*As of February 19, 2021 – Updated testing plan section.
Creating our “Vega Bubble”
It is likely that in order for camp to open and operate safely, we will need to create a Covid-free “Vega Bubble”, which means limiting who comes in and out of camp. This will allow us to provide a fun and exciting summer that looks and feels much like a typical Vega experience.
There will be some differences: out-of camp trips, intercamp games and social visits with other camps will either not be possible or will need to be modified significantly. Similarly, staff time-off will most likely take place at “staff-only” zones on campus.
Vega is fortunate to have extensive, beautiful forest and shoreline in addition to our main campus area. This opens up the door for us to create new opportunities for campers to “fill the gaps” in missed off-camp experiences, and also create private, “staff-only” zones where our hardworking staff can recharge and enjoy the beauty of Maine and Echo Lake.
We are limiting enrollment capacity for 2021 and are near or at capacity in all but a few of our age groups. This allows us to focus on staffing, programing, and operations to ensure a safe, fun and exciting 2021 for all our campers and staff. Please confirm that you have completed the 2021 Camper Application by visiting your Camp in Touch account > Forms & Documents.
2021 Dates and Visiting Day
We are currently planning on running our normal session, Saturday, June 26th through Friday, August 13th.
Due to creating our “Vega Bubble” we anticipate not being able to host a traditional in-person Visiting Day. If this is the case, we will plan several virtual opportunities for you to see your daughter, meet her cabin mates, counselors and group leaders, and even watch her doing her favorite activity.
We hope to provide confirmation of our dates and visiting day format by mid-March.
Do we have a Covid-19 Testing Plan?
Covid-19 testing will play a critical role to open safely in 2021. Here is an outline of what we are currently planning, although this may change with the advancement of testing capabilities/availability, vaccination availability/evidence, etc.
To Confirm “Vega Bubble”
- PCR Test At Home within 72 hours of arrival.
- Arrival Day Rapid Antigen Test.
- Day 6 PCR Test conducted at camp.
To Maintain “Vega Bubble”
- As needed Rapid Antigen and PCR testing for symptomatic individuals.
- Periodic/random testing based on best practices and physician recommendations.
- Test within 72 hours of closing day.
Our goal is use the most accurate tests available while also using the least invasive sample collection methods, such as lower nasal swabs or saliva. We are not planning on any test that requires invasive sample collection methods, like nasopharyngeal (a.k.a. “brain”) swab.
Pre-Arrival Protocols and Family Compliance
The most important step in creating our “Vega Bubble” is everyone arriving healthy. Campers and staff will be asked to be vigilant in their connections outside of home and school in June, especially the ten days preceding camp AND the days after your daughter takes her At Home PCR Test. There should be no trips or situations where campers or family members are in high-density settings or risk unnecessary exposure.
The First 6 Days of Camp – a short “Cohort Phase”
We plan to create “households” or “cohorts” to minimize possible exposure/contact tracing should a positive case be identified between Arrival Day and Day 6, which is when we receive the Day 5 PCR Test results.
Households will most likely consist of a bunk of campers and counselors, but may be expanded to include an entire age group.
Activities will run under a temporarily modified structure to accommodate cohorting. Once our “Vega Bubble” is confirmed on/around Day 6, campers will begin following their individual schedules as normal.
What about masks and physical distancing?
Our goal is to make camp this summer as normal as possible. To help us “confirm our bubble” as quickly as possible, we will be requiring masks when households interact with people outside their household. This means:
- No masks needed when within your own cabin/household.
- Masks and physical distancing needed when interacting with members of other households.
If everyone follows our Covid protocols before and at camp, and our Day 5 PCR test results on/around Day 6 are all be negative, then we can toss-off our masks and par-tay!!
What if my daughter tests positive soon before camp or on arrival day?
If a camper tests positive on the At Home PCR Test, she would be unable to come to camp until she isolated for 7-10 days, registers two negative PCR tests and is cleared by her home physician and Vega’s physician.
If a camper tests positive on the Arrival Day Rapid Antigen Test, she would be isolated under medical care until we receive results from the Arrival Day PCR Test. If that test is also positive, she will remain in isolation and must be picked up from camp within 24-36 hours.
If a camper tests positive on the Arrival Day Rapid Antigen Test, but her Arrival Day PCR Test registers as negative, she will remain in isolation until a second PCR Test confirms her negative results.
If a camper tests positive on the Day 5 PCR Test, she would be isolated and must be picked up from camp within 24-36 hours.
Because of the nature of contagion and the duration of the isolation period – even though children who are tested and confirmed positive may “feel fine” – it would be difficult, at best, for a child to be fully isolated at camp for the required time period.
What if there is a positive case in my daughter’s cabin?
If a positive case is found in a cabin at camp, all campers and counselors in that cabin would continue/return to a “Cohort Phase” and would be tested regularly. Those campers and staff would quarantine together and participate in activities and meals as a group for 7-10 days. Contact tracing will help identify others who may need to be tested.
