Turtle Island Summer Camp eNewsletter - May 2020

Greetings from all of us here at Turtle Island Preserve.

We're continuing to roll with the changes of the Covid-19 crisis. The good news is: Our summer programs will be running. That said, they will look different than before. Read below for more details.

Summer camps still have space, but they are filling up quickly so get in now while you still can.  As restrictions begin to lift, we're here to hold space for people to gather together once again in safe ways to renew our bond with nature, one another, and the deeper self.

Here is what we have in store for you in this month's eNewsletter:

  • How Will Summer Camps Be Different? Our Covid-19 Health Protocol

  • Summer Camps 2020 Overview

  • Cancellation Policy in uncertain times

  • Work at our Summer Camps

  • What the Future Holds at Camp

How Will Camps Be Different This Year?
Our Covid-19 Health Protocol

We are excited to announce that our in-person summer programs are officially happening! 
Our camp programs are grounded in connection: connection to nature, to activity, and to each other. Coronavirus precautions require distance. We believe that both the TI experience and Covid precautions are essential right now, and we are doing everything we can to balance those two values while keeping our participants, staff, families, and the extended community safe. Below is an abridged version of our health protocols that will help minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus (see a full version here).
All of our programs are 100% outdoors, and the majority of our activities take place in small groups of 5-10 people. This is very much in our favor, as being outside and in small numbers greatly reduces the chance of the virus spreading.
We are closely monitoring national, state, and local health guidelines, and will meet or exceed state specific criteria. Our plans remain adaptable in response to state and local authorities. These protocols are based on criteria set by our home state of North Carolina.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee an exposure-free experience , and so the responsibility is on each one of us to ensure that we keep camp virus-free. Campers and staff will effectively quarantine together in our beautiful mountain valley. If everyone comes healthy, everyone will leave healthy. In this spirit of community trust and responsibility, if you or your family is not 100% certain or is concerned about transmission, we ask that you re-join us next year. If a camper or family member has had exposure to someone who has tested positive for Covid in the last 14 days, they need to notify TI immediately, as it makes them ineligible for our program this summer.
Preventative Care - In order to attend our programs, all staff and participants will need to confirm that they and all of their household members have been symptom-free for the past 14 days. Parents of campers need to record their child's temperature for the 7 days preceding camp and bring that record on arrival day. We ask that travel and social interaction be limited in the week leading up to camp to help prevent exposure. We also require a hard copy of an additional hold harmless agreement to be submitted prior to arrival. 
Physical Distancing - When possible, we will maintain safe distances from each other. However, in order to preserve the integrity of our camp experience, we will keep some activities that require physical contact. Others, like our tradition of holding hands before each meal, will be replaced with no-contact alternatives. 
Hand Hygiene & Sanitation - Hand sanitizing stations will be available at all times. Running water, soap, and personal alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be plentiful. Staff and participants will sanitize hands regularly throughout our programs.
Sleeping Arrangements - Campers and staff will bring small one-person tents to sleep in and store their belongings in. Hammocks with full coverage tarps are permitted as an alternative to the tent.
Masks - Our food service staff will wear masks while serving meals. Other camp staff are not required to wear masks, nor are campers. Everyone is encouraged to bring masks and wear them at their own discretion.
Visitors - This year only we'll keep our campus closed to visitors. We will not host guest instructors, and our usual inclusive breakfast on the morning of pickup will not be possible.
High touch surfaces - The few high touch surfaces at Turtle Island will be regularly disinfected. Any objects that must be touched by more than one person will be frequently disinfected.
Respiratory Etiquette - We will develop a strong culture of “respiratory etiquette,” such as coughing into the elbow and minimizing expectoration.
Pick-up and Drop-off - We ask for parents and families to stay in their vehicles during the arranged drop off and pick up times. 
Daily Screening - All staff and campers will be screened each day for symptoms including fever. If any symptoms are found, campers will be placed under the supervision of our on-site registered nurse, and if symptoms don’t clear up quickly, we will ask that they return home.
Cancellation Policy - If our programs are canceled due to Covid-19 regulations, full refunds will be issued. If participants need to leave a program due to the presence of viral symptoms, they will receive a prorated refund for the days they do not attend. Previously registered campers who choose to withdraw registration from camp in 2020 will have the option to forward their normally nonrefundable deposit toward camp in 2021 or donate the full $250 to Turtle Island Camps with consideration for the financial hardship we have experienced due to the virus.

Summer Camps Overview for 2020

Turtle Island Preserve Summer Camps start in three weeks!  We do still have some spaces left. Don't delay!  Register today!

(12 year old girls have the option to attend both weeks)  

Watch a recent video of campers, in their own words, taken from home during shelter-in-place orders: HERE


There is so much to love about Turtle Island Summer Camps:

  • Kids get to be kids again, roaming wild and free in nature.

  • Safety, We take campers physical and emotional safety seriously, and hold every member of camp to a high standard that creates a safe space for powerful experiences to emerge.

  • Real skills, Real challenges, Real adventures, Classes and hands-on training in bushcraft, survival, tool usage, and immersion in completely non-digital wilderness experiences. Emphasis on empowerment & self reliance during a crisis!

  • Our highly trained instructors are some of the finest in the field. Our staff are adept at really listening to children, drawing out their passions, and engaging them fully.

  • We offer a genuinely holistic experience rooted in hope, connecting with what is truly important in life - nature, community, and self.

Recent Parent Testimonial:

Our boys, 15 and 10, have been talking about going back to turtle island for the last 11 months. Although we expose them to as many things as we can as parents, there are some life experiences they have only learned while at Turtle Island. We believe these experiences are more important than the fear of contracting a virus that from our reading has been found to be difficult to contract in the outdoors. After staying home for two plus months, all kids need to be outside, away from electronics and experience nature and learn new things. We find the outdoors improves our boys’ attitudes and mental health. Please keep Turtle Island open in 2020!  
-The Fraziers

Click here for full information on Turtle Island Summer Camps
Work at our Summer Camp!

We are looking to fill the roles of:

  • Nurse / Medic
  • Assistant Cook
  • Camp Counselors
  • Garden Helper

We're offering both volunteer and paid positions based on experience, with accommodations & meals provided for overnight camps. Have a blast working in a powerful, deep, nature connection mentoring culture, and deepening your own expertise while supporting a common vision of restoring hope in today's youth.

What the Future Holds!

Under the guidance of our local health department, Turtle Island will be operational for educational programs into the coming fall and winter. After summer camps, we'll resume hosting school and scout groups as well as adult workshops. Stay tuned for those announcements!