Camp Is On! A message from the Camp Director

Here we are!

It has been a long time coming, friends, and we are happy to be offering camp once again! As you can imagine, our hearts were broken over not holding camp this summer. When everything shut down in the spring, moving into summer we felt there was too much risk. We were not confident we could keep keep everyone healthy, and too large of groups to manage safely. During that time, we kept up the grounds and fixed up buildings, all with the anticipation of opening camp again in the near future. And now here we are!

Rethinking Camp

As you can imagine, operating camp in times of a pandemic has made us rethink EVERYTHING we do! From how we serve meals to passing out medications, how we check in campers to staffing our programs — we’ve taken a closer look at every detail.

Our medical team, consisting of Nurse Jen, Nurse Sarah, and Dr. Cornell, have helped us all along the way. We couldn’t be holding camp without their input! More than anything in the world, we would hate for someone to become sick at camp because of something we missed. Masks are required at all times by all staff and AmeriCorps members. They will wear face shields when any camper requires help eating or brushing their teeth.

Family members aren’t allowed into the sleeping areas in an effort to keep as few people as possible out of compromising areas. We are plating meals and not offering a buffet. Medications are passed in the dining hall instead of having a line at the nurse station.

Perhaps we are going a bit overboard on the planning; but to keep our campers, families, and staff/AmeriCorps members safe, we don’t feel there is too much that could be done. We are intentionally keeping our sessions small as we navigate changes. As we become more comfortable and confident in our methods we will then work towards hosting more campers.

AmeriCorps Training

We held our AmeriCorps training with 9 new members, and are so excited to have them be a part of our camp adventures moving forward. This was a great chance for us to practice the procedures that we have been putting into place over the past several months. We have a great group of young people (Carissa here, and I’m old) joining us, and can’t wait to be a part of the wonderful things they do at camp!

Veterans Family Camp

Our Veterans Family Camp was held September 26-27 (just one night instead of two). We welcomed 8 veterans and 15 family members to camp, and showed them just what camp fun is all about. There was tie-dying, pumpkin carving, a campfire with songs, and we even honored 3 veterans at our Quilts of Valor presentation held Saturday night. We were happy to have camp open again, and see many happy families as they left on Sunday.

First Respite Camp Weekend

We held our first Respite Camp weekend October 9-11, and it was a great time! We truly appreciate all of our families’ patience at check-in, and following all of the guidelines to record each camper’s temperature and symptoms for two weeks before they arrived. The AmeriCorps members and staff did a great job following the guidelines, wearing their masks and encouraging their campers to wear theirs (understandably, some campers won’t wear them for different reasons). They worked hard to keep areas disinfected, and most of all making those great connections with our campers and helping them have a great time.

Spacing Out Weekend Sessions

Our schedule is intentionally spaced out more than it has been in the past, allowing two weeks between each program, whether at Respite Camp or Camp Wawbeek. This gives us time to hear from families and/or staff members if they have developed any symptoms or have any concerns we need to follow up on. Our next scheduled camp session is our Transitions Camp at Camp Wawbeek, to be held October 23-25. Transitions has become a popular camp session for many young adults who want to learn and/or practice life skills, all while hanging out with other campers their age.

We are fully aware that the time may come that we do not feel it safe to move forward offering our programs.  Until then, we are going to do what we can to make camp happen!

In camp spirit,

Carissa

Wellness Wednesday Suggestions from our AmeriCorps team!

Stressed? Who isn’t? You are not alone right now you are part of the majority. When it comes to stress during times of disaster or trauma, we know that unexpected disasters are a huge crisis in a person’s life and can make someone experience significant and heightened stress responses. Stress responses are a normal part of the human body but when the stress response is a daily thing or lasts a long period of time it proves to be detrimental to your well-being. Most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t more stressed or more anxious because of the current COVID-19 crisis which has shifted all of our plans, has made us adapt, and given us a very uncertain, foreseeable future. Uncertainty and fear of the unknown is a significant form of stress that often goes under the radar. Feeling distanced and isolated from social interactions with others also causes higher stress as well as repetitive day after day tasks without a change of scenery. Trust us, you are not alone in this. Here are some tips of advice to help calm the anxious and stressed mind, especially during the “safer-at-home” orders that have now been officially updated in Wisconsin until at least May 26th. Continue readingWellness Wednesday Suggestions from our AmeriCorps team!

For The Love of Camp Real talk about our present situation.

Real Talk

Dear Friends,   We like to project sunshine and rainbows here at camp, but it’s time for some real talk. This social distancing is hard. Those of us who live at camp find ourselves very fortunate to be “safer at home” here…we have 400 acres of camp to hike and explore, and are enjoying clearing trails and having the time to explore. We haven’t seen any campers for almost a month. “Camp People” love people. We love songs. We love connection. We love seeing…people…people succeed, people love, people laugh. Alex, Jamie, and Carlee are getting to spend some great time with their dogs, Stevie is “stuck” in Australia, and I am able to spend time my goats and cats (I have been called a “cat lady” in the past…you should see me now!) The truth is, we miss you. We miss all of the campers, your families, our staff/volunteers/AmeriCorps members. We say over and over during training at camp: Camp isn’t the place, it’s the people. And that is what is missing at camp right now. Continue readingFor The Love of Camp Real talk about our present situation.

We Still Need Volunteers! A note from Carlee, Volunteer Coordinator

Hi Friends!

I’ve had some time to hike around camp, taking in the beauty and stopping in the buildings to make sure all is well. As we are all being safer at home, I am noticing that many of the projects that our volunteer groups typically complete will not get done. Volunteers play such an important role at Camp Wawbeek and Respite Camp!

What do these volunteers do?

We have volunteers who help paint inside and outside of buildings. Volunteers built the boardwalk at our Silent Rock campsite. WIUM Circle K does much of the raking and clearing of flower beds when they visit in the spring and fall. Spring Clean-Up volunteers help prepare our camps for our campers who visit in the summer. Volunteers from the Mount Hope Legion Auxiliary cook for our Veterans Family Camp weekends. The Wilmot High School Key Club helps make the Run, Ramble, & Roll + Pancake Breakfast possible. Families of volunteers show up in full force, supporting our camp staff however needed. We also have many volunteers who come for a weekend or week during the summer to learn about and spend time with our campers as counselors. We wouldn’t be able to do many of the things we do without our volunteers, and we thank them all.   Continue readingWe Still Need Volunteers! A note from Carlee, Volunteer Coordinator

Staff & AmeriCorps Updates How we are preparing for the future at camp.

To our Camp staff and AmeriCorps members, Due to COVID-19, many of you are experiencing a change of plans with schooling, where you are living, and current jobs. With many things unknown we sincerely hope you are taking care of yourselves and taking necessary precautions to #flattenthecurve. We want you all to know that your physical, emotional, and social well-being is of the utmost priority to us! Your camp family is here for you. Continue readingStaff & AmeriCorps Updates How we are preparing for the future at camp.