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Asbury Woods Reopens Summer Camp Registrations

Posted May 28, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Summer Camp Safety Procedures


Carissa Snarski
Development & Marketing Director
Phone: (814) 836-6179
Email: csnarski@asburywoods.org

Erie, PA (May 28, 2020) – Asbury Woods is pleased to offer nature-based summer camp for elementary-age and middle school youth this summer. The Asbury Woods summer camp season will run June 22 through August 14, 2020.

In arriving at the decision to continue summer camp, Asbury Woods carefully considered the guidelines issued by the CDC as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recommendations for summer recreation programs.  Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, small group sizes and limiting interaction between groups of campers are all part of the modifications being made to ensure a safe environment for all.  Given the inherent nature of Asbury Woods summer camps to spend as much time as possible outdoors and our ability to spread out among 205 acres of property, several covered outdoor spaces and large, separate indoor classrooms, Asbury Woods was well-placed to make the adjustments outlined in state and federal safety guidelines. 

Providing a safe, positive experience is always a top priority and in order for staff to be trained in new procedures, we have postponed the start of summer camp to June 22, two weeks past the original start date. Camp families that were registered in those initial weeks have been notified and rescheduled. Out of concern for the ability for the youngest campers to follow safety protocols and in order to allow designated classroom space for each camp group, Asbury Woods has cancelled preschool camp offerings for this summer.

Details on the Asbury Woods safety protocols for staff, facilities, and participating campers are outlined on our website and included in this release.  A significant part of that strategy includes keeping the Andrew J. Conner Nature Center and Brown’s Farm Barn closed to the public and any other groups during the camp season. This will help to maintain a more controlled environment in our buildings, ensuring all who enter are subject to temperature checks and symptom screening.

“For over 40 years, Asbury Woods has been conducting top quality day camps for children in elementary and middle school, and providing leadership opportunities for kids in high school,” says Jennifer Farrar, Executive Director. “Our focus is on providing a meaningful outdoor nature and recreation opportunity for youth in our community while ensuring the upmost attention is given to the health, safety and well-being of campers, their families and our staff.”

For more information on summer camp offerings and safety measures please visit www.asburywoods.org/camp

Asbury Woods Summer Camp Plan: COVID-19

As Asbury Woods prepares to embark upon a summer camp season like no other, we know parents, children and the community are concerned about continuing to mitigate risk of the spread of COVID-19 while acknowledging the need for start returning to some activities that are important for the physical and mental well-being of all. Asbury Woods does not undertake a camp season in these circumstances lightly and to do it safely, following the guidelines of the “Yellow Phase” will require significant adjustments in all aspects of camp. But Asbury Woods is well-placed to offer a safe camp experience as we have always relied heavily on outdoor activity for our camp programs; is accustomed to frequent cleaning routines due to our typical interaction with children of all ages; and our ability to spread out and limit access to our building. The following is the highlights of our summer camp 2020 plan to ensure a healthy and safe camp environment for campers, their families and our staff.

Screening Staff Upon Arrival

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that employees do not report to work while they are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. Employees will be screened daily prior to the start of their shift and prior to entering the building. Any employee who exhibits any of the symptoms provided by the CDC (posted at the center’s entrance) will not be permitted to work and will be sent home prior to beginning their shift including any employee(s) with a temperature 100.4 or greater. A checklist will be used to document that the assessment was done.

Screening Campers Upon Arrival, Enhanced Social Distance Sign-In

Arrival and sign-in to summer camp will be performed at designated entrances, with each camp group having an assigned entrance. Staff members wearing mask and maintaining social distance, will greet the arriving family and direct them to the appropriate door(s). Prior to being allowed to enter the building, each camper will be screened for symptoms, verified by person dropping off that no one in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting test results, and be temperature screened using no contact thermometers. Screening and temperature results will be documented. Parents and guardians will not be allowed to enter the Nature Center or Brown’s Farm Barn. No contact sign-in systems will be employed and adults dropping off for camp will be required to wear masks.

