FAQs for Camp Colman & Camp Orkila Spring Cabin Rentals 2021

Last updated: February 22, 2021, at 3:40 p.m. PT

Originally published: June 3, 2020, at 7:27 a.m. PT

Family posting next to cabin at Camp Colman

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, staff and volunteers 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 the Y, 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 information on Camp Orkila and Camp Colman’s response to the pandemic and an update about spring 2021 programs. 

Program Questions

Q. Will Camp Orkila and Camp Colman offer programs this fall?
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 family experiences. The health and safety of our participants, staff, and community is our top priority.

Q. What programs will Camp Orkila and Camp Colman offer this spring?
We plan to provide families with a fun-filled family cabin rental experience at YMCA Camp Orkila and Camp Colman. We will adjust our program and procedures and continue to prioritize the health of our campers, staff, and volunteers. We are working with our State and County Health Departments and the American Camping Association on policies and procedures to mitigate risk surrounding COVID-19. As these are constantly evolving policies and procedures, we will share more closer to the beginning of camp.

Q. How will activities be impacted by COVID-19?
Due to physical distancing and sanitizing needs we will limit “drop-in” activities offered. Most activities will be self-guided, with limited scheduled activities available. Please see our websites for more information on activities available.

Q. What will happen if public health restrictions change?
Camp Orkila and Camp Colman are 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 a future program, make a donation to the Y’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, or request a refund.

Q. 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. YMCA Camp Orkila and Colman also provide financial assistance which reduces the barrier for entry for families new to camping.


Health and Safety Questions

Q. How will you be screening participants and staff for COVID-19?
All guests, staff and volunteers will be asked to maintain a self-observation before coming to camp. If you or a family member have been sick or in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you wait 14 days before coming to camp. We can arrange for a cancellation or change in registration. All guests, staff and volunteers must complete daily health screenings, provided to guests upon arrival.

Q. Will Camps be testing participants, or having participants get tested prior to arriving for their program?
Camp Orkila and Camp Colman’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, and businesses.
  • The types of tests and other screening tools considered to be highly reliable and widely available at that time.

Q. What steps are you taking to minimize the risk of someone contracting COVID-19?
We continue to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to COVID-19. Our leadership team has reviewed and will continue to update necessary camp protocols to comply with or exceed governmental guidelines to reduce risk of exposure. These include but are not limited to, the following:

  • Daily health screenings for all participants and staff.
  • Extra vigilance around cabin, building and bathroom sanitation - including increased deep cleaning in high traffic areas and thorough disinfecting of cabins between sessions.
  • All staff will be reminded to promote regular hand washing and good hygiene practices. Additional hand washing and hand sanitizer stations have been added.
  • Program area and equipment protocols and sanitization practices after each use have shifted to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • Large group gathering will be adjusted to align with current requirement of Local, State and Federal orders.
  • Physical Distancing practices are in place for guests, staff and volunteers.
  • Guests, staff and volunteers will follow mask wearing recommendations of the state and county.
  • Guests will be asked to bring their own linens/bedding and personal recreational equipment (i.e. lifejackets and paddles) if possible.
  • At the conclusion of each activity or trip all personal and group gear will be cleaned and disinfected as directed by manufacturers COVID-19 procedures.

Q. How will you respond if a participant or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19?
We will continue to adhere to guidance from the CDC, our state department of health and local officials. Any staff that exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately separated from our camp population or leave camp. Families would be asked to depart as soon as possible if a member of their family is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. In either case, we will work with local health authorities, should this occur.

Q. How are you cleaning and disinfecting your physical space?

  • 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.
  • Staff will disinfect program areas and equipment between each use.
  • Families will be provided with some supplies and equipment for the duration of their stay to reduce the need to share between families. This will include items such as crafts packs that you can take home at the end of your stay as well as camp items like life jackets or harnesses which Y staff will disinfect between sessions.
  • We ask families to leave their cabins tidy and remove all belongings at departure to allow us to more efficiently and effectively clean cabins between sessions.

Q. Are staff prepared and trained to handle an outbreak of COVID-19?
The safety of participants is our highest concern. Camp 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. We have planned additional training for our full-time and seasonal staff to orient them to risks of COVID-19 and minimize exposure of themselves and others to COVID-19 – or any communicable disease or virus. This training will include, but is not limited to signs and symptoms, stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols, program changes to minimize risk, and outbreak response plans. These trainings will occur before guest arrive.

Q. Who is guiding your camp 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 and Y-USA 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.

Additional Resources:


Category: Camp