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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Date: 24/06/20

En seguimiento a la Proclamación 10014 y que será efectiva al dia 24 de Junio de 2020, nos encontramos en una situación muy desafortunada en la cual no podremos darle continuidad al programa Camp Leaders para el verano del 2020.

Durante los últimos meses y semanas,mantuvimos nuestra esperanza y actitud positiva en respecto a que las fechas de restricción de viaje se levantarian a tiempo para poder asistir a nuestros campamentos, sin embargo, debido a la imposición de restricciones para la obtención de visas y viajes para nuestros programas impuesta por los Estados Unidos, viajar este verano ya no será posible.

Desde nuestra fecha de creación en 1999, Camp Leaders ha enfrentado muchas situaciones retadoras, pero nunca nos imaginamos un verano sin campamentos. La frase ‘Sin precedentes’ ya se ha convertido en un cliché, sin embargo, es lo único que puede en verdad describir lo que hemos enfrentado juntos.

Desde las etapas tempranas de la pandemia de Coronavirus, hemos trabajado constantemente con nuestros socios con el fin de ajustar nuestras operaciones con la esperanza de facilitar nuestro programa este verano. Las modificaciones abarcan desde los nuevos desarrollos por parte de programas de campamento hasta la adopción de nuevas medidas de seguridad; nuestra comunidad se unió para hacer todo lo necesario para permitir que este verano sea posible.

Esta decisión es decepcionante para todos. Somos una compañía que vive y respira la pasión por los campamentos, intercambio cultural y gran parte de nuestro equipo dentro del staff de Camp Leaders se irían de vuelta a su campamento este verano.

Estamos seguros que viajaremos de nuevo. Los campamentos se mantendrán vivos. Las medidas de distanciamiento social serán levantadas. Cuando esto suceda, juntos vamos a inspirar a más personas a ir más lejos.

Por el momento, queremos pedir de nuevo tu paciencia y apoyo mientras ayudamos a todos nuestros participantes en los días que vienen.

A continuación de esta actualización todos los participantes tienen dos opciones. Puedes seleccionar transferir tu solicitud al verano de 2021 o 2022 o solicitar un reembolso. Esto se puede hacer fácilmente a través de tu solicitud en línea ( por favor toma en cuenta que esta opción no está disponible en nuestra app para dispositivos IOS o Android )

Te recordamos que continuamos laborando con una reducción alta de staff por todas las medidas de seguridad que se han implementado por el gobierno, agradecemos tu paciencia con respecto al tiempo de espera de respuesta y te invitamos a que hagas tu elección a través del perfil. Esperamos poder ayudarte con tus planes para un verano inolvidable en el 2021.

Agradecemos infinitamente tu apoyo y comprensión mientras navegamos juntos en estos tiempos difíciles.

Date: 28/04/20

In this unprecedented time, we appreciate that many people have their own challenging situations and we want to support you where we can.

Based on the feedback of some of those on the program, we are currently working on a system that will allow participants to defer their applications to the summer of 2021 or 2022 if they do not yet have a place at camp or are no longer able to travel.

Due to our heavily reduced staff force we currently have longer wait period on our phone calls.

Please note, Camp Leaders is not suspending the program. The majority of camps we work with are gearing up for the summer, adjusting their operations or moving their start dates later, but nonetheless they are excited to welcome their campers and international staff. Therefore we encourage you to stay on the program at this point.

Your safety is our main priority and we will not facilitate summer travel if it is unsafe to do so. This decision is reviewed on a regular basis following the advisories from the U.S. Department of State, our visa sponsors, national government authorities and public health authorities.

The options for participants with camp cancellations remain unchanged.

As always, thank you for your patience and support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Important: as this situation develops, these frequently asked questions may contain information that is no longer valid. We will update this page as we receive more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Updated: 28/04/20

What if the camp I was placed at cancels my placement?

There are currently three options for those affected by camp cancellations:

  • Find an alternative camp placement in summer 2020 - If you are still interested in going to camp this year we will do our best to find you an alternative placement. However, it’s important to note with the challenging and changing nature of coronavirus this may take longer than expected or may not be possible in some cases. If an alternative placement is not possible you will still be eligible for options 2 or 3.

  • Defer your application to summer 2021 - Where possible we ask that you defer your application to 2021. If you wish to defer your application to next summer we will move your application and the fees you have paid to summer 2021. Without a doubt Camp Leaders will be going ahead next summer, in fact, we have already started work on 2021, as we do at this point every year.

  • Review your refund options - We can review your options for a refund. This will be done on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the services you have already received, your application stage, and how much you have paid.

If you have been affected by a camp cancellation our team will be in touch directly with you to discuss how you would like to proceed.

Is summer camp likely to happen?

The majority of our American camps are still very excited to welcome international staff this summer, and are working on preparations for the summer ahead. Due to the unprecedented circumstances, it is highly likely that some camp programs will change. This may affect the length, the type of activities that run, or the number of children at camp. We ask that you remain open minded and flexible in your approach to your camp and the summer.

