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On COVID-19

The Latest Impacts, Updates + Protocols

We will update this page as new information emerges, so please check back for our most-up-to-date response.   Visit the bottom of the page for links to Tompkins County resources.

Summer Camps Will Run with Changes:

The wellbeing of our campers and staff is of the utmost importance to us. We are continuing to update our Summer Camp 2020 plans and policies and will share changes with you regularly on this page. Following are the current planned protocols:


  • Soft Opening: We will be carefully building up to full capacity at camp as we implement new health and safety procedures. This means that some of the camps in the first few weeks, have been cancelled. We have also put all new summer camp registrations on hold, all NEW registrations (not those making changes to replace cancelled camps) will be put on the waitlist.
  • Rolling Deadlines: We have changed our due date policies for refunds, transfers and payment deadlines. Instead of one early deadline (previously June 8th), see below for our extended Payment Due Dates:
    • The extended Payment In Full date for Weeks 1 and 2 (camps starting June 29 and July 6) is now June 12th.
    • The extended Payment In Full date for all other weeks is now June 26th.
  • Epic Day/Extended Care is canceled. This summer, our campers will be staying in small groups for the duration of the camp day, minimizing contact with other campers and groups. Epic Day does not fit into this framework and, unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to offer extended care at the beginning or the end of the camp day. Epic Day payments, if paid, will be refundable.
  • Drop off and Pick up procedures: We will be changing our drop off and pick up procedures this summer with the safety of camp families and staff in mind. We will be implementing staggered drop off and pick up times to reduce in person contact time:
    • Arrival: Your drop off time may change. Camp staff will meet you at your vehicle to do an in-person health check and receive your child.
      • 8:40-8:50: Forest Village Camp (Full-day campers ages 5-7)
      • 8:50-9:00: Forest Explorers Camp and Pathfinders Camp
      • 9:00-9:10: Advanced and Specialty Camps
      • 9:15-9:30: Growing Wild (ages 3-5)
    • Departure: Your pick up time may change. Campers will stay with their groups during pick up and families will arrive according to the camps their kids are in.
      • 3:00-3:20: Forest Village Camp/Forest Explorers
      • 3:25-3:45: Pathfinders/Advanced and Specialty Camp
    • If you are dropping off or picking up children of different ages, you will receive more information closer to the start of camp.
  • Travel Camps that currently meet at CCE: Travel Camps will no longer be providing van transportation. If permitted, we will continue these camps by coordinating drop off locations with families at local natural areas within 7 miles of Ithaca. This will require families to follow directions each day to meet at our location. Pick up time will also change to our normal pick up time of 3:00-3:30pm. Transportation fees, if paid, will be refundable. Families with campers registered for our Travel Camps will receive a separate email addressing these changes.
  • Summer Camp Safety Plan: We will continue working on our updated summer camp safety plan, tailoring the guidelines set forth by the American Camp Association to specifically fit our summer program. We encourage you to take a look at the ACA’s Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance. Here is a link to the webpage and here is a link to download the file.
  • Inclement Weather: We are working with the Health Department to finalize our inclement weather policy. It is possible that in the event of a severe weather forecast we will cancel that day of camp. There will be no refunds issued in this case.
  • How to keep and make changes to your registrations: If you choose to keep your current registration in camps, please stay tuned for an acknowledgment form to be sent your way soon. If the changes we have made to our camps no longer work for your family, please choose one of the following options:
    • Transfer your camper's registration now to another camp: Your full payment is transferable to another camp this summer with available spaces. Due to limited availability, we recommend contacting the registrar as soon as possible at primitivepursuitcamp@gmail.com or leave a voicemail at 272-2292, ext.195. If there are no spaces available in the camp you would like to switch to, you can also receive a refund until June 12th.
    • Cancel your camper's registration and get a refund: The option for a full refund is only available until June 12th. Please fill out our Cancellation Request Form by June 12th to specify how much you would like refunded. Any portion you donate to us now is tax deductible, and any support in this way is very much needed at this time. If you cancel after June 12th, all deposits are non-refundable.

Some camps and add-ons options would pose an unnecessary risk for virus transmission, and we have made the difficult decision to cancel some options for this summer.


  • Cancelled Camps:
    • Primitive Cafe (7/13-7/17 and 8/10-8/14)
    • Climate Warriors (7/6-7/10)
    • Growing Wild (6/29-7/3)
    • Invisible Ones (6/29-7/3)
    • Archer's Apprentice (6/29-7/3)
  • Cancelled Add-ons:
    • Van Transportation option from Cornell Cooperative Extension to 4-H Acres/FLNF on the following weeks: 6/29-7/3, 7/6-7/10, 7/13-7/17, 8/3-8/7, 8/10-8/14, 8/17-8/21, and 8/31-9/4

There are also new health and safety procedures and restrictions for families to consider:


  • Out of region restrictions: Due to different parts of NYS and other states “opening” at different times, registrations may be limited to families within a designated geographical area. We will keep you updated as guidelines emerge.
  • Monday health checks: Mornings at camp normally include a brief camper health check by our instructors. With these checks, we ensure as healthy a start to our camp week as we can. This summer we will be expanding these health checks to be compliant with updated Health Department regulations. We will have more information about this in the coming weeks.
  • Reduced illness tolerance: We will have a low tolerance for any type of illness at camp this summer. We will send your camper home for stomach aches, headaches, coughs, fevers, etc. Please make sure your Account Portal lists up-to-date emergency contact information for at least two (2) adults besides the account holder.
  • Inclement weather: We are updating our safety plans for summer storms, due to limited indoor space. We will communicate these to camp families as soon as possible.
  • Hygiene: Sanitation procedures are ramping up for summer. Campers and staff will be expected to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer regularly. Everyone will be required to bring a face mask to camp, and wear it when appropriate.
  • Reduced group sizes: Our camp groupings may be smaller than usual, depending on the camp. Campers will not be gathering in large, combined groups as is typical. We will have fewer spaces in general available in our camps this summer.

Last but not least… Get outside!

Spring is booming with life and beauty! There are lots of great reasons to go outside even if we can’t take your children out into the woods and wilds this Spring, and we encourage all who can to do so! Physical activity boosts immunity. Sunlight kills viruses and gives us Vitamin D, which is an immune-booster. Time in nature is calming. We hope you find as many ways as possible to get outside with family over the next few weeks and enjoy the gifts of spring.

We wish you all health and strength in this difficult time. We are grateful for you, and while we can’t reach out with our hands right now we are reaching out with our hearts.

May the Forest Be With You,

The Primitive Pursuits Team

Jed Jordan, Sarah Birnbaum, Melissa Blake, Wren Anjali, Megan Pugh, Sarah Chaffee, Danielle Prizzi, Jesse Worden, Sky Minkoff

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Local Resources:
Mutual Aid Tompkins County
Tompkins County Dept of Health
CCE NY Disaster Education Network

Updated 6/4/20, 4:13 PM
"My son was enrolled in the Forest Preschool and eagerly anticipated his days at forest school. He spent time in traditional pre-kindergarten programs as well as this special outdoor school. The difference with forest school is the palpable engagement of my child's senses. He came home grinning, muddy, smelling of wood smoke and eager to tell me about the blue jay he heard, the creek he discovered, and the "mountain" he climbed. The sense of aliveness and wonder was all right there on his face! I highly recommend this program for all kids of any age!" T.O., Forest Preschool

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

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