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Updated December 2, 2021

Looking Ahead

During the summer of 2021, in partnership with our staff and camp families, we operated successfully and safely! Below you will find the policies we are developing from our successful summer. While we want to communicate the most accurate information at all times, please note that we anticipate protocols and policies will change as we plan for and approach our 2022 season. We are committed to applying the same care and consideration to our COVID 19 protocols as we move forward to another amazing summer!

We are using this action plan to keep our families updated on how Highlander is adapting and modifying programming based on developments from the CDC, American Camp Association (ACA), and NCDHHS (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services), as well as from our local health authorities. Please know that we are working hard to make each summer the best one yet and to be as “normal” as possible under current restrictions. We will be implementing many layers of Non-Pharmacological Interventions (NPI’s), to help keep the Camp Highlander community safe.

There will be a $25 per camper Covid fee to cover the costs of these added safety measures.

1. Before Camp

In order to operate a safe, successful summer, we must partner with parents to send healthy campers to camp at the start of the session. The preparation for camp must include new things this year as we aim to keep the safety of our camp families as our top priority. Camp will be a bubble, and while it will be an imperfect bubble, we ask that families begin this bubble seven days prior to their campers arrival.

Family Bubble

  • Begins 7 days prior to the opening day of your campers session
  • Wear a face covering at all times when outside of your household
  • Avoid close contact with those outside of your household
  • Please do not attend any large gatherings - weddings, birthdays, funerals, play dates and overnight camps, graduations and overnights outside of your household
  • Complete a 7- Day Health Monitoring Form (due upon arrival)

You will receive more information and specifics in regards to pre-camp testing in the coming months. We ask all campers who are still in school or must attend out-of-home childcare during the week leading up to their session to follow all masking and distancing guidelines while there and that you maintain the family bubble expectations while not at school.


All campers must take a PCR Covid-19 test within 3 to 5 days prior to arrival for your session. Please bring the negative test results with you to camp on Opening Day along with your seven day self monitoring form. If your camper is fully vaccinated (two weeks post second shot), please plan to show proof of full vacciation (both doses) upon arrival to camp on Opening Day. If your child is not fully vaccinated (two weeks post second shot), you must provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. Failure to provide proof of a negative Covid 19 test within the past 5 days OR vaccination will result in campers not being admitted to camp. All expenses incurred from testing will be the responsibility of the families.

Vault Health

We have partnered with Vault Health to provide a testing option for our camp families. The cost is $119. Please follow the link below to learn more.
Summer Camp Testing Vault Health
You may obtain a test from anyone you choose, the Vault Health option is purely for your convenience. Please email mac@camphighlander.com if you have questions.

Bunk Assignments

Prior to your camper’s arrival you will receive their bunk assignment via e-mail. This will allow for you and your camper to communicate with friends and contact the camp office if there is an issue. Please review our Bunk Request Guidelines before submitting your Bunk Request.

2. Opening Day

These policies are supported by the CDC & ACA guidelines to help reduce the physical interaction of individuals not entering the camp bubble.

Families will arrive between 9am - 11am on the Opening Day of their camper(s) session.

Upon arrival, campers MUST provide results of a negative COVID-19 test OR show proof of full vaccination (two weeks post second dose), and a completed 7 Day Health Monitoring Form for each camper.

Per CDC guidelines if campers fall into any of these existing scenarios, they will not be permitted to attend that camp session:

Answering YES to:

  • Have you been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Positive COVID-19 Test
  • No Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test OR show proof of full vaccination (both doses)
  • Having traveled to camp in the same vehicle as someone who is symptomatic for COVID-19 and then tests positive for COVID-19
  • Having traveled via airplane to camp with a fellow camper/family member who is symptomatic for COVID-19 and then tests positive for COVID-19

We will be striving to maintain a healthy and safe environment for our campers and staff, so we will ask that parents stay in their vehicle during drop-off (besides when hugging goodbye). Parents will not be allowed to walk on camp or visit the cabin when dropping off campers. We envision drive-through stations for you to drop off your campers and complete all necessary opening day activities (i.e. health hut check-in, luggage)

  • Please be mindful of time limitations for our drop-off process to keep traffic flowing
  • Maintain a physical distance of 6ft when possible with other parents/guardians, campers and camp staff
  • Wear a face covering while on camp property

Travel to Camp

Camp Highlander prefers and encourages all campers to travel to camp by personal vehicle. If a camper must fly to camp, they will be required to wear a face covering and maintain social distance when possible during travel. Camp will ONLY provide transportation to and from the Asheville Airport for campers flying unaccompanied. Camp does not provide transportation to and from camp for parents traveling with their camper for the opening or closing day of their session.

