2022 Tawonga Program & COVID-19 FAQs

We hope the FAQs below help to answer your questions about Tawonga’s 2022 season. This page provides our best answers at this time. As COVID-19 is an ever-changing situation, please note that policies are subject to change. As circumstances and guidance related to operating summer camp in the pandemic evolve, our plans may also shift accordingly, and we will keep this page up to date and our Camp families closely informed. 

 

General Questions

Why are you offering your more traditional program model instead of the longer sessions you offered last summer?

We are committed to creating a safe and healthy environment for our campers while simultaneously providing more children opportunities to attend camp this summer. By offering four sessions, we are able to serve more children. Offering a variety of program lengths means that each family can select a program length that best suits their child’s needs.

My kid is nervous about going to Camp, do you have any advice?

  • This is common! Click here for seven tips to prepare your child for Camp.
  • Join an orientation session in the Spring for parents to learn more about what to expect and get questions answered.
  • About a month before your child’s session, we will email you a roster of other kids in your child’s session. This is a great time to reach out to other children in your area to set up some virtual playdates or socially distanced meet-ups. If you would like to set up a playdate before then, email registration@tawonga.org and we will help connect you with another family your child’s age.
  • For new families interested in checking out Tawonga before sending your child to Camp, we recommend joining an at-Camp tour over Memorial Day Weekend, offered May 29, 2022. Email registration@tawonga.org to sign up.
  • If you have further concerns and want to brainstorm ways to prepare your child for Camp, email info@tawonga.org to schedule a call with a director. We’re always happy to help!

Meals

In order to promote safety, our food service will follow best practices for operating during COVID-19. This may include outdoor dining, as it did in 2021. All our staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and all food workers will be masked while in the kitchen and serving food. We’ll provide more details as the summer approaches.

Daily schedule

Click here to see an example of a typical day at Camp this summer.

Technology policy

Camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to unplug from technology and develop deep relationships and communication skills without distractions. Tech gadgets compete with the immersive experience that sleep-away camp creates for the campers. In addition, devices have a way of getting lost, broken, and unfortunately, sometimes even stolen at Camp.

Please do not allow your child to bring electronic items to Camp. This includes, but is not limited to the following: cell phones/smart phones, iPods, laptops, electronic games, DVD players, electronic readers and cameras with internet-uploading capability.

 Registration & Programs

Registration and program dates

  • Priority registration opens November 10 for families that were enrolled in a 2021 summer program including Session A, Session B, Quests, SCIT, TLI and Taste of Camp.
  • Early registration opens November 17 for families that were waitlisted or canceled from a 2021 summer program, as well as families that were enrolled in a 2021 family camp program and/or the Tawonga Bar, Bat and B’nai Mitzvah program.
  • Registration opens to the public on December 1.

Visit www.tawonga.org/dates-rates to view 2022 program dates.

Can I register and have my child leave the session early?

No. For bunk cohesion as well as safety, no early departures will be permitted. It is critical both to our COVID bubble and to the arc of the session to have everyone begin and end the session together. Thus we will not be permitting late arrivals or early departures.

A Taste of Camp

  • We are planning to run a five-day A Taste of Camp program for rising 2nd through 6th graders at the beginning of the summer. This is a great introduction to sleep-away camp!
  • Campers will have the opportunity to participate in classic Camp activities including swimming, boating, arts and crafts, nature activities, archery, s’mores and more.

Adventure Quests

We are offering a full slate of Quest trips – click here to learn more.

All-Gender Cabins

We will be offering all-gender cabins for rising 9th and 10th graders during Session 4. If there is sufficient demand we can add additional all-gender cabins during other sessions and/or for other grades. Click here to learn more.

Health & Safety at Camp

What resources does Tawonga have in place to respond to illness at Camp?

