Getting Back to "Normal"

by Josh Kerr | Dec 20, 2021

JFM grant helps provide a safe summer camp experience

In 2020, for the first time in 56 years, there were no campers at BB Camp for the summer. In June, the province of Ontario announced that, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all summer camps were to close their doors. 

A year without camp led to a winter of uncertainty for BB Camp Co-Executive Director Jacob Brodovsky surrounding summer for the campers in 2021. 

“We knew that if we were going to do camp, we wanted to do it confidently, which would require some aspect of testing,” says Brodovsky. “We really had no idea what the new regulations would be, so we wanted to set ourselves up to be able to meet whatever was coming.”

This pre-emptive planning saw BB Camp apply for a JFM COVID-Relief grant during phase two of our COVID-Relief Funding with rapid test kits as their end goal. 

“We realized that the best way to keep COVID off of the island was at the entry point,” says Brodovsky. “So in addition to everyone needing to be vaccinated, and everyone requiring a negative PCR test, someone would meet each person as they came to the dock and take a rapid test.”

Once campers and staff had their initial rapid test produce a negative result, they were able to get into the boat and head to the island. Precautions didn’t stop there, as all campers and staff were required to take a rapid test every three days throughout their time on the island. 

Access to the tests allowed BB Camp to be ready to go with an entire staff upon notice that Ontario summer camps would return. The good news came on June 28, meaning a late start to the summer.

“We were the only camp out of the four in Kenora that ran last summer, and that’s largely because the Foundation supported us with the funds for these tests,” says Brodovsky. “We were able to go out and open on May 1 like we always do.”

Campers and their families have taken to the consistent testing very well, as evidenced by what Brodovsky describes as the best indicator of a successful summer: kids already wanting to come back for next summer.