health statement on COVID-19
July 25, 2020
While we like having Texas Monthly mention T Bar M in an article, not for these reasons. The article is inaccurate, and we anticipate it could cause some confusion, especially for our Camp Travis families. Therefore, we’re providing clarity here.
While the article is mostly about Pine Cove, who have been a tremendous help in our industry as we all seek to run camp in the safest way possible, it does mention T Bar M. The article says, “… and Spicewood’s T Bar M, 45 minutes west of Austin, closed for several weeks.”
Camp Travis, our Spicewood camp, has not experienced any closures. We have been able to prevent any spread of COVID-19 at our Camp Travis location, and it has operated each week of the summer, since our opening on June 14th. The only incident at Camp Travis was quickly contained when a camper’s family reported a positive test result after they already dropped their camper off at camp. T Bar M was unaware of the pending test result at opening, and immediately isolated the camper, and informed the parents of the campers in the affected Family Group, allowing them to come pick up their campers. This protocol is following the State Guidelines for safely operating summer camps (also referenced in the article) and was successful in preventing any further spread.
What the article is likely referencing is the closure of our Sports Camp and Day Camp in New Braunfels, both of which happened for 2 weeks to allow for a 14-day quarantine of our staff. Since re-opening, as of the writing of this update, we have had no new cases of COVID-19 and are looking forward to the final two weeks of camp this summer.
For a more thorough explanation of any incidents on property, our protocols and responses, you can visit our COVID-19 Exposure Update page, which has current and accurate information.
July 9, 2020
Campers required to wear face masks: Yesterday we were given notice of a new mandate by the Texas government and the local Health Department for Overnight and Day Camp Summer Programs that campers must wear face coverings while participating in our camp programs. See this link for the information sent to our Session 7 – 10 camp families: Announcement to Parents for Campers to Wear Face Masks
July 7, 2020
A note about Guest Groups: While we have had some positive COVID cases with our summer camp staff and campers, we have not experienced this with any of our staff working with groups who come to T Bar M. Our group lodging, meeting, and dining spaces do not overlap with our camp property, and we’re taking extra measures to ensure the safety of guests on property.COVID RESPONSE FOR GROUPS
July 5, 2020
Day Camp update: Following our announcement on July 1, 2020 to suspend Day Camp for Session 5, we have chosen to extend the closure for sessions 6 and 7.
Last week during Session 5, one of our Day Camp Leadership team members tested positive for COVID-19, and a number of other support staff began showing symptoms and were sent to be tested. Our support staff and leadership team for Day Camp do not interact directly with campers and wear masks if they are in close proximity. However, they are the staff who execute and plan the program for Day Camp. Now after a number of positive test results, we have made the decision to close sessions 6 & 7 to allow for a 14-day quarantine period for our leadership team.
Rest assured, we are making decisions under the advisement of medical professionals and our local Comal County Health Department and continuing to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and Governor’s Open Texas plan. As of today, we have plans for Day Camp to open again with Session 8, starting July 20th.
July 1, 2020
Sports Camp update: Following our announcement on June 28, 2020 to temporarily close T Bar M Sports Camp for Session 5, we made the decision today to extend the closure for one more week, Session 6. We will re-open Sports Camp with Session 7, on July 12, 2020.
Since our decision to close Session 5, we have had more staff and some campers from Sports Camp Session 4 test positive for COVID-19. Due to the level of exposure of our full-summer staff and welcoming in new staff to serve for the remainder of the summer this weekend, we have chosen to remain closed for Session 6. This decision will allow for a 14-day quarantine period for all Sports Camp staff. We feel this is the best ministry decision with the most available information at this date. We grieve this with our Session 6 families and commit to pray for the conversations you will have over this sad news. We LOVE having your kids at camp and have worked hard to make that opportunity possible this year.
Rest assured, we are making decisions under the advisement and with the support of medical professionals and our local Comal County Health Department, including the Director of Public Health and the Comal County Epidemiologist. We are continuing to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and Governor’s Open Texas plan.
Just to be clear, this decision impacts our Sports Camp program only. As of the writing of this update, Camp Travis has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19. And as a part of our virus mitigation strategy, Day Camp and Sports Camp do not overlap. We’ll ask you to join us in praying for a good, safe and fun week for them.
Day Camp update: This evening, we made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of Day Camp Session 5. This was NOT as a result of the spread of COVID among any campers or family groups.
