As you may have heard, the Governor has moved the state to Phase Two of reopening the state, as of this Friday at 5:00pm. In his address, he specifically mentioned day and residential summer camps as being open with restrictions.
We continue to prayerfully prepare for summer and are excited about the possibility of serving your children. As I have mentioned in previous updates, there will be changes to make sure that we are doing our best to keep children safe, We believe that campers will still be well served and have great opportunities to learn and grow through their camp experience.
When you arrive at camp, we will greet you at your car and do a quick health screening. For the rest of the check in process we will be outdoors, and will practice good social distancing and hygiene. Unfortunately, to limit exposure, parents will not be allowed in the cabins. This is disappointing because we know that helping your child settle in is good for the soul – both parent and child. To limit your time and exposure during check in, you may put money on your child’s camp store account prior to the start of camp. Please email Mary Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you do this
Each day, we will be doing a temperature check and ask some questions about general health to all – both campers and staff. We will be limiting access by visitors, and others. We will also be limiting staff trips outside of camp. Some of the camps that have outings will be limited to outings with limited public contact. We will still be doing an off-site camp-out with our Adventure camps, and we are working with the Heart’s Desire Equestrian program to limit contact with the public and to insure that equipment is being sanitized adequately for our equestrian camps. We are contacting our partners for our service camps and projects, to see if there are still opportunities to serve, either with minimal/no public contact, or even remotely. (maybe build a cage for the Wildlife Shelter, but do it at camp?)
We are beefing up our cleaning routines and will be training staff to make certain that the bathhouse and other public areas are treated after each contact. We will be eating cafeteria style and using disposable products to limit contact. We will be staggering our meal service and eating outside when the weather permits. Camper beds will be rearranged to make sure that we are maintaining 6′ between heads and we will be minimizing the time in the cabins overall. All of our challenge and other program activity equipment will be cleaned between uses. We have been given the ok to open the pool, and we are still working on procedures to best keep folks safe there.
We promise to keep your child’s safety at the forefront of every decision we make during this time. We understand that you have a difficult decision to make regarding your child coming to camp, and we will respect that decision. As I said in my last email, These are children and this is camp. To be honest, we aren’t going to get it right every single time. We can only guarantee that we will do our best. We believe that with the precautions we are taking, the benefits of a camp experience outweigh the risks, especially as we are talking to so many parents who are seeing their children struggle through the separation and isolation that this pandemic has caused.
Should you chose to not send your child this year, we understand and respect that decision. We would ask that you consider moving your deposit to the summer of 2021, or if you are able, donate all or a portion of your deposit to camp. Even with us anticipating running a full summer of sessions, the loss of revenue from our Nature School, Guest Groups and special events, will make this a very challenging year financially. But we do also understand that this may be a financially challenging year for you as well, so we will gladly refund your deposit if you request it.
If you know that you will not be sending your child, we would be grateful to know as soon as possible so that we can order proper quantities of food and supplies. In some cases, we have waiting lists for sessions, so it would give us an opportunity to fill a spot. We do understand that this may be a last minute decision, and there will be no penalty of fee this year for last minute cancellations.
We will continue to send out additional information as we get closer to your child’s session. We are excited to see how God uses this summer to help children grow closer to Him!
Please pray for us as we are praying for you, and please contact me with any questions!