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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Summer 2021 update

After missing a summer at camp for the first year in our company history, we can’t wait to get back out there.

As we move towards summer 2021, we are understanding of the Australian Governments restrictions in place for international travel. We expect that these restrictions will be relaxed come the summer camp season, and exemptions for travel will again be granted for the 2021 summer if needed.

Heading to summer camp is a great option for those migrant workers currently in Australia that are looking to continue their travels and earn some money before heading back to their home country. Time is on our side, with the majority of camps only beginning their seasons in June.

As always, your safety and welfare is our utmost priority and we will only facilitate travel if it’s safe to do so.

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Deposit only until 2021

We understand that some people may still be nervous about committing to travel for 2021.

To help, you can save your place by paying just your deposit and nothing else, until Jan 2021.

Your remaining instalments will then be paid in early 2021 as you move through your application stages.

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Frequently asked questions

Updated: 01/03/2021

With over 20 years of experience in summer camp placements and cultural exchange travel, we have strong connections to the industry bodies and organisations who are working closely with governments around the world to safely facilitate travel this summer.

We are in regular contact with our U.S. visa sponsors who work directly with the U.S. Department of State. Very recently the U.S. Department of State updated and confirmed their 2021 summer travel dates for people entering on Bridge USA visa programs like Camp Leaders.

Right now we do not have all the answers about how the summer will look but we are optimistic that travel will go ahead. As we receive more information from our partners and move closer to the summer we will continue to update you.

Will the program go ahead this summer (2021)?

As we move towards summer 2021 we feel positive that travel will go ahead based on the encouraging news of vaccine development, improvements in mass testing and developments in the U.S. Administration. Time is on our side, with the majority of camps only beginning their sessions in June. As always your safety and welfare is our utmost priority and we will only facilitate travel if it's safe to do so.

What happens if the program is suspended similar to 2020?

If for any reason the program is suspended and travel cannot take place this summer, participants will have two options. Firstly, we will offer deferral of all fees to summer 2022 and guarantee no program fee increases. Secondly, if you cannot travel in 2022 we can discuss your refund options. Refunds are calculated based on the services you have received and are done on a case-by-case basis.

Are there as many places available at camp this summer as in previous years?

This year we have limited places available due to the number of deferrals from summer 2020. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your spot.

I have instalments to pay, should I pay them now or wait?

We understand that people may be anxious to pay or want to wait until a time closer to summer. To help, you can save your place on the program by paying just your deposit and nothing else, until March 2021.

Do I need to upload/pay for my documents now? E.g Police Check

We understand that people may be anxious to pay 3rd party organisations for documents such as Police Checks and want to wait until a time closer to summer. To help, we will only require all 3rd party documents to be completed from March onwards.

Will it be possible to fly to the US this summer? (Referring to current travel restrictions?)

Yes, there are several flights to and from America each week. We appreciate that there are less flights than normal, and ask you to bear in mind that flights may be changed by the airline closer to the time of travel.

Will I need a travel exemption to get to camp in 2021?

This is something that we are monitoring and anticipate being a necessity for those heading to camp in 2021. We are hopeful that restrictions will be eased prior to the summer camp season, but we will be able to give better information once we have more clarity from the Australian Government.

Our understanding is that exemptions can be granted to those with an existing work contract for employment outside of Australia, and those intending on traveling outside of Australia for 3 months or more.

Exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and were granted for those working at summer camps in America in 2020.

If travel is possible will vaccination be required?

At this point, we are not aware of any travel restrictions that require vaccination for international arrivals in the US. If you do qualify for vaccination, we highly recommend receiving it. Should any restrictions arise, this will put you in the best position to travel.

What happens if I test positive before my departure to the US?

If you test positive close to your departure you may not be able to travel on your existing departure date. At this point, we will work closely with your camp to try and arrange an alternative arrival date. If this is not possible we will do our utmost to find you an alternative placement. If that is not possible then we will be able to offer deferral to the 2022 summer program.

We would advise all participants to be responsible and follow government guidelines closely before their departure. To ensure you do not contract COVID-19 we highly recommend you isolate or reduce contact with people in the weeks before your departure.

What happens if I contract COVID-19 during the summer/while at camp?

Each camp will have its own quarantine procedures in place following guidance from the U.S. Government and their local state. These procedures may differ from camp to camp.

If I contract coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst on the program, will I be covered by the medical insurance?

Yes. You will receive regular insurance coverage in this case, provided you were not diagnosed with Coronavirus before starting your trip. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness before departure, we ask that you follow your local health authority's guidance.

