2021 Camp Monterey Updates

Important Pre-Camp COVID information

Dear Camp Family,

Camp time will be here before we know it and, with the ability to get our staff vaccinated, we have finally been able to open our capacity to allow your girls a longer stay!  If your daughter was registered for two weeks but would like to join us for longer, please notify Camp.  It has been heartwarming to talk with so many of you when we called with this news.  Thank you for your support and sharing our excitement!

We have been working closely with the American Camp Association and with guidelines from the CDC to develop our plan to reopen Camp as safely as possible this summer.  We will be providing more details about the summer in the coming weeks, but for now we want to share some pre-camp and travel information so your family can begin to make plans prior to Camp.  

In order for Camp to open, and stay open, we need the help of every family.  This summer we will establish a “bubble” around Camp and the key to creating and maintaining a healthy “bubble” is to first get everyone into Camp COVID-free.  

Before coming to Camp

For the 10 days prior to coming to Camp, please limit your activities by staying home and away from others.  Avoid eating out, playdates and sleepovers, international or unnecessary domestic travel, and any indoor gatherings or large crowds.  Those of you who must still go to school or work during this period, please be extra careful, remain socially distanced, and always wear your masks outside your house.  

As numbers of COVID cases have started to go down, some places have begun to open up again and so, for some of you, we are asking you to return to earlier precautions for a short time.  It will take the commitment of everyone residing with you to ensure that your daughter comes to Camp with no COVID contact to make our bubble secure and our summer at Camp Monterey a success.  One person carrying the virus into Camp could cause a Monterey summer to end for all of our girls.  These precautions will need to be practiced by your entire household for the 10 days prior to coming to Camp.  

If at any time during this 10-day period, a member of your household exhibits symptoms, becomes ill, or has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, please notify Camp and we will work to arrange an alternate session for your daughter.

Pre-Camp Testing and Vaccination

Each girl will be required to have a negative COVID-19 Molecular PCR test (regardless of vaccination status) within 72 hours of coming to Camp and must bring this paperwork with her on opening day.  Be sure she continues to self-quarantine between her test and arrival at Camp to prevent possible exposure after the test is taken.  

We encourage you to consult your local testing options now to ensure that timely testing is available and that you will have results prior to her arrival.  No one wants to find out the day before Camp that they could not get the results in time and therefore will need to wait another two weeks before starting Camp! 

If your daughter is 16 or older, we request that she be vaccinated.  As of now, vaccines are not available for those under 16, but if that changes prior to Camp, we will be in touch with more information.

A health history form along with a pre-camp monitoring form will be sent to you prior to Camp.  The health history must be sent to Camp prior to your camper’s arrival, and you will need to bring the pre-camp monitoring form along with her negative test result on opening day.  

Drop off and pick up

Details about drop off and pick up will be sent at a later date, but to help minimize the outside contacts coming into Camp, please plan for only one parent or guardian to accompany your camper when you drop her off with us.  To create our bubble at Camp, everyone will need to arrive on opening day.  We cannot have any late arrivals. 

Car Travel

We strongly encourage all girls to arrive by car as this will be the safest travel in terms of potential exposure.  Make sure to continue to follow all pre-camp precautions on your travel day, including no indoor dining.  

Carpool

If you choose to travel with anyone outside of your immediate household, we ask that you treat this as if you were traveling by air, including wearing a mask at all times and distancing inside the vehicle as much as possible throughout the trip.

Campers Flying to Camp

We discourage airplane travel to Camp as there are more risks associated with air travel and crowds in the airport.  However, if a camper or staff member must travel by air, be sure to follow all the safe practices for air travel both on the plane and in the airport.  Please note: We will not be providing our regular airport pickup or dropoff this summer, so, parents, please arrange transportation from and to the airport that complies with Camp protocols.   

Refunds

While we will do all we can to protect your daughter, we cannot guarantee she will not contract COVID at Camp this summer.  We understand that your comfort levels may fluctuate with the circumstances and we want you to be able to change your mind as we get closer to Camp if you do not feel like Camp may be the best choice for your family.  Therefore, we will offer a full refund of tuition up to three weeks before your daughter’s arrival.  If at any point prior to Camp, your daughter needs to withdraw due to either COVID diagnosis or exposure, a full refund of tuition and deposit will be available up to and including the day of scheduled arrival.

The circumstances of the pandemic and COVID safety guidelines continue to change and we will keep you informed of updates and changes as Camp approaches.  But one thing we know for sure: while Camp will look different this year and you will see plenty of masks and lots of outside meals, the fun, friendships, and that Camp spirit will be just the same!  

It will take the commitment of us all to give our girls the gift of Camp this summer, so let’s all work together to make a virus-free Camp bubble for the sake of our girls so they may experience, once again, a long-awaited reunion with old friends, the making of new ones, and the blessings of a life in the open air.  With all this carefully said and done, the 76th summer at Camp Monterey just may be the very best one ever!

Devotedly yours, 

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Miss Keith

Summer 2021 Information and Application

March 5, 2021

Dear Camp Family,

We hope this finds you all safe and well.  It has been so good to hear from so many of you over the winter and to know how eager your girls are to return to Camp this summer.  Up at Camp, the ice has thawed, the daffodils are slowly starting to peek out from the wet ground and the horses are looking for the girls to come for a ride.  The summer will be here before we know it, and we can hardly wait to see your daughters!

We have been working closely with the American Camp Association and guidelines from the CDC to develop our plan to reopen Camp as safely as possible this summer.  We will bring the details of that information, including pre-Camp requirements, travel information, opening day protocols, and protocols inside Camp in the coming months.  It is very important that you share this information with your daughter so she will know what to expect.  Camp will look different this year, but the fun and freedom of simple living in the out-of-doors and that Camp spirit will be as it always has been for 76 years!!

Presently we have a few positions we reserved for girls new to Camp Monterey and those are still available in our sessions, so if you have friends who are interested in joining us at Camp this summer, please encourage them to apply as soon as they are able.  Having new girls, meeting and making new friends, is such an important part of what Camp is all about.

With the vaccine becoming increasingly available and COVID numbers starting to go down, we are hopeful that we can expand our capacity so that more girls can stay as long as they have requested. If we can expand our capacity, we will start with our oldest girls and slowly work our way down to the youngest.  As soon as we are able to make those decisions, we will be in touch with you.

Thank you in advance for your patience. We will continue to update you throughout the spring about Camp plans. If you have any questions at any time, please do not hesitate to call me (601) 415-3790.  

It’s going to be so great to get back to Camp–to spend time with Camp friends, play in the open air, watch the stars at night and learn new skills! Please know we will do all we can to get your girls to Camp for as long as they want to stay.  In the meantime, everyone stay well, wear masks and let’s all get ready for another wonderful summer of fun at Camp Monterey!!

Devotedly yours, 

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“Miss Keith”

October 25, 2020

Dear Camp Monterey Family,

It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you in response to our September email and so good to know you are all well.  I think about our campers so often and know how important it is for them to have time with their Camp friends.  Please let them know how much we missed them and our summer together!

Over this past summer, I was in awe of the resilience shown by our girls in the face of their disappointment at not being at Camp.  They immediately turned to making others happy as they wrote to one another and sent small gifts as “Peanut presents” all across the country.  Coming together at the Peanut Party, singing on Zoom no matter what it sounded like, and laughing together in their Zoom Unit Parties made me know that our girls would make anything fun!  As one mother said to me, “You can take the girl out of Monterey, but you can’t take Monterey out of the girl!”

We know how important it is for them to have time with their Camp friends and be in the woods together and therefore we are developing a plan to open Camp next summer, if conditions allow.  We will create a “bubble” around Camp with all our adventures happening inside the 1000 acres of the Camp Monterey properties.  As we get closer to the summer, we will provide more details about how this will work on all Pre-camp logistics, screenings, and travel.  (Though, currently, we are not expecting to provide our regular transportation to or from the airport. If this changes, we will let you know.)  We will continue to work with the American Camp Association, as well as regulations and safe practices coming from the CDC and local health departments as we refine our plans.  Camp will look different, but the Monterey spirit will be alive and well!

We have some more exciting news to share with you – something we have been thinking of doing for a long time and realize NOW is absolutely the right time to do it as we come back together again!  We will be returning to Miss Dollie’s original plan for Senior Camp as a place for girls having just completed 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades!  We invite those girls coming out of the 11th grade to return to lead our Camp as the JC “Olders.”  This allows the “Olders” to have their last JC year after all!  They will finish what they started as campers and be ready to join us on staff as our Assistant Counselors in 2022!  The thought of the younger girls missing out on their leadership and example would be a missed opportunity, especially after the grace they showed us during this quarantine.  Those coming out of the 10th grade will be the JC “Youngers” and 9th graders will return as our “Hemlock Unit.”  We are thrilled to announce that we will bring back “The Rock” for our girls currently in 8th grade!  This change will continue in the future so ALL the girls will have an extra year of Camp!  

Current regulations prohibit gatherings of more than fifty people, so our plan for now is to open at half capacity and adjust as circumstances allow.  We invite each girl to attend Camp for at least two weeks and hope that we can accommodate a longer stay as we get closer to the summer.  Our program has always been based on all eight weeks, and we know that the leadership provided by our older girls is invaluable; therefore we will offer our JCs currently in the 10th and 11th grades, the full eight-week program.  If things improve, we will offer more girls additional sessions, but for now, let’s work on getting everyone to Camp at some point this summer!

I have enclosed an application for our 2021 season.  Apply by sending your daughter’s registration form and deposit directly to me (Camp Monterey c/o Keith Alford, 1208 Church St., Port Gibson, MS 39150) .  If you rolled over payment from last summer please indicate that on your daughter’s application.  Please note that the registration form is both front and back this year, as updated liability requirements necessitate your signatures.  We will guarantee returning campers at least a two-week stay and guarantee our JCs, those currently in 10th and 11th grades, a full eight-week session if you apply prior to December 15th.  We will do everything we can to accommodate your first choice of sessions, but please indicate second and third choices if possible to insure a place. 

Applications received after December 15th will be accepted in the order received.  However, we cannot guarantee acceptance of returning campers after December 15th, so please send in your application before then.  You will be notified of your camper’s acceptance as well as any position on the waiting list after December 15th

If you are placed on a waiting list for any session, please hold on.  We are being very cautious in our planning right now and hope to accept girls off the waiting list if the situation improves.

We understand that your comfort levels may fluctuate with the circumstances and we want you 

to be able to change your mind as we get closer to Camp if you do not feel that this is the best choice for your family.  Therefore, we will offer a full refund of tuition up to three weeks before your daughter’s arrival.  That said, if your daughter does have to withdraw, please kindly notify the Camp office immediately so that we may open that position up to a waiting camper.  If at any point prior to Camp, your daughter needs to withdraw due to either COVID diagnoses or exposure, a full refund of tuition and deposit will be available up to and including the day of her scheduled arrival.

If there is anything we have learned during this pandemic, it’s the value of returning to simple living and the joys of living that way together!  The values we practice at Monterey of making others happy and treating each other the way we want to be treated have never been more important.  We are thankful for all the opportunities to reach out to others with simple gifts like giving someone a smile or just helping out and look forward to sharing those kindnesses with each other at Camp again!

Tell your girls we absolutely cannot wait to see them and have the magic of Camp Monterey happen all over again!  We will enjoy our beautiful woods and lake, look up at the stars at night, discover new skills and find out just how resourceful we are, giving thanks for each other and the wonderful time we have just being together! 

One of our songs goes like this, “Remember the times we’ve had here / Remember when you’re away…and don’t forget to come back some day.”  There will be a right time for us to come back.  Meanwhile, please tell your daughter how much we’ve missed her and remember her at Camp — that she is so special to us, and our whole Camp experience is richer and fuller because of her.  We pray for all of you as a family, for the nation and the world — that all will be well, and we may come together soon again in peace to enjoy each other and the wonders of summer at Camp Monterey. 

With love from

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“Miss Keith”

Director