However, we did have a member of our Day Camp leadership team test positive for COVID-19 and a number of other support staff members are showing symptoms. To be clear, our leadership team and any other support staff for Day Camp do not interact directly with campers and wear masks if they are close in proximity. But because we must treat all symptoms of sickness as if it is COVID-19 until a negative or positive result is returned, we do not have the support staff necessary to execute and program the remainder of the week of Day Camp.
A decision about Day Camp Session 6 will be made pending the outcome of COVID tests our symptomatic staff will receive.
These are unprecedented times. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these challenging circumstances and make decisions with the most relevant information we have to date. The health and safety of your camper is our utmost priority.
June 28, 2020
With great sadness, on Sunday, June 28, the decision was made to temporarily close T Bar M Sports Camp, and to reopen the following session on July 5. The decision was made after 3 staff members tested positive for COVID- 19. The first positive test result was reported on late Saturday afternoon (yesterday, as of the writing of this post).
We have followed the guidelines and protocols put forth for the operation of Summer Camps in the Governor’s Strikeforce to Open Texas, including separating campers into “cohorts” that remain consistent over the camp session. Cohorts allow the camp to quickly and methodically contain and/or limit the exposure of COVID-19 among staff and campers.
As of the writing of this update, no campers have reported symptoms or a notice of COVID-19 test results.
Out of an abundance of caution T Bar M is closing Sports Camp for one week and will reopen at the start of the following session, July 5 after deep-cleaning all Sports Camp cabins, common spaces and activities.
July 5 signals the start of newly arriving summer staff. All staff undergo health screening checks every day before work. Remaining staff who are symptomatic and who serve throughout the full summer are receiving COVID-19 tests.
From Dudley Callison, our President: “The health and well-being of our staff, campers, and camp families are our utmost priority during this time. While our focus is on life-changing ministry, we have been and will remain committed to doing everything in our power to prevent the entry of COVID-19 into camp and to lessen its impact when it does. We are committed to following the protocols and guidelines of the CDC, the State of Texas, our local health department, and the advisement of our Medical Director with our Health and Safety COVID Response team.”
Just to be clear, this decision impacts our Sports Camp program only. Our Camp Travis and New Braunfels Day Camps are still open for Session 5. There is no overlap in staff with either program to Sports Camp. We’ll ask you to join us in praying for a good, safe and fun week for them. Know that we’re praying for you daily and share the disappointment of this news with you.
June 27, 2020
As you’re preparing for your camper’s session of camp, you will receive a series of 5 emails with details leading up to your camp session. We’ve separated all of the information in this way so as not to overwhelm you with too much at one time. However, all of that information is also available on our Summer Resources Page, including programming changes, Opening and Closing Day information, Camp Store information and more.
Additionally, we want to highlight and explain Family Groups (what the state calls cohorts) as this is the method put forth by the State of Texas for the operation of Summer Camps. Family groups are a strategic part of the CDC’s protocol for summer camps. Family groups allow us to quickly and methodically contain and/or limit the potential exposure of COVID-19 among staff and campers. Once campers are medically cleared to enter camp, cabins will be divided into large family groups. During large group gatherings, campers will be required to stay within their family groups where they can interact with one another as usual, but will practice good physical distancing from other family groups.
If an individual (camper or staff) tests positive for COVID-19, we will notify all parents or guardians of campers in the family group. Because of the isolated nature of family groups, if your camper is not within the affected family group, we will not inform the entire session out of caution for the medical privacy of the person who has been infected. The parents or guardians may decide to either pick up their child from camp or leave their camper in camp and trust T Bar M to take appropriate safeguards. T Bar M will keep the family group containing the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 isolated from other family groups at camp for the remainder of the camp session.
May 28, 2020
Although we are grateful to being able to hold camps this summer on our permanent properties in New Braunfels and on Lake Travis, we are deeply saddened to inform our camp families our traveling summer camp, called Discover Camp, has been canceled for summer 2020. It breaks our hearts to have to make this decision, but we do feel it is the wisest step to eliminate the risk of further spread of COVID-19. We look forward to Discover Camp being back on the road in 2021.
Our Camp Directors are working hard preparing and training summer staff to serve Sports Camp, Camp Travis and Day Camp campers starting June 14th. After reviewing the CDC guidelines for summer camps published by the State of Texas on May 18th, we have a created a document giving an overview of what camp will look like under these guidelines. You can view that document here: What T Bar M is Doing For more details, check out the COVID-19 Response page. This page will be updated as needed as we move forward to receiving campers on June 14. It is important to note each camp this summer will have a dedicated Health & Safety Compliance Director responsible for ensuring compliance of staff and campers regarding new health and safety standards. These Compliance Directors are seasoned, full-time staff and are overseen by our Medical Director. We are confident we can deliver a safe AND fun experience for our campers.
