Summer Camp Update 6.25.2020

Good afternoon,

In case you missed it (“ICYMI”), my email from last week about our 2020 Summer Camp Policies & Procedures, please check out the COVID-19 page of our website: Covid-19 Page. Please take a moment to read my 6.19.20 letter updating about our policies and procedures.

Further, you can read the text of our specific policies in the COVID-19 folder on our website.

Finally, some quick updates:

  • Please follow any CDC and New Jersey travel guidance if you go on vacation this summer. Governor Murphy announced a two-week self-isolation for the State of New Jersey yesterday, such that anyone traveling to certain states must self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to New Jersey.
  • The Burlington County Department of Health recently completed their inspection of our waterfronts and Ockanickon Dining Hall, and everything was determined to be in compliance with current standards.
  • We continue to receive guidance and support from the Department of Health on summer camp for this summer. We will update our policies and revise the website, as needed.
    • One such recent update clarified that individuals who have a close exposure with someone who is COVID positive shall self-isolate for 14 days following the exposure. We support this policy, and will issue a refund for days missed from camp for anyone who proactively self-isolates, or subsequently does so following an exposure at camp or elsewhere.
  • Finally, when dropping off or picking up at camp, please stay in your vehicle at all times, and wear a mask when interacting with our staff (even while in your vehicle). Doing so will help ensure that we are able to continue to provide an impactful summer camp experience for your camper, and all others!

Thank you for reading. We are excited for the summer to begin, and to have a successful, impactful, and safe summer — with your support!

Greg Keresztury, Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of the Pines | 609-678-1515 (direct)



Summer Camp Update 6.22.2020

The COVID-19 Policy & Procedures tab under FORMS & DOCUMENTS was updated on 6.22.2020 to include revisions to previously released policies. Specifically, the following policies were edited and revised:

  • YMCA of the Pines Cleaning Health Protocols v2 6.22.2020
  • YMCA of the Pines Symptomatic Individual and-or Positive Test Protocols v2 6.22.2020


Summer Camp Update 6.19.2020

An email was sent with updated information, “Details on 2020 Summer Camp Policies – Please Read”

Dear Camp Family,

2020 Summer Camp COVID-19 Policies & Procedures

As promised, I am writing to announce our policies and procedures for the 2020 summer pursuant to guidance released by the New Jersey Department of Health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have compiled a number of informational policies and procedures, and put them on our website for you to review at your convenience. Please go to, and click “Forms” in the top right corner. From there, you will see a COVID-19 Policies & Procedures folder which contains the following policies:

  1. Cleaning & Health Protocols
  2. Symptomatic Individual and/or Positive Test Protocols
  3. Busing Protocols
  4. Preschool Camp Protocols
  5. Explorers Program Update
  6. Check-in and Check-out Procedures (separate for Lake Stockwell Day Camp and Camp Matocky)
  7. Dining Hall/Food Service Protocols

If you have any additional questions that are not addressed in these various documents, please contact me at Our staff worked hard to put these protocols in place based on guidance from the Department of Health, the CDC, and the American Camp Association. Additionally, we are working rigorously with our summer staff to maintain fidelity to these policies and procedures moving forward.

Some Real Talk

COVID-19 has spread everywhere throughout our region. At YMCA of the Pines, we cannot keep the virus off of our property any better than we can keep norovirus (the stomach bug), strep throat, or the common cold off of our property. Campers and staff go home at night, they interact with the general population, and they come back to camp the next day capable of spreading any communicable disease they acquired.

However, what we CAN do, is develop policies and procedures based on guidance from public health experts, such as the New Jersey Department of Health and the CDC, designed to mitigate and limit the spread of COVID-19, or any other communicable disease, if and when it does come with a camper or staff member to camp. We can then vigorously train and educate our staff on these policies and procedures before camp begins, and supervise and coach them to maintain fidelity to these policies over the course of the summer.

And we will take these steps – that is our pledge to you, our camp families.

Details on How!

