Preparing for an Epic Summer

Last Updated: 04-26-21


Our plans and process to safely open and run the greatest possible camp experience for our campers

It has been an unprecedented and unpredictable last twelve months for all of us.  Since the world first began to understand the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 we as a camp director team have placed our focus on the safety and well-being of our campers and staff which ultimately led to our decision to not open our gates in a traditional manner last summer.  The world has learned so much and has adapted dramatically since last summer and through constant research and cooperation with medical professionals on the local, state and federal level, we are confident in our abilities to open our gates safely this summer and we are indescribably excited to offer an opportunity for our campers to once again take in the beauty, excitement and unparalleled experience that Camp Chen-A-Wanda has been offering since 1939.  

With our start date rapidly approaching we have been contacted more and more frequently by camp families asking for details to best help them understand what this summer will look like for their camper(s) and like most camps in the industry we have been taking a stance of patience and learning to best form policies and procedures that align with the most up-to-date science surrounding Covid-19 and how that could impact our programming.  While the entire camping industry is overwhelmingly confident in all of our respective abilities to open this summer, we acknowledge that federal, state, ACA (American Camping Association) and local guidelines combined with up-to-date knowledge on infection rates and vaccinations will drive policies that may impact certain aspects of all camps and we want to make sure we are proactive and accurate in designing policies that accomplish two goals:  

  1. Chen-A-Wanda will follow all guidelines to mitigate risks as much as possible.
  2. We will provide programming that is as exceptional as ever and up to the high standards you and your campers expect from us.

The frameworks that we are providing below are aimed at informing our camp families where things stand in real time.  Therefore there may be pieces of information that are very concrete as of this writing while others may be still developing as final decisions on them would be unfair without knowing the state of infection rates, vaccinations and guidelines at the time of our opening.  Therefore, these frameworks will be updated as information becomes available to us with our hopes that this takes place on a monthly basis.  All of our enrolled families will be emailed when updates are made here so that all campers and parents may have access to the most current information available.  This site will have a “last updated” time stamp for every section so that our families will always know how current the information is as they read it.

As always we are so grateful to be the owners and directors of such a special organization and we thank you for your continued faith and patience throughout this time of Covid.  We might be oversimplifying things here, but we all have the same basic goal in mind:  To safely get our campers back at camp.  We look forward to working with all of you to accomplish that goal.

Jon & Elissa

Summer 2021 Operational Guidelines

Our principles in developing policies and procedures for the 2021 summer

Camp Chen-A-Wanda has been entrusted with caring for thousands upon thousands of campers since our opening in 1939.  That trust has been built upon a foundation of providing an incredible summer experience in which the health and safety of our camp community is paramount.  That ethos continues during our current circumstances and our decisions on policies and procedures for this summer have been driven by the most up-to-date guidelines provided by myriad agencies including (but not limited to) The CDC, The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Wayne and Susquehanna County, The American Camping Association and our own Camp Chen-A-Wanda Medical Committee made up of current practicing pediatricians and registered nurses.  All of our policies prioritize the health and safety of our campers and staff while maintaining the goal of providing an experience that comes as close as possible to the experience and spirit that Camp Chen-A-Wanda is renowned for.

All policies and procedures have been considered using data and guidelines that are current and relevant for the 2021 summer. We acknowledge the fact if new information becomes available from any relevant governing bodies (The CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, American Camping Association, etc.) that Camp Chen-A-Wanda will evaluate that information and adjust accordingly in indeed we feel that it best benefits our camp community.  Having said that, the policies and procedures outlined in this write up are for all intents and purposes the guidelines that will drive our camp’s facilitation of the 2021 summer.

We will commit ourselves to treating the effective running of this summer as a partnership with our camp families and we will ask that all parties work together as partners to properly undertake preparations for a summer in a world working to recover from an unprecedented time.

Our team of medical professionals aiding in the design and facilitation of our policies for safest practices this summer

Many governing bodies will offer best practices for all camps in our region this summer.  To assist in preparing to administer those best practices we have teamed up with several veteran members of our Health Center team to cooperate in sharing their own experiences from their pediatric medicine practices, clinics, and ERs to best shape our policies therein.  Meetings with this team and our Directors has been ongoing throughout the spring with your campers’ best interests behind every decision on policies and procedures.  This is an incredibly talented and experienced team and we could not be more fortunate to have them as a part of the Chen-A-Wanda family.  Their years of experience in the medical field are invaluable to us and they have played a major role not only in assisting in developing our health and safety guidelines for this summer, but they will also be the first line of defense for your campers for everything from scraped knees to stomach aches whenever they need them.

Our overarching goals to integrate current guidelines while prioritizing what makes camp great

To offer a brief recap from last year and the beginning of the pandemic:  All governing bodies that would drive Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s ability to open last summer agreed to permit us, and all camps in the state of Pennsylvania to open.  While many camps in our region did indeed choose to open for 2020, we made the difficult decision to remain closed based on a personal stance that we simply didn’t know enough about Covid-19 to confidently open safely.  We are nearly a year removed from when we made that decision and with access to more information now that we could have possibly fathomed in the spring of 2020, we are comfortable in stating that barring intervention from agencies beyond our powers, camp will be open for the 2021 summer.

The state of Pennsylvania echoes our confidence in an ability to run camp this summer as they have announced that all camps in the state may indeed open this summer.  Having said that, it would be unrealistic of us to not expect the need to modify some aspects of camp as Covid-19 is still prevalent in our world and governing bodies have worked diligently to provide guidance on best practices in reopening businesses everywhere and we are certainly no exception.  We remain dedicated to providing our campers with as genuine an experience as possible but we understand that some modifications may be necessary to safely operate and we will be following the guidelines that have been presented to us from the State of Pennsylvania and the American Camping Association.

Our philosophical drive regarding Covid-19 will be to adhere to all CDC and Pennsylvania guidelines for sleep-away summer camps in order to mitigate risks to the best of our abilities, but the foundations of camp will still be in place this summer.  Our campers will breathe in the crisp, clean air in the mountains of Pennsylvania.  They will jump into the cool water of Fiddle Lake and scream at the top of their lungs when riding down the zipline.  They will laugh at night together until they have forgotten why and they will forge new friendships will solidifying those they’ve built before.  Home runs will be hit and dance moves will be mastered.  Smiling faces will light up our photos and videos and parents will laugh and cry at home seeing their children at their best, experiencing the gift of camp.  Guidelines may drive policies that require more creativity than ever in creating an environment where all of this is possible, but rest assured that our confidence in providing that experience is higher than ever.

Our overarching goals to integrate current guidelines while prioritizing what makes camp great

We have all had to make decisions over the course of the last year to determine which risks we were willing to take in order to navigate the challenges of day-to-day life during the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is rare for any risk mitigation to be bullet proof but the more mitigation strategies that are implemented, the lower the level of risk.  We firmly believe that by following all prescribed guidelines while establishing a controlled campus for 2021* (*See our Controlled Campus Tab below for more details on our Controlled Campus philosophy), Camp Chen-A-Wanda can be a safer place than anywhere else in the world this summer.  While our day-to-day mitigation strategies will be important, there is nothing more crucial to your camper’s summer than the steps taken in the weeks leading up to camp as well as the steps taken on the day of your camper’s arrival to camp.  The following section outlines how our families and our camp will work together as partners to mitigate the risk of the spread of Covid to the best of all of our abilities.

Mitigating risks of exposure at home for the 14 days leading up to your camper’s arrival at Chen-A-Wanda are the most critical steps you can take in your partnership with us in striving towards our collective goal of starting our summer Covid-free.  The next step in the process is producing negative Covid PCR tests which are the industry standard for the most accurate testing results.  To best effectively tackle consistent testing for all of our campers, Camp Chen-A-Wanda has collaborated with several other prominent camps in the Northeast to partner with a highly reputable testing company:  EAST COAST HEALTH LOGISTICS (ECHL).  ECHL will own all of our initial Covid testing and they will provide the following tests for each of our campers:

  • PCR test conducted within the 72 hours prior to your camper’s arrival at camp (These tests will be conducted via a multitude of ECHL locations convenient to our Tri-State area and Florida families.  They will be conducted via at-home tests that will be mailed to families living outside of Florida or the tri-state area .)
  • Arrival day PCR and Rapid Antigen Test conducted at camper drop-off
  • PCR follow-up test conducted at Chen-A-Wanda on day 5 of camp.

