HVC's Enduring and Resilient Community
In early May 2020, we recognized that the risks of opening camp this past summer were too great and informed families, staff and alums that it was wisest to postpone summer programs.
Now, we're gearing up for the real thing in 2021. As we get a better sense of public health in Maine (which has proven to be one of the most sanely governed and healthy U.S. states) and elsewhere, we will make specific provisions for a safe summer at HVC. We are actively preparing, reading CDC guidelines, speaking with medical personnel, etc. Relevant messages will come to you regularly and please check our Covid-FAQ as well.
A bit about what we do know based on our reading and conversations:
- We have re-evaluated all activities, special events, and each part of the daily routine, so that all aspects of life here remain welcoming and safe.
- Dining hall and health operations will see modifications.
- Common sense distancing practices, testing and increased sanitization will be part of daily camp life.
- See details below in our Covid-FAQ.
Here's what will remain deeply consistent: Camper and parent enthusiasm for what HVC offers! This independent, creative outdoor time is needed now more than ever. Children succeed and grow at HVC because they are away from home and out of their comfort zone, because they make new friends and find new role models, because they make independent choices, find their voices, take pride in their new community, and are recognized and known as their true selves in a new safe creative loving space. This is the gift you have given your children and it fills us with excitement about a meaningful future here.
Meg and Peter
This space will be updated periodically.
WILL YOU BE OPEN THIS SUMMER?
Absolutely! Guided by CDC guidelines, the experiences of other camps and the wisdom of a committee of 20+ people in HVC’s orbit (physicians, camping experts, mental health professionals, etc.) we have been making plans since September for a successful season.
WON'T A VACCINE MAKE ALL OF THIS GO AWAY?
Eventually we all hope that is the case and it's clear that the world - and camp! - will be a safer place as a result. In the meantime, there's little likelihood that the entire camp population will be immunized by summer. Nor will we know in June the extent to which mass immunizations will have protected the population at large. Conscientious planning requires us to begin preparations as described on this page. And of course, in keeping with HVC's equitable ethic, we will not distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated campers in the context of programming, housing etc.
HOW ELSE WILL MY CAMPER STAY HEALTHY?
Following guidance and common sense, we expect to do the following and more:
- Require pre-camp testing, quarantine and screening for all community members.
- Articulate in-camp policies such as masks, social distancing, smaller groups, etc.
- Increase the number of large covered outdoor spaces so that more activity – including many meals - can take place outside.
- Maintain hand-washing procedures before and after activities, meals, etc..
- Cancel, with sadness, all parent visitation except limited camper drop-off and pick-up windows.
All specific policies will be made known to families in the spring. Staff hiring and training will be another key to our success of course. And lastly, we have confidence in our campers, who have shown themselves to be resilient and committed to community health measures at home over the past year.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A CAMPER FALLS ILL?
Much as with other contagious illnesses, a child will be separated and supervised. If covid is confirmed, going home to convalesce for a required period is one possibility, depending on symptoms, distance to home, etc.
PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT THE HEALTH LODGE AT HVC...
Here's full info. We're delighted with the perspective and experience that will be brought to HVC by our three in-house RN’s and commuters in 2021. And the Health Lodge itself has a new entrance created to accept those with covid-like symptoms, separate from the bump-bruise-bug-bite crowd.
...AND THE DINING HALL?
Our longtime dining hall managers have been in discussion with health authorities and others since August. We do expect more meals to be served and enjoyed outdoors. And rather than campers serving themselves, this will be done by staff. HVC's amazing salad bar may be replaced by a variety of prepared salads with the same amazing variety of fresh ingredients. Overall, food quality will not change from its renowned levels.
HOW WILL YOU APPROACH STAFF HIRING AND TRAINING?
With the same professional standards as in the past 32 years. Additionally, interviews will intensify and - beyond the search for mature, child-centered individuals - will examine candidates' commitment to self-care and willingness to make sacrifices.
Staff training will include prep for new routines and a look at the mental health implications of the pandemic on children and adults. Staff will have ample off-time as always, and will understand that most or all of it will be spent on our 350 acres. And we're excited to welcome back a small group of former HVC Program Directors, four of whom are now camp parents, who will provide extra support to campers and staff.
A note about staff off-time: In addition to our staff cabin, we've designated additional spaces for counselors' free time, including one isolated spot a half mile from camp's center. Unless on a camp-sponsored trip to an isolated spot, counselors will be on camp property throughout the summer.
WHAT TEACHING PROGRAMS WILL BE AFFECTED?
Out-of-camp trips will only take place to isolated destinations... Culinary arts classes may focus on outdoor cooking rather than traditional recipes... All other HVC instructional and recreational activities will proceed with proper precautions. For example, in land and water sports where masks may be impractical, distancing will support camper health.
WHAT ABOUT "ALL CAMP" ACTIVITIES?
In the past, we have often created smaller groups within camp such as "younger half" and "older half" in order to create calmer and more age-appropriate programming. The frequency of this practice may increase.
WILL YOU HAVE EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTS?
First off, we'll be happy to respond to any and all concerns you express. We will want adults to attend to all relevant details including packing list, medical prep etc. We will also expect parents to provide documentation of the following as part of our layered approach to covid prevention:
- A pre-camp PcR test administered 72 hours before arrival, and
- A 10-day quarantine before camp (details below) to protect the camp community.
As spring approaches, we'll hold zoom info sessions to discuss all prep issues and answer your questions. We're all in this together and your involvement will be critical.
PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE PRE-CAMP QUARANTINE...
We'll send you a form to document this 10-day period. Note that this can be done in Maine or at home out of state. Although exceptions can be made for direct travel to camp and attendance at school and certified day-care/day camp, we'll expect families to avoid all extra-curriculars, youth sports, gatherings outside of the household from playdates to weddings, outings, shopping, etc.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT FINANCES?
Sure... This page addresses limited tuition insurance options, and also explains the refund policies camp now has in place. Note that "full refunds" are not available, as tuition deposits and other payments are used all winter to pay for overhead and summer prep. We fully expect the planning now in place to support a successful and robust camp season.
CAN I HAVE A "TRAVEL" UPDATE?
Briefly and then please consult the travel pages...
- To HVC: There will be no buses. We'll plan on limited airport pickups and assigned arrival times for car arrivals so that health intake can be smoothly organized.
- From HVC to home: Timed car arrivals to manage the influx of vehicles, limited airport trips and a space-limited bus trip to Portchester, NY.
HOW ARE THINGS IN MAINE?
We're doing OK, thanks. Our small - and busy! - winter staff is functioning comfortably and safely in separate office spaces. As weather permits, the outdoor crew is prepping for summer. And all of us benefit greatly from the open space at HVC and in the surrounding area.
Take a look at health planning as we anticipate Summer '21.
How to help children with their experience of loss. We've been speaking with professionals about this and have acquired some suggestions for you.
Please contact us with your thoughts and questions.
Online Programs - Winter 2020-21
- HVC Parent
HVC will be a very welcome respite for him where he feels like he can do things that he enjoys, and it feeds his soul.
- HVC Parent
They are EXTREMELY excited about camp! They've been re-watching the camp DVDs for the past several days and talking about camp a ton!
- HVC Parent