Frequently Asked Questions
Summer 2021 Dates & Registration
Thank you for your interest in attending camp at Merrowvista or Miniwanca this summer. We are sharing answers (as of January 2021) to the questions you raised in our community survey. We will continue to update this information as time goes on. Families enrolled in the program will receive a comprehensive Parent and Family Handbook that will go into greater detail based on evolving conditions.
This year, federal, Michigan, New Hampshire, local, and industry guidance regarding COVID-19 means we will only be able to offer a single three-week session at each camp. The dates for Miniwanca summer camp are Sunday, June 27 to Saturday, July 17, and the dates for Merrowvista summer camp are Sunday, July 11 to Saturday, July 31. All program activities will take place at AYF properties, utilizing the main camps and our more remote acreage in new ways.
The deadline to apply to attend summer camp 2021 has passed.
2021 Program Questions
- Campers and staff will be placed in living groups (two cabin groups at Miniwanca/one village at Merrowvista) of 8-12 campers, plus 2 leaders. These groups will function as a “single-family home,” staying in the same cabin at Merrowvista and adjacent cabins at Miniwanca, eating meals together, and doing many activities together. Masks will not be required in these living groups.
- Masks are required when a living group interacts with campers and staff from other groups.
- Campers and staff who directly interact with them will be considered inside a bubble this summer. Any cabin leaders and staff in this bubble must stay on site for the entirety of their time at Merrowvista/Miniwanca, including their days off.
- Any local staff who are not able to live on site will be considered outside this bubble. They will be required to wear masks on site and will have very limited interaction with people inside the bubble.
- Campers will not leave Merrowvista or Miniwanca for the duration of the program this summer. We cannot offer any traditional Four Trails programs, but we are confident our Wayfinder program will offer a dynamic and challenging experience despite these constraints.
- Our older campers will take advantage of our substantial facilities and property like never before. Learn more about all the opportunities for Wayfinders at Miniwanca and Merrowvista.
- Until we have concluded the application process, we won’t know the exact living groups.
- We will consider keeping family (siblings or cousins) together in living groups, but we cannot guarantee that all family members will be accepted for summer 2021.
- A single three-week session is the safest option for families and staff that allows us to still have camp while restricting interaction between incoming and outgoing campers.
- We know this has been a difficult time for everyone in so many ways. Once conditions improve, we are ready to build our enrollments back to pre-COVID levels and hope to provide even more opportunities for our community to grow and connect in 2022, including offerings our adventure trip programs via Four Trails. We hope to announce our slate of offerings by September 2021, and we will begin enrollment for those programs shortly after./li>
Finance and Enrollment Questions
- Due to the unique requirements and limitations of this season, we are implementing an extended application process instead of first-come, first-serve registration.
- There will be a two-week application window that will open at 3 p.m. EST Jan. 19. The last day to apply is Sunday, Jan. 31. We will notify the parent/guardian if their child has been accepted or not by Feb. 3.
- We will start a waitlist and notify the child and parent/guardian if spots open after Jan. 31.
- Because of the limited number of spaces, registration for 2021 is only open to camper families who have previously attended a summer program at Merrowvista or Miniwanca.
- We will permit first-time campers whose older siblings have previously attended a program at Merrowvista or Miniwanca to apply this year.
- Campers who signed up for the first time in 2020 and who meet 2021 requirements are eligible to apply.
- A new application is required for all campers in 2021. If your family deferred 2020 tuition, all fees and tuition will be automatically drawn from that balance.
- If your child is not selected to attend camp or your family chooses not to apply, all unused 2020 tuition will be returned in full.
- Deferred tuition may be transferred or applied to other family members. Our registrar will work with you to clarify your intentions.
- Yes, families can expect to receive a comparable amount of scholarship as they have received in past years.
- Once you are accepted, please contact the registrar, and they will be happy to send you a scholarship form. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve/need basis.
- We are unable to offer discounts this year.
- If cancellation is necessary prior to May 3, any tuition paid above the $200 registration fee will be refunded. After May 3, there is no tuition refund. If, due to illness (including COVID-19) or injury, a camper must withdraw prior to the beginning of camp, all payments except the registration fee will be returned upon receipt of a written report from a physician.
