We are committed to trying to open Camp Ben Frankel Overnight in the safest way possible in 2021 - while retaining the magical experience and fun. As always, the health and well-being of our campers, staff, and their families remains our highest priority. To achieve this goal our staff and board are dedicating their focus, resources, creativity, and energy into finding a way to safely open Camp Ben Frankel Overnight.

Our planning and research into safe overnight camp operations began in the spring of 2020 and has continued in earnest ever since. As we all know, the landscape and safety recommendations regarding COVID-19 are constantly changing. Although we have been planning and learning for months and months, we expect health recommendations to continue to evolve and that we will know more as summer nears. Along the way we will continue to navigate these ever-changing, challenging times. Below are details regarding our initial health and safety plans. Our commitment to you is that we will stay in touch regularly as our plans continue to unfold and that we will continue to review and update our plans in order to provide the safest experience possible.

Identifying viable alternative campsites

Traditionally, CBF Overnight’s campsite has been located in Southern Illinois. The way the rules are currently written, the state of Illinois forbids overnight summer camps from operating until the state is able to move to Phase 5, the phase with the least restrictive regulations (learn more here). We have been working hard to identify a viable alternative campsite located in an adjacent state.


Increasing Our Budget For Health And Safety

We are increasing our health and safety budget in preparation for the summer of 2021. These increases will allow us to:

  • Grow our medical staff

  • Invest in testing, PPE, and other medical supplies

  • Expand our operational capacity for sanitization and facility modification


Adding A Health & Safety Director

We are expanding our year-round team by adding a Health and Safety Director. The Health and Safety Director will closely study emerging best practices and work with our medical advisory task force to develop safe practices and operations before and during the summer of 2021.


Medical Advisory Task Force

In the spring of 2020 during the onset of the pandemic we assembled a Medical Advisory Task Force with experts in pediatrics, epidemiology, nursing, and emergency medicine. Their guidance and expertise will continue to inform our health and safety plans and practices.


Case Studies: Private Overnight Camps That Safely Operated In 2020

In the summer of 2020, a number of privately owned summer camps were able to open and operate safely. Those camps have worked closely with our partners at the American Camp Association and the Foundation For Jewish Camp to help share the lessons that they learned and best practices that they developed.


Partner Organizations and Best Practices

We work closely with a wide variety of partner organizations to leverage their collective expertise and resources towards fulfilling our mission and operating a successful summer camp. For example, the American Camp Association developed the Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance and hosts webinars and conferences to enable camps to continually share and learn from each other. The Foundation For Jewish Camp has connected hundreds of professional camp leaders across the country, hosted covid-related training sessions, and provided access to emergency resources. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation provided grant funding and access to free consulting services.


Initial Planning

While we have begun to outline concrete plans for summer 2021, most of our specific strategies are still in development. This is because we want to ensure that we are basing our plans on the most up-to-date and accurate information. As we get closer to the summer, we will release a detailed COVID Safety Plan for our families and staff.


The following items are under close consideration and will likely be incorporated into our safety plan:

  • Pre-camp health screening

  • Pre-arrival quarantine and testing

  • Rapid testing upon arrival but before admittance to the campsite

  • Routine health screening and testing while at camp

  • Cohorting (dividing campers into smaller groups or “pods”)

  • Mask requirements

  • Increased disinfecting and cleaning

  • Hand washing and sanitizing

  • Facility modifications such as ventilation of indoor spaces

  • Alteration of activities to allow for social distancing, increased outdoor activities, and smaller groups doing activities at one time

  • Designated quarantine facilities with programming and staff, should this be needed

  • Limiting visitors to camp

  • Limiting movement in and out of the campsite

    • Replacing offsite camp trips with onsite activities

    • Developing creative plans for staff time off, since (for safety reasons) they will be required to stay in camp during their time off.



As we learn more and make more concrete decisions, we promise to keep our families and staff informed. All updates will be shared with our families and on this page. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.


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3419 W. Main St., Belleville, IL 62226