This FAQ’s resource is intended to help our camper families to understand how we plan to operate camp this summer in alignment with the best practices guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Camp Association (ACA). This is an unusual year to say the least, but we are confident we can operate a program that has the feel of the best parts of TVRC, while still adhering to infection prevention strategies recommended by local, state, and national agencies. Please review the summary guidelines and select from the list of questions below to learn more about our operating plan and expectations for campers this summer.
Avoid being around anyone with any of the following symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the 14 days before the start of camp.
If your child tests positive for COVID-19 at camp you may be required to pick up your child within 48 hours of notification unless a medical professional determines that they should remain quarantined at the TVRC Facility.
Our regular business phone numbers and email address will work this summer. For the Dubois Ranch Facility (our summer base) please call 307-455-2885 starting June 1st. This number will be monitored 24 hours a day while campers are in our care. You can also email any of the leadership team and we will reply as quickly as possible. The Jackson office will have limited staffing and functions mostly in a support role while camp is in session. Due to the leadership team working at home this spring, many of you have our personal cell phone numbers.
Cellular service at the ranch is EXTREMELY LIMITED and it’s very possible we won’t get your calls, texts or voicemails on our personal cell phones. Please direct all communication to our Dubois Location starting July 1st.
The Outrider Expeditions guidelines were based on the state of Wyoming’s “Transition plan for a Healthy Wyoming”, Fremont county’s “Recovery Plan”, The American Camp Associations “Field Guide for Camps”, “Considerations for Youth and Summer Camps”, the CDC as well as the “CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again”.
TVRC Outrider Expeditions is a small two week program that will focus on backcountry packtrips and backpacking experiences. TVRC will operate one (1) camp season, with three (3) independent program sessions (1 Boys Program Session and 2 Girls Program Sessions). Each session will be fifteen (15) days and will have a unique drop off and pick up date and time so as to not mix with other sessions. Within each session, one (1) to five (5) groups of ten (10-12) campers and two or three (2-3) trail counselors will be created. At any one time, there will be no more than five (5) groups on/at the TVRC facility. Some of these trips will also include a horse pack trip with one of our outfitters. All campers will participate in two (2) backcountry trips that will each be five (5) days long.
The three divisions are loosely organized by age range and previous camper experience. All the Buckaroo trips involve a horse trip and no prior horse or camp experience is required. The Mountain Rangers and Outposters may have the option of a traditional TVRC pack trip along with a hiking trip, or an all hiking trip.
Due to our limited size in each group, signing up with friends can be challenging. However, camp is a time to meet new people and create new and lasting friendships. We encourage campers to embrace opportunities to meet others.
We will require that all luggage be brought with your camper since our session is shorter this summer and less is needed. We also ask families to plan on their camper taking their luggage with them when they depart the ranch. Ideally, campers should pack everything they need in a duffel or backpack.
We have postponed all adventure groups this summer. Your camper is encouraged to join us next summer to continue the adventure group they were scheduled to be a part of for summer 2020. Yes, we want our Trailblazers to come back next year! Think of it as a bonus year for TVRC. We have loosely separated the groups by age into the Buckaroos (age 11-13), Mountain Rangers (age 12-14) and Outposters (age 14-17).
In a typical summer, TVRC operates with upwards of 120 campers and 85 staff in our facility at one time. This plan reflects a reduction of over 65% of traditional daily occupancy and 50% reduction in the duration of each season.
Each expedition will follow similar itineraries, however staggering the start dates will minimize camper interaction and maximize our ability to maintain a healthy and clean environment during this time. Families can expect a maximum of 50 campers to be arriving on a single day, with group separation upon arrival.
We will not be able to take campers to rodeos, field trips or town trips in Dubois or Jackson this summer. We will even be limiting the staff to adventures on the ranch on their days off.
Due to our shift away from in-camp programs, there will not be adequate time for campers to prepare for rodeo events.
