Summer Camp in the Age of COVID

Summer camp in the age of COVID may look different—but with some added health and safety protocols, your daughter can still experience the life-changing impact of summer camp this year. Our friends at Camp Birchwood share how summer camp can still be an impactful experience to remember!

Nestled in Northern Minnesota, summer camp provides an escape from ordinary, technology-filled life. With a variety of options available, campers have the opportunity to spend a ton of time in the great outdoors and build life-long friendships. From archery and canoeing to theater, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and so much more, there’s never a shortage of new activities to try. And campers even have the opportunity to go on overnight outdoor adventure trips during their stay!

But summer camp isn’t just about what you can do—it’s also about who you become. Through activities and the relationships campers build with their counselors and each other, our kids grow in self-confidence, build lasting friendships, learn from real role models, acquire soft skills that will serve them throughout their lives, and have their accomplishments celebrated. All this, plus spending their entire stay disconnected from technology. A couple weeks at camp can be truly transformational.

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Camp Birchwood is an all girls camp in Northern Minnesota, and while the values of championing girls will always be at the heart of what we do at Camp Birchwood, we want them to experience all that camp is and should be, while making the necessary changes to prepare to host campers in the 2021 summer season. 

Safety has always been a top priority at Camp Birchwood, but we’re taking extra health and safety precautions as we consider the impact of COVID on the camp experience. We want our campers to feel safe and remain healthy throughout their time at camp and for their parents to be confident that we are taking care of the health of their daughters. 

We’re committed to hosting your child in a safe environment with these top safety protocols in mind:

  • Group Distancing 
  • Health and Sanitary Protocols
  • Masks and Social Distancing

Below, you’ll find information on these changes and how they’ll impact camp as we typically know it. More than anything, it is our goal that with these protocols we ensure that even this year, our campers leave their camp experience with the same memories they would have otherwise, having grown in relationships and as individuals.

Read more below about our specific safety protocols.

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You can find the full safety protocols on the Camp Birchwood website. Here are just a few of the things we’re doing to in each area:

Group Distancing

Depending on Health Department guidelines at the time camp begins, we’ll require each cabin group (8-10 people) to only interact with their group for an initial period of time—likely the first 3-5 days of camp. Meals and activities will be with their cabin group, with each group having a private meal space where they can enjoy all three meals of the day during these few days of distancing.

To help make this possible, we’ve created some new all-day activities for cabin groups to participate in with each other—including a day-long float trip on intertubes down the Mississippi River, an all-day sailing trip on our 30-foot cruising boat, and advanced leather projects at our leather shack. We have a long list of age-appropriate day-long programs that are sure to be a hit.

We intend to have a closed community throughout the summer, with no visitors or staff coming in and out of camp. When new campers arrive at the two-week mark, they will be separate until their tests allow them to join the group.


Health and Sanitary Protocols

COVID Testing: COVID testing will be required before campers arrive, and additional test will be given when they first arrive and after a determined amount of time, with individual daily sign-ups available.

Sanitizing Stations: We’ll provide multiple sanitizing and hand washing stations around the camp. Each activity will also have the necessary cleaning supplies to disinfect all equipment and areas between groups.

Cabin Life: Cabin life will also have some new features. Each cabin will have a strong exhaust fan to create a significant amount of cool air flow—entering through the window screens and going out through the attic fan. This will keep the air within cabins safer (and likely keep cabin temperatures more comfortable in the heat of summer!).


Masks and Social Distancing

When appropriate, we’ll require campers to wear masks. Any time they’re within six feet of another person, other than when they’re actively eating, masks will be required. Through active communication, we’ll make sure counselors and staff are communicating with campers when masks are required to promote optimal health and safety standards. 

Singing Tradition at Birchwood:

At Birchwood, we have a fun tradition of singing fun and silly songs while we clean up after each meal. With cabin groups eating at their cabins, many fear that tradition would be lost. But don’t worry—we have a solution! Our sound system will be expanded so that each cabin area can still participate with the same fun music, led by our senior cabins. While campers will be spread throughout camp and wearing masks while singing, they can still participate in this fun tradition together! 


We haven’t made these changes lightly and we know it will slightly change the overall camp experience. However, the commitment from the Camp Birchwood leadership team is to follow safety protocols to keep our campers and staff safe, while still creating the camp experience with all its values and have a ton of fun along the way.

We’re happy to discuss any individual concerns with parents. If you have questions about our adjusted safety protocols, reach out to us at [email protected]


Please Note: These protocols were established in February 2021 and may be adjustments as we get closer to the summer season.

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