Bus Transportation

Please visit the Transportation Page for more information regarding the Bus Service to and from camp.

For information regarding a bus serive home from camp to Louisiana, Florida, Georgia & Mississippi please e-mail Mac Bishop (Mac@CampHighlander.com)


We understand that for some families to drop-off and pick-up their child from camp is not possible. We ask that you strongly consider only carpooling with other families after your child’s session. Camper’s having traveled via airplane to camp with a fellow camper/family member who is symptomatic for COVID-19 and then tests positive for COVID-19 will not be permitted to attend camp that session.

3. Cabin Unit

Our cabin unit has been around since 1957, and it is the ideal model for operating a safe camp experience according to the CDC and ACA. Highlander will continue to live, work and play in our cabin unit. We anticipate that within the cabin unit campers will not have to wear a mask. Please review the Mask section of this action plan for more details. As always, campers will eat and participate in activities as a cabin. We will increase cleaning and sanitation standards in the cabin.

4. Neighborhoods

At Highlander we value the co-ed experience. We believe our campers need social experiences now more than ever before. In order to operate with safe social interaction, cabins will be a part of a three to four cabin neighborhood. Each neighborhood will be composed of up to two boys cabins and up to two girls cabins. Neighborhoods will be based on age groups.

When interacting with members of their neighborhoods (and anyone outside of the neighborhood) campers will follow the 2 of 3 rule! At least two of the three following principals must be observed:

  • Outside or open Air (i.e. open air gym)
  • Wearing Face Coverings
  • Appropriate Distance: six feet of separation minimum

5. Daily Schedule

Our daily schedule is a wonderful tradition at Highlander that provides routine and structure for our campers. Our campers love knowing what to expect each and every week. It provides a sense of stability and security while they are away from home. We will strive to adhere to the schedule as much as possible, but we realize it may be adapted to allow for more sanitizing, daily screenings and group size limitations.

6. Daily Health Screening

We plan to conduct daily health screenings for both campers and staff. These will be similar to those campers will be completing prior to their arrival to camp. It will include temperature checks and questions; any campers expressing symptoms will be taken to the Health Hut.

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Sanitation Standards

“WASH YOUR HANDS” has always been a part of the culture at Highlander, and it is more important than ever. Campers and staff will continue to wash hands before every meal and throughout the day. Our Highlander staff will increase the cleaning of community bathrooms, common areas and cabins. We have added even more hand sanitizing stations around camp for use before, during and after camp activity time.

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7. Dining Hall

At Highlander we eat family style. This summer we will be using the model we used at our 2020 Family Retreats. Campers and Cabin staff will remain at their table during the meal, and we will have servers who serve cabins food following CDC guidelines. We will still provide a variety of menu items, but campers and staff will order their meals on menu cards a couple days in advance so we can best meet the needs of the campers during the meal. There will be no salad bar, sandwich bar or fruit bar, though these menu items will be available to order through the menu card.

8. Activities and Evening Programs

We will continue to offer our same amazing activities (and maybe some new ones), and we will increase our cleaning and sanitation standards at each activity area. We will offer our traditional fun-filled evening programs, but those may look a little different this summer based on the CDC guidelines for group gatherings. Every cabin will have a fun EP planned each night, but there is a possibility that not every cabin will be doing the same EP on the same night. One of the many benefits of summer camp is being able to spread out in the great outdoors! We have large areas on camp where we can safely accommodate the entire CH community. We will continue to monitor guidelines and evolve our plan to maximize fun for our campers and staff this summer.

9. Camper Choice Days

Camper choice days are a wonderful part of camp! This year we forsee being able to operate camper choice days as we have before. Campers sign-up with buddies for their activities the evening before camper choice days.

10. Closing Day

Camper families will pick up between 9am - 11am on closing day of their session.

Upon pick-up:

  • Your camper(s) will be brought to your vehicle
  • Please be mindful of time limitations for our pick-up process to keep traffic flowing
  • Maintain a physical distance with other parents/guardians, campers and camp staff
  • Wear a face covering while on camp property

11. Communication

Families will be kept well informed throughout each session about testing, isolation and quarantine measures if required. Parents of campers that are in a cabin with a camper who tests positive for COVID-19 will be notified first. If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in our camp community, all families with campers in that session will be notified after the families of campers within the cabin.

In an effort to maintain the health and safety of our campers and staff during the session, we ask parents and guardians to notify camp if someone who was a member of the family bubble tests positive for COVID-19 after your campers arrival so we can be aware of your child’s possible exposure.

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12. Masks

All campers and staff will be required to wear masks for a portion of each day at camp. Campers will be required to wear face coverings when within 6ft of anyone outside of their cabin unit. Masks will not be required when campers are in open air spaces and maintaining social distance or when they are within their cabin unit.

