Below are some Frequently-Asked-Questions for you and your Kippewa camper.
Please reach out with additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-933-2993.
Are You Definitely Opening Camp This Summer?
Yes! We are 100% committed to, and excited about, Summer 2021. We sincerely believe camp is needed more than ever and this is going to be the best summer yet!
What is Your Overall Approach to Operating Camp in 2021?
The health, safety, and wellness of our campers and staff is always a top priority at Camp Kippewa, and looking ahead to Summer 2021 the focus on safety policies and procedures will be more important than ever. Having operated both our Equestrian Academy and Family Camp this past summer during the pandemic, we feel we have both the knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to remain safe at camp. We will be implementing protocols and procedures based on guidance from the American Camp Association and CDC, and following Maine Department of Health guidelines. In addition to procedures outlined below we will be increasing cleaning and sanitizing protocols, adding a “satellite health center” for anyone displaying symptoms or in need of testing, partnering with Pack My RX for medication distribution which allows for each camper’s medications to be delivered in organized, sanitary, and personal bubble packs, and more. We are currently planning and preparing to open camp in the environment we see today, and we are ready to adapt as necessary as we approach the start of our camp season.
A Modified Bubble?
It’s likely we’ll be in a modified bubble this summer. This means we will restrict who comes in and out of camp. It will still be Kippewa just with some revisions! Staff will remain at camp the full summer with specific areas designated for them to relax and enjoy their time off.
Will Campers and Staff Need to Wear Masks?
We anticipate that campers and staff will wear masks when interacting with others outside of their pod, especially in the first two weeks of the session.
In conjunction with our screening and testing protocols (see below), campers and staff will be in “pods” in order to minimize the risk of transmission. These pod groups will start small and expand over time as we become more confident that COVID-19 is not present in our camp community. The Kippewa experience has always consisted of a combination of intimate bunk group moments, age specific group experiences, and all-camp celebrations. With careful planning and moving traditions around the calendar to match the current pod situation we feel we can offer most of the experiences and traditions Kippewa campers are looking forward to this summer!
Pre-Camp Protocols and Health Screening
We expect that campers and staff are expected to significantly limit exposure for the 10 days prior to travel to camp. This timing includes the days before and following their pre-summer COVID-19 test. All campers and staff will complete a screening form during this time including attestation to our pre-camp protocols. We would like everyone to think about the camp session as being 10 days longer this year, starting during the days leading up to the pre-camp PCR test.
Specific details are shared in your Family Handbook posted in your myKippewa account. Pre-camp protocols include ceasing all medium-to-high risk behaviors and gatherings and delivering a negative PCR-testing result that we can build our modified bubble around!
Our staff will be arriving at camp two weeks prior to camper arrival (or earlier) and will remain on-site as a part of our modified bubble environment. They will be following our testing protocols as described below during this time.
*Please note that exact time frames may vary depending on testing options, the following plan is based on testing available at this time.
Robust testing protocols will be one of the cornerstones of our success this summer. Our testing protocols will be based on the accepted science as recommended by the CDC. Because testing results for COVID-19 generally trail exposures by a few days we will be testing multiple times before expanding the size of our pods.
All campers and staff will be required to have a negative PCR test approximately 3 – 5 days before opening day. We will test again upon arrival at camp, on-site six days into each session, and again 13 days into camp. Tests will also be on hand if a camper or staff member displays symptoms. We are currently in the process of creating a partnership with a test provider and will release additional information closer to the summer.
What If My Child Tests Positive For COVID-19 Just Before Camp Or At Camp?
If a child tests positive from the at-home PCR test, we will follow current CDC guidelines to determine the required quarantine period for your child, and if possible, work with your family to create a plan for late arrival.
Read more about current CDC guidelines here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html
If a child tests positive upon arrival or during the session, they will be isolated and cared for until they can be picked up from camp. Pick-up will need to take place within 24 hours, so families who live afar will need to have a plan in place to be available, or have a friend or family member ready to provide help should this situation arise.