We are happy to distribute mail to campers on their rest day and when they return from their second trip. Mail service in Wyoming is routinely slow and thus we ask parents to consider leaving prewritten letters with the staff on opening day or mailing letters no later than July 20th. You can also send a one way email to your camper by utilizing the “camp stamps” email function in your CampInTouch. This is a much quicker option than the postal service.
Campers will be divided into “Trip Cohorts”. These trip cohorts will consist of 10-12 campers and 2-3 trail counselors. These groups will be kept physically distant from the other groups. You can also think of this as a “Family Unit” or “Household”. These cohorts will not intermix with one another and will remain geographically separated except for their arrival and departure and “rest day” on camp. While at camp together, each group will practice social distancing and will remain at least 15 feet apart from other groups.
Once your camper is established into their trip cohorts, that group will become their camp family and they will not be required to wear a mask when they are together. However, if they are to come in contact (closer than 15 feet) with any individual or group outside their cohort, masks will be required. We hope to provide a buff style mask for each camper to be worn throughout their session. It is thought these buffs will be more comfortable, serviceable, and easy to clean and be reused.
All our staff will arrive for staff training no later than June 25th and will be restricted to the ranch/facility. Staff with known underlying medical conditions have opted out from working at camp this summer. Prior to this date, each staff member is required to complete a daily health log where they will record their temperatures and symptoms for 14 days prior to arriving at camp. They will not be allowed to enter the facility if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms. They are also asked to social distance themselves as much as possible prior to coming to camp. The staff must complete a pre-camp physical. Most staff will travel by their own means. We have extended staff training this summer in order to fully quarantine the staff before campers arrive. While we cannot ensure a Covid free summer, we are taking every step possible to minimize the risks.
Campers and families will be asked to comply with similar requirements as the staff. Prior to their arrival at camp, families will submit a medical history and specific COVID-19 waiver to camp. Campers with underlying medical conditions listed under ‘high risk for complications associated with COVID-19’ according to the CDC guidelines have been asked to consider opting out of participation in camp this year. We will ask campers and families to practice social distancing for 14 days prior to arrival at camp. We will also ask families to record and document their child’s temperature and symptoms on our pre-camp form 14 days prior to camp and provide that form at check in. To see a copy of this form click here. They will also be asked to identify any travel or activities that put them close to other people outside their family. We ask that each camper arrives well rested, nourished and hydrated. The goal is for individuals to arrive as resilient as possible. In addition campers will undergo specific check-in procedures focused on assessing their current health.
COVID-19 testing is not recommended at this time by the ACA or the CDC, but this may change. If rapid testing becomes available and is recommended by those authorities, it may be recommended prior to bringing campers to camp or during our camp season.
Campers and families are encouraged to travel to camp using private transportation; however with the majority of domestic airlines now requiring the use of facemasks on flights and their heightened cleaning/ sanitation procedures, we will allow campers to fly to camp. Further, we will encourage families to consider sending their children as unaccompanied minors if it is not feasible for parents to travel with their children.
Once the camp session has begun, campers are not allowed to leave the camp program until the completion of their season. They cannot leave for a family event or dinner. Once at camp, they need to remain for the duration or they will not be able to return. Visitors will also not be allowed at the TVRC facility this year in order to limit our camp to possible COVID-19 exposures. Families that are in the area after our season wraps up (August 1st) can tour the camp facility at that time, with an appointment.
