Update #5 June 5th, 2021
Our first priority at Chop Point has always been the safety of our campers. After a year of not opening and a very changed world, this is still our number one goal. We also have the goal of having a great and impactful summer filled with fun, friends and meaningful interactions. Although the following rules will change the way we do some activities, we will use our over 50 years of camping experience to capture the spirit of what camp has meant to so many. We all have had to deal with less than ideal conditions in the past 16 months, but we hope to add a bit of normality back into your teenagers’ lives. One popular evening activity at camp is Obstacle Course Night, kids run through boot-camp like obstacles as “drill sergeants” urge them on. We find a way to make that fun. We look to this summer as a similar challenge for us all…jump through the hoops and have fun doing it…and we will all cross the finish line as one, solidified unit.
David Wilkinson, Annie Krebs and Kez Bowman
We have all been on a roller coaster of changing rules and recommendations with regard to Covid and CDC recommendations in the past few weeks. In terms of summer camps, the State of Maine had chosen to defer to the CDC recommendations. The CDC issued new guidance for camps on May 28th and we have spent time reviewing how that would affect our current plans. The guidance has some degree of interpretation and is not as cut and dry as the earlier Maine rules were. As we have looked at all the information, we are viewing the rules in light of what will be the best for Chop Point’s campers’ and staff health, safety and well-being. We have chosen to stay with some of our earlier structure with some modifications to stay in line with the newest guidance. We are hoping this is the end of the adjustments, but we think all of us realize that Covid is a changing landscape and we will continue to adjust to meet CDC and State guidelines.
- In the week prior to arrival at Chop Point, campers must:
- Practice safe behavior, such as avoiding situations where distancing is not possible and wearing a mask at a store or indoor function if not vaccinated, even if you are not required to do so.
- Obtain, and provide Chop Point, a negative PCR or Antigen test for COVID-19, 72 hours or less before arrival at camp OR show proof of Vaccination (please upload to CampDoc)
- During the camp sessions:
- Campers will be divided into “Families” (their cabins) and Cohorts (boys/girls). Certain activities such as meals or sailing they may do as a cohort or a family.
- Campers will not need to mask indoors if they are in their cabins or with their family group.
- Generally speaking, campers will not need to mask outdoors unless we are not able to distance ourselves from members of another cohort or family group.
- Fully vaccinated campers and staff will not need to mask indoors or outdoors. There may be certain times or situations where we ask everyone to mask.
- Many daily activities such as sports, boating, and music, as well as most evening activities, may involve mixed cohorts while maintaining proper social distance and/or masking.
- Unvaccinated campers and staff will be required to wear masks whenever indoors with members of another family/cohort and for certain outdoor activities with mixed cohorts where proper distancing is not possible.
- Whenever possible, activities will take place outdoors, including meals and free-time leisures such as pool and ping-pong.
- Limiting exposure:
- Chop Point will limit visitors during the session, with the exception of essential delivery and maintenance personnel.
- Campers will remain at camp for the duration of the programs.
- Camper workers will not be able to leave campus on their days off.
- Trips will likely be limited to day trips or one night overnight trips, and may be limited to a cohort.
While this feels like a lot of rules, what we learned from running school in person this past year was: kids adapted to the changes very well and what they wanted most was to be around other kids and to be able to personally interact with their friends. We know we will give our campers a great summer camp program.
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions. Also be aware that a lot of what we are working with is fluid. We will do our best to keep families informed of changes.
We can’t wait to see you this summer and get a small piece of our lives back as we all experience the joy of being together again at Chop Point.
If you are an international camper, all of the above information applies to you as well as some things specific for our foreign campers. Please look at the following link to see the international differences.
Update #4 April 16th, 2021
Hello Chop Point campers!
At the end of March, the state of Maine and the American Camping Association released their guidelines for managing COVID-19 at summer camps for the 2021 season. We are very excited to reopen camp this summer and are pleased that the guidelines will enable us to run modified programs that give kids the best of Chop Point fun, friendship, and experience of the love of Christ. It is possible that the state will release updated guidance before the summer, but at this time, these are the essential pandemic mitigation strategies that Chop Point will be required to implement, in compliance with state and ACA regulations.
