Fifteen or so years ago, a camper wrote, “I believe that when people cross that tiny bridge going into camp, they become their true selves. They take their masks off and have a break from everything in the world.”
Well, this year people will need to keep their masks ON–at least some of the time. But Nature Camp is pleased to announce that we are proceeding with plans to resume our in-person sessions this summer, albeit with a modified schedule, and we are optimistic that it will be feasible, practical, and permissible for us to do so.
Since our facilities complicate our ability to maintain sufficient physical distancing between campers, especially when they are sleeping in the bunkhouses, we have therefore decided to reduce the capacity in each session to no more than 50 campers. Consequently, in order to increase the number of sessions and thus the total number of campers we may accommodate during the summer, we are shortening each session from 14 days to 10 days.
Tuition is $690 per camper. Financial aid will still be available.
Increasing the number of sessions from four to six also necessitates some shifts in the grade ranges for each session, and with 10-day sessions each session will either begin or end in the middle of the week rather than on a weekend. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we believe that this is the best possible schedule for the summer of 2021.
Dates for this year’s sessions are as follows.
Session 1 (grades 10-11): June 17 – June 26 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 2 (grades 11-12): June 27 – July 6 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Session 3 (grades 9-10): July 8 – July 17 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 4 (grades 8-9): July 18 – July 27 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Session 5 (grades 7-8): July 29 – August 7 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 6 (grades 5-6-7): August 8 – August 17 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Registration will begin on Monday, February 1 for those campers who were enrolled in sessions for 2020 and one week later (February 8) for all other applicants. Applications may be submitted on the Nature Camp website or by downloading, printing, and mailing a paper application. Applications will be mailed this week to those who requested paper applications or who submitted applications by mail last year.
In addition to reducing the capacity in each session, Nature Camp plans to implement other measures to safeguard the health of campers and staff, including frequent hand washing, mandatory wearing of face masks indoors (and when sufficient physical distancing cannot be maintained outdoors), and daily wellness checks. Details about these and other protocols are available on a special COVID-19 information page on the Nature Camp website; there is also a set of frequently asked questions (with answers) about our response to the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to seek and heed guidance and recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Camp Association and will update the information on our website as necessary and appropriate.
Although Nature Camp is an educational camp that seeks to promote greater appreciation for the natural world and a lifelong love of learning, our foremost responsibility will always be the safety and welfare of our participants. Nature Camp will not operate unless we can be confident that we can maintain a safe and healthy environment for our campers and staff.
Please stay well and safe, and we look forward to seeing you again in the Big Mary’s Creek valley.