YMCA Camp Eberhart is situated on 200 wooded acres with over a mile of shoreline on Corey Lake. At YMCA Camp Eberhart, learning is experiential, and often student-lead as curiosities flourish and natural abilities burst forth. We invite you and your students to visit our outdoor classroom - The Forest Fields, Hiking Trails, and Lake Shore where education lives and breathes. Our staff can help you design and conduct programs that meet the standards of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinoi's curriculum as well as inspire students to become lifelong learners.
To learn more about the classes offered, check out our curriculum guide. Much of our curriculum is teamwork and education-based, but we can always find time for recreational activities such as canoeing or archery.
We’re excited to offer our program to all in the Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan area. For more information please call YMCA Camp Eberhart at (269) 244-5125.
At YMCA Camp Eberhart the health and safety of our guests and staff have been our number one priority for over 110 years. This past year has been a challenge for everyone - with decreased outdoor activities, increased screen time for schooling and limited social interactions with their peers, our campers need camp more now than ever! While Outdoor Education at YMCA Camp Eberhart will look slightly different this spring, we are committed to providing a safe, healthy program that continues to provide our students outdoor experiences, hands-on learning opportunities and memories they will always remember.
At YMCA Camp Eberhart we will be layering many different procedures and adaptations to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. This includes mask wearing for campers and staff, programming in reduced group sizes, activities and schedules that provide physical distance between groups, good hygiene practices, proper cleaning & sanitizing and daily screenings. This information is laid out in more detail below.
We will continue to closely follow all CDC and State of Michigan Health Department guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all our guests and staff. As we have found over this past year, information continues to evolve and change. As changes happen, we will be updating our procedures accordingly.
Pre-Camp Health Screening
We are asking guests and staff to follow CDC recommended behaviors prior to arrival at camp. This includes good hand washing often, wearing a face covering that covers both your mouth and nose when around others and daily monitoring of health for signs and symptoms 14 days prior to the arrival of camp.
We will not require vaccines for our guests. The American Camping Association (ACA), which is working with the CDC and public health experts, have shared that they don’t expect student age participants to have access to vaccines due to their low-risk and therefore low priority for vaccine distribution. As they are made available, we encourage all our staff to follow CDC guidelines and take the necessary steps to be vaccinated before their arrival to camp.
We are limiting the number of schools or groups that can be on camp at one time to 2. This will allow us to provide physical distancing throughout our property and proper sanitizing of all program areas.
We require that schools/groups screen their students/staff before arriving for camp. Children with a fever or other Covid-19 symptoms should stay home. Upon arrival at camp, we will provide a second wellness screening that including a temperature and asking students how they feel that day. The Camp Executive Director will also be available upon arrival to address any questions or concerns. For overnight guests, a second temperature check will be conducted at dinner. This process repeats itself each day. All temperatures are recorded in writing and given to the lead teacher at departure.
What Activities/Outdoor Programming can Students Participate in?
Nearly all our classes and activities naturally take place outdoors. We have made alterations to typical indoor programs so they can also be offered outdoors. We have made several accommodations to each class and program area to ensure students safety while still having hands on learning and camp experiences. This includes allowing no more than 2 students per canoe and sanitizing each canoe/paddle/lifejacket between use, arrows are placed in sanitizing solution, all bows wiped between users, and hand sanitizer is provided for use before and after each climber on the climbing tower. Several of our educational classes happen naturally in the outdoors, such as nature hikes, tree identification, pond study and survival which allow for plenty of opportunity for social distancing with almost no impact on the experience of the class. We will continue classes outdoors during light rain, but in the case of more inclement weather we have 3 large open buildings with great air flow that can be utilized as needed.
Following the current State of Michigan mandates and the CDC guidelines, guests and staff will be required to wear their mask as outlined below. Should the mandates and guidelines change, our policies will reflect those changes.
At this time, masks are to be worn at all times indoors except when eating, sleeping and bathing. Masks are also to be worn at all times outdoors except when participating in properly distanced strenuous physical activity (mountain biking, climbing tower, etc) and during water-based activities (swimming, boating, etc).
Keeping Students and Guest Safe in our Lodges
Due to Covid-19, we have limited the number of schools that will be joining us at Camp Eberhart at one time. We have also decreased the max number of guests per lodge to allow for social distancing. For example, our largest lodge sleeps 48, but our max number of guests is 32. This will provide students additional space to spread out and comfortable social distance. Each lodge also has their own bathroom and, similar to schools, guests are asked to wash their hands after use. For cabins that have 2 wings, each wing has its own bathroom. Lodges are fully sanitized before a school arrives and re-sanitized daily while the school is at camp. Per the CDC, 6 feet separation is not required between the top and bottom bunk because of the physical barrier beds. Camp Staff will keep written record that each cabin is leaned and sanitized before your arrival. Disinfecting wipes are provided at each lodge for the duration of your stay for door handles and shared surfaces as needed. Hand sanitizer will also be available at all times in each cabin. As you will read below, cabins/classrooms are also assigned a designate table in Klinger Hall for their meals. Finally, we will have completed construction on our brand new bathhouse by May 1st, which is sanitized daily and allows for more safe bathroom options.
