- Student Life
McCallie School’s popular summer camps ended July 31 with camp officials reporting another year of success. More than 1,000 campers, including over 200 campers staying overnight for boarding camps, participated in 42 camp sessions held from mid-June through the end of July on McCallie’s campus.
“Our goal – our only goal – this summer was to provide a top-quality camping program for boys safely,” said Director of Summer Programs Mike Wood, emphasizing the word “safely.” “And because of the hard work and dedication to detail by the camp staff, parents, and especially the campers themselves, we were successful.”
Coach Wood said that there were no reported instances of coronavirus infections by any of the campers. “With guidance from the Hamilton County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Camping Association, we followed strict protocols,” he said, “and the result was that we were able to make things like facemask-wearing, social distancing, even hand washing, part of the fun for the boys.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, summer programs were delayed from their normal start date of late May to June 22, and the number of camps offered was reduced from 64 to 42, Mr. Wood said.
Only four campers missed days because of illness, but none of those absences was attributed to the coronavirus.
“We even changed some of the rules of the games the boys play,” said Mr. Wood. “That allowed us to encourage social distancing and facemasks and the boys seemed to like those new rules.”
Among other protocols used throughout the period of summer camps on campus:
Day camps were shortened to half-days, thus eliminating excessive numbers of campers in dining areas;
All counselors and staff had to receive negative virus tests results within seven days of the opening of camps and to be self-quarantined for a week prior to each camp;
Boarding camps counselors were required to arrive on campus seven days prior to the start of camp and be in quarantine during that period;
All campers were required to be tested prior to attending camp, and temperatures were taken every day as part of a routine health screening;
Off-campus day trips were eliminated for most camps and significantly cut back for others;
In most camps, the campers were separated into small groups and remained in those small groups throughout the session.
“We placed a lot of restrictions in our programs this summer,” said Head of School Lee Burns ’87, “and we are appreciative of the boys and their parents for following those rules, as well as the counselors and staffers. Because of that, we not only had a safe summer, but a fun summer.”