Camp Deerhorn Covid-19 Guidebook

Policies for the summer of 2022:

Camp Deerhorn will be implementing all available mitigation measures advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association, the Infectious Disease Society of America, and the American Camping Association if necessary for the summer of 2022. There is nothing more important to us than the health and well-being of our staff and campers.

As a congregate care facility, Deerhorn will be requiring the Covid vaccine for all campers and staff living in a koogee.  Now that the Covid vaccine is approved by the FDA for children 5 and up, all campers must submit proof of being fully vaccinated two weeks prior to attending camp.  Deposits are non-refundable for cancellations due to not meeting vaccination requirements.

Camp Deerhorn will follow the CDC’s definition of “Fully Vaccinated”This currently means all campers and staff living with campers have received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines a minimum of 2 weeks prior to arrival at camp.

 We also strongly recommend everyone follow the CDCs definition of “Up to Date vaccination status” which means everyone in our congregate care living organization has received all recommended Covid-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible. However, boosters are not required to attend Deerhorn.

 You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.

Deerhorn will not accept testing instead of vaccinations

Deerhorn will not discriminate, but will be as strict as the law allows regarding written requests for religious or medical exemptions.

If the CDC updates their guidelines before the summer, Camp Deerhorn will also update our guidelines.

Everyone attending Deerhorn will be required to get tested through the Elterman Center within 72 hours of arrival at Deerhorn, and will be tested again at camp 3 days after arrival. 

If campers test positive for Covid, they must be picked up within 24 hours if they live less than 400 miles from camp, and 48 hours if they live more than 400 miles from camp. 

Masks will be required on the bus ride to and from camp.

Visitors are allowed at Deerhorn, but must show proof of vaccination and remain outside during their visit. If it is not opening or closing day, visitors are required to call or email ahead of time to let us know you are coming. Parents visiting their camper are not allowed to take campers out of camp. 

PCR test approx. 3 days before camp start
In camp PCR test for sessions longer than 5 days

We are requiring a saliva PCR test through the Elterman Center. We are not able to allow home tests or a tests from a local laboratory for the purpose of assuring accuracy and lessening administrative burden to camp. Just like last year, Elterman Center will set up convenient pick-up points or will provide mail-in kits for those who are not able to get to their lab for any reason.

Return campers-great news: you do not need to register again
New campers- Elterman center will be in touch with instructions. The process should not take more than 5 minutes.

You will need to provide insurance if you have one and your insurance will be billed. However, there will be no out-of-pocket cost to the families, regardless of your insurance status or deductible size.

4959 Golf Rd
Skokie IL 60077

Please wait for the Elterman center to send introductory email as it might answer your questions.

I am vaccinated. Do I have to get tested?
Yes, you do. Vaccines only protect against severe illness, not against contracting Covid and passing it on.
I am vaccinated. Can it cause a false positive result?
It cannot.
Is the test intrusive?
It is not. This is a saliva test.
Can I take and submit my own test from somewhere else? 
Deerhorn will be coordinating thousands of test results this summer and urgently request that you utilize the Elterman Lab so they can track compliance in the most efficient manner.
My situation is unique, and this is why…
Please contact the Elterman center after they send the intro email, and they will work with you to help you meet the requirements.



Other policies may include:

Masking indoors or in very crowded outdoor spaces where we are shoulder to shoulder for long periods of time.  Unless the weather is bad, the vast majority of time at camp will be spent outside, unmasked.

We will look for ways to improve distancing when necessary and air flow in our buildings as funding allows.

We will continue supervised hand-washing routines and look for ways to enhance cleaning and disinfecting facilities.

We will use medical guidelines to ensure appropriate isolation and quarantine of campers and staff.

We will return to Junior, Intermediate, and Senior pods and a camp bubble only if necessary to allow for fast contact tracing and reduced risk.



Below is our original Covid guide for the summer of 2021. These are the policies and practices we put into place for the entire summer. We will update our policies as needed, as we get closer to the summer of 2022, based on current scientific and medical guidance about Covid.

Why does Deerhorn need this guide?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Deerhorn is preparing to make some small changes to our typical summer plans. The summer camp industry has been, and always will be, ready to change to better fit our campers and families. This guidebook explains some of those changes and new traditions we would like to use to keep our campers and families safe, as well as having another amazing Camp Deerhorn summer!

Like many other things right now, the data and science about Covid-19 is constantly changing. If the science and data suggest that we change to make something safer, we will act accordingly with the guidance of local health agencies, the CDC, the FDA, and the ACA. This guidebook is a working document, and will be updated often as needed. This year has taught us to be flexible, so everything is subject to change based on current guidance.

