Chickami 2021 | West Suburban YMCA Newton, MA | West Suburban YMCA

Ensuring a safe and healthy summer

Camp Chickami 2021

Please note that these policies and procedures are current as of June 11th, 2021. We recognize that, as with everything else during the COVID-19 pandemic, these may change throughout the summer as we gather more information on COVID-19 and its transmission in our communities. We will update all camp families about any changes to the policies and procedures that occur during the summer.

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Preparing for Camp  |  Camp Structure & Daily Schedule  |  Cleaning & Hand Hygiene  |  Special Events  |  Your Role


Camp Operating Hours:  Camp will open at 8:00 AM and close at 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday. 

Face Coverings:  While camper groups are participating in outdoor activities, face coverings will be required for everyone (campers and staff), regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, during activities that involve sustained close contact with others. During activities that allow for distance between participants, campers and staff will be able to remove their face coverings while they are distanced. Face coverings will be required for everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, while indoors. Please send your camper to camp with a clean face covering every day.  We will evaluate this policy on an ongoing basis.

This policy is designed to mitigate the risks of infection for our campers and their families. Given that most of our campers are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to their age, and even in age groups of campers who are eligible for the vaccine, we anticipate that not all campers will be fully vaccinated. We will train our staff to give frequent face covering/mask breaks to the campers throughout the day. During these times, campers will move away from one another and remove their face coverings until they are ready to restart the activity.  

Social Distancing: Social distancing will be encouraged throughout the day. When possible, staff will run activities that allow for distance between participants so that there are opportunities during the camp day for campers of all ages to safely remove their face coverings. As stated above, during activities that involve sustained close contact with others (for example, sports like soccer or basketball), face coverings will be required.  

Bussing: Camp Chickami will be running buses from Newton. During Open (6/28-7/2) Week and Closing (8/30-9/3) Week, there will be 2 buses, both of which will depart from and return to Bigelow Middle School. During Sessions 1-8 (7/5-8/27) there will be 5 buses, that will make a total of 18 stops around Newton. Information on how to register for the buses will be sent to all registered camp families on Monday, June 14th.  

Staggered At Camp Drop Off Times:  Just as we did during the summer of 2020, this summer drop off at camp for campers not taking the bus will be staggered to reduce traffic and the number of people on camp at any given time. The drop off window will be from 8:00AM to 9:00AM. You will receive a link to a drop off time sign up prior to each week your camper(s) is/are registered for camp. You will need to select your drop off time each week, and you will be required to drop your camper(s) off at that time each day that week.  

Staggered At Camp Pick-up Times:  As with drop off times, pick up times for campers not taking the bus will also be staggered this summer. The pick-up window will be from 4:00PM to 4:30PM. Through the same process as the drop off sign up, you will need to select a pick-up time that you are able to commit to each week that you camper is at camp. At pick up, you will need to sign your camper(s) out by showing a photo ID or using your secure PIN Number.  

COVID-19 Vaccines: To make our camp community the safest place it can be, we encourage all eligible campers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We will be encouraging the same of our staff. If you would like information on the COVID-19 vaccine or how/where to schedule an appointment, please reach out to us. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Cards: If your camper is vaccinated for COVID-19, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health standards for recreational camps require that a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card to be uploaded their Campsite profile. This will help us with contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 case at camp this summer. 

Daily Screenings:  Families will not be required to complete a written daily screening form this summer.  

Pre-camp Screening:  Even though we are not requiring daily written screenings this summer, to help ensure the safety of our campers and staff, please take your camper’s temperature and screen them for any COVID-19 symptoms daily before sending them to camp. If their temperature is 100°F or greater, please keep them home from camp until their temperature is under 100°F for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. Additionally, if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body ache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If they have fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, in conjunction with any of these or the above listed symptoms, please refrain from sending them to camp until the symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours. 

Campers Exhibiting Symptoms at Camp:  If a camper (or staff member) begins to exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, we will call a parent/guardian/emergency contact to come pick them up. They will need to be picked up within one hour and will be kept in our isolation space until they are. Again, we request your commitment and diligence in making our camp the safest environment possible for our campers and staff and their families. 

Carpooling: Although not encouraged, we will accept campers who arrive to camp via a carpool. We encourage campers and adults who are not fully vaccinated and not from the same household to wear face coverings while carpooling. 

