Camp Wigwam the 110 – Year 2020

To Our Wigwam 2020 Families:
The anticipation of a summer season has never quite reached this level in the many summers that youngsters have passed through the Wigwam gate. The goals of a Wigwam summer remain the same as they have for one hundred and ten years, that we will provide a fun and memorable summer camp experience. Of course in this particular season, we are charged, more than ever, with the additional emphasis of ensuring as safe and healthy an environment as possible.
Clearly, there are many issues and subjects to be addressed now, and in later bulletins, as we countdown to opening day. Later subjects will include further guidance from our medical team, phoning policy, and dining practices.  But for right now,  let’s start here… in no particular order.
Pre-camp Staff Orientation
Our goal is to reach, and maintain, an absolutely healthy and well camp community prior to camper arrival.
All Wigwam staff, including those escorting specific groups on travel day, will receive guidelines and practices to “stay safe at home” prior to their arrival at camp. Staff members will arrive at Wigwam at least 14 days prior to opening day, and then will be subject to strict quarantine guidelines during the orientation period. This will effectively kick off Camp Wigwam’s independent community, our world within the camp gates. Additionally, we are currently planning (and researching the best practice here) for each staff member to be tested for the COVID virus at that time. No staff member shall leave the camp property from this point forward (exceptions addressed in a later paragraph). We will maintain an isolation location on the property for any staff who show symptoms of illness during that time and will assess accordingly, case by case.
Pre-Camp Camper Exposure & Testing Guidelines
Families will be asked to follow a similar procedure as our staff and must be mindful of human contact outside of the household for the two weeks prior to the start of camp. This period of quarantine is critical to the goal of establishing a healthy camp community on opening day.
Camp Wigwam is negotiating currently with a number of organizations to supply testing to each family during the week prior to camp opening. The preferred test would be a highly reliable saliva-based RT-PCR test kit by mail (overnight pre-paid mailers) the results of which would be available within 48 hours of testing. If this testing proves to be available, only individuals, campers, and staff, with negative test results may attend this summer.

On opening day, July 1st, there will be extensive screening upon arrival at a specified checkpoint outside of the camp property for all arriving campers and escorts. Further testing at this point is a subject that we are still considering, and we are consulting qualified medical personnel on the best course of action on this day, and the first weeks of the season. Results of that discussion will follow in mid-June.

Medical Personnel at Wigwam 2020
Camp Wigwam will employ three full-time RN’s during the 2020 season. Our lead nurse, Deb Doyon ( will be joined by veteran Wigwam staffers Jenna Williams and Ricardo Alatriste. Additionally we are fortunate to include on this team, Dr. Daniel Finkelstein, a Wigwam Alumnus whose son, Joe Finkelstein, is a current camper! Dr. Finkelstein is a licensed Pediatrician who will be on staff, at Wigwam, for the first 10 days of our season. His inclusion will be invaluable to the success of our ultimate goal of safety and good health.
What if the COVID virus is detected?

  • Camp Wigwam will follow the guidance of the CDC and our medical team.
  • Any camper or staff who tests positive, or shows symptoms, will be isolated.
The Wigwam medical team will determine the best isolation option for that person, depending on the 
circumstances, and in consultation with parents. This would include isolation at camp or 
parent pick up, if appropriate.
  • Asymptomatic staff and campers who test positive, at any time will be strictly screened for symptoms. They will return to normal activities once cleared by our medical staff, in conjunction with CDC protocol.
  • Any individual who is suspected to be ill will be immediately isolated from the healthy population and will undergo screening. 
All members of that individual’s bunk will undergo more frequent medical screening and/or surveillance.

As defined by the State of Maine in their recently published report, “cohort grouping” is a strategy to place campers and staff into groups of specific and recommended size. Interaction within a “cohort” is considered safe within the residential camp setting, especially during the very early phases of the camp season. Cohort grouping may be relaxed after a certain time period of incident-free days, and that will be determined during the actual camp season. Further information on “cohorting” and how that term applies to camper programming will follow in a later bulletin.

Though we understand that most medical offices are still closed to non-emergency services, our medical staff would appreciate your sending, as soon as possible, any updated information concerning your camper that might be available. Health History and Annual Checkup forms can be accessed via the Wigwam website, or by clicking here to log in to your CampMinder account.

Especially this year, registration with CampMeds is a requirement for campers who take daily medication. The exception to this being labeled personal epi-pens and inhalers, which campers may travel with. These items will be collected at the Wigwam Check-In screening station. Please register with CampMeds as soon as possible if that has not already occurred.
All “as needed” non-prescription medication will be collected on opening day by our medical staff, then stored in the Health Lodge and administered as prescribed.
Mail & Packages
Mail will be delivered to campers after 24 hours of being placed in an isolated location, and also will be disinfected with spray. For the safety of our entire Wigwam population,care packages will not be accepted this summer. If your camper needs any necessary articles like socks, toothpaste, or any clothing that was overlooked in packing, just contact us and we will purchase, disinfect, and provide those articles here. We have great plan to substitute for care packages, one that may well become Wigwam practice for years to come!!
Billing/ Invoicing/Legal
With the camp dates now set at 7/1/20 – 8/13/20,  families who had previously signed on for the full 7 week season will receive a new invoice detailing credit for the shorter camp season.
All camp fees are now due, please remit at your earliest convenience.

Camp Wigwam, through legal counsel, is drafting a release form that will be mandatory for each family to sign, before the start of the 2020 season. That form will simply state that every family understands that this camp will operate during the 2020 summer, knowing that a certain risk of contracting the COVID 19 virus exists. Of course, we will do everything within our power to mitigate that risk and to deal with any consequences associated with the issue of the virus.
If any families are hesitant to sign that statement, please be in touch with the Wigwam office as soon as possible.

Travel Day
On travel day, every camper and staff member will be issued a “travel packet” complete with mask, gloves, and directions. Upon arrival at camp, all campers will start at a “staging area” for screening, temperature check, medication collection, and policy description. Oh yeh, we’ll also meet and greet the Wigwam staff, find our bunk counselor, and begin Wigwam 2020, the 110th amazing season!!

– Bob & Jane Strauss