Will I have to quarantine after landing in the US?

Currently, if you are eligible to enter the USA, the CDC requires that you self-isolate for at least 7 days on arrival and that you take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after your arrival. In most cases, the quarantine and testing after arrival will be facilitated by your camp. At this point in time, it is unclear whether international arrival quarantine procedures will be in place during summer. As we move closer to the summer we will bring you the most up to date information from our visa sponsors and the U.S. Department of State.

Will there be any social distancing or COVID-19 restrictions in place at camp?

Each camp may have their own social distancing restrictions in place. These restrictions will likely differ from camp to camp depending on their location in the United States. To find out more about any social distancing restrictions your camp may have in place please contact your camp directly.

Will a pre-departure test be required before flying to the US?

Currently, if you are flying to the US from any foreign country on or after 26 Jan 2021, you must have either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen) or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official.

You can contact your local GP for pricing on pre-flight tests, we estimate that they will cost around $150 AUD.

Will testing be required when I arrive at camp?

Currently, if you are eligible to enter the USA, the CDC requires that you self-isolate for at least 7 days on arrival and that you take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after your arrival.

Each camp is working with federal, state and local governments in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These along with the American Camp Association (ACA) have been developing protocols for camps to operate safely since last Spring. These protocols may include testing, social distancing, and modified programming until everyone has tested negative.

As we move closer to the summer we will bring you most up to date information from our visa sponsors and the U.S. Department of State.

Will testing be continuous throughout the summer?

Each camp is working with federal, state and local governments in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These along with the American Camp Association (ACA) have been developing protocols for camps to operate safely since last Spring. These protocols may include testing, social distancing, and modified programming until everyone has tested negative.

To find out more about any social distancing restrictions your camp may have in place please contact your camp directly.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive back home?

It is likely that you will need to quarantine when you come back from camp. For more information on this please refer to the Department of Health website.

If I wish to defer to 2022 instead of travelling this summer can I?

Yes. We understand that some people may not be able to travel this summer due to various individual circumstances or may simply want to go next year instead. If you wish to defer to 2022 please speak to a team member and they will transfer your application and fees to next season.

How to contact us:

If you have any questions about your application you can:

Email us australia@campleaders.com

Call us on +64 27 2400 510

Previous updates

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Date: 03/12/2020

When should I apply?

This year we have limited places available due to the number of deferrals from summer 2020. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your spot.

I have instalments to pay, should I pay them now or wait?

We understand that people may be anxious to pay, or want to wait until a time closer to summer. To help, you can save your place on the program by paying just your deposit and nothing else, until Jan 2021.

If I contract coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst on the program, will I be covered by the medical insurance?

Yes, you will receive regular insurance coverage, provided you were not diagnosed with Coronavirus before starting your trip. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness before departure, we ask that you follow your local health authority's guidance.

How should I contact the office about my application?

We are receiving a high volume of queries and are operating on reduced staffing. Due to the number of staff and volume of queries our primary contact method is now email. Please email us at australia@campleaders.com. We have reserved our phone systems for high-priority outbound calls only.

How are decisions made about the program and coronavirus?

We are staying informed on the latest advisories and recommendations made by relevant government, health, and travel agencies. These include:

  • The World Health Organization
  • U.S. Department of State
  • The Foreign Office and Public Health authority of each participant's home country
  • Our Visa Sponsors

Will I need a travel exemption to get to camp in 2021?

This is something that we are monitoring and anticipate being a necessity for those heading to camp in 2021. We are hopeful that restrictions will be eased prior to the summer camp season, but we will be able to give better information once we have more clarity from the Australian Government.

Our understanding is that exemptions can be granted to those with an existing work contract for employment outside of Australia, and those intending on traveling outside of Australia for 3 months or more.

Exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and were granted for those working at summer camps in America in 2020.

Will I need to quarantine when returning to Australia after camp?

It is possible that you will need to quarantine when you come back from camp. For more information on this please refer to the Department of Health website.

Can I fly to America?

Yes, there are several flights to and from America each week. We appreciate that there are less flights than normal, and ask you to bear in mind that flights may be changed by the airline closer to the time of travel.

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Date: 01/12/2020

Leaving Australia:

From 25 March 2020, all Australian citizens and permanent residents must not travel outside Australia unless exempt, either through being in an already exempt category or through obtaining an individual exemption by providing the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner with a compelling reason to depart.

Exemptions can be granted to those with an existing work contract for employment outside of Australia, and those intending on traveling outside of Australia for 3 months or more.

Exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and have been granted for those working at summer camps in America in 2020.

