Family Camp 2020 (COVID-19 Edition)

COVID Procedures
Typical Day
Dates & Rates

What To Expect

As we start to “emerge” from our homes this summer, we look forward to safely bringing together portions of our Akeela community. While we believe that Family Camp is an opportunity for us to do so in a careful and deliberate manner, we want to be very clear that camp is a totally environment, as is the case any time you leave your home. With that in mind, we’d like to share with you some of the precautions we are working on as we prepare to open for Family Camp. We hope that this information is helpful in determining whether or not Family Camp is a fit for your family this summer.


Please look through the tabs on this page, as they outline a variety of adjustments and protocols that we anticipate following at Family Camp this summer. Here are a few highlights:

  • All campers (children and adults) will be required to quarantine at home for 7 days prior to arrival.
  • All campers will also be required to take a COVID-19 test on a specific day prior to the end of their at-home quarantine period.
    • A negative test result is required for attendance at Family Camp.
  • All campers will be required to come to camp directly from quarantine and within a prescribed amount of time of their negative test result.
  • Staff will be quarantined at camp for at least 14 days prior to campers’ arrival. Staff will also be tested for COVID-19.
  • Campers and Staff will NOT be permitted to leave camp grounds at any time during their stay – we are trying to maintain a COVID-free “bubble”.
  • Campers will be grouped in “pods” of no more than 25 people. Our staff team will constitute a separate pod.
    • A pod will function as your “family” for the duration of the camp session.
    • Pods will eat together and live in separate cabins near one another on campus.
    • Pods will participate in activities together.
    • When anyone is interacting outside of their pod, they will practice social distancing and/or will wear a mask.
  • The Family Camp activity schedule will be different from past years (and very different from our “regular” summer camp program!)
    • Campers will be able to select their activities, but from a smaller set of choices than past summers.
    • Our pool & high ropes course will be closed.
    • All equipment that will be shared between pods will be sanitized between uses.
    • All campers and staff will practice proper hygiene including hand washing.
    • No public restrooms will be in use.
    • Meals will served “family style” rather than buffet.
    • There will be no central salad bar.
    • There will be fewer meal alternatives. (Please call us to discuss any special dietary needs/allergies before enrollment.)

Quarantine & Testing

  • All campers must self-quarantine at home for 7 days before their camp session begins. On a prescribed day prior to departing for camp, they will take a test for COVID-19 (as indicated by Vermont Department of Health’s approved tests) and remain quarantined while they await the result.
  • Timing is arranged so that campers depart for camp within 24 hours of receiving a negative test result, and they come directly to camp without making any stops along the way that could potentially expose them to the virus.
  • Only campers who follow that strict quarantine and testing protocol — and who receive a NEGATIVE result — may attend Family Camp.
  • Campers who are traveling by air AND those traveling by car from a distance that is further than a single day’s drive must arrive in New England at least 7 days before the start of their camp session. Once in the region, they can follow the protocol outlined above.
  • Families are asked to report any symptoms experienced during the 14 day quarantine and any contact with anyone known or suspected to have the virus.
  • The following individuals should not attend Family Camp, unless discussed with healthcare provider:
    1. Adults 65 years of age and older
    2. Pregnant women
    3. People with HIV
    4. People who have serious underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems

    If individuals have specific questions about their own health conditions, they
    should contact their medical provider before enrolling in Family Camp.

SAMPLE Testing Protocol
Utilizing self-administered diagnostic saliva (e.g. Rutgers) tests w/ 24-hour results

  1. Campers must sign a statement agreeing to comply with the test regimen & attendees must self-quarantine between days -3 and their arrival.
  2. The lab will mail tests directly to campers at home.
  3. Test arrive at least 4 days prior to scheduled arrival at camp.
  4. Test are TAKEN on the morning of day -3 and sent via FedEx to the lab.
  5. Lab results are sent directly to the family by day -2
  6. Results are to be forwarded to camp on the same day.
  7. No one without a NEGATIVE test result is admitted to camp.

