut invasive plants, built fires and ate s'mores. If you're interested in that happening in 2022, please email: food(at)naturesfarmcamp(dot)com.
Summary of 2020 Covid Experience
It was a wild ride, with more downs than ups. We approached the summer with an abundance of caution as we analyzed and re-analyzed how we might do things to best reduce risk. We planned and planned and then re-planned. We worked tirelessly 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. The local health department gave our plan the thumbs up and shared our plan with others as a model to emulate. The plan included running two separate camps with thirteen campers on each side of the farm, split into two "pods." And then, right after we finished staff development, the State of IL did not approve overnight camps to operate.
It's worth mentioning that the Illinois office of the American Camp Association provided support and guidance and weekly zoom calls all along the way.
So, in July and August of 2020, we ran day programs, bringing mostly Chicago area families out to the farm for a day to wander and explore the 200 acre property. We created art at the creek, picked berries, hugged goats, followed chickens, jumped on hay bales and made drums together.