First, as we are CRISTA Camps, we are leaning into the power available to us through prayer. There are a lot of people who are extremely fearful right now. Let us be a light in a time of fear as we show the love of Christ to those we serve here and around the world. And, let us practice self-discipline as we wisely act, taking precautions and exercise good judgment. We are seeking discernment daily as we meet this moment with prayer, planning and prevention.
Camp is a place for relationships to happen and grow. We are used to dealing with vulnerable populations, hygiene and cleanliness. In light of this new virus, we will increase the frequency of all camp cleaning, in between and during our guest group stays. There are a number of preventative steps each of us can take right now. We like to do a lot of “high-fives” at camp, but we will put “highfives, handshaking, handholding in prayer, and the practice of quick hugs of greeting on hold. We will increase our practice of handwashing. Take precautions if you feel ill for yourself, also thinking of those around you.
With our horse therapy program, we serve a vulnerable population of guests with various levels of immune system compromising issues already, and are used to working with them and our animal population.
Additionally, as this virus apparently began with a transfer from animals, there may be concern about the animals at Miracle Ranch. Our horsemanship director is always monitoring the health of our horse herd and other animals. We have weekly contact with our veterinarian. If any of our animals is suspected of symptoms associated with coronavirus, we have isolation areas separate from camper areas for them. We are also sanitizing tack, and equipment like helmets, between camper’s horse rides.
CRISTA Camps will follow plans similar to schools, as suggested by the CDC (United States Center for Disease Control). Each camper and staff member should arrive well rested, nourished and hydrated. The goal is for individuals to arrive as resilient as possible.
Camps Food Service
CRISTA Camps has two commercial food service kitchens with a trained staff that serve approximately 175,000 meals a year. Anytime of the year it is important for us to utilize best practices to keep our guests healthy and prevent transmission of virus’. We have and will ensure food service staff implement safe food handling practices in preparation and throughout the service of the meals in both the kitchens and dining rooms.
Food service personnel with questionable symptoms, especially those associated with the gastro-intestinal track and respiratory distress will not participate in food preparation until their health is normal. Not only will food service workers thoroughly wash their hands and use other food-safe techniques, they will additionally double up on prevention, as usual, by wearing single-use gloves to prevent any transmission.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities
Guidance for Schools With and Without COVID-19 Identified in Their Community
Guidance: Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19)
Planning begins before campers arrive at camp. Church staff or organization leaders should communicate to camper parents, the signs and symptoms of coronavirus, and encourage any campers who have these to stay at home instead of coming on the retreat. Additionally, as campers show up for transportation to camp, or registration at camp, they should conduct a health screen for these signs and symptoms, sending home anyone who is sick. Whether it’s suspected to be coronavirus or something else, when we are sick, we should not participate in community activities and pass a bug on to our friends.
CRISTA Camps will reserve the right to not admit people into camp if they are sick.
Following these guidelines at camp will help us stay healthy and minimize the transmission of any virus:
- Appropriate handwashing for at least 20 seconds with an anti-bacterial hand soap, which is available in every camp bathroom.
- Use of hand sanitizer throughout the day and before and after every meal (provided by camp).
- Cough/sneeze “into your sleeve.” Covering coughs/sneezes with one’s hands is no longer desired behavior; bury coughs/sneezes in one’s shoulder. Do not touch your face with your hands, which easily pick up germs.
- Make it a camp rule that personal supplies – hairbrushes, pillows, caps, contact lens solutions, make-up – belong to the owner and should not be shared with others.
- Make it regular practice that one drinks only from one’s personal drinking cup; no sharing, even “to be nice.”
- Sleep head-to-toe rather than nose-to-nose in bunks. Go for the greatest distance between sleeping heads.
- For resident camps: maintain at least 30” between beds and sleep head-to-toe (top bunk has the person’s head at one end, the bottom bunk has the person’s head at the other end).
- Sanitize all shared equipment, such as paintball masks, archery gear, motorcycle and horse helmets, etc…, between each use.
- Utilize universal precautions – for and by everyone.
- Direct “camp nurse” to isolate people with questionable symptoms until communicable illness can be ruled out. Instruct staff to direct campers complaining of gastro-intestinal upset to the “camp nurse” for assessment. Don’t wait for kids to throw up!
With the rush on hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap and toilet paper, Camp’s was already stocked up on these items. We order by bulk from Sysco Food Service and will ensure we have plenty on hand for our upcoming groups.
CRISTA Camps will daily keep up with news and information from the CDC, the State of Washington, Kitsap County, our parent organization CRISTA Ministries and other sources in order to respond or make any changes required.
We will continue to provide excellent service and care for guests during this season of a new virus. Our response will be one of attention to detail, planning and wise decisions, and not with a spirit of fear.