We are beyond excited to say we have our first guest group coming to our property May 31st! We can not wait. In fact, they may be over-served as we have been waiting a long time to greet guests back to our property. You can view our COVID-19 Guest Group Response page to see how new health and safety measures will impact guests and group gatherings on our property. We are grateful to be actively booking new business and encouraged by returning groups rescheduling their events with us. Please call if your people are ready to gather and retreat!
And finally, if you are wondering how you can support T Bar M, please visit this page to see how you can help during this critical time.
May 18, 2020
Our hearts are bursting with gratitude and thankfulness as we received the news from Governor Abbott that summer camps will be allowed to operate in Texas this summer.
We have been praying, planning and preparing for this moment. We whole-heartedly agree with this statement during the Governor’s address today:
“… critical in our fight against this virus … if we all uncompromisingly hold our strong commitment to personal responsibility and embrace the Texas spirit of Texans helping Texans, I am confident we will get through this unprecedented challenge together.”
Summer Camps will be allowed to operate in Texas this summer.
We are committed to doing our part in protecting against the spread of the coronavirus. Ensuring the health and safety of your camper remains, as always, a top priority.
If you have read our 8-step COVID-19 Response page, then you know our first-step commitment is to follow government guidelines. After Governor Abbott’s announcement today, we can say with confidence we will be able to abide by the recommendations put forth in the Governor’s Open Texas plans. Although the Governor and the CDC are opening summer camp programs as of May 31, we realize there is also a very personal and individual decision to be made regarding trusting us with your child. Our desire is to communicate the specific details of our adjusted safety measures as soon as possible via our 8-step COVID-19 Response page and through email. Our staff is determined to deliver Christ-centered adventure to campers! It may look a little different this summer, but it is going to be one of those summers for the record books!
If you are registered this summer, you should have received our announcement of our delayed start date. In order to ensure we’re adequately prepared to open our gates, we made the difficult decision to cancel weeks one and two. We reached out to all session one and two camp families and the response to this news was encouraging. Most campers moved their registrations to a later date. Your actions and feedback during this time encouraged us much like Paul was encouraged by the church in Thessalonians. “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thess 5:11)
As we look forward to opening our gates again, we also grieve like you for the loss of lives, jobs, and missed opportunities during this COVID pandemic. It is only by God’s grace, mercy and provision that our gates will be open again. We look forward to welcoming you back when you are ready.
April 27, 2020
First, a heartfelt THANKS to all our camp families who participated in last week’s survey. Over 2000 families took the time to share their thoughts and opinions. Overwhelmingly we heard your desire for camp to happen this summer, so we are forging ahead making every effort to make that a reality if our authorities agree and with new health and safety measures in place.
Secondly, we are proud of our national camping association who has captured the ears of the CDC and the national and state government. Summer camps across America have been recognized as a valuable resource for kids and families alike instilling positive growth in Americans. It was no surprise to hear Governor Abbott address summer camps individually in his statewide address.
“We know how important [summer camps] are for kids. And how important they are for parents. Our medical team is still working on safe ways that kids will be able to attend summer camps. We know that camps are trying to get ready to make announcements for plans sometime soon. So we will continue working as swiftly as possible on ways to open summer camps knowing that safety of all kids at camps is the most important consideration.”
We are encouraged to know our government and health officials are addressing the unique needs of summer camps in order to open them this summer. We are looking forward to the guidelines set forth by our state government and local officials, as promised by the governor, as we continue to prepare.
We hope to be able to inform you on T Bar M’s summer plans early next week.
April 22, 2020
We continue to look to the CDC, national and state governments for guidance in battling the spread of COVID-19, and T Bar M continues to be a closed property until restrictions are lifted. We believe keeping our property closed is the first line of defense in helping stop the spread of the virus and ensuring our property is ready for a full summer of camp experiences. Our employees remain sheltered at home, yet actively working in safe and healthy ways to deliver growing experiences for our T Bar M families.
We continue planning and preparing for camp this summer anticipating the opportunity to serve your family. Next week, on April 30th, we will announce our plans for the summer. Until then, check out our COVID-19 Response page. Our Camp Directors along with our Medical Director are working hard to deliver a safe and fun experience while following the latest guidelines published by the CDC.
As much as we respect and will follow government authorities, it’s also important for us to listen to YOU! If you missed our email with a link to our Parent’s Response to COVID Survey, please take three minutes to complete. This survey will be open until April 29th collecting concerns that will be valuable for us as we address challenges because of the virus. And please know, challenges only inspire our creativity!