All check in procedures will take place in the afternoons of designated opening days between 3:30 and 5:30 PM. It will be vital that parents ensure they are on time (not early or late) to check in. Check in will occur at the TVRC gate off Highway 26. Parents will not be allowed to exit their cars, or to drive into the camp facility. When a car pulls into the check in area, TVRC staff (using masks, gloves and eye protection) will approach the car and provide campers with new, unused masks. Campers will exit their vehicles wearing their masks and place their belongings in a provided truck or trailer for transport to camp. At this time, the parents can provide their Pre-camp health log including their camper’s temperatures and symptoms they recorded for two weeks prior to camp. Campers will immediately wash their hands with provided soap and water or with hand sanitizer. Campers will proceed to the medical station and will check in with nurses. The nurses will review their temperature log from home and will fill out the TVRC Health Screening form for each camper. The nurses will check the camper’s temperatures and ask about COVID-19 signs and symptoms. Any camper that has a fever over 100.4, or shows signs/ symptoms of illness will not be allowed to enter the facility and must leave with their parents. Parents should not leave their vehicle but should be available for medical questions. Campers will be checked into their specific group and will be transported individually or in small groups to camp in 15 passenger vans. Ideally the van driver will be one of the two staff assigned to that camper and group. All campers and staff must wear masks during the check in and transportation to the camp facility. Once our check in is complete, we will lock the entrance gate to camp. If for any reason, a camper will not be able to arrive at the allocated check in time, the parents will be required to contact the TVRC staff and arrange an alternate time to check in their camper. Families are strongly discouraged from checking in outside of the allocated time. TVRC Staff will only honor check in outside the allocated time for extenuating circumstances. TVRC staff will have the right to refuse entry to the facility if these protocols are not followed. This strict policy is to ensure we keep TVRC healthy and safe for your camper during this time of COVID-19.
TVRC will have the list of campers arriving by air. They will be broken down into flights and arrival times. Staff will meet the unaccompanied minors and others in the gated areas and will provide the camper with a mask. Both staff and campers will wear masks while in the airport. Once the staff member has collected the camper and their belongings, they will wash their hands in the public restroom for at least 20 seconds and then report outside to the waiting van. The staff member will ask the camper for their pre-camp screening log and will take the camper’s temperature. Groups of no more than six campers and two staff will be placed in a van for travel back to the TVRC facility. Campers will space out in the van and will wear masks while being transported to camp. Once at camp, they will meet with the nurse who will evaluate their pre-camp screening log and will fill out their Health Screening form.
Cabin life will look pretty similar to a normal summer. Since cabin groups will be the same as the “Trip Cohorts”, your camper will be able to treat their cabin like home. The cabin your camper will be assigned to will be their cabin for the duration of their time at TVRC. No other group will stay in that cabin this summer. Some cabins have their own bathroom and shower facility. If your camper’s cabin uses a bathhouse, they will have full access to that bath house while at camp. Other cabins will use those bathhouses when at camp on different days after they have been thoroughly cleaned by the infection control team. Your camper will sleep head to toe in the bunks as always. The main difference will be a sheet barrier between bunks that can’t be spread more than six feet apart. Windows will remain open when possible and more fans will be utilized to increase the flow of air. Each time the campers enter the cabin, they will need to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
Individual trip cohorts will break down into pairs or groups of 2-3 campers who will act as bunk mates when in camp and tent mates when on the trail. When possible, tents should have side panels unzipped and potentially used without the rainfly (when in good weather) to promote airflow and ventilation. Open air sleeping tarps are also encouraged and may also be used. In any sleeping arrangement, campers should continue to sleep head to toe and space out as much as possible.
Trip staff will have prepared as much of their needed backcountry equipment in advance of the campers arrival. This includes tents, cooking equipment and utensils, maps, bear spray, water purification, cooking fuel and food. Unlike our traditional program where campers are encouraged to help with this process, this modified program works better if staff do most of the gear preparations before campers arrive. It is possible for the trips to leave early, in the afternoon of the “trip prep” day if campers and staff are ready. However, this time could also be spent on hikes around the property, finalizing itineraries and group/team building.