Leadership at YMCA of the Pines has pledged to do the following in order to make it as easy as possible for folks to comply with our policies and procedures regarding wellness:

  1. We will pay seasonal staff members, in full, who typically do not accrue significant sick time during the summer, for days missed from work due to illness.
    1. Simply put, we do NOT want someone trying to “tough it out” and coming to work to earn a paycheck.
  2. We will grant refunds, in full, or pro-rated depending on the circumstances, to any camper who misses time from camp due to illness.
    1. The reality of COVID-19, is that someone who either tests positive or is symptomatic is going to be away from camp for 10-14 days, depending on whether they wait out their symptoms, or produce two negative test results.
    2. Therefore, there is no reason to send a camper who is borderline “not feeling well” to camp – because we will be obligated to send them home and they will miss 10-14 days of camp.
    3. Instead, help us keep everyone healthy. Keep the camper home, accept a pro-rated or full refund depending on the days missed, and do not bring the camper back until they are well per our policies and CDC guidelines.
  3. We are committed to utilizing a Compliance Officer whose sole role at camp this summer will be to observe and coach our staff to ensure that we are living and modeling good hygiene and cleaning/sanitizing practices.
    1. The Compliance Officer will be present at meals to ensure proper procedures are followed.
    2. The Compliance Officer will observe program in action, and observe staff to ensure that our cleaning and sanitizing procedures are followed.
    3. The Compliance Offer will coach staff when standards are not being maintained.
    4. The Compliance Officer will routinely meet with the Camp Directors and senior leadership to review compliance gaps and common problems, and they will recommend policy revisions and/or discipline to management based on their observations.


Thank you for your patience as we worked through these various policies and procedures. I hope that the information is helpful, and knowing how seriously we take our responsibility to operate a safe camp has put your mind at ease.

If you decide that 2020 camp is not in the cards for your family this summer, please email to cancel your registered sessions. You may then opt to make a donation (in whole or in part), a credit for 2021 camp at 2020 pricing, or a full refund. Note, you will not receive an initial reply confirming receipt of your email, and the donation, credit, or refund may take 4-6 weeks to process. However, you will receive confirmation after the transaction is completed. Please reach back out if this hasn’t happened by the end of August.

If you do send your camper(s) this summer, we ask that you please join us in taking all reasonable precautions to ensure that we are able to continue operating for the entire summer. This includes:

  1. Wearing a mask when interacting with our staff;
  2. Staying in or by your vehicle during drop-off and pick-up; and
  3. Being patient with our staff, who are heroes, for showing up this summer for our camp families.

This summer is going to look different than in years past, but we are committed to following recommended guidelines, and providing an impactful, outdoor camp experience, for our youth who need camp this summer, more than ever.

Thank you,

Greg Keresztury, Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of the Pines | 609.678.1515 (direct)



Summer Camp Update 6.18.2020

Please see COVID-19 Policy & Procedures page under FORMS & DOCUMENTS


To register for Camp Matocky, please click “Register for Camp Matocky“. Click here to see a sample schedule, calendar and menu. Please contact us by phone at 609-654-8225 with any questions. Note, you may have to leave a voicemail, but we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you, we appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.

Summer Camp Update 6.9.2020

Good afternoon,

I am writing to update you on our policies and procedures for Lake Stockwell Day Camp and Camp Matocky. As you may have heard, the New Jersey Department of Health released summer camp guidance late in the evening on June 8, 2020 (last night). Moving forward, we will work with the Burlington County Health Department to create a detailed plan for how we will comply with the Summer Camp Standards. Upon approval of our plan by the Department of Health, I will send another email updating on final policies and procedures which hopefully will address any remaining questions that you may have.

With that said, I have included a link to the Summer Camp Standards: 2020 Summer Camp Standards Link. This link will give you insight into the guidelines, and once our plan is approved, we will provide more detail as to how we will handle and meet the various standards.

