Dear Families and Campers,
Yesterday, there was exciting news from our Provincial Health Officer (PHO). Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced the lifting of BC’s public health order which prohibits youth from attending overnight camps. This change is welcome news for our industry as it signals an improving public health picture and confidence that overnight camps can operate safely in this new environment. We hope this news helps move us beyond the past 15 months when Evans Lake’s operations were curtailed to support the PHO’s important public health measures.
Over the last few months, the BC Camps Association (BCCA) has worked diligently with the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the PHO to create health and safety guidelines for overnight summer camp in BC. Due to this effort, the vaccination roll out, and reduced cases, the order was lifted.
Unfortunately, this news comes too late for us to shift gears to make this summer happen for our overnight campers. The three main reasons behind our decision are:
- Planning for summer camp is typically a 7-month process and, with just 5 weeks until camp starts, there is just not enough time to pivot. We have also spent the past 5 months planning and hiring for day camps.
- The restart plan for overnight camps has not yet been released and they anticipate it may be a couple of weeks before it is finalized. This additional delay eats up the few remaining weeks we have left to plan. To run an exceptional program, we need to know the regulatory parameters—i.e. How many campers could we host? How many campers could sleep in the same cabin? What options do we have for eating together? What guidelines would exist for busing campers to/from Evans Lake and Metro Vancouver? In what way would the cohort system (similar to what schools operate under) translate into overnight programs? And more!
- We have already committed to the day camp program for the 300+ campers who have already registered. They, too, are excited for their camp experience, and not all of them would be able to shift to an overnight experience.
We thank you all for your ongoing support and for understanding. We, too, love summer camp and would love to have been able to host overnight campers this year. While the news is not perfectly timed, we are so excited to have the health order lifted as we can now start planning for our fall groups and beyond, including Winter Camp 2021.
Lauren Marghetti, Executive Director
Evans Lake Forest Education Society