In March, the Ontario Camps Association (OCA; representing 450+ accredited Camps in Ontario) struck a COVID-19 Task Force that has engaged with provincial health officials, including the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) and local public health units, ever since. Wenonah has been well-represented throughout 2020 on the OCA Task Force level with three senior members of our Management Team (Tom, Nancy and Jeff) in key roles.
The OCA has been working with Ontario’s public health senior government leaders to create protocols for all elements of Summer Camp operation. These continue to evolve and we continue to monitor accordingly.
As we look forward to a safe and healthy 2021 camping season, Tom, Nancy and Jeff have formed the Wenonah COVID-19 Task Force. They are thrilled to be joined by Katerina Podolak; a Wenonah alumni staff from the 1990s, a Wenonah camper parent and significantly during these challenging times, Lead: COVID-19 Testing Implementation with Ontario Health. Katerina holds a Masters degree from the University of Toronto in Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (HPME).
Katerina’s impressive career includes numerous senior leadership roles:
- Director, Cancer Screening, Cancer Care Ontario
- Group Manager – Data Partnerships, Cancer Care Ontario
- Senior Project Manager, University Health Network
- Manager – Health System Strategy, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Senior Consultant – Wait Time Strategy, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
In addition, a leading national voice in the health community joins our team with a special connection to Wenonah. Brent Diverty is Vice President, Data Strategies and Statistics, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
Brent’s tremendous background includes:
- Co-leading CIHI’s pan-Canadian COVID-19 data and information response strategy, supporting and working daily with Canada’s health systems governments, public health officials and the health research community
- More than 20 years studying health systems and population health in Canada and internationally, including roles at Statistics Canada, the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare and in management consulting
- Wenonah supporter since its inception, and parent to three Wenonah campers
- Strong background in overnight camping as a camper and staff member over 15 years with several notable Ontario camping operations
Tom, Nancy and Jeff all bring unique skills, experiences and perspective to the Wenonah COVID-19 Task Force:
Tom Appleyard (Chair)
- Wenonah’s Camp Consultant, Director of Staffing and Advisory Board Member
- Principal, Thomas Appleyard Consulting and Facilitation (Facilitator · Management Consultant · Emergency Manager · Public Health Consultant · Mediator)
- 8 years with Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in senior roles with the Emergency Management Branch: Manager: Response and Recovery; Manager: Training, Exercises & Awareness; Manager: Planning and Programs; Senior Consultant
- Coordinator / Pandemic Influenza Coordinator (Community Health Centres of Greater Toronto)
- Chair: Greater Toronto Community Health Centres Flu Pandemic Task Force
- Principal, Preparedness (emergency management consulting services for over 40 government and non-profit organizations, networks and associations)
- Wenonah’s Director of Health & Wellness
- Nurse Practitioner – Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre COVID Assessment Centre – 2020
- Nurse Practitioner – Infectious Diseases COVIDEO at Sunnybrook Health Sciences – 2020
- Nurse Practitioner – Emergency Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children
- Nurse Practitioner – Travel Medicine (immunization and vaccines)
- Co-Chair 2020 OCA Health Committee
- Owner/Executive Director Camp Wenonah
- President, Ontario Camps Association
- Vice President, International Camping Fellowship (2020-23)
- Two-term Past President, Canadian Camping Association
- Executive Committee Member, OCA COVID-19 Task Force
Other key members of the Wenonah Team will work directly with the Task Force as we prepare for Summer 2021. They include: Senior Directors Mike Stewart & Jennifer “JJ” Jupp; Director of Operations Fraser “Tito” McOuat; Director of Leadership Eoin Wood; Dr. Phyllis McCord (Wenonah’s Camp Doctor) and Executive Chef Cody Rector.
As we move into 2021, we will begin regular updates in late January with our Wenonah community as further details and specifics come into focus.
Many plans are well-underway in all aspects of our operation for a COVID safe season in 2021. These include:
- A physically-distanced dining hall with dramatic new additional outdoor seating options.
- Extended meal times to allow for smaller numbers at any given time.
- Potential mobile Health Centre or, new dynamic Health Centre approach.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols.
- A new leadership centre which will provide a significant additional indoor space.
- Reimagined camper drop-off and pick-up routines for opening and closing days.
- Small cabin cohort groups with dedicated staff.
- A program schedule that reflects a small group cabin cohort experience.
- Program areas with physically distanced protocols in place.
- Summer Camp programs that are primarily outside; taking advantage of our extensive 100 acres of Camp property.
All of our plans will continue to evolve in line with provincial COVID-19 protocols and expectations.
The excitement for Summer Camp at Wenonah has never been greater as we look to the 2021 camping season. We continue to plan with confidence and intent for our greatest Summer ever! Judging from our record-setting registration for 2021, we know that our Wenonah families share in this enthusiasm and excitement.