Can I get a refund if I do not want to go anymore due to COVID-19?

As the program is still going ahead this summer the standard terms and conditions of your programme agreement apply, including any eligibility for a refund. However, we appreciate that many people have their own challenging situations and we want to support you where we can. Based on that, we are currently working on a system that will allow participants to defer their applications to the summer of 2021 or 2022 if they do not yet have a place at camp or are no longer able to travel.

Due to our heavily reduced staff force, we are building a solution to allow you to self defer within your profile without having to call or wait for an email response. We expect this to be live by May 1st and you will receive an email update when the deferral system is available for you.

Date: 21/04/20

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

We are currently prioritising assistance for participants who were due to depart prior to May 12th. Following that we will be prioritising support based on upcoming depart dates.

With the ever-changing nature of this unprecedented situation a lot remains uncertain as we face the coming weeks and months. At this point, we wanted to try and provide you with some certainty around a few key areas:

  • We are awaiting an update from the U.S. Department of State in regards to the current suspension of the Exchange Visitor Program (issued on March 13th). We expect to receive this mid-May and will update you shortly thereafter.
  • As stated from the outset of the pandemic - we will not facilitate travel if it is deemed unsafe to do so - this will be determined by government and public health authorities, the U.S. Department of State and visa sponsors. Your safety is our highest priority.
  • We will only suspend the program in the instance where it is unsafe to travel or travel is not logistically possible (e.g air travel is suspended). We must remain optimistic for the summer. Hundreds of thousands of children, now more than ever, need your support to learn new skills, build new relationships and have fun this summer.
  • Departure dates at any point in May are extremely unlikely based on embassy closures and the Exchange Visitor Program suspension. Please be prepared for all departure dates to be moved into June or July. We will be in touch to confirm any departure date changes.
  • The vast majority of our camps have not cancelled their summer programs. Roughly 98% of our 500+ camps are making the appropriate preparations for this summer including amending their start date to later in the summer, and the implementation of new safety measures for those attending camp.
  • Nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S Embassy remain suspended - we expect appointments to resume soon. Once we receive more information from the embassy we will update you.

  • Our Online Preparation Days will be released in the coming days.

We have already received many questions regarding President Trump’s recent announcement regarding a ban on U.S. immigration. Please be aware that the Exchange Visitor Program is a nonimmigrant cultural exchange program. This program is currently suspended until May 11th at which point the U.S. Department of State and ECA will review the situation. At this point, we do not believe President Trump’s recent statement will directly affect the Camp Leaders program.

If your camp has cancelled your placement please email us at mexico@campleaders.com

We will continue to update this page as we receive more information. For answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding coronavirus please see below.

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.

Date: 16/03/20

The US Embassy has postponed visa interview appointments until further notice. We are monitoring this situation and are in close contact with our visa sponsors. We expect the postponement to last approximately 30 days.

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 by Camp Leaders on your behalf on or before 16th April, the Camp Leaders team will reach out to you directly with a new appointment. If you have scheduled your appointment independently you can expect your application to be cancel by the embassy and an email notification. Then, you need to log in to your account and schedule a new appointment.

We recommend that all applicants wait to be contacted about their visa appointments.

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.

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 Mexico 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.

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 WHO, CDC, and Secretaria de salud advisories, as well as 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Important: as this situation develops, these frequently asked questions may contain information that is no longer valid. We will update this page as we receive more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Updated: 16/03/20

Is Camp Leaders still going ahead for 2020?

Yes, applications are still open for summer 2020.

How are decisions being made about the program?

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

  • The World Health Organization
  • The American government
  • The Foreign Office and Public Health authority of each participant's home country

We are also relying on the experience of our global head office in the UK, and our local office in the USA, as well as each of our partner camps.

Can I withdraw from the program now due to the Coronavirus?

As the program is still going ahead this summer the standard terms and conditions of your programme agreement apply, including any eligibility for a refund. We highly recommend that you continue with your application.

Are the Preparation Days still going ahead?

As a precautionary measure, to ensure the safety of each Camp Leaders applicant and our staff, we will be operating online-only Preparation Days, until further notice. Preparation Days are a mandatory requirement of the J1 visa, so completing a Preparation Day is mandatory.

What if I or someone else contracts the virus during the program?

All medical issues at camp will utilize the camp’s well-being protocol. Each camp's protocol will be different, but will typically include access to the camp's health center, medical professionals, and the support of local health authorities.

If I contract Coronavirus 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.

What are my next steps?

At this point, based on the information we have received, applicants who are interested in the Camp Leaders programme should proceed with their applications as normal. Next steps may include booking visa appointments, submitting all necessary paperwork, and completing your profile.

What should I do about booking flights?

If you are concerned about flight changes or cancellations, we would recommend booking with a credit card that provides travel and cancellation insurance. You may also want to consider purchasing additional travel insurance from a provider of your choice. For specific details of coverage in case of cancellations, we suggest discussing with your credit card or insurance provider.