We are preparing to be as ready as possible when Covid-19 enters camp. We know that it is not possible to eliminate all risk of Covid-19. When we change the words “if the virus comes into camp” to “when the virus comes into camp,” it allows us to be as prepared as possible to keep everyone safe and happy.

The Swiss Cheese Approach

The Swiss Cheese Approach looks at our camp’s response and actions towards Covid-19 as a block of Swiss cheese. This approach was developed by other summer camps who are also changing their actions to make their camps as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic. Every slice of Swiss cheese has holes. By using multiple prevention tactics together, we have a better chance of keeping the virus out of camp and reducing the risk of it spreading at camp. In other words, more prevention measures mean more ways to cover up those holes in the Swiss cheese. Wearing masks helps reduce the risk of Covid-19, but alone is not enough. Wearing masks, washing hands, frequent testing, social distancing, vaccinations, limiting time indoors, and avoiding large gatherings and indoor events before arriving at camp can, all together, greatly reduce the risk of exposure and spread of Covid-19. By using the Swiss cheese approach, we are giving ourselves the greatest chance of having an amazing summer!


Camp Deerhorn Covid-19 Policies and Procedures

What should I do before I come to camp?

Beginning the summer of 2022, Deerhorn will require the Covid vaccine for all who are eligible, once it is FDA approved, or 4 months after Emergency Use Authorization. This includes campers, fathers, and staff. Once you are fully vaccinated, please send a copy of your vaccine card to

Deerhorn is asking everyone who is going to be attending camp this summer to arrive with proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test that is dated within 72 hours before arrival. All campers and staff must have a negative  PCR test before camp, even if they have been vaccinated. All testing is being coordinated through the Elterman Center, so campers and staff must get their test done through them, when contacted. Their PCR test is a simple saliva sample. They are handling our testing at camp as well. All families need to preregister with the Elterman Center to do their precamp and in-camp testing. This will be our initial step to reduce risks.

Ideally, we are hoping everyone will minimize activity and gatherings for 14 days prior to arrival at camp. Taking your temperature,  and documenting where you’ve been and who you’ve been with can help reduce your risk of exposure.

For the 14 days prior to arrival at camp, we ask you to take the following into consideration to help Deerhorn be as successful as possible this summer. Please wear a mask when you are around individuals you don’t live with and whenever you are inside a building other than your home. Try to avoid going to inside dining restaurants and/or bars; curbside pickup is a great alternative. Wash your hands as much as possible or use hand sanitizer when hand washing is unavailable. The more you can social distance or stay away from individuals outside of your own home, the better. Finally, taking your temperature for the last few days before camp will help to make sure you are free of symptoms prior to arrival.  Your actions prior to your camp session can help make Deerhorn safer for everyone!


  • You’ll need a negative PCR Covid-19 test dated within 72 hours of arrival through the Elterman Center.
  • Provide documentation of receiving the vaccination.
  • Minimized activity and gatherings prior to arrival is not required but highly recommended


What does traveling to camp look like this year? 

Options for traveling to camp this year remain the same… bus, drive, or fly. If you choose to fly, please follow all CDC safety guidelines that are established for air travel. Masks should be worn the entire time you are traveling by plane. Temperatures will be taken when the individual/s are picked up from the airport. If you choose to drive, please only have your direct family members in the car with the camper/s. Limit the amount of times you stop along the drive to camp and please wear your facial mask when leaving the car. When you arrive via car at camp, it will be a drive through drop off.  The individuals attending camp will be subject to temperature checks before leaving the vehicles. Parents may get out of the car to hug their camper goodbye in the parking lot. Bathrooms will not be available for individuals not attending camp. This will limit the risk of Covid-19 entering camp. The bus will be slightly different this year. We will be asking everyone to arrive at the bus in Chicago at an individualized time. Temperatures will be taken prior to boarding the bus. This will help prevent groups of people from forming when the buses are preparing to take off. Please do not drop off baggage at the bus if you are driving or flying to camp. If you need help with getting baggage up to camp, there are several companies in the Chicago area that can assist you. Lunches will need to be packed for campers traveling on the bus, including a closable drink. Please remember, no nuts or peanut butter is allowed. Please only send enough food for the bus trip lunch. A reminder that food is not allowed to be brought into camp. Campers must also wear a facial mask the entire duration of the trip on the bus with exceptions for eating or drinking.

Regardless of type of travel, all individuals attending camp must present a negative PCR Covid-19 test that is dated within 72 hours of arrival or documentation of having recovered from Covid-19 within the last 3 months. Camp families will be contacted by the Elterman Center, who is handling all of our testing this summer. The PCR test should be done through them, and the cost is covered by insurance. Individuals that test positive for Covid-19, present with a fever of 100 degrees F or higher, do not provide the correct documentation needed, and/or those who have been exposed to Covid-19 within the last 14 days will be denied from attending camp.