We pray for a chance to serve Christ-centered adventure soon! .
Walking together in faith.
April 14th, Email to Camp Families
Dear Camp Families,
COVID-19, a term many of us would be great not hearing again, is also the catalyst of us becoming stronger and giving opportunities to come together in creative ways like never before.
We look forward to campers enjoying Christ-centered Adventure again through the strengths we gain from this pandemic. Can’t you just imagine your kids saying, “Remember when we got to go to camp after staying home so long during all the Coronavirus craziness! That week of camp was my favorite!”
We’re right there with you parents in managing our households differently than we ever anticipated. This new reality, with all its quirks, Zoom meetings, togetherness (the double edged sword), and finding new spaces to operate is the exact thing drawing us nearer to God and our family. What gifts!
With new challenges ahead we are grateful for a staff that is all about T Bar M flex. Our champion Directors are currently working on all those additional safety details that keep camp safe and fun.
We look forward to seeing you this summer. As of today, we are planning and preparing to deliver a full summer of camp. We’ve also taken additional steps to protect your family’s financial investment by offering a full refund should we have to make the hard decision to cancel any sessions of camp. You can check out our website for the latest status on our COVID-19 health response. We want you to have the most amount of information about updates at camp so you can make the best decision for your family in regards to camp.
Until then keep growing in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man like Luke 2:52 says.
Your T Bar M family
p.s. Did you catch the Directors’ Bonafide music video…quarantine edition? You gotta check it out!
[policy updates in April 3rd message]
April 3, 2020
As we continue to look to the CDC, national and state governments for guidance in battling the spread of COVID-19, T Bar M officially closed our property for the coming month. Unfortunately, T Bar M has made some hard decisions including staffing reductions in order to move forward to serve our guest groups and camp families. Our Trustees and Leadership Teams are seeking the Lord’s guidance along with wise counsel as all of us together are navigating uncharted waters. We believe closing our property is the first line of defense in helping stop the spread of the virus, and ensuring our property is ready for a full summer of camp experiences. Our employees are sheltered at home, yet actively working in safe and healthy ways to deliver growing experiences for our T Bar M families.
As Spring guest group business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, we are thankful for the gracious and loyal responses from group leaders and thankful so many have rebooked for the fall. We look forward to the sweet reunion of serving you when all is safe to gather. Our guest group staff is actively working on new ways to better keep all our guests healthy while gathering and growing together on this beautiful, unique property.
We continue planning and preparing for 11 weeks of summer camp. We are fortunate to be well connected with leaders of camps around the U.S. and together we are collectively working on best ways to serve our camp families. The beauty that is rising from the ashes is watching the Body of Christ work and we walk in the trust of our Creator. What does this mean for you?
- If you have an active registration, we have a spot reserved for you.
- If you still have a balance on that registration, we hope it will bring some comfort to extend our final payment to 30 days before your camp event.
- For those who have paid your balance, thank you. This is helpful to our ministry.
- Rest assured. Your registrations are fully guaranteed. Should T Bar M have to cancel any camp, you will be given the choice to transfer those funds to summer 2021, receive a full refund, or donate any portion of those funds to help our ministry. We will communicate by email to each of our families should this happen, and will have an official update by April 30th.
Due to the financial impact on our organization, we have had to suspend some of our programs for this summer. We are reaching out to each family registered to present your options, but please reach out to us if you have questions regarding these programs.
- Discover Camp – we have reduced our 2 teams down to 1 team with 10 remaining partners this summer. See our Discover Camp page for more details.
- Ultimate Baseball Camp and Ultimate Softball Camp – we have had to suspend these programs for this summer. Registrants are encouraged to still enjoy Sports Camp or Camp Travis this summer.
- Ultimate Swim Camp – we have MOVED this session from Session 3 to Session 10 (August 2 – 8).
We thank you for your patience in these uncertain days. Should your family be experiencing a hardship, please know we want to try to help. First, please know we are praying for you. We know your hurt because we are walking in the same hurts. So together we pray. Secondly, our registrars are available by phone. If they cannot help you, they can get your message to the proper person to help you. Responses may not be immediate, but we will return your call.
Until we get to meet face to face, we will be working hard to prepare the best summer of Christ-centered adventure for you and your family.
Walking together in faith.