I also wanted to provide some quick updates to hopefully answer some initial questions that you may have:


  • Busing is permitted, so our bus routes for Lake Stockwell Day Camp will operate. Our staff will be required to wear a mask on the bus, and campers will be distanced on the bus. Our buses will operate with reduced capacity (approximately 66% of maximum capacity), and campers will be spread out with no two campers in the same seat unless they reside in the same household.
    • Campers may be required to wear a mask on a bus.
    • We work with Hillman’s Bus Service, and they have protocols in place to ensure that their buses are being cleaned between drop-off and pick-up.
  • Temperature checks with infrared thermal thermometers will be taken of staff and campers before being admitted into the camp program. If someone is registering a fever (greater than 100.4 degrees, they will not be permitted to attend camp.
    • Additionally, campers (or, more accurately, their dropping off parent or guardian) will be required to answer a number of questions about the camper’s health at the time of drop-off. Please allow extra time for the drop-off routine for this process to play out.
    • We will dedicate a number of staff members to conducting the temperature checks and interviews to speed the drop-off and check-in process along.
    • For bus campers, temperature checks and health screenings will be conducted prior to campers boarding a bus, so families should allow for extra time at drop-off for this process to be completed.
  • Staff and campers will also be screened for symptoms related to COVID-19. Folks presenting with symptoms will not be permitted to attend camp. Those symptoms include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • We will have a registered nurse (“health director”) with knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms and current guidance documents from the New Jersey Department of Health Communicable Disease Service on site at all times while our programs are operational.
    • Our group leaders will monitor campers throughout the day – as they typically do during summer camp – and report any signs of illness or symptoms to our health director.
    • The health director will conduct a screening of any camper presenting with COVID-19 symptoms (or any other illness), and act accordingly based on Department of Health protocols.
  • Any camper that begins to show symptoms during the day will be isolated in a health lodge on site and removed from programming until they can be picked up.


  • We will be splitting campers into groups and keeping the groups consistent throughout a session from both a camper and staffing standpoint.
    • Our camp programs will not be operating at true capacity to promote social distancing and to preserve the camper experience for those attending.
  • As our camp programs primarily operate outdoors, for the most part campers will not need to wear masks. However, campers should be sent to camp with 2 cloth masks daily for use when social distancing is impractical, or if campers have to move to an indoor program space during inclement weather.
  • Program areas and shared program equipment such as archery equipment, canoe paddles, and sporting equipment, will be cleaned between groups.
  • Handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizer is available throughout camp, including at each program area. Campers will be given the opportunity to wash or sanitize their hands at the start and end of each activity period (and of course, as needed throughout the day).
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned more frequently throughout the day.
  • Non-essential visitors will not be permitted during the camp program. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to invite camp families to attend Stockwell Red Feather ceremonies this summer.
  • All-camp activities, or activities where groups mix together, will not occur this summer. However, we will work to provide creative programming alternatives.
  • We will not be offering the Equestrian Program this summer.
    • If you are registered for the Equestrian Program, you will be refunded the amount paid by the end of September.
  • Our Explorers program will not go on any off-site field trips. Stay tuned for more updates on the Explorers program and some additional on-camp programs we will be offering to ensure this program maintains the high-quality standards that we are used to.
    • We will provide an update on the pricing for the Explorers program in the next week, but based on the cancellation of field trips we will be issuing a partial refund for registered sessions by the end of September. More details will follow!
  • Regarding food service, we will be working closely with our health inspector to develop a plan that meets the Department of Health’s standards. Once this plan is approved, I will provide more specific details, but our intent is to continue to provide meals to our campers each day.

As noted, once our specific plan is approved by the Burlington County Department of Health, I will provide more detail on specifics, but hopefully the details above answer many of the questions that you may have. If you choose to review the Standards linked in this update, please remember that we are an outdoor camp and therefore many of the indoor standards do not apply to us. Presumably, our beautiful 800 wooded acres are part of the reason you are sending your kids to our camps! J

As always, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions. In the meantime, I will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available, or as our plans are approved by the Department of Health.

Thank you, and be well!

Greg Keresztury, Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of the Pines | 609.678.1515 (direct)

Summer Camp Update 6.1.2020

Dear Summer Camp Families,

I hope all is well with you and your family. I am writing to provide a final update on our 2020 summer camp plans at YMCA of the Pines!


