Safe and Creative Camps at Waterfall Arts, Summer 2020

Waterfall Arts is confident we can offer safe camp experiences without sacrificing the quality of interactions, projects, and relationships that make our art camps memorable.

To learn more about this year’s camps and to register, follow the links below:

Nature Studio: July 6 – 10

Artists Out and About: July 13 – 17

The management of Covid-19 is a constantly evolving situation and guidelines continue to evolve. We will ultimately be following whatever guidelines are in place in July. We are informed by national and state CDC guidelines for camps and childcare facilities and the Camp Operations Guide created for the YMCA and American Camps Association.

Parents should remember that all activity outside of the home involves a risk of infection that must be weighed with the benefits. Those with high-risk family members or those who are already engaging in other activities outside the home should give careful consideration to camp. We know that Covid-19 will continue to spread this summer and beyond, and that some in our community will get sick; what we can do is continue to “flatten the curve” and limit contagion. We are happy to share whatever resources and assistance we can to help families stay safe!


We will follow CDC guidelines for safe youth camps:

  • Staff will be tested at the start of camp
  • Campers need their temperature checked upon arrival each day – parents facilitate in their cars/outside during staggered drop off.
  • If a child runs a fever or exhibits other signs of illness once camp begins, they will be sent home for the week and we will refund the remainder of the camp fee. 

Camp will be considered a “bubble” and we will have no contact with others in the building during camp hours. We’ll limit use to one bathroom and one entrance and exit except in emergencies.

We strongly encourage families–for the safety of our staff and campers–to keep their children’s exposure to non-household members limited outside of camp hours during camp week.

Waterfall Arts will err on the side of caution with the following adaptations:

Arrival/Departure Procedure: After the OK to join us for the day (after daily temperature and symptom reporting), children use a handwashing station before entering the Camp Area (outdoors or indoors). Each camper will be walked from their car to the handwashing station, so there won’t be a crowd of arrivals. At pickup, campers will be walked to their cars or caretakers.

Students will have their own container for their belongings, rather than sharing a closet space.

Our primary work space will be outside, as weather permits. We have sideless tents to offer shade, small tables and chairs in the shade of the trees, access to cool drinking water, and outside handwashing stations. We will take advantage of our front yard, the Willow Dome, the back field, sprinklers, and our new garden for fun and artmaking. We’ll also walk down to the waterfront for some sketching and painting. We’re excited to integrate nature into our activities this summer! If we must go indoors, we will only use spaces with fresh-air cross ventilation. 

Increased facility cleaning and disinfecting. In addition to the regular daily cleaning of the building, we will have additional bathroom, bannister, and door disinfecting as well as regular wiping down of surfaces in the studio when we work there. (For the sake of reinforcing health habits, every camper will help wipe down surfaces and their used materials with soap and warm water as well, before staff follow up with disinfection).

No shared art materials. Camp is often about learning to share and collaborate – we will emphasize these skills by other means this summer. In lieu of our typical “buffet” style access to art materials, campers will each have their own set of supplies, labelled with their names, in a carry-out box they can take to the studio, outside, or on a trip downtown. A new feature used throughout our programming this summer is the “used” box – tools, clipboards, special supplies, paint jars, etc., will all be dropped in the Used box for staff to disinfect at day’s end. 

Food and drink. We will require water-bottles for water breaks: our water fountain has hands-free bottle refills that we’ll use, but the ‘slurp’ feature will not be used this summer. We will also ask parents to provide healthy snacks and lunches that do not require heating or additional utensils. Students will dispose of their own trash and wash thoroughly both before and after lunch.

Physical distancing. Personalized “Sit-upons” (like carpet squares) will be used to help kids circle up with adequate space, and each will have personal “studio space”: when inside the building, kids will use the same seat, table area, and under-table cubby all week. We have lots of fun circle games to keep kids feeling connected and activities for collaboration that don’t require sharing supplies or toys and close space.

Illness Protocol. Waterfall Arts will maintain a separate, clean space where a child who is not feeling well can stay until they can be picked up. Even after disinfection, the same space will not be used again for one week. We will make quarantining as comfortable as possible but need every family to have someone who can pick up a child as soon as possible if the child complains of not feeling well, is flushed, short of breath, coughing, or unusually fatigued.  If any child shows these symptoms, campers will be moved out of the shared area, if indoors, for room disinfection. Staying outdoors minimizes contagion – if it is a rainy week we will consider ending camp early.

Small-grouping. In addition to lower enrollment caps, the group will be broken into two teams for instruction and clustered activities. This allows for relationship building while reducing cross contamination among the kids. 

Our approach. To keep things fun and comfortable, the emphasis by our staff will be on normalization. With enthusiasm and light-heartedness, we’ll approach our new practices matter-of-factly as we do every camp session – no groaning, talk of “soon things will be normal again” or “remember when we could…”. The social effects of prolonged distancing from peers can easily be counteracted with well-planned, fun activities that emphasize sharing ideas and skills, voicing support and empathy, collaboration, communication skills, and unbridled creativity.

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