Health & Safety at Carolina Creek

Summer 2020 and beyond

Safe at Camp: Everything you're wondering, and then some, about how we'll take extra care of each guest at Carolina Creek in 2020.

We invest in the Safety, Health and Wellness of our campers, far beyond the requirements of the agencies that oversee and license camps in Texas. We strive to do MORE. More than expected, more than we are asked, more than you dared hoped.

In a year when no one wants to hear or think about communicable disease, our professional staff have been thinking and talking about nothing else for months. And it’s not just our medical staff. We’ve looked at summer 2020 from every conceivable perspective, and we are convinced that we can offer a safe camp experience for your children this summer.


We are grateful for the guidance of the Communicable Disease Center (CDC), the directives from the Governor of Texas, and the many other authorities and advisors who have worked tirelessly to establish standards of care for camps. We are striving to meet or exceed all recommendations.

While we can’t offer zero exposure to others, we believe we can limit exposure to your child’s cabin group, in most cases between 12 and 16 people. Is that an acceptable risk? We think so.


Please review our plans, and let us know if you have any questions. 

First and Foremost: Professional, Year-round, Adult Program Staff.

Carolina Creek is blessed to have a full-time team of qualified program and activity staff leaders, each with formal education including graduate degrees, professional certifications and decades of experience among them.

Carolina Creek Program Director

Al Weinberg

al.weinberg@carolinacreek.org

Carolina Creek Program Director

Al Weinberg

al.weinberg@carolinacreek.org

Al has spent his summers since 1982 pouring his life into campers. From summer staff, to year-round staff to consulting for camps nationwide in many of his areas of expertise, Al can’t get enough of camp. In different life seasons Al has specialized in experiential programming, wilderness trip leading and the use of adventure programming to accomplish spiritual and personal objectives. He has two decades of experience leading the small group, “decentralized”, model of camping that is called for in 2020.

PROACTIVE PROGRAMMATIC PLANS TO PROTECT​

Believe it or not it is possible to run a high-energy, raucously fun summer camp experience while allowing very limited exposure to communicable disease. Our professional and experienced program team have created schedules, games and protocols that take all precautions, including social distancing, into account.

Training

  • Rescripted orientation for campers using our “5-Finger Contract”, updated to emphasize safety in community and how we can keep one another safe by practicing social distancing, hand hygiene and self-monitoring of symptoms even while at camp
  • Increased staff training in the areas of continuous cleaning and sanitization of their environments, leading campers in social distancing and hand hygiene, and monitoring of any symptoms

Activity Standards

  • New guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing between cabin groups at activity areas, including everything from bows and arrows to canoe paddles, to sports equipment to harnesses and helmets. Every activity area  has a documented cleaning protocol and means to track compliance
  • State of the art Electrostatic Microbial Sanitizing Sprayers will be used daily to sanitize activity areas, courses, scissors, boats – from the big stuff to the tiny stuff that campers encounter
  • At each activity area campers will use hand sanitizer before touching any equipment or supplies
  • Staff members interacting closely with campers, such as when adjusting a harness or life jacket, will wear face coverings

Schedules

  • It’s possible to limit exposure, for the most part, to one’s cabin group, fostering deeper relationships while allowing for social distancing from other cabin groups
  • From early morning to bedtime we have scheduled cabin groups to move on rotations that keep them literally yards apart
  •  Even if we are required to limit group size to 50 or fewer people, we have schedules ready to go that allow for that
  • Large group games won’t include communal interaction, like Tag or Capture the Flag, but consist of parallel games and competitions, relays or scavenger hunts where cabins participate, interacting with their cabinmates, yards from other cabins, allowing for the same energy, noise and shared experience that campers treasure
  • In group settings like morning chapels or evening keynote sessions, campers will have pre-assigned, marked areas for their cabin group, at appropriate distances from others
  • No “free time” this year, where kids can mix with the whole; “cabin choice” time will still allow for freedom to repeat or try an activity, shared with your cabin group

Next Up: Professional, year-round Hospitality & Dining Staff

Our Guest Experience Team are excited by the challenge to create an immaculate housing, dining and meeting experience even at camp! They have addressed supply chain issues and engage in the education necessary to ensure that they can follow through on these promises.

Carolina Creek Guest Experience Director

Leo Silva

leo.silva@carolinacreek.org

Carolina Creek Guest Experience Director

Leo Silva

leo.silva@carolinacreek.org

With over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, including hotel management, restaurants, and camp settings, Leo has extensive knowledge and expertise in managing proper cleaning and hygiene protocols. Additionally, his experience in 5-Star event planning for corporate businesses has equipped Leo to properly allocate resources and attend to details with a high standard of excellence.

