After at least two-dozen campers experienced symptoms thought to be related to a stomach virus, the Seven Mountains Scout Camp has canceled its final week of Webelos camp.
Jim Kennedy, the executive director of the Juniata Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said Sunday his staff decided to “be cautious and safe” and close the camp.
About 140 campers were expected to arrive Sunday.
Kennedy said he’s in daily contact with the county health department and will continue to work with that staff.
“We’ve taken their recommendations in cleaning the camp,” he said.
That includes bleaching everything, including mattresses, picnic tables, the pool, camp office, shower house, and every other part of the camp.
“We’re confident in our effort,” Kennedy said. “A lot of parents said they were confident. We had some concerned parents, which you’d expect. We decided it was in the best interest to put everybody at ease.”
The camp, located in Potter Township, closed last Wednesday morning after 25 to 30 campers reported flulike symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. At that time, leaders planned to reopen the camp Sunday.
Kennedy did not have information about whether the number of campers affected had changed, and said the Department of Health is handling that and following up with the campers and their families.
The Juniata Valley Council posted a statement on its website Saturday to announce the closing. It said staff would contact camp registrants about refund procedures.
Kennedy said leaders plan to organize a weekend Webelos Scouts activity this fall.
As of Sunday, Kennedy said water and swimming pool tests at the camp came back clean.
While he said extensive cleaning efforts have taken place since Friday, Kennedy said staff also have begun making changes at the camp to address the spread of germs. He said they installed hand-washing stations that campers would’ve used this week, “so they could thoroughly wash their hands in front of us.”
Other efforts include changing meals from family style to cafeteria, changing meal cleanup so there is limited contact with items belonging to multiple people, and bringing in nurses for health screenings upon arrival to camp.
“It’s unfortunate for the kids and leaders,” Kennedy said. “We’re disappointed. But health and safety is the most important thing. We have a great, 78-year history with that camp and we want to keep it going.”
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter