Our Summer 2021

COVID Response

Our team has spent a lot of time considering what camp would look like this summer while we continue to navigate the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no simple task to weigh into consideration the variety of recommendations from so many resources and balance that with the wishes and hopes of our campers and families who represent the full spectrum of opinions and beliefs. Our number one mission is to safely share a fun, Jesus-centered experience with as many campers as possible. We know that God has something TERRIFIC in store for our campers and staff this summer. We want to implement practices that will reasonably mitigate (not necessarily eliminate) exposure risks as much as possible so we can have a successful and, hopefully, COVID-free summer at Riverside.

​Here are some facts about some of the precautions we are taking this summer:


1.    “WOW! That’s a big tent!” – Yes, it is and we are so excited for the addition of this extra-large outdoor gathering space that will allow for safe distancing during worship and chapel time. The tent along with a concentrated effort to maximize outdoor programming will allow our campers to have the most ‘normal’ camp experience possible. Our tent will be located in the lot by the Dining Hill.

2.    Cabin groups – each cabin will be considered a ‘household’ for the week and masks will NOT be required when they are together. This applies when they are in the cabin (day and night), when they are dining together, as well as anytime that they are together as a cabin and safely physically distanced away from other cabin groups.

3.    Masks – our campers and staff will need to be prepared to mask when indoors transitioning from one location to another, and any other time they might be unable to maintain a safe physical distance from campers assigned to cabins other than their own. Please note: Masks will not be allowed when IN the swimming pool.

a.     Riverside staff precautions – not all Riverside staff are cabin leaders. So, if/when a Riverside staff member not assigned to your child’s cabin is interacting with your camper inside of a safe physical distance, we will be wearing a mask.

4.    Meals – over the past year, our team has experimented with a variety of meal service options during different events. We may continue to make adjustments throughout the summer but one thing is for certain, camper traffic will be low during mealtimes. Our mealtimes will be divided into two sessions, campers will always sit at the same table all week long, and there will not be a buffet line! Coolest-of-all, handwashing with soap and water at our custom canoe handwashing stations will be a fun addition to our pre-meal routine as our campers enter the Dining Hall!

5.    Camper illness – in the past, a sick camper has spent time in the nurse quarters until either they feel better or worse (which is when they go home and this doesn’t happen often). COVID-19 symptoms must be considered carefully and if your child presents with symptoms, we will isolate them from other campers and will be in communication with you immediately. PLEASE do not send your child to camp if you think that there is a possibility they are ill – it is not worth the risk to your child and to the rest of the campers and staff at Riverside.

6.    Hamilton County Public Health – we have appreciated our close partnership with our local public health department. They have been involved in our discussions since January as we began to prepare our plans for summer camp. They have approved our Communicable Disease Plan; if/when we determine that there is cause to test our staff, they will perform those diagnostics; as well as have offered to come to camp to vaccinate any staff who wants it during training. We will continue to seek their guidance throughout our summer.


This list does not cover all of the precautions we are taking as a camp this summer. There is much more included in our Communicable Disease Plan. If you have any questions that aren’t answered above, please reach out to Cheri Schendel-Hennager, Associate Director, by calling our office (515-733-5271) or at

What if our household has an exposure or a positive COVID diagnosis right before camp? 

For this year only, we have amended our cancelation policy for COVID-related reasons, only. ​The deposit of $125 is non-refundable but is transferrable. If you or your family member need to cancel due to either a diagnosis of COVID for the camper or because of a required quarantine due to an exposure, we can transfer your deposit into a payment voucher that can be used at a future event or camp session at Riverside. If COVID is the reason a camper is unable to attend camp, the deposit amount could also be transferred to another camper.​​ **Cancellations for reasons not relating to COVID will result in a loss of deposit.

In this short video, Chris Dahl, Riverside Executive Director, addresses the way we're approaching summer 2021 from a health, safety and faith perspective.

If you have any questions or concerns about our preparedness for COVID-19, please contact us! We want to ensure your Riverside experience is filled with faith, fun and peace of mind...both for your kids and for you.