Health & Safety
A Note on Tawonga’s 2022 Season and COVID-19
Your child’s health and safety is paramount at Camp. This has never been more true in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Tawonga has created extensive guidelines to proactively create safe programs by limiting the spread of communicable disease, including COVID-19. These protocols helped ensure a completely COVID-free summer in 2021, and we will continue to adapt our practices as public health guidelines evolve. 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.
Vaccine Mandates – NEW FOR 2022
All Tawonga campers who are eligible to be vaccinated are required to be fully vaccinated by the time their summer program begins. All Tawonga staff are also required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Prior to your child attending a Tawonga program, we will send you access to your online camper forms – a comprehensive set of information we collect for use by our counselors, directors, kitchen and medical team (as it relates to each department). These forms enable us to be your partner in caring for your child and to provide continuity of care and support while they are at Camp. We will also share our COVID-19 policies with registered families prior to the summer. Answers to many commonly asked questions can also be found in our FAQs for 2022 Programs.
Healthcare & Emotional Well-Being
Our nurse and doctor review each child’s health history, physical, and medication instructions before the child arrives at Camp. Our health center is staffed around the clock by our medical team which includes a doctor, nurse and medical assistants. First aid kits, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and bug spray are dispersed across our grounds, and all staff are trained to monitor campers’ physical health, including hydration, sun protection and appropriate footwear. For information specific to Tawonga’s plans for operating and responding to COVID-19, please visit our FAQ for 2022 Programs page.
For children taking medications, our medical team carefully dispenses the required dosage to each child at the proper time, and coordinates with an outside company to ensure that each child’s medications are properly prepared and packaged prior to their arrival. More information is provided during the camper forms process in the spring.
Our director team is available year-round to talk with you about any health concerns you have about your child while they are at Tawonga. We take tremendous precautions to provide a safe environment for your child, emotionally and physically, through conscientious planning, preparation and training.
Tawonga also employs a therapist at Camp who is available to meet with campers as needed, as well as to provide additional advice and support to our counselors and Unit Head team.
Don’t worry – your child won’t be hungry at Camp! Our kitchen staff prepares nutritious and delicious meals and alternative entrees to accommodate food allergies, restrictions and preferences. Prior to attending Camp, families complete camper information forms which include detailed questionnaires about each child’s unique dietary needs.
In Tawonga’s state-of-the-art kitchen, our dedicated team of kitchen staff prepare family-style meals for our 500-person community three times a day. They cook from scratch and strive to provide healthy and delicious meals and snacks. Meals are balanced, using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, including from Tawonga’s own garden. Check out the Tawonga blog series, “Tawonga Tidbit” to explore some daily menus from the kitchen during the summer!
Our in-house bakery allows us to produce baked goods made from scratch, including challah and desserts. Snacks are available throughout the day, including fruit, string cheese and pretzels. We provide a hot and cold cereal bar each morning, and a sandwich and salad bar at lunch and dinner. Our team of “alternate foods” chefs prepare alternative options from the main meal for those with specific dietary needs to offer options free of gluten, soy and other known allergens.
A Note on Nuts
We recognize that the needs of our camper community are continually evolving, particularly in the area of allergies and dietary needs. At the forefront of this is the increase in campers with severe nut allergies. We make every effort to be “nut aware” by not introducing nut products into our kitchen, not cooking with nuts and reading food labels carefully.
Additionally, we ask that campers and program participants refrain from bringing nut products into Camp. However, we cannot guarantee that items have not been exposed to cross-contamination prior to arriving on our site and are therefore not a 100% nut-free environment. If your child has a severe nut allergy, please call our office to speak with a director.
Safety & Emergency Response
With nearly a century of experience under our belts, Tawonga is a proven leader in the field of emergency preparedness and response. At Tawonga, we utilize the Incident Command System (ICS), first developed by the US Forest Service. This model allows us to respond quickly and efficiently to emergencies, with prescribed roles and procedures that mirror those used by national agencies. Our staff undergo comprehensive training in emergency response, including ongoing drills to ensure that we are prepared should a situation arise.
In the case of a nearby wildfire or unhealthy air quality during a Camp program, Tawonga follows the EPA’s guidelines and the Tuolumne County Health Department’s recommendations for when to limit activities based on air quality. 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.
Tawonga’s track record of success with incident preparedness and response led us to establish a professional consulting arm known as Tawonga Institute, offering expert training, workshops and guidance in ICS and other topics to nonprofits, NGOs, religious organizations and individuals. If you are interested in scheduling an ICS training for your agency, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tawonga is accredited by the American Camping Association, and we exceed their rigorous standards for safety in everything from swimming to the challenge course to how food is prepared. Children are always under the supervision of a Red Cross Certified lifeguard while swimming or boating. On their out-of-Camp wilderness adventures, campers are led by a guide who holds Wilderness First Responder and LGT certifications. Our staff is well-trained to make safety a top priority at all times.
Location & Safety
Tawonga is located in the majestic Stanislaus National Forest, situated in a beautiful valley just outside Yosemite National Park. We maintain excellent relationships with the Forest Service, National Park rangers and other agencies in the area, as well as our “neighbors” at other nearby camps and lodges. In fact, Tawonga hosts an annual roundtable for all government officials and neighboring organizations to come together to discuss pertinent land issues and renew connections between the agencies.
The city of Groveland is 30 minutes away, where additional medical services are available. Sonora is a 50-minute drive away and is home to the regional medical center with extensive emergency care and treatment capabilities, should the need arise. Tawonga’s sports field is even approved as a helicopter landing zone.