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Using guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Camp Association (ACA), departments of health and camp experts, we will be making modifications to our camp programming this summer and implementing practices aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

We are aware that the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health are progressively relaxing COVID 19 standards for the general population. Our policies may be more conservative that those recommended for the general public due to the unique nature of our programming and population of campers.

Please read below for more information.

*The COVID-19 safety protocols listed below were published on 5/14/2021 and are subject to change.

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Pre Arrival

10 days prior to session start date

Unvaccinated campers should start quarantining to the best of their ability in preparation for arrival. We define quarantine as:

  • Avoiding all non-essential travel and gatherings, included 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-19 transmission.

3 days prior to session start date

Unvaccinated campers must take a COVID-19 test (PCR required) and receive a negative result. Campers will be required to upload test results prior to their arrival at camp.

  • Extra caution should be taken during the three days between testing and arrival at camp.

Campers who have recently recovered from COVID 19:

Campers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months should not take a COVID 19 test but will be required to provide a doctor’s note attesting to their recent illness and recovery.

Fully Vaccinated Campers:

Fully vaccinated campers do not need to take a COVID-19 test but will be required to provide proof of vaccination, either in the form of a doctor’s note or vaccine card. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen)

Campers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to provide a negative test COVID-19 test result prior to arrival.

CampDoc Y of the North Camps are working with CampDoc for all health history information including proof of negative test results, vaccinations, and doctor notes related to COVID-19.

Day Before Arrival

Unvaccinated Campers:

Unvaccinated campers must upload a negative PCR COVID-19 test result to their Camp Doc Profile within three days of arrival. 

Campers who have recently recovered from COVID 19:

Campers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months must upload a doctor’s note attesting to their recent illness and recovery by midnight on the night before they arrive at camp.

Fully Vaccinated Campers:

Fully vaccinated campers do not need to take a COVID-19 test but should upload proof of vaccination - either a Doctor’s note or Vaccination Card – by midnight on the night before they arrive at camp.

Day of Arrival

All Campers will be asked to complete a series of screening questions before they board the bus or enter camp property.

Unfortunately, a camper who answers “yes” to one or more of the screening questions will not be allowed to come to camp on that day. We will work with these families to identify other options including other session options later in the summer.

Our summer staff will follow the same pre-arrival practices listed above.

The info graphic below offers a handy outline of this information.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

We expect that our Trail Counselors/Guides will be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus before the 2021 camp season starts.

We encourage all eligible campers to pursue COVID-19 vaccinations prior to arrival.

Additional COVID-19 Related Packing List Items

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

  • Eight 2-layer fabric masks
  • Personal Hand Sanitizer
Pre-Arrival Safety

Download chart

To and From Camp

Onsite Drop off and Pick up

  • We will have directions for parents and guardians who opt to drop their campers off when they arrive on site. Please note that we are currently closed to visitors when campers are present. We will be asking family members to remain in the car.

Bus Transportation

Bus Drop Off:

  • Parents/guardians should plan to remain in their car during check in and check out. Specific details will be communicated prior to camp.

Bus Ride:

  • Campers/Staff will wear masks on the bus.
  • Campers will have assigned seats and an organized strategy for loading and unloading luggage.
  • Campers and staff will eat lunch outdoors and will not be allowed to snack on the bus.
  • The bus company will circulate fresh air on the bus.

