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

Poisonous Weeds of Wisconsin A message from Dr. Cornell

Summer is a great time to explore Wisconsin’s abundant outdoors, but camping, biking or hiking can lead to encounters with poisonous plants that cause skin irritation and injuries when touched. Knowing these types of plants can help with avoiding them, minimizing the level of damage following exposure and taking other necessary precautions. Here are five common poisonous plants that should not be touched. Continue readingPoisonous Weeds of Wisconsin A message from Dr. Cornell

Mosquito Borne Illness in Wisconsin A PSA from Dr. Cornell!

Mosquito Borne Illness in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the most common mosquito-borne diseases are West Nile Virus and La Crosse Encephalitis. Residents who travel to other countries can also be at risk for travel-related diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever or Zika virus infection.

The Midwest also has one of the higher rates of reported mosquito-borne diseases in the country, especially in states like Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. These diseases include West Nile virus, dengue, and Jamestown Canyon virus, according to the CDC.

There are many illnesses spread by mosquitoes in Wisconsin. Not all mosquitoes spread illnesses, and you won’t get sick from every mosquito bite, but it is important to make sure you are aware of mosquitoes, the illnesses they can spread, and how to prevent bites in the first place.

Mosquitoes 101:

• Basics: Mosquitoes are a type of fly. In Wisconsin, there are many types of mosquitoes, but only some types can spread illnesses. Most people who get sick from a mosquito bite will become ill in the summer and early fall. This is when mosquitoes are most active and people are outdoors.

• Life Cycle: Mosquitoes have a life cycle that includes four different stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on or near water, and the eggs hatch after coming into contact with the water. After hatching, the larvae will feed until they have enough energy to change into pupae. The pupae then grow into adult mosquitoes, the only flying stage. Only adult female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals to get blood meals, after which they lay their eggs on or near water, starting the cycle again. The life cycle of a mosquito usually takes two weeks. However, it can range from four days to one month.

• Habitat: Mosquitoes live in areas with slow-moving or stagnant water, as well as forests, marshes, and tall grasses. Mosquitoes fly and land on animals or humans to bite the host’s skin and consume blood. Warmer and wetter climates can increase the risk of getting an illness from a mosquito. In Wisconsin, climate change has created favorable conditions for mosquitoes to survive in more areas of the state, has made the mosquito season longer, and allows infected mosquitoes to spread diseases faster.

• In general, mosquitoes can be divided into two different types based on the habitats where they lay their eggs: standing water mosquitoes and floodwater mosquitoes. Most mosquito eggs need small amounts of water to hatch and develop into adult mosquitoes.

• Prevention: The best way to avoid getting sick from a mosquito is to prevent bites in the first place. There are many ways to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing insect repellent and wearing appropriate clothes when you are outdoors.

Click Here to Learn More About West Nile

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.

Yoga! Practicing mindfulness during uncertainty.

“Yoga is an ancient spiritual, mental & physical practice that originated in India. The impressive results of Yoga know no boundaries, and after centuries of use, it is now practiced all around the globe. Yoga has proven to be one of the most effective practices for peace of mind, as well as for physical efficiency. Be it decremented in strength or lung capacity, increased level of stress or distracted focus, poor sense of well-being or unrest sleep, Yoga covers it all.”

Check out some of these sites for various Yoga practices!