  • The safety of our community is our top priority. Our fully-equipped health center is staffed 24 hours a day. Our medical team includes a doctor, nurse, and medical assistants. Our Health Center Director, Stacy Dorian, is a highly trained emergency room nurse who has worked with us for eight consecutive summers and was named “Camp Nurse of the Year” by the Association of Camp Nurses (more on Stacy here). Our volunteer physicians rotate throughout the summer, and specialize in emergency medicine, pediatrics, or family medicine.
  • We work with a COVID task force, a team of experts advising us on best practices. They will be available to advise us throughout the summer.
  • We built a brand new Health Center with upgraded amenities to better meet our campers’ health needs. This facility includes numerous isolation rooms to use as needed. We also have additional spaces available for isolation if necessary.

What precautions has Tawonga taken to protect Camp from wildfires?

Tawonga has spent over a million dollars on fire prevention on our property in the last six years. We remove dead trees and brush annually, reducing the fuel load and increasing defensible space. We have our own wells and water tanks and store a million gallons of water on site for fire fighting. Our lake can be used as a dip site. Our property is inspected annually by CALFIRE. Adam Frese, the CALFIRE Division Chief in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, has said he wishes everyone managed their property as well as Tawonga does.

In addition, Tawonga has undergrounded all of our PG&E electrical wires.

What plans are in place in the case of a nearby fire or unhealthy air quality during a Camp program?

  • Tawonga has developed guidelines that follow both the EPA’s guidelines and the Tuolumne County Health Department’s recommendations for when to limit activities based on air quality.
  • Tawonga’s Dining Hall has been upgraded to allow cooling and air filtration and can be used to shelter in place during poor air quality events.
  • When air quality is unhealthy, we are prepared to take the following actions: monitor campers, modify activities, cancel outdoor activities that require heavy exertion, shelter in place in the Dining Hall, and consider evacuation.

How will you keep us up to date on the health and wellbeing of our children?

As always, we will call you if your child is ill or having difficulties adjusting to Camp. Otherwise, no news is good news! You are always welcome to reach out to us for an update on how your child is doing by contacting us at info@tawonga.org or calling our San Francisco office at 415.543.2267. We will respond to all inquiries within 24 hours during normal business hours. You are also welcome to follow the blog for daily updates from Tawonga – subscribe here.

Health & Safety: COVID-19

Vaccine Mandates - NEW for 2022

  • All Tawonga staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • All Tawonga campers who are eligible to be vaccinated are also required to be fully vaccinated by the time their summer program begins.

Do you have COVID-19 policies in place to ensure safety for Camp programs?

Yes. We have developed extensive guidelines to proactively create safe programs by limiting the spread of communicable disease. These guidelines have all been created with our COVID Task Force, a team of experts advising us on best practices. All practices were developed to meet or exceed guidelines put forth by the American Camp Association (ACA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Tuolumne County Department of Public Health. You can also read more about our COVID Task Force here.

Will you have pre-camp guidelines or a pre-camp quarantine in 2022?

During the 8 days prior to their session start date, we will be asking all campers to follow pre-camp guidelines. These guidelines will be finalized closer to the summer but will likely include avoiding high risk situations such as:

  • Airports
  • Indoor dining
  • Large gatherings (more than 12 people)
  • Indoor day camp
  • Movie theaters
  • Indoor socializing with unvaccinated people

In addition, our guidelines will likely include a requirement to wear a mask when indoors anywhere outside your home including school, work, and public places.

All campers will take a pre-Camp PCR test. A negative result will be required for attending Camp. Any child or staff who develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 during the two weeks before camp begins should contact our San Francisco office immediately to determine if they will be able to attend Camp. This will depend on many factors including when they developed symptoms and when they tested positive. In most scenarios, campers who test positive will not be able to come to camp and will have the option to receive a full refund.

We will update enrolled families about the pre-camp guidelines once they are finalized for 2022.

Who is advising Tawonga on COVID-19 policies?

  • We have a COVID-19 task force comprised of a team of experts advising us on best practices. We are in close contact with the task force to shape our policies, and they will also be available to advise us throughout the summer.
  • Learn about our COVID-19 task force members here.

Will masks be required at Camp?

