Every year, Agawam Staff provide boys with immeasurable opportunities for engagement, growth, and joy by creating a unique team of exceptional role models.
In 2021, Agawam Staff faces a unique and unprecedented opportunity to rekindle the Agawam spirit. Agawam boys are craving connection and stability after a year of disruption. Your talents and commitment are needed now more than ever.
Like everything else in this post-pandemic world, this year will require flexibility to meet new challenges that are as exciting as they are scary, and as fulfilling as they are messy. Our opportunity is to show just how strong and resilient Agawam can be. Your flexibility and commitment will lead us to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment as we “seek the joy of being alive” together.
We expect that staff may be arriving with some important questions about what to expect this summer. We appreciate your curiosity and look forward to working together with you to provide the best experience for everyone in our community.Will we have to wear masks and social distance all summer like in school?
With staff and campers converging on Maine at once, and mixing our various germs, we have developed the following outline of a plan that, like everything else, is subject to change depending on actual conditions and best practices. We are governed by guidelines from the Maine CDC, and are following best practices learned from other institutions and expert advice.
• Just like you are presumed to share germs with your immediate family members and/or roommates, at Agawam, we will set up “family groups” comprised of 2-3 cabins. While these groups will still practice enhanced hygiene practices and health checks, they will be able to freely interact with each other, especially when outdoors, in their own cabins, and at meals without wearing masks or needing to keep distance.
• All individuals will be required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival to camp, and will be asked to avoid gatherings prior to camp. We see this “arrival phase” as the most critical, where we will need to be the most diligent at staying on top of our safety protocols. During this first week, activities will probably look the most different, as we will attempt to keep family groups together in the program to the greatest extent practical.
• There will be a second round of testing around the end of the first week of camp for everyone. Presuming everyone tests negative, there will be an opportunity to expand these cabin groups into larger “cohort” groups, which will likely be bounded by our traditional four “campuses”. If all goes well, there may be further opportunities to mix “cohorts” while retaining social distancing and masking.
• When counselors are teaching activities with children from outside of their immediate family group, you will be required to mask and distance as you teach, to the greatest extent practical while still taking into consideration other important safety practices.
• With ongoing testing and progression into larger cohort groups, we expect our program to become more and more mixed, though the State of Maine’s still directs that we distance and mask when mixing groups.
• We will look for staff to help us creatively problem solve how to best meet safety requirements while still providing the best possible experience for our campers. In the weeks leading up to camp, we will be forming a group of volunteer staff members to brainstorm together and advise leadership staff on how best to accommodate COVID protocols while maintaining the essential feel of these activities.
• Though they may look a little different, we are still anticipating an uninterrupted Ag/Wam season, Council Fire, Vespers, Weekly Awards, and large group games like Buzzball and Capture the Flag.
• Sadly, we will not be able to participate in inter-camp activities like Six-a-Side, AAITT, Kickball, Regattas, or Dances. We are planning to modify the trips program a bit to focus on trips that are more “backcountry” in nature, and avoid highly traveled routes and campsites, but we believe we can still manage expeditions safely.
• In order to have the confidence to mix with unvaccinated campers, we need to have a high confidence in our bubble. To accomplish this, we will likely need to ask staff to help by taking their time off on camp property or at specific, approved locations off camp property.
• This is one of the areas where we are trying to be as flexible and creative as possible while still ensuring the integrity of best practice protocols. With the arrival of vaccines, this is an area that is changing rapidly – we will continue to monitor the science and rely on guidance from the Maine CDC.
• We know that restorative time off is critical to your ability to blow off steam and come back to camp ready to serve. We will be forming a volunteer group of counselors to consider “staff morale” including time off policies, which will make recommendations to the leadership team.
The key to succeeding in our mission to bring Agawam back successfully is having flexibility and communication. If you have any further questions that we have not covered here, please reach out to any member of the year-round leadership team, and we will be sure to respond with as much clarity, thoughtfulness, and honesty as possible. We appreciate the commitment and sacrifice our staff are making, and we look forward to facing the journey together.
For more questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org