Visitors:  Non-essential visitors (including parents/guardians/other authorized pick-up persons) will not be permitted on campgrounds, except in the parking lot, during camp hours. 

Early Pick-up: If you need to pick up your camper early from camp, please send an email to  to alert us of:  

1. The camper(s) being picked up.
2. Which authorized pick up adult will be picking them up.
3. What time they will be picked up.  

When you (or the authorized pick-up person, if not you) arrive at camp, please call the main camp office at 508-358-7000 or Director Ben Kaloupek’s direct line (617-795-1830) to alert the camp leadership of your arrival. Your camper will then be transported up to the parking lot where you will need to present identification and sign them out. 


Camper Groups:  Some groups will be mixed gender. This includes campers and staff. Most groups will have between 10-20 campers. Campers will be grouped with peers in their same age/grade cohort.  

Camper Cohorts:  This summer, camper groups will be paired with one other group of a similar age to form a cohort. These cohorts will participate in some (but not all) activities together. We believe this will provide campers the opportunity to have a level of healthy competition while at camp, as well as allowing them to form friendships with campers in other groups. 

Camper Group Switches: As with the summer of 2020, camper group switches will not be permitted once the session begins. Please check the email that will be sent on Fridays prior to the session start date to see your camper’s group. If you are unhappy with their placement, please reach out to Director Ben Kaloupek ( with your request to change it by Sunday at 2:00 PM. 

Assembly:  This summer, we will be bringing back our Morning and Afternoon full-camp assemblies. Assemblies will occur on the field, with camper groups distanced at least 6 feet from one another.  

Activities: Most of our camp activities will be available this summer, including sports, ropes, and others! We are excited to get back to some of our camp favorites!  

Afternoon activities: Campers will stay with their group cohort for the entirety of the camp day,  meaning there will be no afternoon elective periods this summer. 

Swimming: All swimming at Chickami this summer will be done as free swim. We will still use the Test, Mark, Protect system to ensure the safety of all of our campers and staff in the water. Because we will have fewer campers in the pool at one time, camper groups will have swim 2-3 times per week. Campers will be swim tested on the first day that their group is scheduled for swim, and they will be marked with a colored bracelet depending on their swim level. Campers who are designated as “non-swimmers” based on their swimming assessment will need to wear a life jacket in order to swim. 

We will send a weekly schedule to all session families during the week prior to the session start date. We encourage families to send their campers in their swimsuits on days when they have swim to make the changing process as efficient as possible and maximize time spent in the pool. 

Water Fountains:  Due to elevated PFA levels in the Wayland town water, we will be receiving shipments of water jugs and water bottles to camp weekly. We will set aside water bottles for campers who are in need, and we will set the water jugs out around camp so that campers can refill their water bottles. We encourage every camper to be sent with at least 1 water bottle from home each day labeled with their name.  

Inclement Weather Days:  Our goal is to spend as much time outdoors as possible this summer. We have 15 carport tents so that groups can remain outside and stay dry in the event of rain. On days when there is additional inclement weather (i.e. thunderstorms), we will move campers indoors, keeping them distanced with masks on. 


Increased Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures:  We will continue many of our 2020 increased cleaning and sanitizing procedures at camp this summer. Shared equipment will be cleaned between uses with the help of our group counselors and cleaning staff. Whenever possible, we will have equipment for groups that is only theirs to reduce the possibility of spreading germs.  

Increased Handwashing and Sanitizing Stations:  We have added 9 new hand sanitizing stations around camp. We will also be renting additional handwashing stations. This is to promote a culture of healthy hand hygiene at camp this summer. Campers and staff will be required to wash or sanitize their hands between activities, and there will be mandatory hand washing breaks before and after lunch. 


Family Nights: We will not be hosting Family Nights in the summer of 2021. 

Overnights/Sleep Unders:  We will not be hosting Overnights or Sleep Unders in the summer of 2021. 


Please help keep our camp safe by sharing the changes in camp with your campers prior to their arrival and explaining the reasons for the changes. Please preview and discuss with them the importance of activity modifications, handwashing and sanitizing, and face coverings. We believe that a consistent message between home and camp will help to make your camper’s experience this summer the best it can be.