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HomeSummer 20212021-Specific FAQsFAQ: Life in the Bubble

Camp Starfish is pleased to announce that we will be opening for Summer 2021! While camp will look quite different, we are committed to serving our campers and families in Rindge this year. Our dedicated staff team, in partnership with medical professionals, has been working hard to adapt programs and create protocols that meet the guidelines and recommendations laid out by the CDC, the State of New Hampshire, and the American Camp Association. While we know that there is no guarantee that our protocols will eliminate the risk of COVID-19, we will continue to adjust and mitigate those risks wherever possible.

In this section are extensive written answers to many of the questions we know you will have. This information will be continuously updated in the months leading up to camp. If this isn't your first visit to this page, you can review the Update Log below to see what has changed since your last read-through. Please use the menu at left to access all the questions and answers. 

We appreciate your partnership with us as we all work to ensure a healthy and safe Starfish Summer 2021!

2021 Camp Life

How can I help set expectations for my camper?

If your camper has attended before, they might notice that camp looks and feels different this summer. We may be missing a favorite activity or fewer bunkmates may be present. Please talk to your camper about these likelihoods. Let them know that flexibility is key (and sometimes fun!), things will be different (and that’s ok!), and that we need their help to keep everyone healthy (listening to counselors is crucial!). Please also talk to your camper about social distancing and mask wearing and why it’s important. Please use the additional camper resources as needed to talk to your camper about the changes at Starfish this year. There will be an opportunity for all enrolled campers to meet with a Starfish Director via zoom or phone to discuss the changes and ask any questions they may have. More information will be provided in the enrollment confirmation email.

Will you offer first-time camper Set-Up for Success Meetings and pre-camp tours?

We will be unable to conduct in person meetings or tours of camp prior to the beginning of the summer this year. In lieu of our usual Set-Up for Success (Open-House) Meetings, we will host several meetings on-line using Zoom in the late spring. Our Camp Director, Jamie, will share all the details you need to know in preparation for camp, and answer any questions you may have. Additionally, Starfish will also provide a “Virtual Tour” and a walk-through of camp so that campers and parents/guardians have a chance to preview the site. The Virtual Tour will be made available to enrolled campers in early June.

How will activities be modified?

To reduce contact among campers and limit the sharing of spaces and equipment, our program activities will be modified. Camp staff are working hard to maintain a quality camp experience under these new circumstances. For example, we know we’ll be canoeing, making arts and crafts, and having campfires, but we may not be able to have a typical “Peace Games” celebration or activities that involve multiple people touching equipment at the same time, such as the High Ropes and Low Ropes courses. Please remember that this situation is rapidly evolving, and we will keep families informed of changes as the summer progresses, taking input from campers, counselors, and families along the way.

How will meals and snacks work this summer?

It is obviously not possible to eat through a mask, but we’re still implementing precautions and procedures to ensure that meals and snack times are safe. Tables for Cabin Groups (at the start of the session) and/or Cohorts (after testing results come back) will be positioned at least 10’ apart to ensure that 6’ of space is still maintained when campers and staff are seated in chairs. As always at Starfish, each person will have an assigned seat through the duration of the session which will not change. Should they need to leave the table at any time, individuals must wear a mask.

Our plan is still to serve meals family-style and be sensory friendly as usual, with the change that one designated staff member will serve everyone at the table to eliminate multiple people touching serving utensils and dishware. All campers and staff will still be required to wash hands and sanitize before coming to the table.

Camp will continue to provide additional choices at every meal in case campers or staff do not like or want the main meal. In prior summers, we have offered additional choices in the form of a fruit, cereal & milk bar at breakfast, and a pasta/sauce station, salad bar, and make-your-own sandwich station at lunch/dinner. In 2021, these options will be modified in accordance with re-opening guidelines. This may mean that some items are “pre-packaged” in single serve portions, or that a designated member of the kitchen staff will serve. As always, we will also offer alternatives to those that have dietary restrictions, including those that are gluten, lactose, and/or meat free.

Twice per day, everyone at camp enjoys a healthy snack such as fruit, string cheese, or popcorn. Snacks will be prepacked and will be enjoyed in the village as Cabin Groups, rather than as one large camp group as usual.

What will happen if there’s bad weather?

As during a usual summer, we will spend the majority of our time enjoying the outdoors. There are very few activities that take place inside, and those that do will be modified this summer to allow for as much “outside time” as possible.

At Starfish, our director team always keeps a close eye on the weather to limit any surprises. In the event of a few raindrops, camp goes on as scheduled (with raincoats and boots of course!). However, when inclement weather makes it unsafe to be outside, campers will take shelter in Cohort Groups in the various buildings on site, or as Cabin Groups in their bunks.

My camper is still going to have behaviors. How will COVID protocols affect how that is handled?

We know this has been a challenging year for our campers who rely on predictability and structure. This is also a time when Starfish must make many modifications and ask campers to follow new camp rules that are unfamiliar to them. There will certainly be “bumps in the road” as campers become acclimated to being away from home with these new expectations, and our staff will, as always, use their extensive training and compassionate intervention skills to help campers succeed at camp.

Given the increased risks to the health and safety of everyone in the camp community, however, there are also behaviors that we will not be able to work through with campers this summer. These behaviors include:

  • Refusal to wear a mask covering both the mouth and nose when required and reminded;
  • Refusal to participate in health screening, testing procedures, or quarantine requirements;
  • Intentional spread of droplets including coughing/sneezing/spitting in the direction of or directly on others (this is a case of intentional acting out and is different from an accidental sneeze while unmasked, for example); and
  • Refusal to follow physical distancing and hand hygiene guidelines

Should a camper be unable to meet these expectations, they will be unable to remain at camp for the remainder of the session. An approved adult must pick up the camper within 3 hours of being notified of dismissal, and refunds will not be given for dismissal due to behavior.

As always, we will work with campers to help them understand the consequences of their choices and assist them in making good decisions. However, given the serious possibility of risking the health of others in the camp community, we will not be able to give endless warnings or implement behavior plans to work towards achievement of these expectations over time.

Starfish’s refund policy surrounding dismissals for behavior has not changed; there has never been a refund in this case. However, unlike with some other behaviors which we have flexibility and time to work through, health-related behaviors will have very short timeframes for amelioration. We want to be transparent with you about this, because we will only be able to continue camp programming if we all work together to keep camp safe. If you feel that your child may struggle with any of the behavior expectations above, we encourage you to reach out to our Camp Director, Jamie, prior to completing a camp application.

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