BOLD & GOLD Summer 2021 FAQs
Last updated: July 6, 2021, at 1:11 p.m. PT
Originally published: January 25, 2021, at 1:36 p.m. PT
The outbreak of COVID-19 has profoundly impacted our communities, businesses, families, and daily lives. Our hearts go out to those affected—particularly to those personally at risk or who have lost a loved one. The health and well-being of our participants and staff is paramount, and we take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. We are continuing to monitor the spread and impact of this virus in the Pacific Northwest, and particularly in the areas we operate. At BOLD & GOLD, we are asking ourselves to respond the same way we would ask of our participants—with courage, hope, and above all, compassion. Below, please find an update about our summer 2021 programs.
The responses in these FAQs are best management practices as of June 28, 2021. We expect that practices will continue to shift and will update these FAQs as new information and guidance is received from public health and industry leaders. Thank you for your patience!
1. Will BOLD & GOLD offer trips this summer?
Yes! We believe that now, more than ever, there is a need for meaningful, fun outdoor experiences. In conjunction with public health officials, and in alignment with Washington State’s public health measures, we are working to offer amazing summer experiences for youth and families. The health and safety of our participants, staff, and community is our top priority.
2. What programs will be offered this summer?
BOLD & GOLD will be operating one and two-week frontcountry and backcountry trips.
3. How will activities be impacted by COVID-19?
As a wilderness-based program that operates in small groups, BOLD & GOLD is uniquely positioned to maintain most of our program curriculum. We anticipate the implementation of program modifications, enhanced cleaning procedures during, and a focus on small group sizes. The health and safety of participants and staff is our top priority. We will continue to release more information about our operating plans as we get closer to summer. Thank you for your patience!
4. What will happen if public health restrictions remain in place through the summer?
BOLD & GOLD is committed to following the recommendations of civil authorities and public health officials. If restrictions remain in place that prevent us from operating, we will cancel programs and notify families. Impacted families will have an opportunity to credit their fee towards another program in 2021, make a donation to the Y’s Community Response Fund, or can request a refund.
Health & Safety Questions
1. What is your overall approach to operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
In 2020, BOLD & GOLD staff worked tirelessly to alter plans and adjust program models to safely get young people outdoors. Navigating travel and safety guidelines across counties and public land jurisdictions required dynamic protocols, strong partnerships with public health officials, and increased resources. Ultimately, BOLD & GOLD operated 37 one-week backpacking trips in 2020 serving over 250 youth. The success of this approach was made possible because BOLD & GOLD has invested in creating a risk management culture that seeks review by external leaders, encourages reflection, and embraces learning and adaptation.
BOLD & GOLD has extensive experience in analyzing public health guidance, implementing program modifications, and adapting as situations change. In 2021 and beyond, we know that continued vigilance and flexibility will be required. As guidance continues to evolve our best management practices will be built on a foundation that:
- Adheres to the direction of the American Camp Association (ACA), CDC, as well as state and local public health departments.
- Requires health screening and mask wearing.
- Maximizes outdoor time.
- Emphasizes hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting in both indoor and outdoor settings.
- Focuses on small group sizes to encourage and support social distancing.
- Implements a “cohort group” or “pod” model that isolates movement between trips and programs.
- Leverages testing and vaccination resources as available and directed by public health.
2. What steps are you taking to minimize the risk of someone contracting COVID-19?
BOLD & GOLD has worked with industry leaders to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to COVID-19. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Program area, equipment protocols, and sanitization practices have shifted to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
- Physical distancing practices follow the recommendations of the state and county and are in place for all participants and staff.
- Participants and staff will follow mask wearing recommendations of the state and county.
- Daily health screenings for all participants and staff.
- Participants will spend their experience in a “Cohort Group” that is made up of their trail group and instructors.
- “Cohort Groups” will be transported on their own 15-passenger minibus(s) to and from their course area.
- Proper handwashing, food preparation, and sanitation procedures will be taught the first day and reinforced regularly.
- At the conclusion of each trip all personal and group gear will be cleaned and disinfected as directed by manufacturers COVID-19 procedures.
3. How will participants need to prepare for their BOLD & GOLD trip?
Per Washington State requirements all participants and staff must do one of the following before their trip:
- Be fully vaccinated,
- Receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days prior to arrival and remain in quarantine between the test and start of the program. Details on quarantining can be found at the Washington Department of Health’s website. Anyone unable to meet one of these two conditions is not allowed to participate in BOLD & GOLD,
- Provide documentation from a health care provider of recovery from COVID-19 in the three months prior to the start of the program and have met the criteria to end isolation.
For the purposes of this procedure, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two or more weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (PfizerBioNTech or Moderna) or two or more weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen).
Official written verification of the vaccination (vaccination card, medical record from physician, verification from state vaccination database) or test results is required.
To utilize the negative COVID-19 test option, please see the CDC airline checklist for details on what is required to verify a negative test result. This checklist is what BOLD & GOLD will require to verify negative test results.
The Pfizer vaccine has just been approved for youth ages 12-15. Please be aware that the minimum amount of time it will take from first dose to “full vaccination” status is five weeks as there is a required three week wait between doses and then they must be two weeks past the final dose.
Because some individuals experience symptoms that are part of the health screen, we recommend you do not participate the week following either vaccination dose. Being administered the vaccine does not allow exempt someone from the screening requirements.
Regardless of testing or vaccination status, participants and household members must self-monitor for 14 days prior to the start of the trip. If anyone in the household is showing signs of illness such as a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal drainage, and/or coughing/sneezing, please keep your participant home and contact us to reschedule or refund your fees. This greatly reduces the spread of illness.