ECHL will be charging each individual camper’s family a one-time fee of $150 which covers all 4 tests they are administering, online portal creation and facilitation, family communication on results as well as tracking all testing data.  Please note that while ECHL will be submitting PCR testing costs to all families’ health insurers, rapid tests do not fall under reimbursement consideration.  Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s contract with ECHL clearly states that families will not be charged any additional costs for any unreimbursed insurance claims.  We as a camp are committed to avoiding any additional “Covid Fees” that other camps are charging.  We firmly believe that a partnership with our families is the best course of action for this summer and Camp Chen-A-Wanda will be taking on the burden of all other additional costs associated with Covid this summer.

All campers and staff are required to use ECHL for our pre-camp and week one Covid testing and no individual will be permitted to enter camp without producing negative results on their pre-camp PCR and their camp arrival Rapid Antigen Test.  As for the tests themselves, we will be working with ECHL to ensure that the most up-to-date and effective tests available will be administered to our campers and staff.  PCR tests will be shallow nasal swabs with results available within 24-36 hours and Rapid Antigen tests will produce results in as little as 5-10 minutes at camper drop-offs.

For more details on the testing process at camper drop offs, please see our section titled “Transporting our Campers to Chen-A-Wanda in June”.

Establishing a Covid-Free campus will be critical for a successful summer but so will regular screening and testing on-site throughout your camper’s entire stay with us.  We have partnered with Quadrant, a prominent NY-based company that has been applauded for utilizing a revolutionary approach to monitoring waste systems to help identify Covid-19 days prior to it becoming infectious.  On top of this, Camp Chen-A-Wanda has become an FDA Certified CLIA-Waived Clinical Lab for the 2021 summer.  Simply put, that means that our medical team will be able to conduct on-site Covid-19 PCR testing throughout the entire summer. In other words, we will have on-site access to the most accurate Covid-19 tests available. In conjunction with this we will receive constant results from Quadrant and IF Covid is detected in any of their screenings we will be able to utilize our own testing machines to run tests on any area of campers via our lab or via Quadrant’s team of testing professionals.  These testing protocols will come at no extra costs to families.

We are starting camp by implementing strict policies recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania State Department of Health to lower risks as much as humanly possible but the fact remains that we must have protocols in place for what happens if a camper or staff member tests positive for Covid during their summer with us.  Below we have outlined our policies on steps that we will be taking throughout the summer in the event of a positive test along with the expectations of responsibilities for parents/guardians in these instances as well.


Positive Test from PCR Test #1 (Taken at home via East Coast Health Logistics)

Camper and any sibling campers in his/her household will not be permitted to start the summer with Chen-A-Wanda.  Camper and any sibling campers must begin a 14-day period of isolation and then produce two negative Covid tests on separate days via an approved testing site after 10 days of being asymptomatic.  Our camp physician will communicate with you and must approve your camper’s safe entry to camp. Camper will be rapid-tested and PCR tested upon re-entry to camp and may be required to practice more regular mask-wearing and distancing protocols than his/her division depending on their phase at that time.


Positive Test from Rapid Test #1 (Taken at camp drop off via ECHL)

Camper and any sibling campers in his/her household will not be permitted to start the summer with Chen-A-Wanda.  Camper and any sibling campers must return home and begin a 14-day period of isolation and then produce two negative Covid tests on separate days via an approved testing site after 10 days of being asymptomatic.  Our camp physician will communicate with you and must approve your camper’s safe entry to camp. Camper will be rapid-tested and PCR tested upon re-entry to camp and may be required to practice more regular mask-wearing and distancing protocols than his/her division depending on their phase at that time.


Positive Test from any subsequent PCR test while at camp

Parents/guardians will be immediately contacted while their son/daughter is comfortably isolated in a designated quarantined section of our Health Center.  Parents/guardians from the Tri-State Area will be asked to travel to camp to pick their child up within 12 hours of notification. Parents/Guardians requiring a flight to get to camp will be asked to designate a more local guardian to facilitate a 12-hour pick-up.  If that designated party cannot facilitate a pick-up within that timeframe then the camper will remain comfortably cared for while the parents are given 24 hours to reach camp for their pick up.  Once home, campers must begin a 14-day period of isolation and then produce two negative Covid tests on separate days via an approved testing site after 10 days of being asymptomatic.  Our camp physician will communicate with you and must approve your camper’s safe entry to camp. Camper will be rapid-tested and PCR tested upon re-entry to camp and may be required to practice more regular mask-wearing and distancing protocols than his/her division depending on their phase at that time.

