Summer 2021 Plans

The information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving, and we will update our plans to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 and minimize the spread of Covid-19 monthly between now and summer 2021.  This plan is written to reflect what Camp would look like if it were to open today.  We are regularly updating this document to reflect any changes made to policies and best practice recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Check back frequently for our most current plans.

Camp Interlaken may not look like it does in a typical summer, but we are doing everything to make sure that it feels the same!  We believe that the value of bringing our campers and staff together on the shores of Lake Finley, among friends old and new, and participating in a traditional, albeit slightly modified, Jewish overnight camp experience is needed more than ever during this challenging period of time.  In order to be successful, there are hundreds of campers and staff relying on each one of us to be committed to Camp’s success.

Ensuring the healthiest start to Summer 2021 will require a partnership between Camp Interlaken and our families, campers, and staff.  We will ask that every family and every staff member sign our brit (covenant) prior to arrival in order to keep our Camp Interlaken community safe.  

To view our most current version of our Covid-19 playbook, click here: InterlakenCovid19Playbook2021Feb21

All FAQs were updated 2/17/2021 unless otherwise noted.

We are lucky to meet regularly with an incredible medical committee that has helped us create protocols for the summer 0f 2021:

  • Dr. Sharyl Paley
  • Dr. Dipesh Navsaria
  • Dr. Amy Lakritz
  • Dr. Andy Wagner
  • Dr. Larry Golopol
  • Dr. CJ Wagner
  • Tera Shapiro, R.N.

We have partnerships with experts in the field:

  • American Camp Association (ACA)
  • Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC)
  • JCC Association (JCCA)
  • Vilas County Health Department
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

We rely on our internal partnerships with other programs of the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC who operated successfully in summer 2020 and continue to operate successfully.

  1. All campers and staff must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to their arrival at Camp to their best ability.  During this time, we ask that campers avoid physical contact with anyone outside of their household, unless absolutely necessary.  Campers shouldn’t participate in indoor sports or other indoor activities like sleepovers or graduation parties.
  2. We ask other household members to take appropriate social distancing and preventive measures including but not limited to the following.
    1. Wearing a mask
    2. Staying 6 feet away from other people
    3. Washing hands with soap and water frequently
    4. Utilize curbside store/restaurant delivery services
    5. Limit non-essential travel
  3. Campers and staff should expect to take at least one (1) negative molecular PCR COVID-19 test within 2-5 days before arrival and submit the results to Camp.  All campers must have a negative PCR test in order to attend camp. It is imperative that a few days prior to the test and once taken that campers and families are overly cautious and practice social distancing until arrival at camp. YOU are our partners in risk mitigation.
    1. Campers and staff members who receive a positive test several days prior to arrival should contact us immediately and NOT plan to travel to camp.
  4. Interlaken staff will undergo a second quarantine which will take place at Camp 14 days prior to campers’ arrival.
  • Prior to bus departure (or prior to exiting the car if the camper is driven to Camp), all campers and staff will have a temperature check, rapid Covid-19 test, and symptom screening with a member of our team. 
    • In order to get on the bus (or enter Camp if the camper is being driven to Camp), the rapid Covid-19 test needs to be negative.
    • If the rapid Covid-19 test is positive, the camper/staff will not be allowed to attend Camp Interlaken until they are cleared by the health department.
  • All campers and staff will receive a PCR COVID-19 test on day 5 and day 10 of Camp. We are finalizing how to conduct testing onsite in an efficient manner, as well as having relationships with the local health department and their connection to additional testing sites. All campers and staff will have common symptom checks frequently throughout the summer.
  • Please note – our testing policy is based on the information we know today. Our testing protocol is subject to change.

For 2021, we are modifying our regular transportation options for campers to arrive at Camp.  The only Interlaken provided option is to depart out of Milwaukee.  Departure times will be scheduled and staggered to allow for flights to arrive into Milwaukee as well as for families to travel from Chicago or Madison to Milwaukee.  We will not be offering busing from Northbrook, IL, Madison, WI, or Minneapolis, MN.  Campers can arrive to Camp via bus, parent drop off, or via flight into Rhinelander (RHI) airport.