If possible, we also encourage all participants and household members to practice hygiene (handwashing, mask wearing, etc.) as well as limit interaction with people outside your household for the 10 days prior to the start of the trip.
4. How do I access COVID testing resources?
COVID-19 tests are free and widely available at sites across Washington. For information on testing visit the following websites:
- COVID-19 test locations in King County
- COVID-19 test locations in Pierce County
- COVID-19 test locations in Washington State
If your family has difficulty locating a testing location or getting to a testing location, please contact YMCA staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance
5. How will you be screening participants and staff for COVID-19?
All participants, families, and staff are asked to self-observe prior to their BOLD & GOLD trip. Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to remain home. We can help arrange for a cancellation or change in registration.
One to two days prior to a BOLD & GOLD trip Instructors will conduct a check-in call with each participant and family. These calls are an opportunity for our instructors to connect with their participants, answer questions, and conduct a health screen. Participants and families will be asked to disclose travel and contact history. Travel history includes any travel from/through high- or medium-risk areas as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at the time of the conversation, and contact history includes close contact with anyone with a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19.
Upon arrival, and prior to participating, all youth, family members, and staff will be subject to mandatory health screening, including temperature checks. Family members will be dropping off and picking up participants at Cascade Park, next to our building, and not allowed to access the indoor program space.
Daily health screening of staff and participants will occur for the duration of the BOLD & GOLD trip.
6. How will the check-in process work?
To minimize interactions between groups, we are staggering check-in times and ask that each family send only one caregiver per participant. All individuals should arrive at check-in with a face mask. If you don’t have a mask available BOLD & GOLD can provide them. Upon arrival everyone will complete a Health Screen as described in the previous question. Participants will be asked to provide documentation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. All participants and caregivers will then take part in a 30-minute outdoor, socially distanced Opening Circle.
7. Will participants wear face masks the entire time?
Facial coverings are required when participants and staff are indoors, in vehicles, or when individuals are unable to maintain 6-foot of distance from people outside of their 'cohort' group.
8. How will participants be transported?
Each trip or “Cohort Group” will be transported on their own 15-passenger minibus(s) to and from their course area in order to encourage and support social distancing and small group size. All participants and staff are required to wear face masks while in vehicles.
9. How will sleeping arrangements be handled?
BOLD & GOLD groups use pyramid shaped tents, called Mids, that are open on the bottom and allow for air flow. Each Mid can accommodate up to four participants. When weather allows, groups are encouraged to sleep out under the stars. If the Mids are required for shelter from inclement weather, participants will be assigned to a Mid group and that Mid group will remain the same for the duration of the trip to help minimize contact between participants
10. How will you respond if a participant or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19?
Any participant or staff member with an illness that affects their ability to participate safely on trip will be evacuated and families will be notified, as always. If the symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 or there are other risk factors, BOLD & GOLD will isolate the individual, administer a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, and consult with local health authorities. BOLD & GOLD will seek medical care based on the individual’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation, as practical.
If necessary, BOLD & GOLD staff will initiate an evacuation of the trip, and caregivers will be contacted to make arrangements for pick-up. All staff and participants will be encouraged to obtain a PCR test for COVID-19 and to notify BOLD & GOLD of the results.
11. How will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?
If a participant or staff member on a trip reports a positive COVID-19 test, we will notify all families on that trip by phone and email.
If a participant or staff member who reports a positive COVID-19 test was at the BOLD & GOLD basecamp during your participant’s trip but, was not on the same trip as your participant, we will notify you by email.
12. Is there anything we need to do after the trip?
BOLD & GOLD is committed to the health and safety of our staff and participants, but we cannot guarantee a COVID-free summer. We recommend you monitor your participant’s health for 10-14 days after returning home. If you have higher risk individuals at home, you may consider quarantining that person or your participant for 10-14 days after returning home from camp. If, within 14 days after returning home, your participant tests positive for COVID-19, we ask you to please notify us so we can notify other families. Your participant’s personal information will be kept confidential.
13. How are you cleaning and disinfecting your physical space?
The Y of Greater Seattle manages the Cascade People’s Center, which serves as the BOLD & GOLD basecamp in Seattle. We use EPA registered products to clean and disinfect our space on a regular basis. Ongoing cleaning will occur daily, especially in common areas. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed, and nightly disinfectant cleaning will be done as an additional measure.
14. Are staff prepared and trained to handle an outbreak of COVID-19?
The safety of participants is our highest concern. Travel in the outdoors always involves risk. The most important thing we do to mitigate risk in our programs is to be certain our instructors follow our safety policies and procedures.
In the event there is an emergency, we have developed an extensive Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that includes communication with land managers, such as the National Park Service, and provides support for all of our groups out in the field. All office staff and course instructors have been trained in the EAP. Course instructors are all certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.
Additionally, all BOLD & GOLD staff will participate in a training that reviews proper handwashing techniques, food handling, first aid/CPR considerations, and specific COVID19 protocols.
15. Will BOLD & GOLD staff be vaccinated?
All staff will be required to meet one of the following criteria upon arrival at BOLD & GOLD:
- Be fully vaccinated,
- Receive a negative COVID test no more than three days prior to the start of the trip.
16. Who is guiding your health and safety plans?
We are being guided by federal, state, and local health officials and working in regular consultation with our partners at the American Camp Association, Y-USA, and National Parks to ensure that we have effective protocols in place to successfully run our programs.
Additional Resources & Information
During this pandemic, we want to remind everyone that a person’s ethnicity, language, or association with a country or region does not mean they carry the virus. Anyone can transmit or become infected. Let’s continue to support one another and avoid the spread of stigma, discrimination, and fear.
General recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health:
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- If you are sick and wondering what to do, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
- Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick.
- Learn and be prepared: Visit the WA Department of Health resource page.