FAQs for BOLD & GOLD Summer 2020
Last updated: June 12, 2020, at 6:57 a.m. PT
Originally published: June 3, 2020, at 10:49 a.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.
Please find information on BOLD & GOLD’s response to the pandemic and an update about summer 2020 programs.
- 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 phased reopening plan, we are working to determine how best to offer amazing summer experiences. The health and safety of our participants, staff, and community is our top priority.
- What trips will BOLD & GOLD offer this summer?
In order to navigate public heath recommendations and implement realistic risk mitigation strategies we have made the decision to narrow our program offerings for summer 2020. BOLD & GOLD will only be operating one-week front country and back country trips. This change means that we will no longer be offering climbing, mountaineering, or multi-week courses this summer.
- How will trip 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. While implementing COVID-19 policies and procedures, we will focus on providing youth with fun activities that reengage their sense of discovery, build community, increase confidence, and support their leadership development.
- What happens if I was registered for a cancelled trip?
We have a space for you! We would love to recommend an alternate trip so that you can still have a BOLD & GOLD experience this summer. If this is not something that will work for your situation, we would be happy to credit your fee towards a trip in 2021. Alternatively, you can donate your program fee to the Y’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. If this presents a financial hardship for your family, please get in touch with us to discuss a refund.
- What will happen if public health restrictions remain in place through the summer?
BOLD & GOLD is committed to following the recommendations of civil authorities, public health officials, and land managers. If restrictions remain in place that prevent us from operating, we will cancel trips and notify families. Impacted families will have an opportunity to credit their fee towards a program in 2021, make a donation to the Y’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, or can request a refund.
- How does the Y support minorities who have been traditionally excluded from the outdoors?
The work of decentralizing whiteness in the outdoors is an ongoing process, but at the Y, our commitment to inviting and supporting more kids and families from all communities, especially Black and brown communities. We want all people to feel the lifelong connection to the earth and to themselves which these expeditions offer. We, of course, have a zero-tolerance policy for racist comments or jokes, which can result in the offending individual being removed from a trip. BOLD & GOLD also provides gear and financial assistance which reduces the barrier for entry for families new to camping.
Health and Safety Questions
- 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 and wait 14 days before participating in a BOLD & GOLD program. We can help arrange for a cancellation or change in registration.
Prior to a BOLD & GOLD trip, an instructor will conduct a check-in call with each participant and family. These calls are an opportunity for our staff to connect with 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 or through high or medium-risk areas as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at the time of the conversation. 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.
- Will BOLD & GOLD be testing participants, or having participants get tested prior to arriving for their trip?
BOLD & GOLD’s eligibility criteria and health screening processes will be updated as needed to minimize, as far as practical, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 occurring on a trip. The requirements for participants will depend on preferred practice at that time, as determined by:
• Guidance from federal and local health authorities, like the CDC, and state health departments for schools, camps, outfitters, and businesses.
• The types of tests and other screening tools considered to be highly reliable and widely available at that time.
- What steps are you taking to minimize the risk of someone contracting COVID-19?
BOLD & GOLD has worked with other industry leaders to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to COVID-19. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Daily health screenings for all participants and staff.
• Participants will spend their experience in a “Familial Group” that is made up of their trail group of 10 or fewer and instructors.
• “Familial Groups” will be transported on their own 15-passenger minibus to and from their course area. Masks will be required while in vehicles.
• Proper hand washing, food preparation, and sanitation procedures will be taught the first day and reinforced regularly.
• All participants and staff will use one set of personal dishes for the duration of their trip.
• All participants and staff will use one set of personal hygiene products for the duration of their trip.
• Participants and staff that interact with people outside of their "Familial Group" will wear a mask that meets CDC recommendations.
• At the conclusion of each trip all personal and group gear will be cleaned and disinfected as directed by manufacturers COVID-19 procedures. Given how closely participants and staff interact together, effective social distancing will be difficult at times. Distancing will be practiced to the extent possible within the group. However, groups will be effectively isolated from each other and from the public.
- How will you respond if a participant or staff member is suspecting 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 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.
- How are you cleaning and disinfecting your physical space?
The YMCA of Greater Seattle manages the Cascade People’s Center, which serves as the BOLD & GOLD base camp in Seattle. We use EPA registered products to clean and disinfect our space on a regular basis. Ongoing cleaning will be scheduled during the day, especially in common areas. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed, and nightly disinfectant cleaning will be done as an additional measure.
- 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 hand washing techniques, food handling, first aid/CPR considerations, and specific COVID-19 protocols.
- Who is guiding your camp health and safety plans?
We are being guided by federal, state, and local health officials and are working in regular consultation with our partners at the American Camp Association and National Parks to ensure that we have effective protocols in place to successfully run our programs.
Additional Information & Resources
During this outbreak, 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.
• Washington State COVID-19 website
• City of Seattle Community Resource Page
• King County Department of Public Health website (for tips and daily updates)
• Hand Washing Guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• New York Times COVID-19 FAQ & e-book
• Anti-stigma resources unique for COVID-19