Our onsite healthcare team is led by pediatrician Dr. Steven Shukan and his wife Candace (RN). With over 20 years of summer camp healthcare experience, in addition to a pediatric practice, they are so excited to (finally!) spend their first summer on Echo Lake while helping us provide a healthy and fun summer.
Dr. Steve and Nurse Candi were prepared to lead our health center in 2020, and are even more ready for 2021. Their dedicated, kind and professional approach is always evident, and a key reason why RNs who have worked with them at camps in the past have also decided to join Vega’s health care team this summer, which will be larger than ever.
Dr. Jill Baren, MD, (Vega alum – camper and counselor) will provide telehealth back-up and support for Dr. Shukan throughout the summer. Dr. Baren is a board certified pediatric emergency physician who practices at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is the immediate Past-President of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. She is also working with us to develop and review our Covid-19 protocols.
In addition to our talented healthcare team, we are incredibly fortunate to have an extensive network of resources as we continue to develop and implement our Covid-19 protocols, such as other experienced camp directors, boarding school headmasters, regional and national camp associations and sections of the American Camp Association, Maine DHHS, CDC, leaders in testing and more.
The Dining Hall
“Dave and crew here’s to you!” That’s right, our award-winning Dining Hall Manager, Dave Roberts, is back for his 15th summer at Vega. You can look forward to popular favorites, yummy new menu items and the same array of delicious options you’ve come to expect.
There will be some differences. Instead of self-serve buffet lines, we will have staff-served buffet lines. We will also have to spread ourselves out, especially during the initial cohorting phase. To accomplish this we will take advantage of the beautiful Dining Hall Deck and are adding additional tented outdoor seating.
2020’s oldest campers, Tamary, are returning in 2021. Will Vega extend a year in 2022 and beyond?
In short, no. For many reasons, both immediate and long term, we have decided to maintain the tradition of the Vega camper experience culminating after 9th grade, with the exception of Tamary 2020 this summer.
This means that everyone will “move up” to the age group they should have been in normally in 2021. This also means that there will be two Tamary age groups this summer – Tamary 2020 (10th grade) and Tamary 2021 (9th grade).
There are many details to map out regarding camp traditions, etc. due to this change, and in this age of Covid we are more equipped than ever to adapt and thrive.
2021 Age Groups (by grade completed in spring 2021):
Sub-Juniors (1st & 2nd)
Sub-Super Juniors (4th)
Super Juniors (5th)
Super Seniors (8th)
Tamary 2021 (9th)
Tamary 2020 (10th)
Will 2020 “count” as a year at camp?
YES! 2020 WILL be counted for everyone who was enrolled as a camper or hired as staff for 2020. For example, if you were supposed to get your 5 year pin in 2020, you will get your 5 year pin AND your 6 year vest in 2021.
We all need to be extra sensitive to what this means for those campers who were enrolled to come for their first summer at Vega in 2020. We will record them as 2nd year campers for “tracking” purposes in 2021, but they will be welcomed and supported as the new campers they are!
Every year at camp is in achievement, and even though enrolled 2020 campers and staff were not at Vega, we all made it through a Covid Summer wherever we were quarantining, and that massive achievement in and of itself!
To celebrate individuals’ success and dedication to Vega, we thank 5+ year campers and staff with a gift given during the summer, either at a Sunset Circle mid-summer, or at Final Banquet the last night of camp:
5 year pin
6 year vest
7 year bracelet
8 year jacket
9 year jersey
10 year vest
15 year track suit
Camper Forms and Parent Handbook
Look for the 2021 Parent Handbook and most Camp Forms to be available on your Camp in Touch account in March. Available now:
Travel to camp
We will be activating the Transportation Form on your Camp in Touch account in March. At that time we will provide more details and ask that you select one of our chaperoned flights or motor-coaches. You may also choose to drive and drop-off your daughter at camp.
The Camp Spot – Vega packing list, uniform & equipment
We are proud to partner again with our longtime uniform and equipment provider, The Camp Spot, and are pleased to share that Vega’s Camp Spot Website is available!
From this page you can easily download your 2021 catalog, set up an appointment, order a Fit Kit, print the packing list, or just start shopping.
This year, The Camp Spot is offering Fit Kits (to confirm the clothes fit) and virtual (and phone) appointments for anyone that would like an expert to guide them through the ordering process and answer any product questions. We are excited about this new option for this year and encourage you (especially new families) to take advantage of this. Please note that the number of Fit Kits is limited and The Camp Spot encourages you to get the process started. Again, you can do all of this online.
(Re)Connecting with the Vega Community
Connect with us directly
We invite you to use this link to schedule a phone call or Zoom with Kyle and Emily (with you and/or your daughter). Of course, direct phone calls and emails are always welcome.
Reconnect with the Vega Community
The pandemic has forced us all to change and grow in countless ways. In a sense, we are all “new” as we head into the 2021 summer.
To help (re)unite Vega campers as we prepare for the most anticipated Vega summer ever, we created this 2021 Campers page (password is “buildunity”). We will also be posting similar information on the Meet the Staff page.