Bunkmates and counselors will be isolated as a family unit and rapid tested and then PCR tested.  The entire bunk will then participate in zero contact activities and meals over the course of the next 5-7 days per CDC guidelines while being administered multiple PCR tests along with regular health screenings.  The bunk will be working with a program coordinator (distanced and masked) assisting in creating a unique and engaging week of activities for their group to ensure a fun and safe experience while protecting other campers and staff.  If other campers or staff are contact-traced from recent interactions with the infected camper then the same set of protocols will take place for their bunk.

Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s plan to mitigate risks by limiting physical visitors to our campus

A controlled campus approach offers many benefits to a sleep away camp, but one of the biggest challenges is determining who should be allowed on campus throughout the summer.  We will be working together as partners to do our part to mitigate as many risks as possible to help to establish a safe campus when camp starts in June and maintaining that safe environment is paramount to the success of the summer.  To support our controlled campus philosophy, the following events will be adjusted to fall in line with our emphasis on lowering risks wherever possible:

Visiting Day 2021

Visiting Day has always been one of our favorite days of the summer.  Seeing so much love and excitement shared between our campers and their families is a sight to behold every year and the importance of Visiting Day most certainly is not lost on us.  Unfortunately, after careful consideration our team has made the difficult decision of concluding that we will not be hosting a traditional physical Visiting Day this summer.  This decision was not made lightly and our conclusion is based on every guideline available to us along with the most up-to-date information regarding a lack of vaccinations for our campers in combination with the findings that Covid can still be contracted and shed by adults even after being vaccinated.  These are risks that we simply do not feel are fair to your camper(s) this summer as we are tasked with providing them with as safe an experience as possible.

Having said that, we recognize how important Visiting Day is to both our campers and their families and we will be hosting the event virtually this summer!  Details will be shared in full in the coming weeks but we will be expanding our WiFi capabilities at camp for 2021 to allow us to schedule multiple days of Virtual Visiting in which divisions will be scheduled to participate in video calls with their families for an extended period of time during designated time slots.  On our end, our team will be working hard to make this event feel as special as possible for all of our campers.  Look for a more detailed email regarding our Visiting Day plans soon while exact details on timings and planning will be shared closer to camp.

We know that a Virtual Visiting Day is not what any of us were hoping for, but we are “glass half-full” people and we look forward to putting together a great experience for you and your camper despite the circumstances.

New Camper BBQ 2021

We traditionally host a spring BBQ on campus in Late May/Early June each year with an open invitation to all campers and families but with a heightened focus on our new campers to allow an opportunity for them to get reacquainted with our campus and connect with their peers before camp one more time.  To manage risks we are officially moving forward with plans to host this event for New Campers only (However, siblings of new campers are of course welcomed!).  Our New Camper BBQ will take place in as safe a fashion as possible on Sunday, May 30th from 12pm – 3pm.  If you have a new camper and you haven’t received our email inviting you to our event, please contact us!

Alumni Day 2021

Unfortunately we do not see any situation in which our Alumni Day will be able to take place this summer.  We love our alumni and their passion for Chenny but we will err on the side of caution this year with plans for an amazing relaunch of our Alumni Day in the 2022 summer!  More details to come.

Tours for prospective families

Families will be touring at all sleep-away camps in our region this summer and Chen-A-Wanda will be no exception.  We will be placing myriad protocols into action to ensure a safe and socially-distanced tour for families which will not allow contact with campers and staff and will avoid in-door areas wherever possible. Tours will not be permitted to visit any camper bunks with plans for staged tour bunks to be available to them.  Rest assured that no tour will interact with our campers and staff anywhere close to within CDC recommended guidelines for social distancing.

Chenny Explorer Dates (Formerly known as “Rookie Days”)

Traditionally Chen-A-Wanda has hosted full days for prospective campers to explore camp as a group to experience what our camp has to offer.  We have collectively made the decision that we will not be hosting Chenny Explorer Days/Rookie Days during the 2021 summer.  Tours will be our focus for prospective families this summer and we will plan on reinstituting our Explorer Days for summer 2022.

Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s plan to mitigate risks by limiting interactions outside of our campus

As stated in our plans for mitigating risks by limiting visitors coming into our campus this summer, that risk mitigation will also be in place for controlling who our campers and staff come into contact with off-campus.  All of our thoughts on policies below are based on the current state of infection rates and vaccination news and they convey our current thinking based on data available to us at this time.


Campers Leaving Campus

As with any summer, scenarios will arise in which campers must leave campus for family emergencies and medical circumstances.  When those situations arise we will be implementing Covid testing protocols to mitigate risks for camper re-entry.  Those protocols will be extensive as they will be critical to maintaining as safe a campus as possible.  Families should expect for us to implement our initial entry protocols in these circumstances (A period of isolation at home/A negative PCR test from home/A negative rapid test upon re-entry to camp/A PCR test upon re-entry to camp followed by a period of protocols that will fall in line with earlier phases than his/her bunk might currently be in.  Families should plan accordingly as leaving campus for at-home sports tournaments or other similar events will not be permitted under these guidelines.


Staff Leaving Campus

Our staff are one of the biggest factors in our campers having an amazing summer with us and we recognize the importance of their time off and mental well-being.  Having said that, we have been transparent with all of our hires for this summer in regards to our controlled campus plans.  This extends to our staff.  We are working with local venues, house rentals and state parks for exclusive rental options for us for the summer in which we can control staff trips via our own transportation while eliminating contact with off-campus populations.  However, our main focus for our staff will be in providing them with a world-class counselor experience on site.  We have hired for multiple new roles that will act as staff liaisons creating unique off-time options for our staff for evenings and days off and we are creating new spaces on site for them to relax and have access to amazing activities, entertainment and food at no extra cost to them.


Off-campus Trips

A controlled campus approach to the summer will not result in our traditional day trips to amusement parks and other similar venues in which close contact with the public is unavoidable.  However, our team has been working with various exclusive off-campus venues as opportunities that may be available to us including outdoor venues and facility rentals with limited/distanced staff interactions.  More details on these opportunities will be available in June but most importantly, all of our resources are committed to providing new and unique programming on site to replace traditional trip days for the 2021 summer to keep our schedule fresh for every camper.

Our older campers traditionally look forward to several overnight trips as a part of their progression at camp each year.  Unfortunately, due to the current climate we do not anticipate running our traditional overnight trips this summer.  This does not mean that our older campers will not have off-campus trip opportunities as many options are still being evaluated.  This simply means that trips to large cities, amusement parks or other destinations with large crowds will not be feasible this summer.  Our number one program planning focus has been on making this summer unique and exciting for our older campers as we look to replace these experiences with new events on site that we will be sharing with our families upon their finalization in June.


Inter-camp Athletic Tournaments

Sports programming is crucial to our programming at Chen-A-Wanda and it will continue to be a priority for us even under the given circumstances.  In a traditional summer we participate in every single Wayne County Tournament versus various other camps for all of our team and individual sports on camp but to maintain our controlled campus we will be opting out of the majority of these events in 2021. We are working closely with every camp in the Wayne County Camping Alliance to find safe and creative solutions that we might explore, but even if our sports are focused inside our own gates for 2021 we know that our athletics programming for our campers will be just as dynamic as ever.  Our leadership team is committed to providing organized leagues, tournaments, skills competitions and training clinics to all of our campers all summer long.  Our competitive athletes will still be able to challenge themselves and compete under the guidance of talented specialists and our emerging athletes will be able to learn while trying out every sport on camp!

Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s plan to safely facilitate our campers’ arrival in June

One of the greatest strengths that a sleep away summer camp has when compared to other businesses in a pandemic is our ability to control our campus which should lead to an experience within our gates that our campers simply haven’t been able to access in nearly a year.  One of our biggest challenges is that to effectively establish that environment we must consider every form of reasonable mitigation in establishing a safe campus.  We cannot emphasize enough that our decisions on all matters for camp have been driven by science and data and after much labored consideration based on CDC guidelines and consultations from numerous medical professionals, we have concluded that to best mitigate the risks of infections we officially will be implementing the following adjustments to our camper arrivals for the 2021 summer:

Our camper arrivals will be staggered to lower the flow of bodies entering camp at one time.