  • Flying to camp: follow all CDC air travel recommendations
  • Driving to camp:  drive through drop off in the parking lot,  limit stops along the drive to camp, and travel with your direct family members only (no one out of your home bubble)
  • Taking the bus to camp: arrive at your slotted time, only drop off baggage for camper/staff riding the bus during the current session, pack your own lunch for the bus ride (no nut products allowed), campers/staff must wear a mask for the duration of the bus ride
  • Arrival at camp will be denied if you do not provide us with a negative Covid-19 test, and/or the camper/staff member/father is presenting signs of illness.
  • Temperatures will be taken upon arrival at camp.


What is going to be different at Deerhorn?

Camp Deerhorn will do everything possible to ensure every camper the most normal camp experience we can safely provide. Overall, Deerhorn won’t look much different. However, you will notice small changes we will be implementing with our Swiss cheese approach to make camp as safe as possible. These changes listed below are always subject to change.

In-Camp Testing

Regular Covid-19 testing will be implemented during the campers’ stay at Camp Deerhorn. These tests will be used to ensure that Covid-19 has not entered the camp and to screen individuals that begin to show signs of illness. With these tests, we will be able to identify and isolate anyone who is infected and/or was exposed to Covid-19. Testing is done at camp through the Elterman Center and cost will be billed to insurance. We also have rapid testing capabilities to be able to get results within 15 minutes of those who are showing symptoms.

 Mask Wearing Policy

Camp Deerhorn will be implementing a mask policy as one of our tactics of protection within our Swiss cheese approach. Everyone on Camp Deerhorn property must be wearing a facial covering whenever inside a building. The buildings include, but are not limited to,  the hall, the office, the store, and the craft shop. The lodge will only be used for eating, so masks do not need to be worn. Campers will eat with their koogee at an assigned table. Individuals will not be required to wear a mask when eating and drinking, or when in your koogee. If an individual does contract Covid-19, Camp Deerhorn will be implementing a stricter mask wearing policy until contact tracing is completed. A stricter mask-wearing policy, such as masks at the campfire ring, may be necessary if case rates rise or more transmissible variants emerge. Campers will be required to bring their own masks labeled with their names. They must be 2 layer masks, and can be disposable or cloth. Bring enough for the entire session.

Cleaning, Handwashing, and Sanitization Procedures 

Camp Deerhorn will be making changes to our normal cleaning and sanitation schedule. Bathrooms (including forts, bathhouses, and the privy) will be cleaned and sanitized at least twice daily. The date and times of cleaning will be clearly posted inside the bathroom facilities.  The kitchen will have a modified cleaning/sanitizing schedule to ensure effective cleaning practices within the kitchen and dining spaces.  Koogees will be sanitized before each session with an isometric static sprayer and frequently touched surfaces inside the koogee will be wiped down with disinfectant. Koogee inspection will be very important this year.

We are asking all Deerhorn campers, fathers, and staff to wash their hands regularly. Hands must be washed after using the bathroom and before meal times. Washing hands throughout the day is another layer added to our Swiss cheese approach. Hand sanitizer will be available at all activities and meals.  Each camper is asked to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer to camp.

Meals Indoors

Meals at camp will look slightly different this year. We have luckily obtained 15 new tables thanks to some generous Deerhorn families. These 15 tables can be separated into half tables. We plan on spreading these 30 half tables throughout the old and new dining rooms as well as placing some in the main part of the lodge. Also, there is a new screened  porch, Che’s Lounge,  with tables for dining as well. During camper-only sessions, campers will be assigned a table with their koogee or their activity group. During Father Son sessions, each koogee will be assigned a place to sit in the lodge or porch during meal times. This will help us if we need to contact trace.

The Deerhorn meal process will also look slightly different this summer. Instead of people going to the service kitchen window to refill platters of food, our hard-working ACs will be assigned to retrieve the empty tray/container, refill it from other ACs located at the service window, and return to the table with the food. This plan will reduce movement within the lodge and help with social distancing. We will be asking the staff member or one father to serve the table with the provided serving utensils. Having only one person touching the serving utensils will help reduce the spread of germs.

Improved indoor ventilation is proven to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. To help with this, the lodge windows will be open to allow air flow and increase ventilation inside.  The lodge fans will also be running during meal times. Announcements will be held outdoors to shorten mealtimes. When funds allow, new fans will be added to the dining room. The addition of a tent with portable tables and chairs will also provide us with some outdoor dining options.