Carolina Creek Food Service Director

Lawrence Portie, AAS Culinary; AAS Pastry and Baking

lawrence.portie@carolinacreek.org

Carolina Creek Food Service Director

Lawrence Portie, AAS Culinary; AAS Pastry and Baking

lawrence.portie@carolinacreek.org

Chef Lawrence has blessed campers and their families for more than ten years at Carolina Creek. Before that his gifts were used in teaching cooking and catering. His experience in creating safe dining experiences for more than 25 years allowed him to quickly grasp the current scenario and create a plan for this summer practically overnight.

Strategic Housing Furnishings and Layout

Cabins are not only spacious and fun, but we’ve invested heavily to make them sanitary, safe, easily cleaned, and to allow for ample social distancing.

 

  • All cabins furnished with new (in 2019) bed bug proof metal bunks and vinyl mattresses with bed bug proof seaming
  • In-cabin bathrooms and showers with best practices followed for child protection
  • Remotely controlled HVAC to ensure comfort and continuous air circulation
  • Head to toe bunk layouts to allow social distancing even while sleeping

Cleaning Protocols Above and Beyond Expectations

While all summer staff are trained to be continuously cleaning and disinfecting their environments, especially commonly touched surfaces, a dedicated sanitation team will augment their efforts.

  • Common spaces cleaned before and after use
  • Common bathrooms cleaned multiple times a day at strategic times
  • Camper cabin bathrooms cleaned during the day when campers are absent 
  • NO cleaning by campers; NO access of cleaning chemicals by campers
  • All cleaning and disinfection in compliance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) standards for process and products
  • State of the art Electrostatic Microbial Disinfecting Sprayers to be used in cabins, bathrooms, dining rooms, stores, all common areas daily

Hand Hygiene

We pride ourselves in vigilance related to communal health every year, so we are well practiced in hand hygiene as the most important factor to prevent the spread of communicable disease.

 

 

  • Added hand washing stations outside dining rooms, so that every camper can wash their hands before and after meals
  • From the first orientation campers will be taught and have the opportunity to practice hand washing under the supervision of their counselors
  • Regular times for hand washing, and prompts by counselors, will occur throughout each day
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are throughout camp, with staff deployed to see that hand sanitization happens before and after meals and meetings, when entering or exiting common buildings and cabins
  • In 2020 we will also have hand sanitizer at activity areas, enabling campers to sanitize before handling recreational equipment or any shared supplies
  • We use only hand sanitizer products that meet Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements. 

Proactive Dining Hall Protocols

Already an area of strength, we’ll up the game for dining protocols in 2020. 

 

  • All dining staff screened for any symptoms or exposure prior to their shift
  • All hands washed AND sanitized upon entry to dining halls
  • Virtually no self-serve items available; condiments, fruit, bagels, salads  and drinks that have been self-serve will now be distributed as needed by a gloved staff member
  • All service items – utensils, plates, cups, etc. – will be disposable, single use items
  • Arrangement of the dining room will allow for social distancing between cabins
  • Meal shifts will allow fewer campers in the dining room at one sitting, allowing for spacious, uncrowded dining where campers return to the same assigned table for each meal
  • Buffet lines approaches marked on floors to allow for social distancing between cabin groups even while in line
  • Dining rooms and tables disinfected between groups
  • All products used as approved by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • State of the art Electrostatic Microbial Sprayers used to disinfect dining rooms between groups, and the kitchens daily

Last but not least: Health and Wellness at Carolina Creek

Nothing is more important to us than the safety and health of our guests. We have an amazing, dedicated team of health professionals who prayerfully consider how to improve our systems, screening and response each year. Here is a brief overview of our plan for care. We would welcome your specific questions.

Carolina Creek Health Coordinator

Karen Dedominicis, RN, BSN

Nurse@carolinacreek.org

Carolina Creek Health Coordinator

Karen Dedominicis, RN, BSN

Nurse@carolinacreek.org

Nurse Karen oversees the health protocols for Carolina Creek year round. With 19 years of experience she has specialized in the Emergency Department, ICU and camp nursing. She is dedicated to the health and care of our campers as evidenced by her active membership in the Association of Camp Nursing, for whose quarterly publication she is an award winning columnist. Karen is a homeschooling mom of two teenagers/campers.

Carolina Creek Special Care Coordinator

Jenny Weinberg, RN, ADN

SpecialCare@carolinacreek.org

Carolina Creek Special Care Coordinator

Jenny Weinberg, RN, ADN

SpecialCare@carolinacreek.org

Jenny also lives and contributes at Carolina Creek year-round, as she is married to our Program Director, Al. Her role is to facilitate safe and healthy experiences for campers with special needs, having spent more than ten years leading one of our nation’s largest camp inclusion programs. A student of trauma-informed care, Jenny works with individual families as well as groups who desire to create a successful experience for campers facing challenges. Her 13-year nursing career includes specialization in hospice care and adolescent psychiatry.