Plane Transportation

  • Campers who travel by plane to get to camp will be expected to follow our pre-arrival requirements including quarantining, receiving a negative COVID-19 test 3 days prior to arrival and submitting the negative test result, proof of vaccination or recent recovery.  
  • Campers should plan to wear additional protective equipment during airfare including:
    • A N95 or KN95 mask and 
    • Face Shield and/or Lab Goggles
Minnesota Testing and Vaccination Resources
On Site Camp Programming
  • Campers and staff will wear masks according to the “Rule of Three” – the “three” being masks, distance, and the outdoors – the “rule” being that everyone will need to have two of these three interventions in place while on site at camp except while sleeping.   
  • Camper trail groups will be considered a pod and will be asked to maintain distance from other pods.
  • Programming will be planned in a manner that reduces shared equipment, increases sanitization of surface areas and program supplies, utilizes outdoor spaces, and allows pods to maintain appropriate physical distance.
  • At this time the sauna remains closed.
  • Meals will be held outside as much as possible in order to limit the number of people in the dining hall.
  • Campers will eat with their trail groups.
  • Meals will be served by staff members to avoid multiple hands touching serving utensils.
  • Masks are required in our dining hall except when eating. 
  • Trail meals will be packed out by trained staff members.
  • Campers and staff will wear masks in all shared spaces, except when eating or sleeping. 
  • Buildings will have windows open when weather permits and fans will circulate the air in spaces that have electricity.
  • When possible, trail groups will stay in cabins alone. Larger cabins will accommodate two groups when necessary. In that case, groups will be asked to stay on their half of the cabin. 
  • Scheduled cleaning and disinfection, as well as increased hand washing and sanitizing measures will be in place.
  • All programs will be moved outside whenever possible.
Screening, Testing and Positive Cases

Screening and Testing

  • We will conduct health screenings of campers and staff when they arrive on site and daily throughout our programming. 
  • Unvaccinated campers 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 campers and staff while at camp and in the backcountry. 
  • Trail Counselors and other camp staff will be trained to administer these tests.

Positive Cases

Parents and Guardians should be aware that if a camper tests positive for COVID-19, we will be required to remove that camper from the field along with, potentially, their entire trail group.

  • Campers 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.
  • Campers 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 camper’s entire trail 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 camper as soon as possible after they receive notification of a positive test result.
  • Under most circumstances:
    • We will expect parents/guardians of campers out west and in Alaska to pick up their camper at their trip location within three days. 
    • We will expect parents/guardians of campers in Minnesota or Michigan to pick their camper within two days.
  • Families will be responsible for their evacuated camper’s travel home from their trip destination. 
  • We will work with families to orchestrate this transition as smoothly and quickly as possible. 
Wilderness Travel

Travel to Canada

  • The Canadian border remains closed. We will communicate contingency plans for trips that traditionally travel in Canada via email to families.
  • In case the border opens this summer, campers registered for these trips should make sure that they have a valid passport unless they hear otherwise. 

Transit and Tripping

  • Campers and staff will wear masks in the van.
  • Campers and staff will be expected to make as few stops as possible on road trips and only enter facilities to use the restroom.
  • Campers will wear masks in congested areas on-trail when it is difficult to maintain distance from the public. 
Parent/Guardian Information

Closing Ceremonies

We will be limiting Banquets and Closing Ceremonies to just enrolled campers and staff. We are making limited exceptions to this policy for Arctic trips. Arctic families will receive separate communication.


As always, we never want to turn anyone away because of their financial situation. We are aware that financial circumstances are uniquely challenging this year. Please consider reaching out for financial assistance, we want all campers to be able to experience camp this summer: https://www.ymcamn.org/scholarships.

Cancellation Policy

General Cancellations

  • Cancellations on or before May 15, we will refund all fees paid except for the deposit.
  • Cancellations after May 15, all fees are non-refundable.

Exceptions may be made for a full refund in the case of documented medical illness, injury or family emergency and for campers who opt to withdraw because they don’t feel that their scholarship award meets their financial needs.

COVID-19 related Cancellations

If our program offerings change because of COVID-19, or your ability to attend camp changes due to COVID-19 circumstances, our options are listed below:

  • Full refund: refund in full including deposit, according to the COVID-19 policy
  • Donate: instead of a refund, make a donation to support YMCA Camps
  • Refund and donate: do both, donate a percentage of your fees and refund the rest

If a program is shortened due to a positive COVID-19 case in your child’s group, we reserve the right to retain a portion of the camp fee to cover costs incurred during the session.

Please contact our Customer Service Center to assist with any cancellation questions.

Returning Home From Camp

We recommend that campers adhere to the following CDC guidelines for testing and quarantine when they return home from camp: 

  • Camp staff and campers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a viral test 3–5 days after traveling home from camp AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Refer to CDC’s Travel During COVID-19 website for more information about what to do after traveling home from camp. 
  • Fully vaccinated people should follow current guidance for domestic travel and may not need to be tested or self-quarantine after camp unless they are experiencing symptoms.