  • In order to contain possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, we are requiring face masks that cover both the nose and mouth when campers and staff are interacting with people from other pods. A pod is like a household, comprised of one cabin including 12 campers and 2-3 staff.
  • Masks will not be required when campers and staff are located inside their own cabins and when they are outdoors and more than six feet apart from any other pod.
  • Campers should bring eight washable masks with them to Camp, and a mesh bag to wash them in. We will wash masks on laundry days, once a week.

How will you address COVID-19 symptoms and positive tests at Camp?

  • All medical staff are trained to identify and respond to COVID-19 symptoms. Any camper or staff who presents COVID-19 symptoms will quarantine in our designated Health Center isolation areas. We will conduct a COVID-19 test, and the family of the camper will immediately be contacted by the director of our health center and/or our doctor, who will share the plan for testing and treatment. We will perform contact tracing and will quarantine and test any close contacts of the affected individual.
  • If a camper tests positive for COVID-19, parents/guardians should plan to arrive at Camp and pick them up within 24 hours. If you’re not in town, please prepare your emergency contact for this expectation in advance.
  • In the event that we send your child home early as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, we will do our best to provide your family with a pro-rated refund; however, we cannot guarantee it at this time.
  • We will follow the recommendations of the COVID task force as to when additional testing will be necessary.

Who will be entering Camp this summer beyond campers and staff?

Any visitors coming to Camp must be vaccinated, take a COVID test and pass a health screening. All vendors will be masked and away from children and staff.

My child and/or someone in my immediate family is immunosuppressed. Can we still participate this summer?

Individuals who are immunosuppressed (as defined by their medical professional) or live in a home with an immunosuppressed person should consult with their doctor(s) before deciding whether or not to participate in a Camp program. Though we are taking extensive actions to keep Camp safe, Tawonga is not able to guarantee that a person on our site will not be exposed to COVID-19; thus, participation in a Camp program during the Coronavirus pandemic is not recommended for individuals with known vulnerabilities that put them at greater risk. If you have any concerns about this policy, please contact our office to set up a time to talk with a member of our director team.

COVID-19 Program Adjustments

Activity restrictions

We’re so excited for the season ahead and are planning activities to make this summer incredible! For the first week of each session, campers will do all activities with their cabin group and will remain socially distanced from all other cabins. Regular camp activities such as arts and crafts, sports, hiking, river trips, garden blocks and drama will still be offered. For our longer sessions, later in the session, provided that everyone has re-tested negative for COVID-19, we plan to offer unit activities and possibly all-Camp programs. We’ll provide more details as the summer approaches.

Daily schedule

Click here to see an example of a typical day at Camp this summer!

Meals

In order to promote safety, our food service will follow best practices for operating during COVID-19. This may include outdoor dining, as it did in 2021. All our staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and all food workers will be masked while in the kitchen and serving food. We’ll provide more details as the summer approaches.

Song session

Song session will take place outside so there’s plenty of space to sing and dance! Campers and staff will be required to wear masks during this time when they’re unable to be more than 6 feet away from other pods.

Bathrooms

Cabins will have assigned times to shower so that they can be indoors without masks and without possible exposure to other campers. All campers will wear masks when they are using the bathhouse (unless they are showering). We will have many outdoor sink areas for hand washing and teeth brushing by cabin.

Rain plan

If it is raining and activities need to be moved indoors, campers and staff will wear masks and stay distanced from other pods. Masks are not needed if the group is inside of their own cabin.

Backpacking & day hikes

Session 2, 3 and 4 campers get to participate in a backpacking trip into Stanislaus National Forest or Yosemite National Park led by our highly trained and certified wilderness leaders. While on trips, campers and staff will engage in mask wearing and social distancing should they come across anyone outside of their pod. The same safety measures will be taken on Adventure Quests as well.

Mental/emotional health support and programming

After two years of dealing with COVID-19, social isolation and increased mental health challenges, we know that children will benefit from a camp experience more than ever, and we are prepared and ready to support campers along the way. Our counselors go through an 8-day training which prepares them to handle situations that may arise. Therapists will lead extra mental health trainings for counselors during this time. In addition, we have a team of inclusion counselors, unit heads, directors and therapists that are ready to support as needed.