- In the week prior to arrival at Chop Point, campers must:
- Refrain from attending large group gatherings such as graduations, weddings etc
- Fill out a daily attestation via Campdoc.com reporting any COVID-like symptoms, possible exposures, and risky activities
- Obtain, and provide Chop Point, a negative PCR or Antigen test for COVID-19, 72 hours or less before arrival at camp OR show proof of Vaccination
- During the camp sessions:
- Campers will be divided into cohorts and will participate in certain activities such as meals and swimming with their cohort members only
- Many daily activities such as sports, boating, and music, as well as most evening activities, may involve mixed cohorts while maintaining proper social distance and or masking.
- Campers and staff will be required to wear masks whenever indoors with members of another cohort and for certain outdoor activities with mixed cohorts where proper distancing is not possible.
- Whenever possible, activities will take place outdoors, including meals and free time leisures such as pool and ping-pong
- Limiting exposure:
- Chop Point will not permit visitors during the session, with the exception of essential delivery and maintenance personnel.
- Campers will remain at camp for the duration of the programs
- Camper workers will not be able to leave campus on their days off
- Trips will likely be limited to day trips or one night overnight trips, and may be limited to cohort
As summer approaches, we will be in touch with more specifics to help you prepare for an amazing stay at Chop Point. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions. Also be aware that a lot of what we are working with is fluid and some of the guidance changed within the first 5 days of us receiving it. We will do our best to keep families informed of changes.
We can’t wait to see you this summer!
Dave, Annie and Kez
If you are an international camper, all of the above information applies to you as well as the some things specific for our foreign campers. Please look at the following link to see the international differences.
Update #3 December 22, 2020
‘Tis the season for sharing good news and we have some for you: at Chop Point we are committed to reopening our programs for the summer of 2021! It was heartbreaking to lose 2020 and we will do everything in our power to make this summer a successful return to camp.
We are in the process of hiring staff. We have a few returners from 2019 and are interviewing some new prospects as well. All of our staff are very excited at the possibility of having campers back in the summer.
Why do we feel that we can safely return to programs in 2021?
- Chop Point has been able to run a school program fully in person this fall with a similar sized population.
- A number of camps in Maine and elsewhere opened last summer with some modifications to their programs and functioned without incident.
- The greatly increased availability of testing to quickly identify a Covid case.
- The year-worth of data and knowledge that will be available to us when we reopen, ensuring that we can use the best prevention strategies and best treatments for Covid.
We have watched the standards and best practices change a lot in the past 6 months and we anticipate those changes to continue as the world’s understanding of COVID-19 changes. Therefore we will adjust our programs based on the most current medical recommendations in the spring of 2021. It is likely that the recommendations will be similar to what they are now, but we want to be confident that we are using the most up to date guidance.
Here are examples of some of the protocols that you can reasonably expect when you return to Chop Point this summer:
- All staff and campers will have a negative COVID test within three days of travel to camp.
- All staff and campers will self-isolate or quarantine for a period of time before coming to camp.
- Families will fill out a daily symptoms and exposure screening of the camper for a period of time before camp.
- Changes to the way we prepare and serve meals at camp.
- Possible reduction in the number of campers at camp at one time.
There are, of course, other policies that we may modify to mitigate risk but we will provide greater details about that in the spring.
Like you, we all would like to return to some sort of normalcy in our lives in 2021. We fervently hope and pray for COVID to fade away worldwide by summer. Until that happens we will continue to take the necessary steps and precautions to make 2021 “the best summer ever”. Join us!
Update #2 May 17th, 2020
We have made the agonizing decision to suspend all of our currently scheduled programs for the summer of 2020.
Summer at Chop Point has always been about community. We start our summer with our staff training. We spend twelve days creating bonds and community together. Our staff bonds through early morning devotions, swim tests, learning to sail, work projects and practicing rescuing each other. In a nutshell, what we do is the opposite of social distancing. When campers arrive, we expand and build on that community. We do it in a similar way through shared time, conversations, games, skits, meals, and hanging out in small and large groups. We encourage campers to pursue what they are interested in and we see campers build relationships with campers and counselors who may not be in their cabins or in their same age group. The mixing of so many different friend groups and interests is one of the things that campers love so much about Chop Point.