  • All campers who live outside of New York state or would have been on the Westchester bus will arrive on Saturday, June 26th.
  • All New York state campers with the exception of those who would have been on the Westchester bus will arrive on Sunday, June 27th.
  • Our goal is very simply to control the flow of our campers’ arrival to best mitigate risks in establishing a safe and controlled campus.

We will not have our traditional bus transportation TO CAMP IN JUNE for the 2021 summer (But we are currently planning for traditional bus transportation HOME FROM CAMP IN AUGUST, ASSUMING THAT OUR CONTROLLED CAMPUS HAS NO INFECTIONS IN OUR FINAL WEEK OF CAMP)

Tri-state, Connecticut and Maryland area campers (NY, NJ, PA, CT and Maryland) will be required to be driven to camp by their parents/guardians.

Our reasoning behind this is simple:  PCR testing is very accurate, but still has a range of false-negatives that could impact your camper’s summer.  A typical coach bus holds approximately 50 passengers and one false-negative test could result in a spread that would be difficult-to-impossible to trace.  We strongly believe in mitigating risks wherever possible and avoiding having the majority of our campers sharing recycled air on a bus for several hours is a strategy we are committed to.  We know that this news isn’t the most convenient to our families in the Northeast, but it is our belief that this strategy is one component that will help us to establish a safe and amazing summer for all of our campers this year.  We thank you for your patience and understanding.

A detailed plan for your camper(s) drop off will be shared with you as we get closer to the beginning of camp.  That plan will include a VERY SPECIFIC window of time for you to drop your camper(s) off at our designated testing site near camp where East Coast Health Logistics will have multiple testing professionals working with our team to process our arrivals.

Florida campers will board a commercial flight out of south Florida on Saturday, June 26th to JFK. 

This flight will be chaperoned by Chen-A-Wanda staff and we will be requiring our Florida campers to follow the same guidelines regarding the 14 days leading up to their flight that we have outlined for all of our campers.  This flight has been arranged in coordination with several other prominent camps in the Northeast and we have all agreed to adhere to the same policies on testing and having camper families agree to similar Pre-Camp Health Responsibility Contracts prior to the day of their arrival to camp.  Coordinating with other camps will give us the benefit of targeting the avoidance of the general public on the flight to camp. Campers and chaperones will be picked up at JFK by our own chartered bus for the final leg of their trip to camp.

All other out of state campers will follow our plan to get to camp in as safe a fashion as possible, mitigating risks throughout their process.  That plan is as follows:

Procedures for arriving to camp for non-Florida campers flying from outside of the Tri-State area

Mitigating risks in all camper arrivals to camp is key and doing everything that we can as a team to do everything that we can to keep COVID out of camp is essential. The key is to have every camper arrive at camp without COVID - The following is an outline on how your arrival will be most effective and safely executed.

You will be mailed an at home PCR COVID test for your camper. That test should be administered at home on Tuesday (June 22nd) or Wednesday (June 23rd) and then mailed back to the LAB immediately in the self-addressed package.

Flights are considered by the CDC to be a low-risk experience so we ask that you follow all of the CDC guidelines including mask-wearing and social distancing throughout your trip to the east coast. Upon arrival we ask you to stay consistent with those same practices to ensure no exposure to anyone who hasn’t been in your family's bubble. This is key to keeping your camper away from close contact with people from outside of your household (i.e., minimizing risks) for a minimum for 10 days. If you plan on flying to the east coast early to stay with family or friends, we ask that you arrive at least 10 days prior to June 26th and let us know of your plans so that we can coordinate with you for pre-camp testing at your east coast location. If you are planning on staying with family or friends who are ALL Vaccinated, the 10 day suggested time frame doesn’t apply. So for example, if the only people your camper will interact with are all vaccinated, you can arrive on the east coast any time prior to June 26th, but if anyone in the household isn’t vaccinated, you will need to quarantine with that family for 10 days prior to June 26th.

As stated earlier, your camper's arrival at camp is scheduled for Saturday, June 26th. You will be emailed a time frame that you will need to arrive at our arrival testing center which is about 3 miles from camp. There, your camper will be given a PCR test and a rapid test (lower nasal test) while they are in the car with you. Upon receiving a negative rapid result (test results typically take approximately 15 minutes), you will be released and instructed to head to Camp.

