Summer 2020 FAQ

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Our communications to families and guests of Camp Newaygo programs about the pandemic.

Summer 2020

Each year, hundreds of families entrust Camp Newaygo with their most valuable possessions–their children. It is an awesome responsibility! Our team works year-round to build the community that campers and staff are a part of each summer. But the lessons, values, and relationships developed during this time remain with them for years to come.

The health and safety of our community remains our number one priority. Each off-season we spend countless hours preparing for emergencies and working with a variety of public health officials and first responders to help ensure an uneventful summer. Our goal is singular: to make certain that campers and staff can have  safe experience while challenging them to become the best version of themselves.

Over the past two months we watched as COVID-19 changed how we live in our world. We have stayed abreast of the research and have have been planning a number of scenarios for this summer based on these developments.

WE HAVE CANCELLED OUR JUNE RESIDENT CAMP SESSIONS, AND CANCELLED SUMMER DAY CAMP.  We made these difficult decisions in consultation with our leadership team, board of directors, COVID-19 guidance, and the trusted health officials.


We remain hopeful that we can join together for at least part of our 2020 camp season starting June 28th, and are moving forward on a modified program model. We know that families and campers have lots of questions about Summer 2020. Please view our FAQ below.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Is Summer Camp happening at Camp Newaygo this summer?

At this time, we are planning to run Resident Camp for summer 2020 with limited dates and a modified program model. Unfortunately, we have decided not to operate our co-ed day camp program this summer. To have a successful summer, we will be implementing changes that create a closed camp community where everyone has tested negative for COVID-19  and social distancing is practiced.

Could it still be cancelled? 

If we are unable to test for COVID-19 or health and safety recommendations cannot be followed, camp will not happen this summer. We will be following guidelines from the CDC, the American Camp Association, and health officials to shape our summer 2020 program. We also realize there is a chance that camp may not be able to operate this summer, under state restrictions. We will monitor this rapidly evolving situation and, as we move forward with summer planning, know that we’ll be abundantly transparent on all of our decisions.

What is the new, planned schedule of sessions?

Camp will run sessions 3 through 5b, starting June 28th and ending August 1st. 

Are You Implementing Additional Health Screenings Prior To Camp?

Yes, campers will also need to complete a COVID-19 test before arrival or will be tested upon arrival.  All campers will be asked to monitor and track their temperature and any COVD-19 symptoms 14 days prior to arrival to camp. We will be sending families a temperature tracking sheet that must be provided to camp staff at check-in. Families will also complete a health screening within one week prior to their scheduled session.

How Do I Have My Camper Tested For COVID-19?

Camp is working closely with health providers for testing options. We are exploring all avenues to decide on the best options including: testing on site, testing en-route to camp, and testing prior to camp arrival.  Part of the decision to postpone the camp program was to be able to give families clear directions and achievable guidelines for this process.  

How Will You Monitor Camper Health While At Camp?

We have a registered nurse and an additional health officer this summer to help with additional monitoring and screening. Campers and staff will have their temperatures taken regularly throughout the day, and our on-site RN will closely monitor the health of all campers and staff. 

What Are The Sanitation Protocols?

With a full-time housekeeping director, and trained housekeeping staff, we will ensure program spaces and equipment are sanitized between groups. Cleaning supplies meet hospital-grade level sanitization and CDC guidelines when possible. Camp leadership has prepared daily cleaning protocols, and hour-by-hour schedules for program and housekeeping staff.

What If A Camper Or Staff Shows Symptoms of COVID-19 At Camp?

Campers or staff with a suspected case of COVID 19, will be immediately isolated in our Health & Leadership Lodge, assessed by the Camp Nurse, and transported to Gerber Memorial Hospital in Fremont, MI to complete a Rapid COVID-19 test. Campers or staff showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of the test result, may be sent home. Other campers in that group would be isolated and assessed, and parents will be notified of procedures.

How Will Check In and Check Out Work?

Check-in and check-out will happen on a staggered schedule with parents and family members not leaving their cars. We plan to record a “Camper Closing Ceremony” in small groups that will be emailed to families.

