Dear Parents and Campers,
We’re here to announce that Summer Camp is happening! These past few months have affected us in more ways than we ever could have imagined. Kids have been indoors for months, and are longing for summer camps where they can connect with friends, play in the open air, and have new adventures.
Under normal circumstances, going to camp requires significant preparation — both from our staff and families. In this new world, it takes even more time to consider the many precautions for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. All of us here at Trackers Earth have spent these past few months working around the clock to anticipate what safe summer camp will look like this year. As our state releases new guidelines, this thoughtful analysis has proven to be valuable. We are grateful for your continued patience and understanding with our process.
Re-opening timelines vary by state, region, and county. Oregon released their official guidelines for day camps on Friday (May 15). We review each area’s guidelines and regulations the minute they come in. During this time, we’ve kept our full-time staff on board so that we can quickly shift and evolve our plan. We’re continually brainstorming as a team, meeting with health authorities and camp organizations, and doing all we can to prepare. One thing is for sure: we will adapt and continue to create safe ways to provide engaging, educational — and fun! — camp experiences, no matter what.
While we continue to adapt our programs, here’s what we know so far:
Overnight Camps We are anticipating possible new guidance for Oregon overnight camps and we will let you know more about them as soon as we can.
Day Camps will continue according to Oregon Health Authority guidelines:
- We plan to have small, stable groups of the same kids for our day camps – working under essential state guidelines.
- Each group will remain together throughout the day and the camp week. Campers will space themselves much as possible, which is much easier outside!
- We will provide hand sanitizer and hand washing stations, working to make sure each camper and staff uses them often throughout the day.
- We ask parents to take their child’s temperature every morning. If your child has any symptoms of being sick, please stay home for the safety of everyone. Trackers will credit you for that time. We are also planning an efficient and in-depth daily health check for staff and students at drop-off each day
- Check-in and check-out times may be staggered. This may result in minor shifts in camp times. To follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines to maintain stable groups for our campers, we do not plan on currently offering after camp.
- At this time, our buses will be limited to a stable cohort to ensure social distancing. That means Trackers will use more vehicles and also adjust which programs and the number of days we transport for. The positive result, less time on buses and more time for activities.
- To spread out check-in, we may add more pick-up and drop-off locations near our primary drop-off areas – especially for SE Portland. We will notify you of updated locations as we secure them.
What Else Are We Exploring?
We are considering neighborhood camps that start at 9 AM and end at 2:30 PM. In Neighborhood Summer Camp, kids would be led by teachers on safe adventures using walking friendly paths and areas. We are also exploring family and friends’ camps and even Camp Shares where a Trackers Teacher comes to your home for camp with a group of siblings and kids you choose. Finally, we have a goal of offering a limited scholarship tuition and programs for children of essential workers in need of financial assistance.
Trackers Spark also offers online classes for those continuing to stay home. These are interactive, small group webinars with a familiar guide and tons of activities. This is a chance for kids to connect with other kids in classes from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Join Captain Nick in recovering the lost idol. Quest with the Realms of Cascadia, where you create your character to adventure as an elf, wizard or more. There’s even online classes for adults.
Connection & Community
Trackers is about community and personal connection. This is not a time for one-size-fits-all thinking. It is a time for personal action and responsibility. We will work with each of you to make sure your kids have the best possible camp experience this summer. During the next several weeks, our teams will reach out personally to parents signed up for camp. This is our quest to better understand your particular needs, and answer any questions you might have.
Please, if you have urgent specific needs for your children and circumstances (ie., essential workers, specific health concerns, etc.) feel free to contact us as well. Personal connection is part of our core values, and we will do our best to find personal solutions for those who need them. Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding through this process.
Connecting kids to nature in inspiring ways is central to our mission. We are an organization that exists to support kids and parents and provide real and awesome camp experiences. Everyone at Trackers remembers what it’s like to be a kid. We look forward to helping your kids learn and build lasting memories – while giving parents a break, too.
If your situation has changed, we hope that you can still support Trackers by accepting a future camp credit that will be good through 2022. If a credit does not work for you, please contact us, and we will do our best to help your individual needs.
We thank you for your trust in Trackers and look forward to speaking with each of you soon. Please stay healthy and safe, and we can’t wait to see you at camp!
See you in the forest,
Molly & Tony Deis
Founders & Parents