Carolina Creek Consulting Physician

Dr. Kim Matlock

MD, FAAP, Board-Certified Pediatrician

Carolina Creek Consulting Physician

Dr. Kim Matlock

MD, FAAP, Board-Certified Pediatrician

Dr. Kim is well known to generations of Carolina Creek staff and campers. A veteran of 20 years of pediatric practice and camp medicine, Kim is the proud parent of four campers who wouldn’t miss a summer.

Fully Staffed & Equipped On-site Health Centers

Each camp center, i.e. Lakeview, Creekside and The W!LD each have health centers with exam rooms, housing to isolate symptomatic campers, full bathrooms, and secure storage for medications and confidential records.

 

  • At least three registered nurses in residence each week
  • At least two Emergency Medical Technicians deployed in the field with campers each week
  • Paramedic response from local VFD one mile away
  • Qualified Health Aids to staff health centers 24/7 as needed
  • 99% of staff First Aid, CPR and AED trained
  • Access to fully staffed hospitals a short distance away
  • Ambulance and Medivac helicopters available within minutes
  • Comprehensive management of prescription and OTC medications
  • Electronic health histories and waivers allowing treatment easily accessible in the event of emergency
  • Equipment such as thermometers and PPE have been upgraded to recommended standards for response to Covid-19

Medical Screening & Response

Our standard screening protocols are already robust, but there will be additional measures to ensure the health and safety of our community this year. We’ll also be continually conferring with our infectious disease advisors, our county and state health departments, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as we evaluate the effectiveness of our protocols and the health of our community in real time.

Prior to Arrival

  • All campers will be asked to follow a modified quarantine protocol, avoiding exposure beyond their household unit, and self-monitoring for symptoms, two weeks prior to arrival
  • Campers arriving with churches or groups on buses or in vans will be screened, as usual, prior to departure for camp
  • Individual campers will receive a set of self-screening questions prior to camp, so that they can evaluate whether or not they are safe to enter the community that week.

Upon Arrival

  • Only one adult will be allowed to accompany a camper on Opening Day.
  • Screening questions to identify risk of Covid-19 will be asked of campers and their accompanying adult at the doors, prior to registration; responses that require further assessment will be referred to the nurse before entering the community
  • Temperatures will be taken upon arrival; fever, symptoms or risk of exposure of a family member might disqualify a camper from attending that week
  • Any symptoms that could be indicative of Covid-19, whether of a camper or family member, must have been resolved for at least 7 days for the camper to be admitted that week
  • Campers who clear the pre-screening will then be admitted to complete the registration and regular health intake process, including collection of medications
  • No family members will be permitted in camp buildings or to tour grounds; stores will not be open; all processes will be designed to limit risk

While at Camp

  • Temps taken for every member of the community every morning
  • Continued enforcement of long-standing policy that any camper with a fever, or any other symptoms of communicable disease, will be isolated for care and rest until they can be picked up by a family member
  • Staff who reside with campers will be educated to identify and bring to the health center any camper who might exhibit symptoms with a more conservative threshold than usual
  • Every cabin group will be visited by a health staff member daily to assess for any symptoms of communicable disease, take temps as needed and do an overall wellness check

Screening of Staff

  • Staff will arrive for training and modified quarantine no less than seven days before the arrival of campers
  • Staff will be screened before and after each camp session, using the same admission requirements as for campers
  • Temps will be taken every morning, just as for campers
  • Per Texas guidelines, staff who leave the community for family or school events will not return; staff will not be allowed to go into town except for essential visits with supervision, requiring all safety protocols such as social distancing and face covering

Campers who are Sick

  • As in any year, campers exhibiting any signs of communicable disease will be lovingly cared for and supervised in an isolated area while waiting for a family member to pick them up
  • Parents  or guardians will be notified immediately of any symptoms exhibited by a camper
  • Carolina Creek does not pursue medical diagnosis, testing or treatment when a camper exhibits symptoms; that is the right and responsibility of the parent or guardian
  • If any camper exhibits symptoms of communicable disease, families of their cabin mates would be notified upon departure that there was a possible exposure, so that they can be alert for any symptoms occurring after camp
  • Any camper positively diagnosed with Covid-19 within fourteen days of departure from Carolina Creek will be asked to notify the camp; we would follow contact tracing protocols and notify any families or staff members who may have had exposure

Questions?

We understand that entrusting your children to others is one of the biggest decisions you make as a parent or guardian. We do all in our power to be worthy of your trust. 

 

Life involves risk. Not many places, processes or activities we encounter have been thought through, considered, analyzed, practiced, evaluated and reviewed as the plans for 2020 summer at Carolina Creek. Our decision to operate is not reckless, but carefully considered. We believe that kids may be safer here, with us,  than elsewhere, with others, even this summer.

 

Let us know if we can reassure you. If your child is immunocompromised or has an underlying health condition that might make them vulnerable should they contract ANY communicable disease, perhaps they should sit this one out. We’d be glad to process this or any other concern with you. Just contact us at info@carolinacreek.org, and we’ll get you to the right person to help you.

 

Sincerely,

Lisa M. Olson

Executive Director