As we all know by now, life looks a lot different than it did a couple of months ago. In the middle of March we were wrapping up our Learn to Shred program that saw our largest number of participants ever join us at Big White over the winter to learn to snowboard and improve their skills. We were experiencing one of the deepest snowpacks in recent memory, and conditions had been amazing all winter long for the youth in our programs to learn on. Our brand new Leaders in Action program was coming along nicely with a great crew looking forward to the Spring and all the fun that it promised to bring.
Then in what felt like an instant everything changed.
Now we all have new phrases like “flattening the curve”, “social distancing” and “Why can’t I buy any toilet paper?” burned into our brains. Zoom meetings are the way to attend class, go to work, and host a happy hour, and the “new normal” is still a bit of a mythological thing.
Throughout all of this our team has been working behind the scenes to gain an understanding of what it will be possible for the coming summer. With the Provincial Government announcing the re-opening plan earlier this week, it was a big step forward as it allows organizations of all types to really understand what it will take to be able to operate in some capacity in the coming months.
For us, we will be taking a slow approach to getting programs up and running again. We take the responsibility of participant safety very seriously. Not just in Covid times, but at all times as some of the activities we are introducing our participants to have a higher level of risk associated with them.
As we move towards our summer program schedule being open for registration, we wanted to outline some of the steps we are taking to help reduce the risks of Covid-19 for our staff, participants, and volunteers.
- Changing the program to only have 5-6 participants. 6 only if multiple youth are from the same household to ensure that physical distancing can be adhered to on our bus.
- Mandatory sneeze guards(bandana, mask, buff etc) worn over the mouth and nose at all times while on the bus.
- Mandatory use of hand sanitizer before getting on the bus each time.
- No sharing of equipment -example: participants will use the same bike each day of riding to limit the number of people touching each bike.
- All bikes will be cleaned/sanitized at the end of each day.
- Participants only touch their own equipment for each sport.
- Increased spacing between participants during various activities (example: extra spacing when biking).
- Limiting trail difficulty to ensure all trails are well within the skill level of all campers.
- 0 tolerance policy for behaviours that put other campers at risk.
We will be adhering to all guidelines from the Provincial Health Office, so our policies may change/be updated as more information becomes available in the coming weeks and months. We are also looking to industry leaders to see what steps they are taking to ensure we are following best practices where available.
In all of this we ask for your patience. These are unprecedented times and we are working hard to ensure we do our part.
At the end of the day much of what our Provincial and National leaders have said demonstrates what Elevation Outdoors has always believed in. Getting outside and being physically active is good for all of us, even in the middle of a pandemic.
We look forward to seeing all of you outside with smiles on our faces in the coming weeks and months.
Stay safe out there and remember #outsideisthebestside.