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COVID-19 Safety

We are currently reevaluating our COVID-19 guidelines for 2023

Our 2022 Overnight Camp guidelines are below

Our top priority is to keep our participants, families, and staff safe. In light of our current reality, we have elevated our medical protocols and practices using recommendations from leading health organizations and the guidance of our Camp Nursing Staff and overseeing Physicians.


YMCA of the North expects its staff to vaccinate fully against the COVID-19 virus.

We encourage all eligible participants to get vaccinated before arrival.

Youth Summer Camps


We ask that all participants avoid all unnecessary travel and gatherings in the 10 days leading up to the start of their session.

Pre-Arrival Testing
  • All participants will be required to take a COVID test within 3 days of the start of their session.
  • Results must be uploaded to CampDoc prior to the start of the session.
  • YMCA of the North prefers molecular PCR tests.
COVID Test Sites (MN)launch
Quarantine Period

Between testing and arriving at camp, we strongly recommend a quarantine period defined as:

  • Avoiding all non-essential travel and gatherings, including but not limited to restaurants, social gatherings, etc. 
  • Mask wearing in groups and indoor spaces outside of the home environment.  
  • 6 feet physical distancing in groups outside of the home environment. 
  • Conscious awareness of risk factors associated with COVID transmission. 
  • Immunity boosting practices: rest, vitamins, healthy diet, etc ...
Packing List Additions

In addition to the pre-arrival protocols listed above, we are asking that participants prepare for camp by adding these COVID-19-related items to their packing list:

  • Eight 2-layer fabric masks
  • Personal Hand Sanitizer
Air Travel Gear

Travel gear recommended to be worn from airport to airport:

  • N95/KN95 
  • Face Shield and/or Lab Goggles 


  • Meals will be held outside as much as possible, limiting capacity in the dining hall.
  • Participants will still eat with their cabin groups, an important part of our camp tradition.
  • Meals will be served family-style to cabin groups.
  • Adjustments will be made to buffet-style options, eliminating shared utensils (for example, each cabin will be provided a salad instead of utilizing the shared salad bar).
  • Participants and staff will wear masks in all shared spaces, except sleeping cabins. The capacity of participant cabins will align with physical distancing standards.
  • Cabins and high-use shared spaces will keep windows open and run fans for increased ventilation.
  • Extended use of HVAC systems, with increases in replacement of high-quality filters.
  • Scheduled cleaning and disinfection, as well as increased handwashing and sanitizing measures put in place.
  • All programs will be moved outside when possible.

Travel to Canada

The Canadian border remains closed. We will communicate contingency plans for trips that traditionally travel in Canada via email to families. When the border opens, participants should make sure that they have a valid passport unless they hear otherwise.

    • Participants and staff will wear masks in the van.
    • Participants and staff will be expected to make as few stops as possible on road trips and only enter facilities to use the restroom.
    • Participants will wear masks in congested areas on-trail when it is difficult to maintain distance from the public. 
    Closing Ceremonies
    • We will be limiting banquets and ceremonies to enrolled participants and staff.
    • Limited exceptions are made for Arctic trips. Arctic families will receive separate communication.

    Testing at Camp

    • We will conduct health screenings of participants and staff when they arrive on-site and daily throughout our programming. 
    • Unvaccinated participants who are traveling from out of state will receive a rapid antigen surveillance test before they depart for their wilderness trip.
    • Rapid antigen tests will be available for participants and staff while at camp and in the backcountry. 
    • Trail Counselors and other camp staff will be trained to administer these tests.
    Positive Cases
    • Participants who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be tested and isolated from their group. Each trail group will carry an isolation tent for this purpose.
    • Participants who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent home.
    • Families should be aware that we will consider the unique circumstances of each situation but we may have to evacuate and send home that participant’s entire group as well. 
    • Camp will communicate with the Minnesota Department of Health and work with health department officials to identify and isolate close contacts as appropriate.
    • Communication with and Expectations for Families
    • Camp will communicate pertinent information efficiently with parents and guardians.
    • Families should plan to assume care of an evacuated participant as soon as possible after they receive notification of a positive test result.
    Participant Pick-Up
    • We will expect parents/guardians of participants out west and in Alaska to pick up their participants at their trip location within three days. 
    • We will expect parents/guardians of participants in Minnesota or Michigan to pick their participants within two days.
    • Families will be responsible for their evacuated participant’s travel home from their trip destination. 
    • We will work with families to orchestrate this transition as smoothly and quickly as possible.

    Returning Home

    We recommend participants adhere to CDC guidelines for testing and quarantine when returning home from camp.

    Family Camp
    Social Contract

    As a way to keep your family and our camp community healthy, we ask that you agree to the following social contract: 

    • When indoors, besides in your cabin, every family member is recommended to wear a mask.   
    • Please adhere to all signage for closed spaces, staff-only spaces, exit and entry points, and capacity recommendations.  
    • Perform daily health checks- please monitor the health of yourself and the others in your cabin family. If there is a change, please inform a staff member immediately.
    Group Gathering Guidelines
    • Wash hands often and help us clean and disinfect high-touch spaces and program equipment when possible. 
    • Please read cabin cleaning instructions and assist us at the end of your stay in getting ready for the guests that come after you. 
    • Have fun, breathe the fresh air, relax, play and enjoy your time! 
    Two young ladies at a climbing course

    Making adventure more accessible

    The YMCA offers need-based financial assistance to help people access the programs that are important to them.

    Here to Help

    Have a question or need assistance?