DSC_9621.JPG

Summer 2021 FAQs

Updated June 29th 2021

Is there more limited capacity for Summer 2021?


Note that camp is almost full, and enrollment will be determined by the order in which applications were received. Please call or email to see if there is space in your child’s group.




Why are the sessions split by grades?


We’ll likely still be dealing with the pandemic during summer 2021, and our research into the guidelines and best practices indicates that podding will be needed. By only offering a single session option for each age group, we will facilitate a smaller number of kvutzot (age groups) in each session, and optimize logistics and programs offered within the podding structure. It will allow us to accommodate, over the summer, a bigger number of campers, and we hope that this way we’ll be able to avoid having to put campers on a waiting list.




What are you doing to ensure there is not Covid spread at camp?


Pre-camp We will be taking precautions to reduce the risk of the virus getting into camp. We will ask families to take special measures (see next section) in the weeks prior to camp to minimize the potential of a camper arriving having been exposed to Covid-19, and have a thorough testing plan in place (see “testing” section) Podding Because there’s no way to guarantee that the virus will not be introduced to the camp environment, and based on guidance from the CDC and CDPH, it is necessary to limit contact between groups of campers to decrease the likelihood of an outbreak at camp. Campers will all be in pods and will only have close contact with those in their pod. They will be sleeping in the same cabin, eating meals together, and their pod is the only group they will be permitted to be indoors with and without masks on. After the second round of testing 4 days into the session, guidelines for interactions between pods of campers in the same age group (kvutza) will relax a bit. This means a full kvutza (20-30 campers) would be permitted to do activities together outdoors without masks. All camp-wide and mixed kvutzot activities will be outdoors, with masks on, and using physical distancing. This model will allow kids to still have choices in their activities during the day, have social interaction beyond their pod, and maintain everyone’s safety. During Meals As noted, campers will eat meals with their pod. We are building increased capacity for comfortable outdoor dining that will allow additional space between groups. We are enhancing sanitation protocols, following CDC, state, and county guidance. Sanitation We will follow CDC and ACA guidance as to the enhanced sanitation protocols needed for all shared facilities, such as showers and bathrooms, as well as sports, recreational, and other shared equipment. Camp as a bubble Though some contact is unavoidable (food deliveries, for example), we are preparing to operate camp with as little contact with the outside world as possible, reducing the potential of the virus being introduced to camp mid-session.




What is the refund policy for Summer 2021?


All payments are fully refundable through June 1st, 2021 (including the deposit.) If you cancel registration between June 2nd to June 30th you will be refunded a 50% of tuition. There is no refund for cancellations after July 1st. If the county will not issue permits for overnight camps and Camp Gilboa cannotoperate and is forced to cancel sessions, families will be fully refunded. If a camper needs to join late because of a positive Covid test, we will prorate tuition based on when the camper is able to attend. Please see the section on testing for more information.




When can I visit camp?


Families are invited to camp on June 12th & 13th, so save the date! To allow for a safe visit to camp, space will be limited and signing up for designated slots will be required. Camp visits are highly recommended for new campers! Campers gaining familiarity with the space and getting to know counselors and other campers prior to camp usually have an easier and faster time acclimating to the new environment and overcoming homesickness. A sign up form is coming soon, so stay tuned! There will be no visiting camp while it is in session for summer 2021, to ensure the virus is not introduced into camp mid-session.




How can I communicate with my camper?


The most successful camp experiences occur when a child is fully immersed in camp. Therefore, most direct communication with campers will happen in writing. Parents are always welcome to email us and ask to be called with an update about their child and we encourage new camper families to review the communications section of the camper handbook to see how we work with parents to help children overcome homesickness. Please send your letters to: Your Camper's Name (Grade) Camp Gilboa P.O. Box 1532 Big Bear Lake, CA 92315-1532 Parents can also send emails to MyCamper@campgilboa.org, which we print and deliver at the same time that mail is delivered. Please write your child's name & grade in the subject line. If there is anything that needs to be communicated urgently, please contact camp staff via email or WhatsApp (details in the Camper Handbook.)




What are the pre-camp requirements? How will families contribute to reducing the risk of Covid spread at camp?