Upon arrival to Camp Chen-A-Wanda, you will be greeted by the Directors, Head Counselors and your camper's counselors. This will be a quick pull up and drop off experience in order to allow for a smooth and seamless entry for all our campers arriving on this day. We will help your camper with any personal items they have and they will be happily and excitedly brought to their bunk to meet the rest of their group and start their Chenny summer. We ask you to kiss, hug and say goodbye in the car and let the summer begin!  We will be right there to help with the process and our team is experienced to handle all emotions and nerves which can vary from camper to camper.

Carpooling/family mixing for all families driving campers to camp would not be permitted under the above mentioned plans.

Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s plans to prevent transmission early and progress towards a traditional experience on campus

We have stated that our two most simple goals for this summer are to follow guidelines to mitigate risks to the best of our abilities while providing exceptional programming for our campers.  To address the first goal we are implementing guidelines from the CDC and the PA Department of Health that will focus on phases of actions and policies from camps that will start the summer more strictly and will evolve as camp continues to prove that we are successfully preventing transmission of Covid-19 on site.  Many of us are familiar with states implementing phases and camp will have a similar, but hopefully much more swiftly and effectively implemented approach.

These phases should in theory ease up on many restrictions as our summer progresses and we will be implementing the following procedures to aid in our phase progression:

  • Daily health screenings
  • Initial cohorts for activities (i.e., Divisions travel together without masks/distancing but they distance/mask when coming in contact with other divisions/groups)
  • A focus on outdoor activities and avoiding large group gatherings indoors
  • Distancing during meals meaning either outdoor eating options or staggered meal times to allow for proper distancing and sanitizing in our Dining Hall.
  • Mask use when indoors (This will not include bunks where campers and staff are considered a cohort or “family unit” and treat their bunk much like their home).

These protocols would be considered our tightest forms of mitigation early in the summer with the goal being to receive the return of negative PCR tests performed at camp within our first week on site together.  Once our entire population receives negative PCR tests for our fourth entry test after our fifth day on camp our phases should then progress towards our familiar events and practices at camp with interactions between divisions and co-ed events plus opportunities for full camp events as well.  The better that we adhere to early protocols in initial phases, the sooner we can open up to a more traditional experience at camp but we should not expect any wavering from our initial protocols until after one full week on site.

Having said that, our campers and staff should still expect the practices of mask-wearing and social distancing to be implemented at certain times throughout the summer when utilizing indoor facilities.  Thankfully, the majority of our programming will take place outdoors throughout the summer which means that campers will be able to experience the summer with their cohorts outdoors and unmasked for the overwhelming majority of their time on camp.

Masks will be present in our updated parent handbook/packing list and we will offer our recommendations therein. Parents should prepare to pack an extensive supply of disposable masks only.  Proper mask hygiene will be taught and implemented by our counselors throughout the summer.

Camp Chen-A-Wanda’s commitment to an enhanced approach to sanitizing for summer 2021

One of the most effective tools at our disposal for combatting the transmission of any viruses at camp, including Covid-19 are proper sanitation practices.  Our team has prepared a detailed approach to this end which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • We are doubling our housekeeping team for the 2021 summer.  All bunks and buildings have been cleaned and sterilized daily as a part of our regular protocols for years and that team will now have double the manpower to attack indoor spaces with more attention to detail than ever.
  • Newly acquired hand cleaning and sanitizing stations will be installed all over our campus for easy access for all campers and staff.  All products used will be CDC-approved for the irradiation of Coronavirus that leads to the spread of Covid-19.
  • Our scheduling will be adjusted to plan for sanitizing and hand-washing in between all activity transitions on any given day.  Campers and staff will be required to follow these practices.
  • We have purchased multiple electrostatic spray delivery systems approved for Covid-19 use that our housekeeping team will utilize in indoor spaces, including bunks.
  • Our Dining Hall and tables will be disinfected prior to each meal.


