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January 28th, 2021
The Ontario Camping Association has been actively working on our behalf with the Federal and Provincial Government to ensure camps are allowed (and able) to operate safely this summer. There is strong consensus among experts developing policy that it is in the best interest of young people and their families for youth camps to operate.
We are expecting specific guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Health in the coming months. We are anticipating and planning for some changes to past years operations and are planning accordingly. Being a canoe tripping program, we are naturally suited to meeting a couple of the anticipated requirements – avoiding large group gatherings by keeping participants in smaller cohorts (we call them ‘sections’) and isolating these cohorts (on a remote canoe trip).
One of the biggest challenges will be screening and testing to ensure everyone arrives at camp in good health. We, along with other camps in the region, are anticipating support from the Ministry of Health and the local Health Unit with these efforts. While we hope that as the pandemic eases, border restrictions will ease along with it, we are working with a group of youth camps, the Ministry of Immigration and Ministry of Health to make it possible for participants from outside Canada to attend camp with an exemption to any remaining travel restrictions. A similar program has been in place for foreign students to attend schools in Canada throughout the 2020/21 academic year. We are feeling hopeful and confident that with so many advocates for the camping industry and the young people it serves, we will be able to safely welcome returning participants (and new ones) to the islands this summer in Temagami.
C.G. & Jodi