The Milwaukee bus will leave from Nicolet High School. For the first two weeks of Camp, each cabin will be a “pod” as they essentially quarantine as a group and travel to activities and meals together while limiting their interactions with other cabins. In order to ensure we can mitigate the risk of cross-exposure with other cabins, all campers will be traveling to camp BY CABIN on a bus. We do not anticipate that cabins will be required to wear face masks when the campers are on the bus.

If interested, parents/guardians can elect to drop their camper(s) off at camp. We will provide exact drop-off times at a later date. Campers should not travel to Camp with individuals who are not members of their household. Exceptions can be made in the case of campers carpooling to camp with other campers who will be in their camp cabin/pod. A staff member will be at Camp’s gate welcoming each camper and family into Camp and directing them towards our maintenance area where we will have a check-in station staffed by members of our health team. There may be a short wait as others check-in, so we ask that everyone remains inside their vehicle. Staff will take the camper’s temperature to ensure it is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Campers who have a temperature over 100.4 degrees, show COVID-19 symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the previous 14 days will not be permitted to enter Camp. Campers will be asked a list of screening questions. Additionally, a Rapid Antigen Covid-19 test will be administered. Upon passing the screening and with a negative test result, the camper can exit the vehicle, and a staff will help gather their luggage and walk to their cabin to begin their Interlaken experience.

The Rhinelander (RHI) airport is 45 minutes from Camp and has direct flights on Delta from Minneapolis (MSP). Campers can travel to RHI with a layover in MSP, and a camp staff will pick them up from the airport. Once they arrive at Camp, their temperatures will be taken, and they will answer the same screening questions as the campers who arrive by bus or by private vehicle. A Rapid Antigen Covid-19 test will be administered as well. Upon passing the screening and with a negative test result, the camper can exit the vehicle, and a staff will help gather their luggage and walk to their cabin to begin their Interlaken experience.

Our expectation is that we will be able to combine our cohort groups onto busses based on their location.  We plan to provide bussing to Madison (first session), Milwaukee, Northbrook, Milwaukee Airport & Rhinelander Airport. Parent pickup is also an option.  More information will be available in the coming months.

The idea behind a POD is to allow small groups of campers to interact with each other in a traditional camp setting including being inside their cabin, going to chugim (activities), and eating meals together.


A pod is like an immediate family; they do not need to wear a mask when around one another. To limit exposure, each cabin will become a pod. During the first two weeks of camp, while there will be some choice to activities, all activities will be pod-based. All of K’far Noar (10th grade) will be a pod, and the entire Ozrim group will be a pod. Non-cabin staff will also be in their own pods based on where and with whom they live.


Pods will be able to interact with each other as long as 2 of the following 3 mitigation strategies are met (the 2/3 rule):

  1. Outdoors
  2. Physically Distant
  3. Wearing Masks

We are planning programming to make sure that campers are safe and healthy, as well as experience camp in the most “Interlaken” way possible.

In order to contain possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, we are requiring face masks that cover both the nose and mouth when campers and staff are in public areas where they will mix with anyone outside of their pod (when we mix, we mask). Masks will not be required when campers and staff are located inside their own cabins. Campers and staff must go by the 2/3 rule, and they must always be doing two of the three when they’re mixing with anyone outside of their pod: outdoors, physically distant, and masked.


Campers should come to Camp with 10-15 two-layer cloth masks, a box of 50-100 disposable masks, and a mask-lanyard holder for the camper to wear around their neck when/if they remove their mask.  Gaiters will not be accepted.  All masks must be labeled with first and last name.  Each camper should bring a zippered lingerie bag to Camp that is legibly labeled for their masks to be washed.  We will wash masks weekly by pod.