Per CDC and Pennsylvania State Health Department Guidelines, we will be mitigating risks in our meal distribution throughout the summer.  Our mitigation strategies will include, but won’t be limited to the following:

  • Weeks 2-7 (Assuming negative PCR tests throughout week 1 for all of camp)
    • All meal times will be staggered between Lower Camp (2nd graders – 7th graders) and Upper Camp (8th graders – 11th graders) to lower population density at meal areas
    • Dining Hall tables will be disinfected between meal sittings
    • Dining Hall tables will be separated to offer at least 6 feet between every group.
    • Ventilation in our Dining Hall will always be prioritized with fans, exhausts and open doors/windows all summer
    • All meals eaten as a division unit and distanced from other divisions
    • One time use silverware and dishes will be used throughout the summer
    • Outdoors meals will be offered and prioritized wherever possible
  • Week 1 (Strictest Phase of Risk Mitigation at Camp)- All above mentioned strategies plus the following:
    • Outdoors meals will be prioritized wherever possible, avoiding the use of our Dining Hall in large groups
    • If weather dictates indoor meals are needed, bunks will be assigned various buildings and/or their own bunk area for their meal
    • All meals eaten as a bunk unit and distanced from other bunks


Daily Activities

CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have developed guidelines to assist in the mitigation of risk for our daily activities.  The great news is that while these mitigation strategies will help to keep our campers and staff at much lower risks, they will also still allow us to have a traditional camp experience thanks to our access to vast expanses of outdoor space!  Campers will spend the overwhelming majority of their summer traveling as a division together to all of their favorite activities with little-to-no impact on how they would regularly participate.  Indoor areas and equipment will be sanitized in between activities and more time will be built into our transitions to allow for proper hand-washing and hygiene practices but our campers will be able to access all of our activities all summer long.  Safety will remain a priority, but so will the incredible experience of camp and we can’t wait to see our campers in action at their daily activities for their entire stay with us!


Evening Activities

We will be prioritizing bunk and division evening activities over the course of our first week together.  However, we have exciting news to share as we have officially broken ground on our BRAND NEW OUTDOORS AMPHITHEATER! Once we establish ourselves as a Covid-free environment we will take advantage of our amazing new addition to begin to be able to participate in many of our all-time favorite group activities like Girls’ Sing, Sign & Song, The Dating Game, The Theater Show and so much more!  There will be plenty of space for groups to be distanced from one another while enjoying full-camp events for the majority of our summer together and we can’t wait to break in that brand new space!


Extra-curricular Activities

Simply put:  Your camper(s) is in for a summer of surprises and amazing activities above and beyond their daily schedule all summer long!  We will have tons of special events and programming to keep things fresh and we will still be hosting our traditional events like Olympics, Color War and Banquet (All with some minor adjustments for safety’s sake!).  7 weeks is going to fly by with an action-packed summer and our Color War Breakout is going to one for the ages!

The safety and well-being of our staff is equally as important to us as it is for our campers.  This is exponentially more crucial when planning a summer in which our overarching goal is to keep a virus at bay via testing, mitigation strategies and a controlled campus.  Having said that, our staff will be held to the exact same standards as our campers when it comes to expectations to enter camp safely as well as our expectations for them throughout the summer.  Along with the protocols and policies that our staff will be adhering to in lockstep with our campers, the following adjustments will be in place for staff this summer:

  • Leaving Campus- Staff will not be able to leave campus for traditional nights off and days off.  We will be offering some controlled trips for staff time off to destinations that do not interact with the public.
  • Time off- A well-rested, energized counselor is critical to having a happy bunk and our staff will be treated to an amazing experience all summer long. We have created multiple new staff leadership roles in which their only role at camp is to organize our staff’s time off so that they can treat their down time as though they are on a cruise with tons of activities at their fingertips.  We will also be creating a new open-air staff lounge for our counselors to be able to relax in their down time with access to games, fire-pits, BBQs and tons of fun!
  • Vaccinations- The state of Pennsylvania will not permit any business to require staff members to be vaccinated. Having said that, we have been vigilant in encouraging our staff to get vaccinated and we have been instrumental in helping them to find locations to do so.  The overwhelming majority of our staff will be vaccinated prior to camp, but we acknowledge that with staff members from over 30 different states, each individual is reporting different levels of vaccine availability to the healthy 18-25 year old population.  We will continue to push for our staff to be vaccinated for this summer.
  • International staff- Each summer we participate in the cultural exchange program through the U.S. Department of state. We love being able to provide a diverse experience for our campers in recruiting staff from all over the globe.  While we are hopeful for our international hires to return to camp this summer, we are prepared for their absence via over-hiring American staff since September.  The presence of our international staff this summer would be a welcomed addition, but not critical to our functioning.  If able to arrive, our international staff would be held to the same rigorous testing and quarantining policies as our American staff.