Randi Beth Burton
Senior Director of Sales & Marketing
March 25, 2020
As the safety and health of our guests and staff remain the highest of priorities, we continue to closely monitor COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC as well as other federal, state and local agencies. We are continuing to suspend all guest activity on our property through Sunday, April 5th. Our staff is actively working on adopting all CDC guidelines regarding best practices as we continue to plan in the days and weeks ahead.
It has not been without sadness that this pandemic impacted our opportunity to serve some of you, as we have been so fortunate to do over the years. We look forward to the day we get to invite groups back to our property. It will be a sweet time when that happens. If you are a group leader and have questions about your event, know we are currently working with our March and April groups to help them find a time to come back to T Bar M. If your event is scheduled after April, please let us know what questions we can answer for you in this time of uncertainty and know that it is our prayer to be able to still serve you as planned!
We continue to hope in offering a full summer of camp experiences. The normal cancellation policies are currently still in place. As the situation is fluid and may change with very little notice in the coming weeks, we will continue to evaluate and update our policies weekly. Should T Bar M need to cancel any week of camp in order to continue fighting the spread of this virus, a full refund will be available including the deposit, in addition to other options like transferring your tuition to summer 2021 or donating a portion of your refund back to T Bar M to support our ministry during this difficult time.
At T Bar M, our prayer has always been that we would be a place where people could gather together for work, play, learning and encouragement, to sit on a swing and retreat from their day to day, to be refreshed spiritually as they walk worn paths and engage with one another. We are so looking forward to getting to be that place for you, your group and your campers again in the future!
Walking together in faith.
March 23, 2020
Remember this … you are not alone.
March 18, 2020
T Bar M takes guest and staff safety very seriously.
In response to state and federal recommendations designed to limit the transmission and spread of COVID-19, T Bar M has decided to suspend all guest activity on our property from March 18th through Sunday, April 5th. This effort is meant to do our part to protect our older citizens and vulnerable individuals at risk of serious outcomes should they be exposed.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions regarding your options for cancelling or rescheduling your event. We will continue to provide updates here and directly with groups as we know our plans beyond April 5th. As of now, our policies remain in place for any groups in May and beyond. Rest assured, we are monitoring this developing situation closely, staying in regular contact with local and federal agencies, health organizations and other experts.
We are completely anticipating a full summer of camp experiences. Please know normal cancellation policies are currently still in place. We will continue to evaluate and update our policies weekly. Should T Bar M need to cancel any week of camp in order to continue fighting the spread of this virus, we will gladly talk through several options with you.
Thank you for your patience and trust in T Bar M and we look forward to serving you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us. A small staff is on property answering phones. They will be happy to get you in contact with the proper person who is working from home to keep themselves and our community healthy. Please note that our response time may be a slightly longer than normal.
We are praying for our T Bar M families, our communities, our nation and our world.
Walking together in faith.
March 5, 2020
Dear T Bar M Family,
I’m sure we have all been following closely the outbreak of the respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including in the United States. I want to assure you that T Bar M is closely monitoring the situation through our local health department, the Texas Department of State and Health Services (DSHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to these sources the risk is low for the state of Texas and our community as it concerns not only our summer campers, but also our current guest groups and retreats who frequent our property through the school year.
Much is being learned about this newly emerged virus. Based on the current information, health officials are recommending local communities and places of gathering to take the same steps to protect against the coronavirus as we take to prevent the spread of everyday illnesses like the common cold or the flu. These following standards are included in our summer staff playbook to help us prevent the spread of any communicable diseases or viruses.
- After using the restroom, before and after meals and snacks wash hands using soap and water – scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizers located at our dining facilities before meals.
- Cough or sneeze into elbow or shoulder – do not cough or sneeze into hands.
- As much as possible, avoid touching eyes and sticking fingers in noses or mouths.
- Do not share hairbrushes, pillows, caps or contact lens solutions.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
In addition to the above summer practices we will also be increasing the frequency of sanitization of commonly used surfaces like doorknobs and faucets. Additionally, if the coronavirus is still posing a threat at the beginning of our summer camping season, we will begin termperature screening on opening day for all campers.
The 2019 novel coronavirus is believed to be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much in the way the flu and other respiratory viruses are spread. Symptoms can be fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. At this time, persons considered at risk are those with travel to China, or those in close contact with persons infected with novel coronavirus.
While a new type of disease can be scary, we also know that the devil loves to prey upon our fears and create anxiety in our lives. We believe that with prudence, wisdom and prayer, 2020 will be an amazing summer that is remembered because of the spread of the gospel and not a virus.
With the love of Christ,
Robert “Chief” Parrish – Senior Director of Camps
Jennifer Franklin RN, CPN – T Bar M Nurse Manager