For example: Cabin 12 is scaling to new heights on the climbing wall. The climbing instructor Jackson is wearing a mask, maintaining a social distance and they are outside so campers will not be wearing masks! While a harness is being fitted or they are getting clipped in, campers would be asked to “mask up!” for this brief moment.

Prefered Face Coverings:

  • Two or three layers of permeable fabric
  • Masks that fit properly (snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face)
  • Masks made with tightly woven fabric (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source)

All campers should bring to camp a minimum of 10 cloth face coverings so that one or two can be worn each day & be washed weekly.
All face coverings should be labeled with the campers first and last name or first initial and last name. (Ex: Emily Petrilla/ E. Petrilla)

Face Shields and neck gators are not an approved face covering. All campers must wear a face mask if also wearing a face shield.

We recommend Lovable Labels to help you label your camper’s masks!

CDC | Cloth Face Covering Guidance

13. Vaccine

The CDC has verified to the American Camp Association (ACA) that summer camp staff are included in the COVID-19 vaccination phase that includes teachers, child care providers and Out-of-School time workers as essential workers. We strongly encourage staff, who are able, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination currently adds a layer of protection for the individual from the disease; however, we currently do not know if those vaccinated can still spread the illness, if contracted, to others. Therefore testing, face coverings, and other NPI’s will still be implemented to support health of the community. For our camper population we do not foresee wide access to a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the 2021 season.

The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two weeks past your second shot. If your camper is fully vaccinated (two weeks post second shot), please plan to show proof of full vacciation (both doses) upon arrival to camp on Opening Day in lieu of a negative PCR test. If your child is NOT fully vaccinated (two weeks post second shot), you must provide a negative PCR test upon arrival to camp.

For more information regarding the vaccines please visit CDC Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccination

14. Who should not attend

The CH team will do everything we can to keep your camper(s) healthy and safe during their session, we cannot guarantee that they will not contract COVID-19 or other communicable diseases at camp. If your child is at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 we highly recommend that you consult your medical provider to discuss the risks of attending camp this summer. Families who are unable to pick-up their child, in the event that their child has tested positive for COVID-19, within 24 hours should not attend camp this summer. If you are worried about your child contracting COVID-19 this summer, we recommend that you roll over your camp enrollment until next year.

15. Visitors and Tours

In an effort to protect the health and safety of our camp bubble, we will not allow visitors or tours of camp during the summer season.

16. Common Questions:

What are my options if my child tests positive prior to coming to camp? If my child tests positive from their pre-camp COVID-19 test?

  1. If you purchased Program Protector insurance, contact them for claims information regarding your policy. Refer back to your confirmation email from Program Protector Insurance for information regarding filing a claim.
  2. Pending available space, you can enroll your child or family in a later session during the Season of 2021.
  3. Unfortunately we cannot give refunds or credits for late arrivals or early departures. If you are unable to return during the 2021 season, you can use your tuition credit during the 2022 season. This credit is non-transferable.

Will you require your staff to be vaccinated?

While vaccination will not be a condition of employment, we are strongly encouraging our staff to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 prior to the 2021 season.

What if my child gets sick while at camp?

Should your child become sick at camp, our medical staff will evaluate and monitor their symptoms at our Health Hut. If COVID-19 is suspected and they test positive for it, we will require that you make arrangements to pick them up within 24 hours. Our medical staff will provide the attentive and loving care that we always do for your child until you arrive. As always communication is our top priority while your child is in our care and you will be contacted by our medical staff.

What if my child is in a cabin with a positive case?

The entire cabin will be screened and tested. Parents will always be notified for permission for their child to be tested. With no symptoms and negative test results, the cabin will then continue to enjoy camp activities and fun, with extra distancing measures in place to protect the camp community at large.

What if my child is vaccinated?

According to the CDC, those exposed to COVID-19 that are vaccinated do not need to be tested unless showing symptoms. However, they do recommend in a “congregate setting” those who are vaccinated should be tested when exposed to a positive case or showing symptoms. Therefore we will be testing all campers and staff who have been exposed whether they are vaccinated or not. Parents will always be notified for permission for their child to be tested.

Program Protector Insurance

Unfortunately, you may need to cancel your camp enrollment due to a family emergency, illness, injury, or other unforeseen circumstances. To that end, we’ve partnered with Program Protector, a third-party travel insurance company to provide an optional safety net for you. Program Protector is available while completing your camp application, and we encourage you to consider this option to protect from 65% - 100% of your camp investment depending on the reason for cancellation.

Program Protector Family Letter

Program Protector COVID 19 FAQ

If you have questions please call the Customer Service Specialists at Program Protector (MH Ross) at 1-800-423-3632.

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