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Safety and Security at Camp & Public Notice

Updated: Mar 12

Keeping our campers and staff safe is our number one priority at all times.  Read on to learn more about our safety and security practices at camp, including a public notice about upcoming improvements to our communications systems thanks to a governmental nonprofit security grant.



How does Camp Gilboa ensure campers’ health and safety?


Camp Gilboa is accredited by the American Camp Association, the leading authority in the promotion of camp safety and quality. That means that we follow hundreds of standards ranging from sanitation to camper/staff ratio, to quality of programming. On our last accreditation day-long visit and assessment, we passed with a 100% score on all standards. That’s because at Gilboa, the health and safety of campers is not only our #1 priority, it is also everyone’s responsibility; from the group counselors and camp directors, to our kitchen staff, to our on-site nurse.


All staff are First Aid and CPR trained and certified. Staff with additional appropriate certification are present during activities such as kayaking, archery, and swimming.

Our camp health center (mirpa’a) is staffed 24 hours a day with either a nurse or a paramedic. If a camper isn’t feeling well, they will be assessed by the nurse and may either rest and recover in one of our health center camper rooms, or if the nurse determines additional evaluation is needed, they might be sent to see a doctor in the town of Big Bear (20 minutes away). While in our health center, campers are treated and watched by the nurse, with additional care by the senior staff and frequent (nurse approved) visits by their counselors and friends.


We’ve had a full assessment of our site security needs done by the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Community Security Initiative Directors, and have worked with them to review and improve our safety and security protocols, which all staff learn and practice during staff training. We are in touch with the local emergency services in town (the forest service, fire department, local hospital and sheriff) throughout the year, and meet with them before each camp season to make sure they’re aware of the details of our operations for that summer.


In addition, we have received two government nonprofit security grants to increase our physical security (such as installing an additional gate to our generator road) as well as internal and external communication abilities (such as a PA system, Starlink internet, satellite phones, etc).  Lastly, more adult staff have been strategically placed near the entrances of camp and the generator road, giving more presence in vulnerable areas.



How does Camp Gilboa make decisions about health and safety policies?


Gilboa is fortunate to have a dedicated Medical Committee composed 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.


Our Medical Committee has recently updated our COVID-19 policies based on ACIP guidelines - please see below.  In order to come to camp this summer, campers and staff will need to provide proof of the most recent COVID-19 vaccination (after September 2023).

  • Children aged ≥5 years who are unvaccinated or have previously gotten a COVID-19 vaccine before September 12, 2023, should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

  • People ≥12 years can also receive 2 doses of updated Novavax COVID-19 vaccine instead.

After discussing last summer’s strep outbreak with the Medical Committee, it was decided not to add across-the-board strep testing to our pre-summer checklist.  The committee felt that it is not possible to screen for every single potential virus ahead of camp, and instead we are stressing the importance of sending kids to camp healthy (and keeping them home if they have any cold symptoms whatsoever) as well as putting into place better protocols for if strep or any other contagion is found at camp - such as earlier detection (for strep this includes having rapid tests at camp), adding hand sanitizing stations, etc.



What security upgrades does Camp Gilboa have in place for this summer?


We know that this summer, in addition to the usual safety concerns, our community is especially concerned about heightened tensions due to the war in Israel/Palestine.  We are addressing these concerns by applying funding from a governmental nonprofit security grant towards strengthening our emergency protocols training and our internal and external communications systems.  This will ensure that our staff know what to do in case of an emergency and have the necessary tools to communicate amongst ourselves at camp as well as with emergency services outside of camp.  As part of this grant, we are required to post a public notice with information about where to submit comments - please see below.



PUBLIC NOTICE

Notification is hereby given to the public of the intent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance to the Habonim Camp Kvutza located at 38200 BluffLake Road, Big Bear Lake, CA, for the purchase and installation of communications equipment such as: satellite radios and related equipment, a handheld radio system, mounted PA speakers, cell phone boosters and a repeater.


Because of its location in a Special Flood Hazard Area, this facility is susceptible to flooding and storm induced erosion. Under the President’s Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, FEMA is required to review opportunities to relocate the facility out of the floodplain or to minimize future damage from flooding. Public comment is invited on possible alternatives to this action and methods to protect the facility.


Interested persons may obtain information about this action and its specific location by emailing Elizabeth.mcwaters-bjorkman@fema.dhs.gov. Comments about this project and the application of the Floodplain Management Executive Order to it should be submitted via email to Elizabeth.mcwaters-bjorkman@fema.dhs.gov by March 23rd 2024 . This public notice will also serve as the final public notice provided there are no questions or concerns regarding this project.

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