We will have intentional programming at the beginning of each session designed to support campers going back into social situations. Counselors will also have one on one check-ins with campers every day.

Some children will meet with a Camp therapist during their stay at Camp if we think it will help them have a more positive experience. If your child is currently seeing a therapist, please fill out the Consent to Release Confidential Information form located in your CampInTouch account. If you have any questions regarding the Camp therapists or other mental health supports available at Camp, please contact the San Francisco office before your child’s program begins.

We are committed to creating a physically and emotionally safe Camp experience for your child(ren) this summer!

Do you have backup staff in place to take over if needed?

Yes! We have hired additional specialists and counselors for this summer.

Specialist and Counselor in Training (SCIT)

Our SCIT program will run very similarly as it has in years past! Teens will be in pods at the beginning of Camp based on their housing. In situations where there are interactions between pods, we will ask teens to meet two out of the following three criteria: 1) wearing a mask, 2) interacting outdoors, and 3) remaining at least six feet apart. The full SCIT group may become one pod depending on the outcomes of our at-Camp testing.

Teens will participate in a comprehensive training, enjoy a three day camping trip, and spend time with kids alongside counselors and specialists. They get to have a firsthand impact on young campers’ Tawonga experiences in the same ways that staff had on them.

Teen Leadership Institute (TLI)

Our TLI program will run very similarly as it has in years past! Teens will be in pods at the beginning of Camp based on their housing. In situations where there are interactions between pods, we will ask teens to meet two out of the following three criteria: 1) wearing a mask, 2) interacting outdoors, and 3) remaining at least six feet apart. The full TLI group may become one pod depending on the outcomes of our at-Camp testing.

Teens will build community, develop new leadership skills, work in partnership with the Tuolumne River Trust, enjoy a three-night backpacking trip, and steward the land for future generations of campers.

Transportation

How will campers get to and from Camp?

Buses will be provided for campers to Camp, departing from the Bay Area. Buses will also be provided for all campers on the way home (from Camp to the Bay Area and to Oakdale Dorada Park). We are also offering a bus from Camp to Los Angeles at the end of Sessions 3 and 4, provided there is sufficient demand.

Families have the option to drive their child(ren) to/from Camp if they prefer.

My family lives outside of the Bay Area. What protocols do you have in place and how can my child get to Camp?

In order to minimize the chance of exposure, we are asking all of our campers to follow pre-camp guidelines for 8 days before coming to Camp. If your child needs to fly to get to Tawonga, we require that your child completes their air travel ahead of this 8-day window and then stays in the Bay Area or another location within driving distance of Tawonga.

Southern California families will need to drive their kids to Camp. Tawonga will provide a bus at the end of Session 3 and Session 4 from Camp to Los Angeles for an additional $100 fee. Families will have the option to choose this bus for their child(ren) when filling out forms. More details to come.

Family Camp

We plan to offer family camps again in 2022 with some modifications for COVID-19 safety like masks, outdoor dining and social distancing.

Family Camp offerings

In 2022, we will be offering a COVID-safe version of our traditional Family Camps! Families will enjoy the many activities Tawonga has to offer like swimming, boating, arts and crafts, hiking, yoga, s’mores and more. Most of our programs take place outdoors.

Children ages two and up will be able to participate in day groups in the morning while adults have the opportunity to get a massage, do yoga, go on a hike, or attend a workshop. Parents can enjoy evening childcare for all ages once the children are asleep. We will be offering these four-day, three-night programs in May, August, September, and early October and December. Click here to see dates and rates.

