To ensure a safe environment for program participants and overnight visitors to our campus in 2022, Pilgrim Lodge has made the decision to require all staff members, deans, counselors, campers, other volunteers, and hosted retreat participants to be up-to-date* for vaccination, if eligible, against COVID-19 prior to arrival at camp.  CDC guidance and safety measures are changing frequently.  This information will be updated as relevant changes emerge.

This decision, made by the Board of Directors of the Maine Conference United Church of Christ and the Pilgrim Lodge Leadership Team, is based in upholding our tradition of focusing on safety as the top priority for Pilgrim Lodge programming.  We respect that the vaccination for COVID-19 is a personal choice, and our decision is based on reviewing guidance and recommendations from state and federal CDC and industry leaders in camping. Medical exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require authorization by a licensed physician.

We honor that this announcement will be met with relief by some and disappointment for others. We will offer Day Pass opportunities to spend time at camp for anyone regardless of vaccination status. We are grateful for the understanding and flexibility of our Pilgrim Lodge community as we seek to offer the safest, highest quality programming possible during the on-going challenges of the pandemic.

*Centers for Disease Control Definition of “up-to-date” for vaccination: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html. (For those eligible for a second booster, the CDC definition does not include the second booster in it’s definition of “up-to-date” for vaccination, so it will not be required to attend camp this summer.

Pilgrim Lodge COVID-19 Guidelines and Protocols for Overnight Camp Participants 

Information for Campers and Families

Pilgrim Lodge provides programming built on a foundation of safety as a top priority. Pilgrim Lodge leadership has utilized best practices recommended by the CDC, American Camping Association and clinical support to inform protocols to address covid-19 during the 2022 summer season. As we return to camp this season, we will enjoy the gift of sharing community with one another. We appreciate your cooperation and flexibility with the following expectations. Being stewards of our individual health supports of the overall health of the camp community.   

Before Camp

Vaccination requirement: All overnight camp participants (defined as campers, deans and counselors) who are eligible for covid-19 vaccination will need to provide proof that they are up-to-date for vaccination prior to arriving at camp. For participants who are unable to receive a covid-19 vaccine due to a medical condition, medical exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis with documentation provided by a licensed clinician.

If covid-19 vaccine records (or medical exemption documentation) are not submitted to Pilgrim Lodge by the time the camper arrives at camp, they will not be allowed to stay for programming. In this scenario, the cost of programming will not be refunded.   

Pre-Arrival Testing: All participants will be required to show proof of a negative covid-19 test within 48 hours prior to arriving at camp. Both PCR and antigen tests are allowable. Results from home test kits will be accepted with a photograph of the test with a label of the camper’s name, date of birth, date and time of test visible within the photograph. Test results can be submitted through the camper’s UltraCamp account, email to info@pilgrimlodge.org or via text to 207-446-8303.

If you need support finding a testing option or submitting results, please call the camp office at 207-724-3200.

If a participant tests positive for covid-19 before coming to camp and, therefore, is unable to attend, the Office Administrator will work with them to review a potential alternate week to attend or provide a refund for their payment.

Limit Exposure and take precautions: It is requested that participants limit their risk of exposure to covid-19 in the days prior to camp for the best possible health outcomes for themselves and the camp community including limiting contact with large groups, many different people and masking indoors when around others. 

Plan ahead: If a participant tests positive while at camp, they will need to leave camp no more than 6 hours after the positive test (or 12 hours if the test is completed after 6 PM). Parents and guardians must have a plan for designated people who are able to pick-up a camper with covid-19. All designated people allowed to pick up a camper with covid-19 should be listed on the “Sign-Out” sheet that is completed with the counselor at the time of drop off.

Arriving at camp 

Families: In order to minimize possible transmission to camp participants, family members (or those dropping off campers) who arrive with participants will be asked to wear a mask over their nose and mouth when indoors (which may include the check-in process, visiting the camp store, or helping campers get set-up in cabins).  In the cabins, only one family unit will be allowed indoors at a time and should limit their time in the cabin to 5-10 minutes. People who are dropping off participants may spend time with campers outdoors without masks until it is time to depart.  

Participant Screening: Camp staff will ask participants if they have symptoms of covid-19 and complete a temperature check.  If there are any symptoms, the staff will complete a rapid antigen test with the participant to check for covid-19.  If there is a positive result, participants will not be permitted to stay for the session. 

Release: Parents/guardians will be required to sign a Consent to Test form when dropping off minor-aged campers, allowing the camp staff to provide a rapid antigen test if a participant becomes symptomatic or they are a close contact while at camp.  If a parent/guardian will not be dropping off the camper, they should submit the form prior to the arrival of the camper.

While at Camp

Precautions: Participants will be allowed to participate in camp programming without masks* as long as no positive cases are identified while at camp. If cases are identified in the camp setting, all camp participants will be required to wear masks while indoors (with the exception of during meals or within cabins).

*This standard may change at any time based on the conditions of the pandemic and updates will be shared with participants via UltraCamp.   

Symptoms: If a participant shows symptoms of covid-19 while at camp, they will be evaluated by the camp nurse. (In the case of an adult-only camp that is not staffed by a nurse, the participant shall notify the Assistant Director or Director of their symptoms.) Camp staff will test the participants with a rapid antigen test. In the case of a minor, the parent/guardian will be notified when a test is administered, regardless of the results. If a camper tests positive, they will need to leave camp as soon as possible, but no more than 6 hours after the test is conducted (or 12 hours if the test is completed after 6 PM).  

Please see the Parent and Camper Guide for general policies related to Payment and Refunds that will apply in the case of covid-19 illness identified at camp or the need to cancel a program.

Close contacts: If a positive case is identified at camp, participants who are defined as close contacts of someone who tests positive will be able to remain at camp as long as they are up-to-date for vaccination. Camp staff will test all close contacts with a rapid antigen test when the case is identified and parents/guardians will be notified of the results for minor-aged campers. The camp nurse will perform daily symptom checks with the close contacts and perform a test if symptoms develop. Close contacts will receive a follow-up rapid antigen test 5 days after their initial exposure, if the duration of the program allows.

Communication: If a participant tests positive for covid-19 while at camp, an email communication will go to the Primary Contact of minor-aged campers while they are at camp. If the minor-aged camper is considered a close contact of the person who tested positive, the Primary Contact listed in UltraCamp will additionally receive a phone call from a member of the Pilgrim Lodge management team. The specific names of participants will not be utilized in any communication. Pilgrim Lodge will follow reporting requirements to notify the state Department of Health and Human services of test results administered at camp.  

For questions, please contact us at 207-724-3200 or echarles@pilgrimlodge.org.