Due to the nature of this virus, the length of the necessary isolation period, and the length of our camp session, even if a child who tests positive “feels fine” it will not be possible for them to remain at camp and be fully isolated for the required time period.
What Happens If There Is A Positive Case Of COVID In My Child’s Cabin?
If there is a positive case at camp, we will immediately test and screen every person in the pod and separate the pod from the rest of camp (dining, activities, etc.). In the following days we will begin twice-daily screenings (temperature checks and symptom screening). We will repeat PCR testing approximately 72 hours after the first test and continue consulting with health professionals moving forward. We will maintain ongoing communication with families throughout.
Travel To/From Camp
We are going to be asking our families to bring their children to camp. Minimizing risk of exposure in the days leading up to camp, first contact with campers, and the initial 5 days of each session will be critical to successfully running Kippewa this summer. Shared transportation increases the risk of spread before campers arrive at camp.
If your family can drive directly to Kippewa, that is ideal. We know this isn’t possible for everyone, so if flying to camp we ask that a parent accompany their camper to navigate airports and PPE, and then bring their child to camp.
Importantly, we will be offering shared bus transportation HOME to CT / NY and Boston, similarly to previous seasons, since by this point camp will be functioning as a larger pod. Further details are available in our Family Handbook (posted in your myKippewa account).
Will All Of The Staff Be Vaccinated?
We are requesting and encouraging all of our staff to get vaccinated if it is available to them in their location. Realistically though, we can not count on them all being vaccinated before they arrive at camp for training in late May/early June. The good news is that camp staff members have recently been designated by the CDC as childcare workers eligible in phase 1b. However, the actual vaccine distribution is being handled separately by each state and individual health districts, and implementation is widely varied, including who is eligible. Young healthy people are generally lower priority.
While we are hopeful and doing our part to help our staff gain access it just may not be possible for them all to receive the vaccine before traveling to camp. Therefore, our protocols for this summer do not rely on every staff member being vaccinated. Staff will remain on camp the entire summer and we are planning camp around the modified bubble concept, with testing and strict protocols, in order to provide our campers a safe and fun camp experience even if not every staff member is vaccinated!
Outdoor Activities and Trips
We are fortunate that so many activities at camp already take place outdoors and many of our buildings have large porches that can be used for activity space. To create additional, usable, outdoor program space we have added a wrap-around deck to the Playhouse (theater), are expanding the porch on The Loft (upper arts building), and are placing open-sided tents in various areas around camp. Additionally, we will maximize the ventilation of interior spaces with fans and open windows and will decrease the number of people in these spaces. Part of our modified bubble plan includes continuing with self-contained trips enjoying the outdoors and the beauty of Maine. We can still hike, canoe, camp, and enjoy the wilderness safely without interacting with the outside world!
Dining At Camp
Chef Larry and his team are ready and excited for another great summer at camp! Meals will remain family style, eating with bunkmates and counselors as we always have. Campers will be grouped together for meals in relation to their current pod situation. Outdoor spaces around the lodge will be utilized with the addition of large open-air tents to create more dining space. We will be modifying the salad and pasta bars to avoid waiting in lines and eliminate sharing of serving utensils between pods.
Family Handbook and Required Forms
We are rolling out our Family Handbook and forms in stages. The first stage was shared in February to help everyone begin preparations for camp. Most forms (medical and camper information) are already posted in your myKippewa account and we will continue sharing additional details and forms as they are finalized.
Bulletin 1 – Family Handbook, Pack my Rx, and Health Forms
Bulletin 2 – Travel To Kippewa
Bulletin 3 – Testing procedures and detailed camp protocols
Bulletin 4 – Right-Before-Camp Covid-specific forms and reminders
Keep preparing for camp! Help your children understand that while some things at camp may look different, it is going to be just as fun and exciting as they are hoping for. Please also be ready to partner with us and the entire Kippewa community – the health and safety of our campers and staff begins at home two weeks before the start of each session. We know we can’t absolutely guarantee a Covid-free season, but we are going to try! Your family’s cooperation will be essential to helping us make camp as safe as possible. We are going to do our best to communicate what we need from you and what we are doing on our end to achieve this. Camp is needed more than ever and we can’t wait to be together with your girls this summer!