Best practices include creating a closed campus, or bubble.  Once our campers and staff arrive, they will not be allowed to leave.  Visitors will not be permitted. We will follow protocols for any in-and-out moments – such as offsite medical visits.


Other than healthcare and maintenance staff, the only other outside people who will be allowed into camp are vendors who provide essential services or items.  They will be subject to a health screening and temperature check before entering, and they will remain masked and distanced from our Camp community.


Staff will arrive 14 days prior to campers, be tested, and will remain in our camp community during their time off.

Meals are a special aspect of the Interlaken experience:

  • Meals will be served with recommended community mitigation strategies including staggered times and utilizing outdoor dining spaces.
  • During the first week of Camp, meals will be served in a pack-out style.  After the first week, meals will be served cafeteria-style.  We will have staff servers to optimize choice without sacrificing safety.
  • We will create choices and provide for special dietary needs as we have always done. Campers and staff will have access to salad bar and breakfast bar items at each meal as well as Sunbutter and jelly.

Campers love our variety of Chugim (activities) offerings: 

  • During the first two weeks when we are in cabin pods, the pods will be assigned to activities to attend together.  Each schedule will be 3-days long giving our campers the opportunity for some skill development and achievement.
  • We are examining how each activity may need to be modified to ensure health and safety of our camp community.  Each activity area will have adjusted plans that follow all ACA, CDC, and our medical committee recommendations.

Evening programs are always a highlight: 

  • For the first two weeks of Camp, each pod will participate in its own evening programs.  Some programs may be delivered to multiple groups where each pod is able to participate in parallel activities while maintaining proper physical distancing.
  • Some of our favorite all-camp programs such as Capture the Flag, Talent Show, Silent Disco, Maccabiah, Sha’arnival, and Final Banquet will continue to exist in modified form and done so in a safe and responsible way that keeps our pods intact and our 2/3 rule followed.

Gathering together, dressed up, as we welcome in Shabbat is a highlight for us every summer.  This summer won’t be any different.  Shoresh and Tzomayach campers will enjoy a delicious Shabbat dinner while Sha’ar and K’far Noar campers celebrate Shabbat together with Kabbalat Shabbat services in our sacred Makom Ha Lev (amphitheater). After dinner, Shoresh and Tzomayach campers will go to Makom Ha Lev for their Kabbalat Shabbat services while Sha’ar and K’far Noar eat dinner. After, song session and Israeli dancing will commence on the athletic field where each cabin will sing and dance together distanced from all other cabins.

On Saturday morning, campers and staff may celebrate Shabbat with alternative services by cabin (ie, Shul in the Pool, Meditation and Yoga, etc.) or Camp may be split into two different services where one group enjoys our sacred Makom Ha Lev (amphitheater) and the other group enjoys the serenity and peace of celebrating Shabbat at the Girls Campfire Circle.


  • We believe that the value of bringing our campers and staff together on the shores of Lake Finley, among friends old and new, and participate in a traditional, Jewish overnight camp experience is needed more than ever during this challenging period of time. We are committed to providing our future leaders with a respite from the effects of a pandemic-impacted world by giving them a safe and healthy community.  We will help them bridge the gap between being socially disconnected and being connected together at Camp.
  • Camp Interlaken’s Camper Care team led by Michelle Lafferty, LCSW, will be at Camp all summer to provide support to campers and staff and to partner with parents to facilitate a successful and happy summer at Camp Interlaken.  Our team always works hard to acclimate campers to the experience of being away from home and comfortably immersing themselves in the camp environment.  We have added additional care for the summer of 2021 recognizing that after months of social distancing that the need for greater MESH support will exist.
  • Our children need camp.  They need to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with their people.  They need to inhale the fresh Northwoods air and exhale stresses from their last 12+ months.  They are ready, and we are ready for them!

Please click here to view our most current Covid-19 Playbook: InterlakenCovid19Playbook2021Feb21

This plan is written to reflect what Camp would look like if it were to run today.  We are regularly updating this document to reflect any changes made to policies and best practice recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Check back frequently for our most current plans.