Pursuant to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 149, summer day camp programs may operate beginning Monday July 6, 2020. Unfortunately, the Order also did prohibit sleepaway camps from operating this summer. However – for our Ocky and Matolly campers, we do have some good news! Please read below for updates on everything from our camp-specific plans to our financial policy amendments for the 2020 summer.


Lake Stockwell Day Camp will officially open and begin operations starting with “Session 3” on Monday, July 6 at YMCA of the Pines! The program will run for 9 weeks (Sessions 3-11) and conclude Friday September 4 (Labor Day Weekend).

Please note, the Governor noted that the Department of Health would be providing camp-specific operating guidance and restrictions in the coming weeks. We are planning on running bussing on our typical routes, but are awaiting further guidance from the Department of Health.

I will note that we will be releasing significantly more information in the coming weeks pertaining to policy and procedure changes based upon recommendations from the Burlington County Department of Health, the CDC, and the ACA (American Camp Association). This information will include steps we will be taking to clean our facilities and program areas, and other changes that will be put in place to try to keep our campers and staff safe. In the meantime, please be patient with us as we process, adjust and communicate over the coming weeks.

I’m Already Registered!

If you are already registered for one or more sessions between 3 and 11, you don’t have to do anything! Your registration is confirmed, and we’re planning on being able to provide a fantastic summer camp experience for your camper.

If you are registered for Sessions 1 and/or 2, please email us at: and advise whether you would like your session fees:

  1. Converted to a donation (in whole or in part) to YMCA of the Pines, a non-profit organization;
  2. Applied to register your camper(s) for future session (or to your balance owed) in 2020 or 2021 (at 2020 prices); or
  3. Refunded to you via the original method of payment. Note, the refund may take 3-4 weeks to process.

Finally, please tell your family and friends that Lake Stockwell Day Camp at YMCA of the Pines is OPEN for the 2020 summer!


As noted in the Camp Update, Governor Murphy did prohibit overnight camps from operating this summer. We were planning to open this summer, and holding out hope that we would hear otherwise, but of course we respect the Governor’s decision. With that said, we always operate with a Plan B (and in some cases, a Plan C), as we know that many of our overnight campers will long for opportunities to connect with their friends, counselors, and the property. As we know, camp is so much more than an experience, it is a lifestyle and a journey – and we want to provide an opportunity for campers to continue on that journey in 2020, even if it looks a little different than we expected a few short months ago.

Accordingly, we are excited to announce the following:

  1. We will be hosting Camp Matocky, a co-ed extended day camp program for campers interested in experiencing our sleepaway camp. Camp Matocky is a limited-edition program for Summer 2020 hosted on the Ockanickon side of camp. It will operate during four 1-week sessions (Monday through Saturday) starting July 6. Camp Matocky includes lunch, dinner, evening activities, and traditional camp ceremonies;
  2. We will host some camper reunion events during the fall and winter, assuming Governor Murphy deems such activities to be safe offerings; and
  3. We will continue to engage our camp community through online events such as virtual camp fires, talent shows, and more!

We will be announcing more details about Camp Matocky during the week of June 1, but our camp team (Matt Foran, Charlotte Brown, and Christine Giannobile) has been working on building a fantastic, extended day experience that allows campers to re-ignite summer relationships and connections, continue their journey of growth and achievement, and feel some sense of normalcy during an otherwise abnormal summer.

Each of our campers have amazing potential, and the world needs them to achieve it– now, more than ever. Our mission at camp is to aid campers on that journey- and we intend to deliver that mission, even if it means our campers have to go home at night. We hope that you will continue to partner with us to advance this mission – even if only for a week during the 2020 summer. 


We previously communicated revised financial policies for the 2020 summer with an aim to leading with our values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, courage, and inclusion. That aim will not change now, and our goal remains: to support our camp families during these difficult and uncertain times.