What Are The Cabins Like?
Our cabins are all unique. Almost all of them have screened-in porches, many that overlook the lake, and some of our cabins have decorative stone fireplaces inside. Each cabin has its own bathroom which includes showers, sinks, and stalls. The cabins all have electricity, screened glass-paned windows, comfortable wooden bunk beds, and personal cubbies. Girls are grouped into cabins based on the grade they are entering after camp. There are eight to twelve campers (depending on age) in each bunk, together with three counselors. Girls from all over the world live together in their cabins, eat meals together and enjoy spending meals, evening activities, down-time and special events together as a bunk.
How Is The Food?
We always get great reviews from campers and staff about our food! Meals are served family-style and are nutritious, well-balanced, and delicious! Along with the main meal we also offer vegetarian options, salad bars, pasta bars, and a breakfast bar consisting of fresh fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, and more. Our sunbutter and jelly station (our nut-free version of PB&J!) is available throughout the day. At least a couple of times each week we have outdoor barbecues and lunches overlooking the lake and each session we have a closing Maine lobster bake! Snacks consist of hand fruit such as apples, oranges, peaches and plums, homemade cookies and ice cream treats. Everyone loves the food at Camp Kippewa!
What Does A Typical Day At Kippewa Look Like?
- 7:30am Reveille
- 8:00am Flag Raising
- 8:15am Breakfast
- 8:50am Cleanup
- 9:15am First Period
- 10:20am Second Period
- 11:25am Free Choice
- 12:15pm Lunch
- 1:00pm Rest Hour/Mail Time
- 2:00pm Third Period
- 2:55pm Cookie Call (Snack)
- 3:15pm Fourth Period
- 4:15pm Fifth Period
- 5:15pm Shower Hour
- 6:05pm Flag Lowering
- 6:15pm Dinner
- 7:15pm Evening Activity
- 8:45pm Taps
- 9:00am – 10:30pm (Varies by Age) Lights Out
How Do Girls Choose Their Schedules?
Before coming to camp we ask everyone to select the activities they would like to participate in during the first week of camp using our activity selection form. Everyone has swim instruction and land sports during one period of the day (swim one day and land sports the next day, alternating), and girls get to choose the other 5 periods. Every day they also decide what they want to do for our Free Choice period. We encourage girls to try new activities along with doing things they already know and love. After all, part of the fun of going to camp is learning new things!
At the end of each week girls receive a new activity choice sheet to select activities for the following week of camp.
What Does It Mean To Have A Brother Camp?
We are very lucky to have Camp Cobbossee, our brother camp, located less than 1/2 mile away from us on the same lake. We get together for one shared all-camp special event (like Carnival!), and schedule a social or community-service based event for the oldest campers.
For girls with a brother or cousin at Camp Cobbossee, they will see him at least once a week, either at one of our shared special events or at a special brother/sister lunch. We also coordinate all of the travel to and from camp with the same timing and locations to make the logistics of getting to camp as easy as possible.
What Happens If A Camper Gets Sick Or Injured?
We have three registered nurses along with a nursing assistant who live at camp in our “Pillbox” (the health center) and are available 24/7. We also have an established relationship with a local family medical practice. They are located only a few miles from camp. There are two hospitals located within 20 minutes of camp. Our nurses are very friendly and helpful if someone isn’t feeling well, and our Pillbox has space for girls to lie down and rest if needed (including air conditioning). Our nurses also distribute all prescription and non-prescription medication for our campers.
How Does Communication Between Parents / Campers Work?
Campers are required to write letters home two to three times a week during the summer. Parents are allowed to schedule one phone call per session and send one-way emails, however campers are not able to send emails back. They will be so busy having fun at camp there won’t be any time for the computer anyways!
We also post daily photos and newsletters during the summer so parents can keep up with all the fun their daughter is experiencing.