As we looked at this summer, we were faced with many very difficult decisions. We have been thoughtfully and prayerfully considering so many options over the past few months. Camp people are generally an optimistic bunch and we knew this wouldn’t be a normal summer, but we looked forward to having staff and campers here. Ultimately, our decisions came down to the ability to reasonably plan for the health and well-being of our staff and campers, the ability to have staff arrive and train together before camp and the lack of clear direction from the State of Maine of what modifications to programs we would be required. With uncertainty in these areas, we don’t feel like we could move forward with opening camp for our scheduled programs.
I have spent the afternoon informing staff of our decision and I know there have been some tears shed. I know you will have a difficult role in sharing this news with your children who have all given up so much this spring by the way of social interaction. We will wait till Tuesday to post this to our website and Facebook page so that your campers can hear the information from you instead of seeing it online with no warning. I am sure former campers will begin to reach out quickly to camp friends so please think about not waiting to talk to your kids about our decision. I have realized, through all of this, that no amount of Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts or FaceTimes can replace the need for us to actually socialize in person and with one another. Camp plays such an important role in reinforcing that for so many young people. I am sad that we will not be sharing meaningful time together along the Kennebec at Chop Point this summer.
Our plan in the coming days is to reach out to each of you personally. We will work with each family to come to the best solution for you and for Chop Point. This will take some time to work through as we have nearly 240 campers in the system for this summer. Please be patient with us in this process. As I said in my earlier email, we would love to enroll current campers in our 2021 programs. We can credit any payments this year to next year’s programs. Some of you may be under different financial circumstances through COVID-19 and we understand if you are not able to do this. We will work with you to provide a refund or a partial refund as needed on a case by case basis.
We will also be asking if you are able to consider donating your payments or a portion of those payments as a tax-deductible gift. We know this will be a hard season for Chop Point, but we are confident in God’s provision.
Our Chop Point community is built on our faith in Christ. That foundation of faith in Christ allows us to build a loving and caring community with our staff year in and year out. That has been the backbone and strength of our programs. We know we can provide that same community to one another as we all work through COVID and how it has changed our lives in 2020.
Chop Point Staff email@example.com
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Update #1 April 22nd, 2020
First and foremost, through all of this, we are praying that you all are healthy and safe. This has been an extraordinary event that has impacted every part of our lives. We have been praying for those that are directly affected by the Corona virus and especially our camp families and friends in Italy, Spain and France. We continue to pray and hope for a quick and healthy resolution.
We are also planning and preparing for camp. Currently we have not canceled any of our programs for the summer of 2020 and are actively recruiting and hiring our staff for the summer. That being said, we recognize that we are in a very uncertain time and the realities of COVID and its potential impact on our programs is very real.
While we are planning for camp, we also have to look at some very hard decisions. Currently in Maine, the Governor has extended our state of emergency through May 15th and we are still under a stay at home order through May 1st. There is no clear understanding of the next steps that would be taken beyond May 1st. Currently, there is a ban on all gatherings larger than 10 people in Maine. So that gives you an idea of the restrictions we are under.
We are evaluating the situation and will be making some decisions that hopefully will give families guidance in early May. We are waiting on some guidance from the American Camping Association, the CDC and the State of Maine. We will also be looking at travel rules and restrictions and talking to our own medical staff on whether we could run camp safely for our staff and campers. All of these issues will factor into our decision. We will prayerfully consider all our options and we will keep you, our camp families, up to date on our decisions as we make them.
We are also planning for the worst-case scenario. We have always had a cancellation policy in place in the event that circumstances change before a camper arrives and a camper is unable to attend a program. We have returned all the money in those cases, except for the non-refundable deposit which we hold. We honestly have never had to consider a policy that addresses our camp programs being canceled. But here is a short outline of some of the options we are considering.
If we could not run camps this summer, our plan is to try to handle payments and deposits as follows. We would like to roll campers’ enrollments into the summer of 2021. We would apply all payments to the next year’s programs and lock you into 2020 pricing for sessions. Many of our families have had long relationships with Chop Point and understand the implications that a canceled camp season would have on our organization. If parents are able to and are willing, we are able to convert any payments or portions of payments into a tax-deductible donation. For those families who may be aging out of camp programs or may not be able to commit to camp in 2021, we will work with you to come to a fair resolution. Please know these are some of our preliminary thoughts on the situation and honestly, we are praying that we don’t have to implement them.
Please contact us if you have any questions before our early May time line and we will answer you as best as we are able. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chop Point Staff
Our prayer is that God would be a comfort to you and your family throughout this time.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”