Returning to Australia:

From 20 March 2020, travel restrictions have been in place prohibiting travel into Australia of all foreign nationals, unless exempt. The travel restrictions have been successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Australia and were implemented on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

Australian citizens and permanent residents are automatically exempt from travel restrictions and are not required to request an individual exemption. Evidence must be provided.

Quarantine on return to Australia is likely. Fees surrounding these quarantines may be required.

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Date: 31/03/20

At Camp Leaders, we know that the unprecedented global situation we all face is challenging every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

As a travel-based company, while it’s difficult for us to witness the world on lockdown, with social distancing and travel bans commonplace, we firmly believe in the measures being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

At this point, we wanted to take the time to update you on what is happening behind the scenes at Camp Leaders and Smaller Earth:

  • The Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates, is suspended until May 11th. All departure dates prior to this have been rearranged to later dates.
  • Our team, who are working remotely from their homes all across the globe, are continuing to work diligently alongside our American visa sponsors and partner camps to prepare for the upcoming summer. Our goal of providing a life changing summer experience has not changed, and our partner camps remain excited to welcome international staff.
  • Your start dates, travel arrangements, visa appointments and length of time at camp, may change over the coming days and weeks as we navigate our way through this unprecedented situation. With this we ask that you continue to remain as positive, open and flexible as possible.
  • Due to the coronavirus outbreak we are operating with reduced levels of staff. This is having an impact on communication response times and capacity. We ask that anyone who is not due to travel in the near future help us by waiting for us to contact them first. Where possible please use our online help section and coronavirus FAQs (see below).
  • Our utmost priority is the safety of our participants, staff, and partners, and we will only facilitate travel if it is safe to do so. We are following the advice and information from the U.S Department of State, local government authorities, and our partner visa sponsors and camps.
  • As a precautionary measure, we are working on alternative plans for the unlikely instance that it is not safe for the program to go ahead. Further information will be released in the near future. As of now (31/03/20) the Camp Leaders program is still going ahead and standard program agreement terms apply.

Most importantly, we would like to thank our participants, partners and staff for their overwhelmingly positive response during these difficult times. We have received many positive messages via phone, email, and livechat, as well as on our social media pages. Although the near future may be uncertain for us all, we are reminded that positivity, kindness, and cultural exchange are here to stay.

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Date: 17/03/20

Based on the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Camp Leaders have made the decision to pause all new applications for summer 2020 effective immediately. Any applications started before 17th March will be unaffected and can continue forward as normal. All new applications from 17th March 2020 will be deferred until further notice.

This decision has been made to allow us to provide our current applicants with the high standard of customer care and service we pride ourselves on.

Our summer camps are continuing to operate and are excited to welcome Camp Leaders participants this summer, and as ever, we’re excited to support you on your summer of a lifetime.

The Camp Leaders team will be reaching out directly to every applicant over the coming days and weeks, to ensure that you are supported through this challenging global situation.

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Date: 17/03/20

As of 18th March, 2020, the United States Consulates in Australia have postponed postponed visa interview appointments until the end of March. We are monitoring this situation and are in close contact with our visa sponsors.

At this time, we ask that you continue to move forward with your application. Please complete all available sections to ensure you are ready when visa interview appointments are re-opened.

If you have a visa appointment scheduled before 1st April, the Camp Leaders team will reach out to you directly. We recommend that all applicants wait to be contacted about their visa appointments.

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Date: 14/03/20

On March 13th the US Department of State announced the temporary pause of international exchange programs due to COVID-19. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) will temporarily pause all ECA funded programs. This has also been extended to privately funded programs which includes the Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates. This temporary pause is expected to last 60 days.

At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited impact on travel to camp.

If you have a departure date that falls before May 11th 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.

If you are not due to travel on or before May 11th we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.

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Date: 12/03/20

On March 11th President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

This proclamation is expected to last 30 days and applies to the countries located in the Schengen area.

Travel from the UK remains unaffected at this point, provided you have not travelled in a Schengen area in the last 14 days.

At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited to no impact on travel to camp.

If you are currently in one of the areas affected and/or have a departure date that falls before the 11th April 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.

If you are not due to travel in the near future we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.

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Date: 09/03/20

Camp Leaders are committed to the welfare and safety of our participants and have been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely.

We are staying informed on advisories from the WHO, CDC, and other relevant local and international agencies. We are also relying on updates from our US team, partners and camps. At this time based on the guidelines and information from the sources outlined above, the Camp Leaders programme will be going ahead as planned for summer 2020.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates if the situation is to change.