What Is Your Package Policy?
We do not allow packages – please make sure friends and family members are aware of this policy. Any package received without previous permission from a director will be held until the end of the session and either returned to parents or donated. Campers may receive flat 9X12 envelopes with their favorite magazines, newspapers, stickers, etc. only. Puffy or well-stuffed envelopes are not allowed and will not be opened or given to the girls without prior approval. Please do not send food or gum as these items are not allowed in the cabins and will be confiscated.
What Is Your Electronics Policy?
We want everyone to make the most out of their camping experience by spending time engaged in activities and talking face to face with friends and counselors. Therefore, cell phones and electronic games (Gameboys, PSPs, etc) are not permitted at camp. Basic MP3 players (such as iPod Shuffles) are allowed in the cabins. Camp Kippewa is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or stolen MP3 players. Our basic policy is to only allow basic music players, or in other words those that are “screen free”. To assist with this we provide each bunk with an iPod and speaker, counselors are then able to add the campers song requests using camp music accounts.
We also do not allow hair dryers or flat irons. We want the focus to be on making friends, having fun, and just being yourself without worrying about what your hair looks like! Girls are so busy having fun they don’t miss them, and actually tell us they enjoy the freedom.
Is There A Required Uniform?
No, we do not require uniforms at camp. We do ask everyone to bring a couple of uniform items for some special events and trips out of camp but not to wear on a daily basis. We just ask that girls wear non-designer, “camp-friendly” clothing. Most girls wear cotton shorts and a t-shirt or tanktop. Girls also need to bring appropriate footwear for whatever activity they are participating in – soccer cleats for soccer, tennis shoes when on the courts, etc. Campers are also required to wear their hair tied back for sanitary and safety reasons during activities.
Where Is Camp Kippewa Located?
Camp Kippewa is located in Monmouth, Maine, which is 15 miles southwest of Augusta (Maine’s capital) and one hour from the Portland International Jetport. Just 3 hours north of Boston, Camp Kippewa is perfectly located in the stunning wilderness of Maine, on the shores of magnificent Lake Cobbosseecontee. Our brother camp, Camp Cobbossee, is less than 1/2 mile away on the same lake.
How Is The Staff Selected?
All of our counselor staff are required to have completed at least one year of college, with the average counselor having completed two or more years. Staff members are recruited from the finest universities in the U.S. and abroad. We recruit students who have good experience and who have a desire to work with children for their career – many are in school to become teachers, social workers, or in other child-related professions. Each potential staff member takes part in an in-depth interview either in-person or over the telephone. All staff members submit 3 professional references and must pass a background check before being hired.
In addition to our counselor staff, a specialist who is very knowledgeable about their area heads each program area. Our Activity Heads are teachers, coaches, parents and long-time campers. They help set the tone for the level of instruction, enthusiasm and caring that we are committed to providing. A camper-to-counselor ratio of better than 3:1 is maintained to ensure proper supervision at all times.
How Do The Girls Get To/From Camp?
Bus transportation is available to/from, Yonkers, NY, Darien, CT and Newton, MA. We also provide transportation to/from the airport in Portland, Maine (PWM) and from Boston Logan airport (BOS). We are able to chaperone unaccompanied minors to flights in and out of Portland only. Transportation to Boston Logan is for the purpose of meeting a parent or guardian. Parents are also welcome to bring and pick up their campers in person, please just realize it will be a quick visit and drop off to help make the transition as easy as possible.
Do You Have a CIT Or Junior Counselor Program?
Yes! Kippewa has not historically had a CIT (Counselor-In-Training) or Junior Counselor program, but we are excited to make these programs part of our future. Our oldest campers are 15 years old, going into 10th grade. The following summer, entering 11th grade, they have the option to return to us as a counselor-in-training. CITs spend their time at camp having fun, traveling, and learning the various leadership skills that go into becoming an effective counselor. As a rising 12th grader, at the age of 17, former campers can then apply to become a junior counselor, living in a bunk and helping with teaching activities at camp. This is a selective program with limited spaces so Junior Counselors must go through an application process similar to everyone else on our staff.