Campers love their dining hall experiences at camp, but they will look different this year. We will not be able to service food ‘family style’ this summer or have a salad bar. Each cabin or trip cohort will enter the dining hall one group at a time. They will go directly to the hand washing station and wash for 20 seconds. They will then go through a serving line and receive their plate of food and drink. There will be a plexiglass barrier separating the kitchen staff from the campers and staff. Once they have been served individually, they will go to their designated table and will eat with their cabin or trip cohort. Once the entire cabin is served and seated, the next group will take their turn. Our dining hall is 3200 sq ft and there is plenty of space to social distance. However, on nice days, we will have tables on the covered porch of the dining hall. After months of being inside, we can’t seem to get enough of the outdoors.
Instead of guzzles, the kitchen will be tasked with ordering special pre-packaged snacks for the afternoon of the camper “rest days” at camp. It will not be processed through the office but will be distributed by trail counselors. We want this to be reminiscent of “guzzles”, but all food will be streamlined through the kitchen this summer.
Only the kitchen staff will be allowed to enter the kitchen this year. The trail counselors will be responsible for hopping their table and wiping it down. The campers are off the hook this summer while in camp. However, expect dish duty on backcountry trips!
Camper laundry will be available on “rest days” while on camp property. The warmest water appropriate setting will be used when washing clothes. Your camper’s Trail Counselor will be incharge of washing, sorting and distributing their cabin’s clean laundry. Each camper will repack for their next five day trip. Laundry can be utilized on the final day of camp if needed, but only if the campers need a clean outfit in which to travel home. All cloth face masks or buffs will be washed regularly to prevent spread of contaminants. While cloth masks are being cleaned, your camper will have access to disposable masks provided by the TVRC supply.
We will not have the Trading Post store open as we do in a traditional session. For all enrolled campers, we will encourage parents to pre-order Trading Post items prior to their camping session. We will give the option of sending packages Fedex, or (preferred) we will have all ordered items bagged together for pick-up on opening day with the paid receipt included. We will have essential items such as chapstick, sunscreen, bug spray and toiletries in the camp office or infirmary as a “need basis” and can be requested by counselors on their camp rest days between camping trips.
Since the Trading Post and Guzzles will not run traditionally this year, we do not anticipate many needs for a spending account. However, any extra outside third party fees (Prescriptions, Fishing licenses, Airline baggage fees, etc) will be billed to camper accounts. Parents will be able to view their Campers account via CampInTouch.
This year we have established a group of support staff members who make up the Infection Control Team. They are not directly responsible for the immediate oversight of campers in a TVRC Program, but are tasked with frequent cleaning. Enhanced facility cleaning and disinfection will occur multiple times a day for high touch areas around the facility. They will clean the dining hall after each use. They will also focus on cleaning the bathhouses and cabins that the campers occupy once they leave on their backcountry trips. Special attention will be given to high touch areas like doorknobs, faucets, light switches, etc. They will also clean vans following the transportation of campers into the backcountry.
Due to the reported complications with underlying medical conditions and Covid-19, we must insist our health form be filled out and the physician’s acknowledgement on page 3 of the form be signed by a doctor. Being at a residential camp setting involving the backcountry and horses carries more implications than a day camp, school, or sports event. We take the health of our camp family very seriously and strongly believe a healthy camp begins at home. If your camper had a recent doctor’s appointment, your doctor will probably be willing to fill out our health form without a special appointment.
The Infirmary will only be utilized when treating a camper with a minor injury but not exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms. For example, a camper returning from a trip with a hurt leg needing a new bandage will be welcome in the infirmary. A COVID-19 wall tent will be put up behind the Infirmary. This is where one of the nurses will examine anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms. The TVRC infirmary is staffed with an Registered Nurse at all times while campers are in our care.
Since most of your camper’s time will be spent on the trail, a medically trained Trail Counselor will be responsible for the administration of medications. They will receive instructions from the Infirmary nurses at the beginning of camp, and will be required to log meds.