What does a “modified program model” mean?

This means camp activities need to happen in smaller groups and on camp property. Camp leadership has been looking at every component of camp to maintain as much of the Camp Newaygo experience as possible. Overall, campers will experience camp with their unit or with their cabin and a sister cabin.

What about Campouts?

There will be no cabin camp outs. Off-site trips will not be part of the Summer program. Unit campers will participate in campouts on site, sleeping in one-person tents or individual hammocks. The camper tripping fees ($24 per session) will be used to provide Covid-19 appropriate adventure programs and purchase individual camping equipment. Session 5 ALL Ferry fees for 10th and 11th grade campers ($42) can be refunded, donated back to Camp Newaygo, or applied to the overall camp balance.

What about Horseback Riding?

Horseback Riding will not be part of the Summer program, because this happens at a public riding stable off-site. The Horseback Riding fees ($45 per session) will automatically be used to cover any existing camp balances. If your balance is fully paid, the horseback fees will be refunded, or can be donated to Camp Newaygo to help us cover the losses due to COVID-19.

What about classes?

Classes will be scheduled ahead of time and supported by program area specialists. Campers will experience classes with their cabin or unit, led by their own counselors. The leadership team will work to design fun, fresh class experiences every week.

What about evening programs and ceremonies?

We know that these are a special part of the camp experience. This year however, they will require social distancing between cabins and units. We are working to redesign every evening program possible to fit this requirement. We imagine ceremonies happening in more than one place but at the same time.

Will housing and co-counselor assignments work differently?

Yes, campers will be assigned the same cabin or unit for their entire stay at camp whenever possible. When possible two-week and one-week campers will not be mixed together in cabins, tents, or huts. Counselors will have the same housing assignment and co-counselor for the 5 sessions of summer. We hope to be able to honor all roommate requests, and will contact families if this is not possible.

I have a Last-Year-Camper, How Will This Impact Their Experience?

With no off-site trips this summer, Pioneers will not canoe the Pine River, or backpack North Manitou Island. Camp traditions like: scarving, Pi Banquet, and Final Campfire will still take place with a modified program model. The Camp Leadership team knows that this LYC (last year camper) experience is so important to our campers, and we will do our absolute best to honor their expectations.

My Camper Was Registered For Session 1 ‘Mini Camp’, Is Session 3, Her New Session, Longer?

Yes, campers registered for Session 1 will automatically be moved to Session 3, June 28th – July 3rd. This session is two days longer than mini-camp, with a cost difference of $187. We are not charging families for this cost difference, because of these unique circumstances.

If This Option Won’t Work For Us, Can I Get A Refund?

 Yes, you can view our Summer 2020 Refund Policy HERE. You can also complete THIS FORM to let us know if you would like to cancel or transfer your reservation to Summer 2021. We want to be sure that all potential residential camp parents make an informed decision regarding the specific steps and protocols that Camp Newaygo has developed to operate this summer.

Is Summer 2021 Registration Open?

Campers who are cancelling their Summer 2020 reservation can sign up for Summer 2021 and lock in Summer 2020 camper pricing. You can complete THIS FORM to transfer your reservation to Summer 2021. We will be opening registration to all participants after summer.

Will It Still Feel Like Camp?

We know campers have been through a stressful time, filled with unanticipated change, high anxiety, and disappointments. Yes, it will still feel like camp.


How can I help Camp Newaygo?

Camp Newaygo has an amazing community of supporters who care about our mission and sustainability. We rely on this support to provide life-changing experiences for guests year-round.

Please consider these ways that you can support Camp through this difficult time:

  • Make a donation
  • Donate all or a portion of your camp fees
  • Notify us of any grants, foundations, or other funding opportunities that would provide support to Camp Newaygo during this time. Please contact Jane Vitek, Executive Director, with this information.




Thank you so much for your continued understanding, patience, and support of Camp Newaygo through this challenge. If you have questions or concerns, and would like to speak with someone on the phone, we will have staff available Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time): (231) 652-1184