Camp is a residential living environment and introducing Covid into camp can result in many campers and their families getting infected! That means that activities that you deem safe and the Covid-safety precautions that you’re exercising now may not be sufficient in the ten days prior to camp. To protect the whole community, we will be asking families to take special precautions to avoid any chance of infection in the 10 days prior to camp. That means that we will ask you to take the level of precaution that you’re exercising now a few levels up. For unvaccinated campers: avoid any nonessential outing or contact outside the nuclear family!

  • Do not schedule or plan on participating in any trips, parties (including 4th of July), or any gathering for the ten days prior to camp, even if they’re outdoors
  • Though playdates in the park are relatively safe, we ask that you avoid them in the ten days prior to camp. Plan on all play and recreation to occur with the nuclear family only
  • If you need camp specific shopping, please take care of it before the ten days prior to camp mark
  • That big trip to Target? Go for it once the kids are already at camp!
  • Unvaccinated parents: if your work allows for it, please work from home and avoid in-person meetings for that period
For vaccinated campers: you do not need to quarantine, but we do ask that you exercise an increased level of caution. Please avoid large group gatherings and indoor group gatherings, and continue to follow all CDPH and CDC guidance. Testing requirements
  • Note that producing a negative Covid test result from the previous 24-72 hours will be a condition to being admitted to camp. Vaccinated campers are required to present a negative Covid test.
  • In addition to the pre-camp test, campers will be tested on the day of arrival to camp - please see the “travel to camp” section to understand how this test will be happening and what is required of families.
  • We will require parents’ consent to periodic screening and testing of campers during camp.
  • Before camp and in the first few days of the session we will be asking that families report to camp any potential exposure of the camper to Covid-19
  • You can find our full testing plan below.




How is the camp program being adjusted for this summer?


We are making adjustments to limit close contact between campers from different pods, but we want to assure families that the spirit of Gilboa will be alive and well this summer! The essence of the Gilboa program - experiential social justice education, wacky and creative adventures, and community building immersed in nature - will be felt throughout the camp sessions. After the second round of testing 4 days into the session, guidelines for interactions between pods of campers in the same age group (kvutza) will relax a bit. This means a full kvutza (20-30 campers) would be permitted to do activities together outdoors without masks. Camp-wide and mixed kvutza activities will be outdoors, with masks on, and using physical distancing. Many of our favorite camp activities that involve campers from different groups, such as chuggim (electives), Yom Meyuchad (Special Days), and Shabbat traditions can be done safely within these guidelines and still allow us to all take part in creating a special communal experience.




Tell me more about how the mirpa’a (health center) will operate this summer.


This year, we’ve added a second medical professional to our 24/7 at-camp staff. At any point during camp we’ll have either a physician and a medic, or a nurse practitioner and a nurse assistant present. In addition, as in previous years, we will have access to telehealth services, providing additional support, when needed. We are working to add additional intake, rest, and isolation areas that are comfortable and Covid-safe. All mirpaa services will continue as in previous years (first aid, administering prescribed medications, initial evaluation, etc.), and you can consult the Camper Handbook for additional information about health practices at camp. If a camper requires medical care not available at camp, they will be escorted to receive off-site care by vaccinated personnel. As per our usual protocol, if your child is sick and needs to stay at the mirpaa for care, we will contact you. In the case of a positive Covid test, we will notify families of campers who have had close contact with the camper who has tested positive.




Will staff be vaccinated? Are they allowed to leave camp?


Camp Gilboa staff are all fully vaccinated! On their days off they will be permitted to leave camp, with restrictions such as avoiding contact with people outside of the camp community. They will reside in a rented house in Big Bear that will function as a continuation of the camp “bubble”.




How are you making decisions about health and safety policies?


Gilboa is fortunate to have a dedicated Medical Committee comprised of physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel who are also Gilboa parents, alumni, and past and present camp healthcare staff. Among our committee members are an infectious disease specialist, a family physician specializing in residential setting care, an emergency medicine physician, and physicians and nurses with camp and Gilboa-specific experience. The committee is preparing all policies and practices following CDC and ACA guidelines.




What can I send in the mail to my camper?


NEW CARE PACKAGES POLICY FOR 2021: Flat Packages Policy:
The only packages that Camp Gilboa will receive are FLAT ENVELOPES up to 12”x15” for magazines, photos, or books. Small items such as stickers and pens are permitted as long as they fit inside the flat envelope. Please do not send candy or food! Any food sent in packages will have to be discarded. Additional details can be found here.




What is the Covid testing plan?