WILL KIPPEWA BE OPEN IN SUMMER 2021?
Yes! And we can’t wait to see everyone, new and returning, in person at camp in Maine! We will spend the entire year preparing for what next summer brings and will be ready to welcome the girls with open arms.
CAN YOU SHARE ADDITIONAL INSIGHT INTO WHY YOU DECIDED TO POSTPONE KIPPEWA?
This was one of the most heartbreaking decisions we have ever had to make. We know how much our campers and staff all count on camp each year. We also are acutely aware of the responsibility we embrace every summer in keeping your children safe when you send them to Kippewa. With all of this in mind, there are a few things that became clear to us as we continued to learn more about this virus and navigated what it would look like to run camp in these circumstances. There is still enough uncertainty around the virus itself to give us pause. In addition, the necessary protocols for keeping our community as safe as possible would have a significant impact on our camp program. Significant enough that we felt we would lose far too much of the Kippewa experience that the girls know and love, and deserve. Ultimately, we decided the right choice was postponing camp until next summer.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO HELP MY DAUGHTER HANDLE THIS DISAPPOINTMENT?
We know this is difficult news and may be hard for some of your girls to process. The following two resources are by organizations/professionals we highly respect and found helpful. Please feel free to reach out to us directly as well. We are more than happy to talk with you and your daughter as she processes her feelings and emotions.
2020 WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY DAUGHTER’S O.C. SUMMER. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR HER?
We know this is especially hard on our O.C.s (Oldest Campers). As we said in our video, we are committed to offering camp to our 2020 O.C.s in 2021. We will work together to figure out exactly what next summer looks like for this group of girls.
WILL THIS SUMMER COUNT AS A CAMPER YEAR?
Yes, we will count this summer as a camper year for anyone who was enrolled for this summer. If 2020 is your daughter’s 5th or 7th year we will present her plaque to her in a special ceremony in 2021. If 2020 is your daughter’s 4th or 6th year, she will still receive her 5 or 7 year plaque next summer. We understand how important these milestones are to our campers.
WHAT ARE THE CREDIT AND REFUND OPTIONS?
Option 1: Rollover your payment to summer 2021 & lock in 2020 pricing. If you are able to select this option, it will really help Kippewa, both with important cash flow during the year and with the expenses that we incur as part of preparing for each summer. This option will guarantee your space for next summer.
This credit may be used for any family member at Kippewa or Cobbossee and for any of our programs (including 2020 Kippewa Equestrian Academy and Family Camp). If your plans change for summer 2021, the regular refund terms and conditions for any normal year apply.
Option 2: Refunds. Our relationship with our families is important to us. If you find yourself unable to rollover please see our Financial Options form for more information.
Please sign in to your myKippewa account to select the financial option that works best for your family. Full details are included on the Financial Options Form, available in the Forms & Documents section.
I SIGNED UP WITH R&B SHIPPING TO HAVE MY CHILD’S BAGS SHIPPED TO CAMP. WHAT IS THEIR REFUND/CREDIT POLICY?
R and B Baggage will be issuing refunds in the form of a credit for the 2021 season or refund of payment. Please contact them directly to discuss your bags. https://www.rbcampbaggage.com/contact
WILL ANY PROGRAMS STILL BE RUNNING ON SITE AT KIPPEWA THIS SUMMER?
Yes! We are still planning on running Kippewa Equestrian Academy and plan on extending our Family Camp into multiple 2- week sessions throughout the summer. We will be in touch with further details. Please let us know if you have interest in either of these programs.
WHY ARE YOU STILL RUNNING KEA AND NOT KIPPEWA?
Kippewa Equestrian Academy (KEA) is a much different type of camp program than what we offer at Kippewa. It is a small group (15-20 girls) who spend their day together. It is much more feasible to implement the social cohorting and health and safety protocols that are necessary in our current environment with this program. We anticipate having space for some of our Kippewa riders. Let us know if your daughter has an interest in joining us.