Additional testing after arrival for community members that risk exposure en route to camp (i.e. air travel)

Travel To Camp

  • All family members must arrive at camp by private vehicle.
  • Campers who are traveling by air AND those traveling by car from a distance that is further than a single day’s drive must arrive in New England at least 7 days before the start of their camp session. Once in the region, they can follow the protocol outlined above.
  • Families are encouraged to stop as infrequently as possible to minimize contact with others outside Akeela Family Camp.
    • Gloves on when pumping gas
    • Bring hand sanitizer in the car
    • Wear masks anytime exiting the car
    • Limit touching of external surfaces as much as possible

Arrival & Welcome Process

  • Guests will be greeted by staff (with masks on) and directed to either A) pull vehicles into specific spaces for Family Camp registration OR B) if cabin location permits, drive to cabin location to unload the car.
  • During the check-in process, all parties must maintain a 6-feet distance from Akeela staff and other guests who are not in their party.
  • Only one member of a guest party should transact during the check-in process.
  • A face covering or mask should be utilized during check-in and while in other common indoor areas.
  • Golf carts will be available to help bring bags to cabins. Procedures are in place for staff to thoroughly sanitize golf carts between each use. Staff will not touch any bags. Bags must be loaded and unloaded by family
  • All campers will go through an initial health check process (see Healthcare section)

Group Socialization
Families and staff will be placed into “Pods.”

  • Pods are defined as groups of 25 people that do activities together, eat together, and have lighter restrictions on social distancing when interacting within their Pod.
  • When interacting with members of another Pod, masks are required and a physical distance of 6 ft or more is required.
  • All staff will be in a separate Pod.

Cabins, Facilities and Promotion of Health Practices
Hand washing and/or sanitizing stations will be provided at multiple places throughout camp, including the dining facilities. Additionally, campers and staff will engage in proper hygiene to prevent the spread of communicable diseases including:

  • Frequent hand washing, including upon entry to buildings and program areas
  • Avoiding close contact
  • Coughing and sneezing etiquette
  • Discouraging the sharing of food, utensils and other personal supplies including toothbrushes etc.
  • Posting of signs on above protective measures

Camp will follow facilities cleaning procedures that follow CDC recommendations for infection protocols, including:

  • Increased frequency of cleaning bunks, restrooms, dining areas, program facilities, etc.
  • Increased focused cleaning of high touch areas like doorknobs
  • Increase cleaning of camp equipment between uses
  • Use of EPA approved disinfectants
  • Checklists to record cleaning and cleaning protocols are performed
  • When possible, information will be distributed in plastic pouches or laminated, so as to allow for easier disinfection
  • Fans will be provided for each cabin to promote air flow
  • Each cabin is stocked with enough toilet paper, hand soap, and paper towels to last for a week of Family Camp

Dining Hall and Food Service

  • Weather permitting, windows will remain open in the dining hall
  • Likewise, we will take advantage of our outdoor (porch) seating whenever possible
  • Everyone will be required to wash their hands before entering the dining hall and additional hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building
  • Pods will have at least 6 feet between tables with other Pod members
  • Extra spacing will be observed at each table
  • All meals will be served Family Style
  • Special diet and alternative food will be available from kitchen staff members wearing appropriate PPE and practicing safe serving methods
  • Dining area to be cleaned and disinfected by staff after each use
  • Shared condiment bottles (eg. ketchup, mustard) will be eliminated or, if bottles are used, they must be disinfected before and after each use
  • No common water bottle filling station will be used; Campers and staff will be asked to fill water bottles in their bathroom sinks


  • Camp will have at least 1 Registered Nurse on staff for the duration of the camp sessions
  • Upon arrival, all staff and campers will go through an initial health screening process, including specific questions about COVID symptoms and potential exposures.
  • Campers will be subsequently be screened daily for potential symptoms of COVID, including temperature checks
  • Equipment will be supplied to each cabin for basic first aid and care (e.g. bumps and bruises)
  • The camp health care staff is available for greater needs and for anything that could be considered an illness (cough, upset stomach, headache, runny nose, etc)

In the event a camper displays a presumptive case of COVID-19 while at camp, camp will coordinate with the Vermont Department of Health to handle the situation safely and in ways that will avoid further exposure.

  1. Ill campers will be isolated (e.g. in their cabin or other designated isolation building) until arrangements can be made for their safe departure from camp;
  2. Camps will follow Department of Health direction on contract tracing protocols;

Families must notify the camp if they learn of a prior exposure to a COVID case after they come to camp. In that case, isolation procedures will be followed as described above.