Sharing Camp with a Second School
We have limited the number of schools allowed at camp at one time to 2. Should there be a second school at camp during your visit, interactions will be heavily limited. Staff are trained to sanitize all equipment used at each program area and school meeting locations will be kept separate.
This spring we have reduced the max capacity of our dining hall to 132 (non-covid capacity is 300). This will allow us to provide significant space to spread out 11 tables per meal. Some items will already be placed on the table prior to the start of the meal (water pitcher, cups, silverware, etc) and single serve cold items that do not require shared tongs will be available on the cold bar. We do ask that adults help supervise students at the cold bar. A healthy variety of pre-packaged salad bar and sandwich items will also be available at meals. The hot meal will then be available through the service line and served by food service staff. Similar to schools, our dining hall is marked for social distancing and there is a plexiglass shield between all food being served and our guests. When your cabin groups are done eating, we ask that all plates and dishes are emptied and neatly stacked on their table for our staff to clear after meal service. Our staff will also sanitize each table before and after each meal.
YMCA Camp Eberhart will conduct daily screenings of all staff and visitors that includes a daily wellness check and logged temperature checks.
We understand the concerns and questions that come with operating a camp during a pandemic. We have worked very hard to provide a safe and healthy environment for your students. Please understand that there are other very natural illness students may have over the course of their stay and that we are very accustomed to seeing in the camp setting (stomach ache, sore throat, homesickness, tired from a long day, etc). However, due to Covid-19 we are required to take them more seriously. The following precautions will be taken:
- Should a student develop a fever of 100.4 or higher we will ask schools to contact the student’s parent/guardian and ask them to have the child rest at home.
- Should a camper vomit while at camp, they will be provided a safe place to rest in the wellness center to be monitored and their parents will need to be contacted.
All areas that were utilized by the school with the symptomatic person will be cleared and sanitized before use again.
In the event the participant tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing will be required to be completed. The school will need to notify both camp and the families of the students identified through contact tracing. YMCA Camp Eberhart will also be required to make a report with our local health department, letting them know a participant attending our program tested positive.
Cleaning, Handwashing and Sanitizing Procedures
While YMCA Camp Eberhart has always employed a high level of cleanliness, we have added extra precautions and a higher frequency. Our cleaning and sanitizing processes follow current recommendations from the CDC and State of Michigan Department of Health.
The cleanliness and sanitizing of cabins and program areas are the responsibility of all camp staff. Our full staff team is trained to perform and document different levels of cleaning and sanitizing as determined by the specific area’s frequency of use. Shared program equipment (life jackets, bows, helmets, etc) will be cleaned and sanitized after every user. Bathrooms are also cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
Handwashing will continue to be a very important risk mitigation step as it helps to stop the spread of germs. In addition to the lavatory sinks found in all restrooms around camp, there will also be additional sanitizing stations throughout camp, at every program area and in each cabin. Additionally, all staff will be equipped with hand sanitizer to encourage frequent use.
To ensure we do not inadvertently introduce Covid-19 to our guests and staff, visitors will not be allowed this spring. Camp will continue to allow deliveries for essential camp items. This includes UPS, FedEx, USPS, food deliveries, propane, etc. We have prepared a safe location for all deliveries away from our camper populations and all vendors that need to be on camp beyond this location must check-in with the Camp Office and comply with camp’s Covid-19 protocols to limit the risk of additional exposure.
Staff Time Off
Appropriate time off for our staff is crucial to the success of our programming, mental well-being and care of your students. Daily on-site staff time off will be incorporated appropriately into the camp schedule. However, at this time, seasonal staff will not be mandated to remain on camp property on their time off between groups. Staff will be required to abide by and sign a code of conduct ensuring they understand their role is to keep our camp community safe this summer.
Additional Covid Precautions at Camp
We have taken great measures to ensure that our guests and staff remain healthy while at camp. They include all of the following:
- All staff receive a health screening every day before reporting to duty.
- All guests receive a health screening upon arrival at camp.
- All guests and staff are required to wash their hands before lunch. Sanitizer is also available throughout camp.
- Touchless trash cans will be available at all times.
- Drinking fountains will not be in use but water bottle refill stations will be located at Klinger Hall and throughout camp. All students are encouraged to bring their own personal water bottle to camp.
- Cabin and trail groups will have very limited interaction and are purposefully scheduled to not mix with other groups while at camp.
- We have hired staff specifically for cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day including set times to clean and sanitize shared bathrooms and common spaces.
- Every staff member has been equipped with hand sanitizer for use with guests between activities and sanitizing equipment to be used between guests when sharing equipment.
- All staff will wear masks at all times. Guests are asked to wear masks at all times other than swimming, boating and sleeping.
- All staff have been trained on signs and symptoms of Covid -19.
- Should a confirmed case of Covid-19 be traced back to YMCA Camp Eberhart both the health department and all guest families will be informed. YMCA Camp Eberhart will follow all guidelines as provided from the Health Department at this time.
- The point of contact onsite during camp operation and manager of all health-related Covid-19 concerns is the Camp Director, Katia Martin.
I have more questions and thoughts, who can I contact?
We are not surprised to hear it – there is a lot to process right now! The best way to share your questions and thoughts with us is through our Contact Us Form or call us at 269-244-5125. We look forward to hearing from you!