Dear River Way Families,
Thank you for your loyalty and patience over the past several months, as we have all waited on State and County updates. With camp nearing and our enrollment coming in strong, we feel it is a good time to share with you where we currently stand.
Here is what we know:
- Since last summer, we have been running very successful, family-oriented programs, family vacation weekends, and hosting other individual travelers through the Resort side of our business.
- By supplementing all existing State and County guidelines with guidance from the American Camp Association and CDC, we have managed to provide healthy social interaction for children and their families in a beautiful outdoor setting without any COVID cases.
- With our 55 years of operational experience, we feel optimistic about opening River Way for the summer of 2021, and we will update this page regularly to provide our families with the most current information and news about summer operations.
- The main barrier we face for River Way Ranch Camp to fully operate as an overnight camp is a lack of published guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. However, we are working with professional organizations and holding meetings with legislators, who realize the benefits of summer camp and the importance it plays in a child’s life. We recently had a call with our county health officers, who mentioned they feel optimistic regarding summer camp operations.
- The American Camp Association and other organizations have compiled pages of data, taken by the overnight camps that did operate successfully (using the established guidance and preventative protocols) outside California in 2020.
- For 2021, as you would expect, the camp experience may look different in some ways. Although there may be changes to how campers are scheduled for activities or the way we congregate together, our goal is to continue to offer an incredible experience for campers, complete with laughter, community, new friendships, and many fun activities.
We all know how important it is for children to experience friendships, acceptance, self-confidence, self-esteem, exercise, and positive memories. Even if camp looks a bit different than it has in the past, we know that our campers will be happy to just be here, with us, engaging in the many activities we can provide and interacting with their peers. We can assure you we are doing everything we can to offer your camper a fun-filled experience that will create healthy social experiences while teaching safe social behavior. The safest option for everyone is still to shelter at home. There is a risk with any community-based activity, including camp. However, we feel kids are getting to a point where, for some of them, the isolation carries its own set of emotional challenges. Only you as a parent/guardian can weigh the options, but we are here if you feel camp is right for you and your family.
It is likely that the provided information below may change over the coming weeks as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, and as we await additional guidance from California and Fresno County. We appreciate your flexibility and support and look forward to having your camper join us this summer. Please contact our team with any further questions or needs you may have.
River Way Ranch Camp F.A.Q. (Updated 2/23/2021)
Q: Will you be running camp programs at full capacity?
A: Our team has made the decision to significantly reduce our camper capacity this summer in order to allow for plenty of space to spread out, enjoy quality activities, and reduce the number of campers per cabin, if necessary. For this reason, we do anticipate most sessions will be wait-listed well before summer.
Q: Will there be pre-camp COVID testing required for campers and staff?
A: It is highly likely that we will be asking campers’ families (and staff) to show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival. We are hoping to possibly offer PCR tests both prior to and at camp, however, we are still exploring options with partners. We will release more detailed information about the types of tests required, how often they will occur, and more with our detailed operational plan coming prior to April 15th.
Q: Will you require vaccines for campers?
A: No, it is not likely that this summer, vaccines will even be available for our campers. The current vaccines are not approved for use in children. This is one of the many reasons why we are choosing to put several layers of protective measures in place to help safeguard our camp community.
Q: Will you require staff to be vaccinated?
A: It is our greatest hope to have staff vaccinated by summer, pending availability.
Q: Will staff or campers quarantine before camp?
A: Staff will be quarantined, at the camp, prior to camper arrival for at least 14 days. We will be advising camper families of pre-camp preparations, which may include quarantining and/or limiting certain behaviors prior to the days leading up to their camp arrival.
Q: When will I be able to submit forms, like my child’s bunk-mate request form or health form?
A: Some forms are available now through your Parent Portal, (Camp Physical Form, Health History) but other forms will become available in the months leading up to camp to allow us to prepare with the most current and accurate information possible. Parents will receive direct email notifications when the remaining forms are available.
Q: Will my child have to wear a mask at camp?
A: We are an outdoor, 72-acre facility with plenty of room to spread out and play. With the layers of protective measures we will be implementing, we are hoping to allow campers to have ample amounts of unmasked time, such as when they are in their small groups and in their cabins. There will likely be times when masks may be required, such as in vehicles, or indoors if distancing is not possible and if they will be joining an instructor that is not normally in their cohort.
Q: Will the staff be required to wear a mask?
A: Any staff that has not quarantined during the 14 day training period shall be required to wear a mask any time they are within 6’ of any other person. Any staff that has quarantined for the 14 day training period, will be required to wear a mask when not able to distance 6’ from anyone not in their immediate cohort. All kitchen and housekeeping staff shall be required to wear a mask while working.
Q: What will the cabin size be?
A: Right now we are tentatively planning on having 6 campers in each cabin, but this number may change once California releases its cohort guidelines.
Q: Will there be free-choice activity sign-ups?
A: As of right now, we are working with the State and County to receive approval on proposed operating guidelines. We have submitted two plans, one with modified groupings where campers travel to activities as a bunk, and another with a version of our free-choice activity programming. We will be communicating to parents prior to our refund deadline (April 15) any significant changes to our program that are being made. It is very likely that campers may remain in cohorts, or smaller groups of designated campers during their time at camp.
Q: What about specialty camps?
A: Because specialty camps require a mix of campers from different cabin groups, it is not likely we will be able to offer all regularly scheduled specialty camps this year. We are having discussions and exploring all possible options to accommodate our specialty campers.
Q: What is your refund policy?
A: We are offering full refunds through April 15th with no cancellation fees. After this date, parents are encouraged to look into trip or camp insurance options through 3rd-party providers. If we do not run River Way this summer, parents will be provided with the option of a full refund or a 2022 rollover. Last summer, when River Way chose not to operate, every family who requested a full refund was provided one within a timely manner.
Q: What about camp insurance?
A: If they are interested, we encourage families to look into a travel insurance program such as TravMark (AKA ‘A+ Program Protection’) or other similar providers. We do not endorse any specific insurance provider, nor are we affiliated with any provider.
Q: Does my camper need a new physical if they attended in 2019?
A: Yes, every camper is required to have a completed Physician’s Exam form prior to arrival at camp. We understand that it may be challenging to get an in-person visit to your child’s pediatrician. For this reason, we will also accept forms certified via a Telehealth visit.
Q. Will you offer bus transportation to camp?
A: While we hope to offer our normal bus transportation from Southern and Northern California, there is a possibility that we will not be able to offer this service and parents may need to drive children to (and maybe from) camp. We will know more in the coming months and will pass this information along to our families as soon as possible.
Q: What are some of the cleaning and health precautions you are taking?
A: As we have been doing with our Resort, we will continue to clean and sanitize all common areas and surfaces multiple times per day, with designated cleaning schedules to account for increased traffic/activity. Camper rooms will be sanitized daily, We use CDC-approved cleaning products (for COVID). After activity periods, all equipment and surfaces will be thoroughly treated in between camper use. We will be increasing our medical staff, and increase the number of quarantine rooms available. We will continue to offer a separate area for campers who take daily medication vs those who are feeling ill.
Q: What happens if a camper tests positive while at camp?
A: If a camper tests positive for COVID while at camp, they shall be moved to an infirmary quarantine room, supervised by our medical team, while the parent is contacted and asked to pick up their child that same day. Other campers, exposed in that cohort, shall be tested and quarantined while awaiting results. Once an individual has a negative COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic for 24 hours, they may return to normal camp activities. Closer to summer, we will know the specific quarantine and testing requirements for cabin groups and other age cohort campers and staff who were in contact with a COVID-19 positive community member.