While on the trail, the counselor/trip leaders will check in with each camper every morning and night and ask about any symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. They will ask each camper individually and not as a group. Camper temperatures will not be taken daily since it will be difficult to keep the thermometer properly disinfected in the backcountry. However, the trail counselors will have a digital thermometer with extra probe covers for use if a child begins to show COVID-19 symptoms. The trail counselors and campers will also monitor rashes, even without a fever, since this is a possible symptom of MIS-C. If a trail counselor has any concerns about a camper, they will contact the leadership team at camp and the medical team immediately via Sat Phone, Radio or Cellular Phone. Once each group arrives back at camp for a rest day, they will have a check with the nurses and have their temperatures taken with a hospital grade thermometer before heading back to their cabins.
If anyone begins to show COVID-19 symptoms, they will be immediately removed from the group and will be transported by our Backcountry Infection Control Team to the closest testing facility. This will be either in Jackson or in Dubois. Once they are tested, they will be quarantined in camp in one of the quarantine cabins and the rest of the group will be watched closely for symptoms while we wait for the results of the test to be processed.
TVRC has designated the cabins of Wilson and Colter as the two primary quarantine cabins. These cabins will be divided by gender. Each cabin can house up to 12 people and still maintain adequate social distancing. Both cabins also have running water (hot/cold), electricity, two showers, toilets and sinks within their structure. Both primary quarantine cabins will have ventilation fans that will force interior cabin air outside, and draw in fresh air. Cabins will also have HEPA ionizing filtration fans that can be used in conjunction with ventilation fans or independently if outside temperatures are cold. When occupied by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive cases, the cleaning team will clean the building on a daily basis. TVRC does have the ability to open and use other cabins as quarantine areas should the need arise. Any needs will be met while an individual is in quarantine. Treatment, meals and entertainment will be brought to them by the nurses and infection control team and their symptoms will be closely monitored while they remain separated from the rest of camp.
If a camper tests positive for COVID-19, parents may be requested to pick up their child at the earliest convenient time and will be tasked to travel safely home by their own means. Under medical guidance and direction, TVRC may also continue to quarantine campers at camp until they meet the requirements for being considered “recovered”.
In the event TVRC is either forced to shut down, or chooses to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak, we may need up to 48 hours to safely start this process. Parents will be notified and travel plans will need to be arranged for all campers. Case investigation and contact tracing will be performed to identify anyone who was in close contact with a positive COVID-19 patient. Campers and staff who have had direct contact with any positive COVID-19 patient will likely not be able to travel commercially. Only the campers and staff who never came in contact with the positive patient should consider traveling via commercial air travel. Any camper who has been tested positive, or is in the same Cohort as a patient who tested positive, will need to be escorted home by a parent by private means. This decision would not be made lightly. It would need to be decided by either the local Fremont County authority or by the approval of the TVRC Board of Directors and Leadership Team. Due to the strategies and guidelines we have in place, the designation of social distancing and trail cohorts, and the short duration of our camp season, we are hopeful to mitigate this possibility.
Families who choose to cancel, for any reason, before their child arrives at camp, will receive a refund of 50% of their campers’ tuition. If TVRC makes the decision to cancel all or part of this program prior to June 19th, we will refund 100% of your tuition. If TVRC makes the decision to cancel all or part of the program for any reason after June 19th, but before arrival day, we will refund 75% of campers tuition. If the TVRC program is canceled or forced to close by an Act of God, Force Majeure, outbreak of disease, government, state or local official, or a medical professional we will prorate the tuition based on an established schedule. For more detailed information and to see the complete and official cancelation policy, please click here to see our cancelation policy in our parent handbook on page 9.
Similar to the check in, we ask that you arrive at the camp gate between 8:30am and 10:30am on closing day. Once you have arrived, we will radio camp to have your camper brought to the gate. Please be patient with us as this may take some time. Our staff will be available to answer any questions. As with drop off, we ask that parents please contact us at the camp office should a situation arise that would require pickup outside of these times. We are so thankful you allowed us to have your camper for two weeks this summer!