Payment, Session Change and Refund Policy

  • Your camper’s session must be paid in full prior to attendance.
    1. No credit cards will automatically be changed, so please email with your camper’s name and approval to charge any remaining balance to the card used at the time of initial registration.
  • You may change your camper’s registered session at any time at no cost, pending availability.
  • You may cancel any registered session and receive a full refund (including the deposit) at any time.
  • If you request a refund, and are willing and able to convert some or all of your funds paid to a donation, we would greatly appreciate it. We will be sure to send you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.
  • In the alternative, you may apply any funds paid to the 2021 Summer Camp Season, and we’ll issue you a credit shifting these payments to 2021.
    1. If you elect to apply the funds to 2021 Summer Camp, we will lock in your session cost at 2020 pricing.


We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a summer camp experience to our camp families. Kids need camp now more than ever, as camp provides campers with an opportunity to connect socially, have new experiences, and continue their journey of personal growth. We do not take this opportunity or responsibility lightly.

Please stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks about the 2020 summer. Of course, you may also track any updates on our website on our COVID-19 specific page:

Please contact us at 609.654.8225 with any questions, or if you need anything from us. Otherwise, we look forward to providing an impactful experience for your camper(s) this summer!

Stay healthy,

Greg Keresztury
Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of the Pines | 609.678.1515 (direct)


Summer Camp Update 5.19.2020

Dear Summer Camp Families,

I hope you and your family are healthy and doing well. I am writing to provide an update on plans for summer 2020 at YMCA of the Pines (Camps Ockanickon, Matollionequay, and Lake Stockwell Day Camp). I will also review revisions to our financial policies to better support our camp families during these trying times.


As the summer approaches, we are getting more resources and guidance on how to modify our procedures and policies to operate summer camp. For example, the ACA (American Camp Association), in conjunction with YUSA, just published an 80+ page “Field Guide for Camps” which we are reviewing to guide us in making policy changes to support our camp operations while COVID-19 remains a public-health threat.

Currently, we are awaiting final guidance from the State of New Jersey and the Burlington County Department of Health as to what camps will be permitted to operate, and under what guidance. Until we have definitive information from these entities, we cannot make a final decision on the 2020 summer for any of our programs.

We are proud to say that we have not furloughed our full-time staff, and they remain hard at work hiring summer camp staff, preparing our facility for campers, and refining our policies and procedures so we’re able to follow best practices when we begin running camp. Please continue to follow our social media pages (Facebook/Instagram) for updates, and fun content!


As a community-focused organization, we must lead with our values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, courage, and inclusion. Accordingly, all of our financial policy modifications for the 2020 summer, set forth below, are designed with one goal in mind: to better support our camp families during these difficult and uncertain times.

Session Change & Refund Policy

We will provide a full refund if you need to cancel or modify your camper’s registration, for any reason. We will also allow session changes at no cost, for any reason.

  • If you are willing and able to convert to a donation some or all of your funds paid – we would greatly appreciate it, and will be sure to send you a receipt for your donation.


  • In the alternative, you may apply any funds paid to the 2021 Summer Camp Season, and we’ll issue you a credit shifting these payments to 2021.


  • If you elect to apply the funds to 2021 Summer Camp, we will lock in your session cost at 2020 pricing.

June Payment Plan Charge Date

The automatic charge date for folks on a payment plan is June 5, 2020. We will not be charging cards at that time. If you would like your card to be charged in June, please email our registrar at, and please grant permission for your card to be charged on or around
June 5, 2020.

Pay In Full Deadline

The pay in full deadline scheduled for the first week of June will not apply for the 2020 summer. Since things are changing often and quickly, we will give our camp families as much flexibility as possible to make decisions for the 2020 summer. However, all registered sessions must be paid in full one-week before your camper(s) attends.


We will remain in communication as things progress, and we receive additional guidance from the State of New Jersey and the Burlington County Department of Health. Our goal remains to do all we can to support and accommodate our camp families during this difficult and unique time.

Please contact us at 609.654.8225 with any questions, or if you need anything from us. Otherwise, we look forward to providing an impactful experience for your camper(s) this summer!

Stay healthy,

Greg Keresztury
Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of the Pines | 609.678.1515 (direct)