Pick-up procedures – enhanced Social Distancing

At pick up time, beginning at 3:15, all campers will be at their assigned door. Campers will pick up their personal belongings to take home with them each day at will wait inside the building at their designated door. Parents/guardians will be instructed to wait outside the door, maintaining 6 feet from other waiting parents. Upon arrival the staff member, wearing a mask, will ask for ID and verify against the pick-up list for that child. The staff member will release the camper, who will exit the building, directly to supervision of their adult.

Safety Actions During Camp Activities

Asbury Woods will implement numerous safety actions to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission:

The Nature Center and Brown’s Farm Barn facilities will remain closed to the public while summer camp is in operation. This ensures that campers and staff are entering a relatively controlled environment where each person in the building has been screened for symptoms and fever.

Employees and campers will be required to wear masks when indoors but will not be required to wear masks when outdoors.  Social distancing among staff and campers while outdoors will be employed.

Camp groups will stay static throughout the week with the same children, staff, interns and camp assistants. This will limit the number of individuals that campers interact with. Additionally, camp groups will not intermingle for activities.

Handwashing by children upon entry to the facility, before and after eating, during restroom breaks and frequently throughout the day.

Eliminating providing and serving snacks to campers. Campers will be required to bring their own snacks from home.

Eliminating Friday Hot Dog Lunch picnic. Campers will bring a packed lunch from home on Friday, as well as Monday – Thursday.

Modifying Buttermilk Falls Day. Each camp group will go to Buttermilk Falls separately. (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.)

Eliminating shared access to common classroom tools. Each camper will be assigned their own set of items to use for the week, for example, markers, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, etc.

Specialized equipment is to be disinfected after each use by a group, according to manufacturer’s guidelines (compasses, GPS units, iPads and other high touch objects).

Campers will have a designated space for their personal belongings. Personal belongings must go home each day. Also no toys or electronics from home will be permitted.

Classroom seating arrangements and spacing arranged to permit 6ft of distance between campers. Campers will have an assigned seat in the classroom that they will use throughout the week.

Camp staff are to disinfect non-porous workspaces, tabletops and counters after each use by their group in their classrooms and shared spaces.

Camp activities throughout the day will be conducted outdoors as much as possible to minimize the amount of time campers spend in less ventilated environments.

Campers will be assigned to use our boys and girls bathroom while staff will be assigned to use the handicap accessible restroom in the vestibule of the Nature Center.

At Brown’s Farm, campers will use the external boys and girls bathroom and staff will be assigned to use the internal bathroom.

Asbury Woods will follow CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting of various types of surfaces that campers may come into contact with. We will also frequently clean high-touch areas throughout the day.

An isolation area will be established for any camper who begins to exhibit symptoms during the camp day to ensure their separation from other campers until the time they are picked up by designated parent or guardian.

CDC protocols for cleaning and disinfecting after any suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 will be observed.

Click below for these safety procedures available to download:


The mission of Asbury Woods is to inspire a greater connection to the natural world by protecting, managing and interpreting our property; providing outdoor recreational opportunities; and offering environmental education experiences.

Asbury Woods achieves this mission through a diverse array of educational, environmental and recreational programming for schools, community groups, families and individuals of all ages.  In addition, Asbury Woods manages and maintains 205 acres of preserved property which includes native species, old-growth forests, landscaped gardens, wetlands, boardwalk trails and dirt trails.

The Andrew J. Conner Nature Center at Asbury Woods is the cornerstone of the educational programming, providing animal exhibits, a touch-and-learn Discovery Classroom and free public access.  The Brown’s Farm Barn located on Sterrettania Road provides additional programming space for summer camps, school visits and community programs.  The Greenway Trail at Asbury Woods consists of adjacent tracts of land which provides a network of trails connecting Browns Farm and the Nature Center.  The Greenway Trail provides ample recreational opportunities for hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing and wading in Walnut Creek.  Trail users will find peaceful spots to rest and relax to take in the serene vistas.

Asbury Woods is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is made possible by funding from program and service fees, grants, special events and generous donations from members and patrons. Annually, Asbury Woods positively impacts more than 87,000 people who use the trails, attend festivals or participate education and community outreach programs.