Mail and Other Deliveries
For the duration of the camp season, visitors and off-site personnel will be limited to the extent possible. Those who must be on campus (e.g. Site Manager or critical service providers such as food delivery personnel) must practice appropriate social distancing, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Activities and Program

  • Guests will be required to sanitize their hands before entering an activity area. Hand washing in their cabin prior to going to an activity will be suggested, and hand sanitizer will be available at all activity areas.
  • All activities will take place outdoors if the activity and weather permits. In instances an activity must be done indoors, windows will remain open to promote air flow.
  • At all camp gatherings (such as Evening Meeting), families will sit with their Pod and maintain 6 ft of distance between members of other Pods.
  • All equipment will be sanitized between each pod’s use of equipment.
  • Each activity area will have appropriate sanitizing cleaning materials and equipment.
  • Whenever possible, staff will set aside equipment to be used by each pod to reduce the amount of shared equipment.
  • Families are encouraged to bring their own equipment for certain activities (e.g. fishing poles, tennis racquets and PFDs)
  • There will be no out of camp activities or trips.
  • Campers will not be permitted to leave camp during the camp session.
  • Staff will minimize the amount of interaction they have with campers in close proximity during activities, with the following exceptions:
    • Lifeguards when a save or other safety protocols are necessary
    • Any other instances that present a safety concern for campers or staff.

A Typical Day

7:15 Morning Program
(varies daily: polar bear swim, morning run, yoga, fishing)
8:00 Breakfast
9:15 – 10:15 Activity Period 1
10:15 – 11:15 Activity Period 2
11:15 – 12:00 Free Time
12:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Rest Hour
2:00 – 3:00 Activity Period 3
3:00 Snack
3:30 – 4:30 Activity Period 4
(Children-only activities / Adult-only facilitated roundtables)
4:30 – 6:00 “Shower Hour” and Free Time
6:00 Dinner
7:15 Evening Meeting
(Share successes, recognize others & read from the Suggestion Box!)
7:30 – 8:30 Evening Activity
(Campfires & talent show, “Hobby Nights” and more!)
8:45 Bedtime Snacks in the Dining Hall




  • Arts and crafts
  • Ceramics / Pottery
  • Woodworking
  • Archery
  • Sports: soccer, softball, basketball
  • Tennis
  • Fishing
  • Swimming in our crystal-clear lake
  • Boating: canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rowing, stand up paddleboarding
  • Nature, hiking and outdoor adventure
  • D&D, LARP (live action role playing), strategy card games

2020 Dates

We are tentatively offering the following Family Camp sessions, subject to availability and interest:
Monday, July 27 – Saturday, August 1
Monday, August 3 – Saturday, August 8
Monday, August 10 – Saturday, August 15

Weekly Rates

Cabin Rental For First 4 Guests $3600
Per Person Rate For Each Additional Guest (Beyond 4)
Cabins accommodate up to 10
$600 pp

What do you mean by “adult-only roundtables?”
We offer optional guided discussions and workshops for adults to help them and their children get the most out of their time at camp. One of the most exciting parts of coming to Family Camp at Akeela is being in a place that is entirely dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children with Asperger’s. Family camp is a rare opportunity to be surrounded by other families who share similar experiences to yours. Adult only roundtables provide the space to connect and share with each other, Akeela is also committed to providing a more structured level of support to families.
Who will be staffing the Family Camp?
The directors of Akeela Family Camp are Debbie and Eric Sasson, who share between the two of them over 45 years of camp experience, Masters degrees in education and school counseling, and a doctorate in clinical psychology. They are assisted by a select group of Camp Akeela counselors and activity leaders and other professionals who truly represent the “best of the best!” Above all, the staff understand and adore Akeela campers and are passionate about providing them with life-long skills, friendships and memories.
Will my children be supervised by the camp staff?
Supervision will be provided exclusively during organized camp activities (Periods 1 – 4 and certain Evening Activities). Otherwise, parents are asked to be responsible for their children.
What if I want to bring my furry friend with me to camp?
Sorry, all pets need to stay at home – but you can write them a letter and let them know about the great time you are having. We can provide local boarding options upon request.
What will my cabin look like?
All of Akeela’s cabins have been recently renovated. They are equipped with electricity, toilets, sinks, and showers. Our beds are made on-site and are both supportive and comfortable. Although our cabins are fantastic, please remember that it is camp! Beds are cot-sized and may not be as plush as you are used to at home!
Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?
Family Campers are required to bring their own blankets or comforters this summer. August nights in Vermont can be quite chilly, so come prepared!

If you are able to also bring your own sheets, that is greatly preferred. Camp beds are “cot” sized but single (twin) sheets fit fine. If you need to rent camp sheets, we do have a limited supply available for a fee of $25 per person; just let us know in advance.

Is there a place for me to check my email or make a phone call if I need to?
Yes, Akeela has a designated “business area” for those who need it, during specified hours. Satellite internet access is available, along with a printer, fax machine and telephones. Just a reminder, though: Family Camp is meant to be a vacation… we recommend leaving your laptop at home! (Note: There is literally no cell service in our beautiful corner of Vermont.)
Will there be any alcoholic drinks at Family Camp?
No alcohol will be served, nor is it permitted on the Akeela campus.

Have Questions?

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