Water fountains will still be available around camp, but will only be used for filling water bottles. Campers and fathers are asked to bring their own water bottle with their name visible on it.

Inside the Koogees

Koogees will be cleaned prior to move in and between each session. This cleaning includes an isometric static spray of the entire cabin and sanitation of all surfaces such as dressers, mattresses, and door handles. We plan on having a smaller number of campers in each koogee in comparison to previous summers, which allows beds to be spread out more. We will also implement head to toe sleeping with campers sharing a bunkbed to reduce risk of exposure. Campers who share a koogee will also share an activity group, limiting exposure to more campers.

Father Son Camp

During Father Son Camp, families may opt out of sleeping in a koogee. If they choose to do this, they must bring their own camping gear, including their own tent and bedding.   Prior notification of intent to camp is required. Deerhorn is not able to accommodate RVs during Father Son camp. Families must stay on camp property in a koogee or a tent.

All fathers must be fully vaccinated before attending Deerhorn. Once families arrive at Deerhorn, they should plan to stay at Deerhorn for the duration of camp. For more info on other Covid policies, including bathhouses and dining, please see those sections of the Guidebook.

Daily Schedule

Camp Deerhorn’s daily schedule during the camper-only sessions will remain mostly the same. We will continue to provide 12 activities with campers attending 6 per day. At the beginning of each session, counselors will explain any changes that may take place at each activity to ensure ultimate safety. Deerhorn hockey has been cancelled for summer 2021 to limit out-of- camp exposure.

The Father Son schedule will also mostly look the same as past years. Activities may be opened at different times throughout the day to ensure proper spacing between people. Camp Deerhorn’s schedule is always subject to change.



All out of camp trips, including, but not limited to changeovers, waterpark trips, and the Lake Superior trip were canceled for the summer of 2021. Cancelling these trips limited the amount of out-of-camp exposure for Deerhorn campers. Pathfinder, Voyager, and Pioneer were great successes last summer, and Voyager and Pioneer will still be part of the 2022 summer. We will evaluate other out of camp trips for summer of 2022.

Evening Activities, Team Comp, and Sunday Events

All of our evening activities, team competition, and Sunday events still happened in 2021. We made adjustments as necessary.

Words of Wisdom

During camper-only sessions, Words of Wisdom will still be happening every Sunday morning before lunch. The only changes is that the location will be somewhere outside and campers will be spaced out appropriately.


We will continue to hold Sunday night campfires and Father Son campfires. Cabins and/or activity groups will sit together, but spread out to provide at least 6 feet of space between each group. Entertainers will be spaced appropriately to maintain proper distance even if singing.

Camp Vehicles

Camp vehicles will only be driven by assigned, qualified staff members. Facial masks must be worn when inside the vehicle. Each vehicle will be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between each use.


Due to the ongoing pandemic, visitors will not be allowed on camp property this summer. This includes, but is not limited to, tours, alumni, and guardians of attending campers. This will limit the amount of exposure to our attendants. Any contractors or out of camp service providers who must enter camp (maintenance, food deliveries, etc.) will be required to social distance, wear a mask at all times, and stay as far away from attendees as possible.


During the summer of 2020, Camp Deerhorn finished an addition to our existing infirmary building. We will be using the added space as isolation area for any individuals who become sick with Covid-19 and/or are showing signs of illness. The isolated individuals will have their own bathroom. If someone at camp becomes infected with Covid-19, we are asking that their guardians come pick them up from camp to take them home within 24 hours of notice or 48 hours if farther than 400 miles. If this is not possible, we ask that you do not attend Deerhorn this summer. When a positive case is detected at camp, all attending campers’ families will be notified.

We will be asking individuals to stay out of the infirmary building unless completely necessary. Campers can receive medical attention at activity locations, the office, and/or by a mobile health unit.

*** Remember: Campers testing positive for Covid-19 while at camp will need to be picked up within 24 hours, or 48 hours if over 400 miles away.


What about when camp is over?

If a camper is being picked up by car, parents will be picking up their camper in the parking lot. No bathrooms will be available to non-attendees.  Please stop, stretch, and use the restroom prior to arriving at Deerhorn.

When returning home, be aware that you may transfer any germs you may have picked up at camp and/or traveling home to those with whom you live. We recommend you be extra careful for the 14 days after camp.


A message to our Deerhorn Family…

The Broadbridge family is so thankful for all our supportive camp families during this difficult year. Thank you for reading this guidebook and understanding why these changes must be made to our program.  Thank you for trusting us with your loved ones.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss, you can reach us at 800-713-3130 or We can’t wait to see you this summer!