Family Camp adaptations

  • Cabin Assignments
    • Each family will be assigned to their own cabin. If you would prefer to share a cabin with another family, please let us know.
  • Day Groups
    • We are thrilled to be able to offer morning childcare/day groups to kids ages two and older. The children will participate in activities outside and masked.
    • For those with little ones under two, we will have some fun baby/toddler and parent activities to enjoy!
    • We are sorry we are not able to provide childcare in the mornings for children under two. This is due to masking, distancing and staffing constraints due to COVID-19. Please note that children under two pay a reduced price.
  • Meal Service
    • Families will enjoy delicious, nutritious Family Camp style meals. Each family will have their own table and lots of delicious options to enjoy. We will continue to offer an option for outdoor dining.
  • Shmira (Nighttime Childcare/Babysitting)
    • After parents put children to sleep, parents can enjoy adult beverages and snacks while our loving Tawonga staff watch over sleeping children of all ages until 11pm!
  • COVID Safety
    • We ask families to follow our ⅔ rule which is to always have two of these three things: masking, distancing, and/or outdoors. So you can be outside and distant and unmasked, or outside and close and masked, or inside and distant and masked.

Can I sign up with another family?

You can try to register for the same weekend with friends. However, we can not guarantee you will get into the same weekend. We have limited spaces and want to make it fair for everyone.

Each family needs to register separately. The only exception to this rule is that additional adult family members, such as an uncle or grandparent, can be added to your registration. They will be housed in your cabin.

An au pair or nanny can be added to your registration. They will be housed in your cabin.

Are you offering a Family Camp program in the Spring?

Yes! We are thrilled to offer Spring Family Camp again in our 2022 season. This is our kick-off weekend to our entire programmatic season and we look forward to welcoming you to Camp over Memorial Day Weekend.

For new families interested in checking out Tawonga before sending your child to Camp, we recommend joining an at-Camp tour during Memorial Day Weekend, offered on May 29, 2022.

Does my family need to get tested before coming to a Family Camp program?

Yes. Please have everyone in your family tested for COVID-19 with an RT-PCR COVID test, within 72 hours of arriving at family camp. We recommend going through your healthcare provider or a city or county testing site. You will just need to show proof of a negative test when you arrive at Camp.

Financial Information

Cancellation policy

We will update our 2022 cancellation policy in November. You can see our 2021 cancellation policy here.

Why did the program rates increase for 2022?

Summer camp tuition went up for 2022 because of the increased costs of COVID-19 related expenses. In addition, non-COVID-19 related expenses are on the rise, including food, staffing, benefits, insurance and more.

For Family Camp, we are serving a limited number of families due to COVID safety. With fewer families, we need to charge slightly more in order to make these weekends financially viable.

Financial assistance

Tawonga is committed to ensuring your family can experience the magic of Camp! To apply for Tawonga financial assistance, first, register for a Tawonga program and indicate your interest in financial assistance by checking the “Financial Options” box and indicating how much assistance you intend to apply for. Learn more about financial assistance here. Please know we will do everything we can to make Camp affordable for your family.

Will Tawonga cover the costs of COVID-19 tests?

COVID fees are built into the tuition.

Will you offer a full refund if Camp is canceled due to COVID-19, smoke or wildfires?

If we have to cancel a program before the first day of the session, we will provide an option for a complete refund.

If we have to cancel a program once it has begun, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide a refund or credit. We will do our best to provide a partial refund or credit if possible. By the time a session has started, most of the expenses to run that session have already been incurred.

Trip insurance

You are not required to purchase trip insurance. You may want to look into trip insurance options for your child/family’s trip to Camp – there are many options that can be found with a quick Google search. We cannot recommend or endorse a specific company or carrier. If you decide to pursue trip insurance for your child/family’s time at Camp, please read the policy carefully to have an understanding of what events are/are not covered under the insurance.

FAQs for Enrolled Families & New Families

In case that wasn’t enough information for you, you can also explore additional FAQs specific to enrolled families here as well as FAQs specific to new families here

Additional Questions?

We know this is a lot of information to take in, and we are here to support you! Feel free to email info@tawonga.org or call us at 415.543.2267 to speak with a member of our year-round team. We’re happy to help!

Enrolled families are also invited to join one of our virtual orientations on Zoom to meet with Tawonga directors and ask your specific questions. All sessions are geared towards parents/guardians, but campers are welcome to join. More details about these orientation sessions will be provided in the Spring, and when available, this information will be on our website here.

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