Uprise! Youth Action Camp

COVID-19 Precautions for 2020

potential Campers, guardians of Campers, and friends of Uprise! 

We know many of you are wondering if Camp is still on for August 2-9, 2020. From our young leaders, as well as our dedicated staff, the answer is a resounding yes. Our alumni/ae/x have made their voices heard: a pandemic caused by climate destruction is no time for climate justice activists to retreat, we just have to evolve. And now the State of Vermont has green-lit the opening of summer youth programs. So we’re doing our best to balance required physical distancing with the social closeness necessary to keep building the movement we've begun. 

We want to take some time here to tell you more about how we’re planning to improve camp this year in order to align with the newest best-practices protocol put out by the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health to protect campers and mentors.

Honestly? It won’t be impossible, but it is going to be hard work, and we appreciate your support in this more than we can say. That support includes letting us know ASAP if you plan to attend Camp this year so we can scale up our work to match our numbers. If you have any questions about anything below or if you want to help us bring this all together smoothly, contact us at Uprise@GrassrootsCenter.net. Please read to the end to see how you can lend a hand.

We’ve combed the newest guidelines to see exactly what we’ll need to address before August. We’ll be monitoring updates and keeping you posted, but here is what we know right now:

  • All staff will be completing required COVID-19 training through Vermont Occupational Safety & Health Administration prior to coming to camp. This will help us learn how to establish good hygiene practices with the group. If you’re interested in what that training looks like, click here

  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms won’t be allowed to join us until

    • it’s been 3 full days of no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication, and

    • their symptoms have improved, and

    • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

  • Attendees from out-of-state would need to quarantine after arriving in Vermont for 14 days  before joining Uprise! Camp. In our conversations with the VT Department of Health, we're hearing that this may not still be a requirement of the State by August, but we will follow it if it still stands then. Please stay in touch if this excludes you

  • We're exploring our options for free testing for all attendees before camp starts.

  • Parents and guardians who are self-quarantining due to close contact with a COVID-19 positive person should not do drop-off or pick-up.

  • We will stagger arrival times, dividing into groups of 6 campers (the size of the affinity groups we have every year) to limit different families hanging out together. Parents/guardians will be asked to wear a cloth face covering, to wait in your cars for one of us to come and sign your camper in, and to keep babies or infants who are along in a car seat in the back seat. [This is one of the hardest changes for us, because connecting our extended community is a beloved aspect of Uprise!, but our campers’ families’ health is more important to us than anything. Don't worry, we plan to make it fun! We're talking about issuing ready-made "Eeek! I'm so happy to see you!!" flags to arriving campers to wave as they drive in or having them design their own.]

  • We’ll ask that only one family member comes to drop campers off and that that same family member picks them up.

  • We have a point-person who will be in touch with campers’ guardians, as well as staff and mentors, in the weeks leading up to Camp. They’ll reinforce:

    • Specifics about how attendees are expected to monitor and report their health to us in the weeks preceding Camp.

    • The phone number for our designated staff who will be ready to receive calls once camp has begun (e.g. "this camper's brother just tested positive," etc.) so decisions can be made with all available information. 

    • That mentors and campers are expected to keep a light journal of their contacts 2 weeks out from Camp to make contact-tracing and rick-assessment easier if it’s needed.  

  • We’ll perform "Daily Health Checks" every morning before breakfast (monitoring for temperature (with infrared no-contact thermometers,) coughing, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, etc.)

  • We’ll be building additional hand-washing stations with a goal of 2 for every 10 attendees. They will be driven by foot-pump instead of hand-turned spigot to reduce touched surfaces.​

  • We’re already growing our own immune-boosting healthy greens and veggies, and plan to be regularly administrating vitamin-packed tonics, as advised by our allies at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism---a premier national herbalism school in neighboring Montpelier. Along with good nutrition, fresh air, sunshine, and lots of exercise, we will be emphasizing the importance of sleep to our teens in a serious and disciplined way.

  • We'll assign one individual tent to each camper. 

  • Currently group activities are limited to 10. We will follow that guideline if it stands in games and at meal times, but already the Child Health Director at the Vermont Department of Health, is recommending to the governor that that number be increased. We’ll keep watching.** 

  • Games involving close contact (for example, the Human Knot) will be shelved for this year.

  • Because our campers (and staff) look forward to the camaraderie of camp, and because so much of this work can be emotionally taxing without physical expressions of solidarity from the group, we plan to develop our own signals of affection and support (the "I'm proud of what you just did" dance, "giant hug!" hand sign, colored flags to carry, who knows what these creative kids will come up with?)

  • Disposable gloves and oversized long-sleeved shirts will be available for any instance when contact  might be required (performing first aid, carrying an injured person, etc.). Showers and laundry will be available for anyone who comes in contact with bodily fluids in one of those situations.

  • We will have a comfortable, isolated, supervised space available in case anyone develops symptoms at Camp, until they can be sent home. Every camper will be required to have a confirmed plan for early pick-up if it becomes necessary.

  • We will follow the protocol set out by the state of Vermont (putting the person into quarantine, disinfecting spaces where the person has spent time, etc.) and begin calling parents and guardians of other campers. We’ll make a decision as a group whether to continue camp or disband.

  • In the past, Campers have been able to leave Camp for work or family obligations. This year, unfortunately, we won’t be able to allow folks to move between Camp and the general public and back to Camp again within the week.

  • The kitchen will be absolutely off-limits to anyone but kitchen staff. Kitchen sinks will be used for washing nothing but food and cookware. Meals will be plated by one or two kitchen staff members to avoid attendees touching the same serving utensils.

  • We will have different entry times for each group at meal times to reinforce safe distancing.

  • In the same way that we usually break up dish-duty, we’ll have rotating teams throughout the week assigned to disinfect doorknobs, drinking-water jug spigots, tables, bathrooms, handrails, etc. with a diluted household bleach solution. Gloves will be provided. This cleaning will happen once per day.

**At the beginning of every Uprise! Camp,

we establish (as a team) our group norms and expectations,

and every year, Campers make a pact

to keep each other emotionally and physically safe

for the duration of our time together.

We’re confident that our teens will appreciate their accountability

to keep distance and wear masks for each other's safety. 

A lot of the guidelines from the State are made

with impulsive small kids in mind.

While we'll keep strictly to these safety practices,

we believe the risk is even more minimal with

our responsible and caring campers.



Do you have questions we didn’t answer here? Or do you have a dusty old gift card to Home Depot lying around? Bleach, paper towels, step-open trashcans, long-sleeved shirts, laundry detergent, individual tents, or sleeping bags that you’d like to donate? Anything else you can think that might help us keep everyone safe? Email us. Would you like to support our camper scholarship fund or sponsor one of our wonderful mentors so that we'll have more funds available to support these safer practices? Please visit our GoFundMe.

Your support means the world to us. 

See you in August.

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