We were sad to to announce in February that we will not be hiring Camp Aides to work at Camp Onas this summer. 2019 Graduates (the age group who would have applied to work as Camp Aides this summer) are invited, instead, to attend a special One-Week Older Camper Session, August 8-14.
Parents & Guardians of 2019 graduates should have received an email from us, as well as former campers who requested an application for this summer.
We understand how important it can be to honor young peoples’ desire to understand decisions that affect them. The following is a summary of WHY we are not offering Camp Aide positions this summer.
This was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make in a long list of tough decisions. We love working with Camp Aides, especially seeing them grow as they transition from campers to counselors, navigate new responsibilities, learn new skills, and care for their campers.
Even though we are sad about it, we feel this is a necessary decision because it relates to two key parts of our strategy to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission at Camp this summer.
First, this summer, we are reducing the overall number of people at camp to 80% of what it normally is to help us practice physical distancing, and to give individuals a little more personal space — Many of us are out of practice at feeling comfortable and relaxed in a group or social setting.
Reducing our occupancy means we need to admit fewer campers and hire fewer staff. With fewer counselors this summer, we need to prioritize hiring older, more experienced counselors vs. those in training positions. (The Camp Aide job is one of our training positions).
And second, the Camp Kitchen and Foodservice as a whole, are key areas that require special attention this summer. Everyone in Camp relies on food from the same kitchen, which makes it an area of elevated concern to begin with.
Additionally, our Foodservice Manager and Camp Cooks are adults with professional foodservice experience who commute to Onas every day (they live at home). Contact between nonresident staff and resident staff (via working in the kitchen together) would present a transmission risk that we feel is too high this summer… especially because our kitchen is not large enough for a group of Camp Aides and 2-3 cooks to maintain physical distance while working.
Our current plan is to hire a small staff of adults who will commute and do all of the kitchen work this summer; and for the kitchen staff to work independently of Camp’s resident staff, significantly reducing contact with the full camp population. This can decrease risk for camp residents, the kitchen staff, and the local communities where our kitchen staff live.
If you would like to read more about our overall plans for the summer, and a top-line summary of other anticipated changes, please visit our website, we are updating it with new information as it becomes available.