Test 1 - Pre-Camp: All campers are required to present a negative PCR Covid test from within 72 hours ahead of the start of the session. Families should organize their own tests. Check out local county sites and pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) to book. Test 2 - First Day of the Session: We will be testing all campers on the first day of the session, using a PCR test with results within a few hours. Samples will be collected at each of the bus dropoff locations and then analyzed at the testing lab at the Silverlake JCC (SIJCC). We are grateful to the SIJCC, who we will be partnering with to provide PCR surveillance testing with quick results within a few hours. We are coordinating this test - all you need to do is stop at one of the locations! Please do not eat or drink 30 mins ahead of the test! Water is fine up to 10 mins before the test. First Session (starting July 7th) Campers taking the bus from LA will be tested before getting on the bus. The San Diego bus will pick up campers in San Diego and then stop in Redlands to pick up campers there. All campers on this bus will be tested in Redlands. Families driving campers to camp should plan to stop at one of these locations for testing:

  • Gilboa Office 8339 West 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 - between 8:30-9:15am
  • Silverlake JCC 1110 Bates Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029 - between 9:30-10am
  • Inland Empire: Congregation Emanu El 1495 Ford St, Redlands, CA 92373 - between 11-11:45am
  • If stopping at these locations is logistically impossible for your family, there is the option to be tested at camp, but we ask that you arrive no later than 1pm in order for us to get the tests to the lab and receive the results in time.
For 2nd Session (starting July 28th) Campers will all be tested at the Silverlake JCC (9:30-10am) or Congregation Emanu El in Redlands (11-11:30am). Please plan to stop at one of these locations on your way to camp. If stopping at these locations is logistically impossible for your family, there is the option to be tested at camp, but we ask that you arrive no later than 1pm in order for us to get the tests to the lab and receive the results in time. Campers will remain masked, distanced and engage in outdoors activities only until these test results have been delivered. If a camper tests positive in test #1, their arrival to camp will have to be delayed until two consecutive negative tests are presented and Gilboa’s medical staff determines it is safe for them to be at camp. Camp fees will be prorated according to the number of days the camper has been approved to participate. If a camper tests positive in test #2, the camper will have to be picked up by the parents that same day. They will be permitted to return to camp once two consecutive negative tests are presented and Gilboa’s medical staff determines it is safe for them to be at camp. Camp fees will be prorated according to the number of days the camper has been approved to participate. Test 3 - Four Days Into the Session: On day 4, a second test will be conducted for all campers at camp. Samples will be analyzed at the SIJCC lab. Test 4 - Pre-Departure: Campers will all take a 4th Covid test a few days before they head home to reduce the risk of community spread. We recommend families get another test for unvaccinated campers a few days after they get home.




What are the options for getting my child to and from camp?


We are deeply appreciative of everyone’s understanding as plans develop and we adapt to new information. We are now offering buses to camp from LA, San Diego & Redlands for vaccinated campers, buses from camp to LA & Ontario for everyone at the end of each session, and an option to opt into a flight home for campers from Northern California. A transportation form is in your camp account, please fill it out ASAP! Please visit our updated transportation page for additional details.




What happens if there is a positive Covid test during camp?


Though we are mitigating the risk of Covid entering camp by pre-camp precautions and by testing, there is no 100% guarantee that Covid will stay out of camp. We are prepared to handle the unlikely scenario that someone tests positive at camp. An isolation space is available for a camper who tests positive for Covid-19, and we are set to ensure the camper is given excellent care. The family of a camper who has tested positive will be notified immediately and families of campers who are in the pod but have not tested positive will also be notified. Per CDPH guidance on overnight camps, unvaccinated campers who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive but have not tested positive themselves will enter quarantine as a group. Their counselors will stay with them and run activities, ensuring they will still be having fun camp experiences while we reduce any risk of spreading the virus to the rest of camp. The campers and counselors will be monitored and tested daily In the event that a parent chooses to pick up a camper because they have tested positive, tuition will be prorated based on the number of days of participation.




This is my camper’s first time at camp. How can I make sure they end up in a pod with a friend?


Campers in a kvutza (age group) with multiple pods of the same gender will be able to request others to be in their pod. We understand the importance of being in the cabin with friends in a first sleepaway camp experience, and will do everything we can to honor requests.





Other questions? Check out the Camper Handbook, General FAQ, or contact us!