- For withdrawals during the camp session due to illness (including COVID-19) or injury, a refund will be prorated.
- No refund will be granted in the case of a dismissal or voluntary withdrawal from any program option.
- In all cases, the family will be responsible for transportation costs incurred.
- There is a minimum $35 processing fee for each refund issued.
Transportation To and From Camp
- Under the current state guidelines, personal transportation is the only way families can travel to camp. You will be responsible for driving your child to camp. We will update you if the state revises this guidance.
- Current guidelines only allow for direct-to-camp and direct-to-home transportation to and from camp. Because of this and the living group restrictions, the AYF is unable to transport any campers from other locations.
- Opening and closing day procedures will be altered to meet these requirements.
- Learn more about travel in our Pre-Camp Quarantine/Travel and COVID-19 Testing guidance.
- Under current guidelines, only an individual who has quarantined with the camper can bring that child to camp.
- If your child is believed to have contracted COVID-19 or comes into direct contact with anyone with COVID-19, someone must be available to immediately pick up your child at any point during the session, per CDC guidelines.
- Learn more about travel in our Pre-Camp Quarantine/Travel and COVID-19 Testing guidance.
- We will increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of commonly used indoor spaces, including group-assigned bathrooms and program spaces. Eating Lodges will be cleaned immediately following meal service before further use. Our cleaning products meet both CDC and EPA recommendations.
- In addition to increased hand washing, we will install hand sanitization stations strategically throughout the campuses.
- Yes, we will require and provide PPE as necessary per regulation and best practice for our staff based on position and responsibilities in the community.
- According to our cubic foot calculations, the majority of indoor spaces, including cabins, are adequately vented per the current camper and staff ratios. In the few areas where we have less than adequate air space, we will install fans to properly ventilate the space.
Health & Safety
Yes, as of May 13, 2021, all in-camp guidelines apply to those with or without the vaccine.
AYF closely monitors CDC guidelines and recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. AYF strongly encourages all eligible staff and campers to get vaccinated as it is effective at protecting you from getting sick and it will help reduce risk for our entire community. As of April 7th 2021, the CDC continues to state the following:
- We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness.
- We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
- We’re still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
- We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
Until the CDC announces clear answers to those questions, everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — should continue following the AYF guidelines listed to protect themselves and others in our communities.
- AYF advises all staff members and camper parents to consult with their medical provider to determine if camp is a reasonably safe option for them this year. State guidelines include a number of recommendations and considerations that we urge families to take into account. Please see COVID-19 Related Health Considerations for additional guidance.
- We encourage families to contact us if you have any concerns about health at camp.
- We will be asking all staff and campers to adhere to safety practices before arriving to camp including: a quarantine at home for 10 days before camp, completing a self-screening tool, and submitting proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test if not fully vaccinated.
- Learn more about quarantine and testing requirements in our AYF Pre-Camp quarantine, travel and testing guidance.
- At least once a day, all campers will have their temperatures checked and will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Our on-site medical staff will follow specific protocols if any camper or staff member has an elevated temperature or exhibits COVID-related symptoms.
- Health care staff will handle illness and injury at camp as they always have, while taking added precautions against COVID-19. We will work throughout the winter and spring to develop modified procedures at the health center, but likely it will look and feel much as it always has.
- If staff or campers exhibit any symptoms or have knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID, they will be quarantined from others. They will not participate in any camp activities, go to the dining hall, or be present in other public places while test results are pending.
- The person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be isolated. Per CDC guidelines, the camper needs to be picked up by family and brought back home by private transportation.
- The camper or staff member’s living group will be quarantined from the rest of the camp community until COVID-19 test results are received. The living group may continue activities during that time, while they stay separate from everyone else.
- Once the appropriate quarantine has passed and they received negative COVID-19 test results, they will resume normal activities with the rest of the campers and staff.
- We will immediately contact families.
- We will aim to minimize trips to outside clinics when possible by using telehealth appointments.
- For medical needs requiring a local urgent care or emergency room, a brief assessment or treatment, such as an X-ray or sutures, we will follow appropriate COVID-19 safety protocol while off-campus and upon return to camp.
- Extended off-site medical visits may result in a camper or staff member having to leave the community.