Summer 2020 FAQ
Can you explain the reasoning behind this decision more directly?
As hard as it is to postpone camp, and knowing how much our campers need camp right now, there are several factors that have led to us making this decision:
Most importantly, we are not certain during this time that within the normal constraints of camp, we could keep everyone in our care safe and healthy. Given the outlook of how this virus may still be impacting the population during the summer, we are not willing to take the risk of potentially endangering our campers, their families, our staff or volunteers.
We also anticipate that many campers would have canceled even if we did run. Given the expenses associated with opening camp, that created a very real possibility that we would run at a significant loss, ultimately endangering the longevity of the program.
Given the unknowns of how this virus will impact our communities over the next few months, we also considered the possibility of opening for a regular summer but then having to shut down mid-summer due to local outbreaks, or even an outbreak at camp. Similarly, this scenario would be too costly for our program.
Another huge factor in our decision is staffing. Two of our key directors (Mac and Morgan) are stuck in the UK (in Morgan’s hometown) and are anxiously waiting for the approval to travel to the US (?). We have no idea when this could happen but opening camp and training staff without them would be a significant challenge. Beyond that, we typically hire about 50% of our summer staff from countries around the world. It is unclear that any of our international staff will be able to acquire normal work visas, which could mean we would need to find twice as many domestic staff as we normally do- which is already a challenge!
Why not run a shortened summer?
As mentioned above, running a shortened summer isn’t as financially viable as one might think. There is a significant up-front cost associated with opening the camp for the summer that doesn’t change based on how many sessions we run. Unless we could run all but a week or two, the cost is just too high.
Finding staff would also be challenging for a shorter summer. If we can’t offer our seasonal staff a full summer of work, we wouldn’t blame them for seeking other opportunities.
However, this option is always in the forefront of our mind and if we can offer any sort of camp this summer, we will do our best to make it happen.
We have been brainstorming various small group options and trips that could be run with limited staff, including local day-only programs, virtual camp scenarios and later-in-the-summer/fall camp alternatives. Although these programs may look different from a normal camp session, they will still incorporate the key elements of our program – creative free-play, non-competitiveness, unplugging and focus on creating positive connections. Please keep an eye out for news or updates as the situation evolves.
Why did you make this decision now and not wait a few more weeks?
It seems as though each passing day brought new obstacles for us to overcome, and although we are known for being flexible and problem-solving, there comes a point when the effort associated is not worth the end result, and we want to focus as much of our energy as possible to provide the most meaningful experiences for our community as we can, not just this summer, but far into the future as well
There is a cost associated with waiting to make a decision. Since we are committed to finding the silver lining, waiting for a few more weeks until we could make the inevitable decision wasn’t allowing us the mental space to move forward into the new reality. The more time we wait to hear from authorities about whether or not we would be able to run a full summer of programs, the less time we would have to come up with creative alternatives.
What will the deposit or donation be used for?
Summer camps come with relatively high fixed costs, and these are things we must still pay for, regardless of us running summer programs or not. We will use the money gifted to camp to pay for things like utilities, leases, property taxes, insurance, permits, and licensing fees, full-time staff, and basic site maintenance. Basically, this will ensure the camp’s survival for years to come.
Additionally, we hope to retain our full-time staff, even at a reduced level, as they are the backbone of stewarding camp into the future.
On the off-chance that the support from camp families and friends exceeds the amount we need to sustain camp for the year, we have decided to contribute any excess to our scholarship fund and/or build a cabin to ensure we have space as we try to increase the number of need-based campers to 15% of our total population.
Can I roll my registration (not deposit) to next year’s camp?
Yes, your registration is automatically transferred to next year’s session. We are trying to keep the 2021 schedule as similar to this year’s as we possibly can. We can’t solidify a schedule until we know more about next year’s academic schedules. We will release a tentative 2021 schedule as soon as possible.
Again, this does not mean that your deposit will roll over to next year.
Is there an alternative to camp this summer?
We’re working on this, we are considering various small group options and trips; local day-only programs, virtual camp scenarios and later-in-the-summer/fall camp alternatives. Although these programs may look different from a normal camp session, they will still incorporate the key elements of our program – creative free-play, non-competitiveness, unplugging, and focus on creating positive connections.
Standby for more information.
What’s going on with Macayla and Morgan?
They, like all of us, are on lockdown and we’re not entirely sure when they can get back to the United States. We are doing what we can to get them here ASAP.
What about my deposit?
Please consider making your deposit a gift to camp as this will go a long way to help ensure the survival of camp. (Please note, this would not be a deposit-deferment for next year’s camp season but a donation for this year.)
We recognize that our families have varying financial needs and circumstances, especially in these extraordinary times. If you need your deposit partially refunded, we understand and will do our best to accommodate. Please note: timing and amount of refunds may vary in response to rapidly changing circumstances.
If you are able to contribute, you don’t need to do anything at this time. If we don’t hear from you by May xx, 2020 we will consider your deposit a gift. From our whole team, thank you for your generosity and support!
We have reduced our budget to the absolute minimum, applied for federal assistance and are working with outside partners to defer as many costs as possible. The survival of camp cannot rest on cutting costs or your shoulders alone, and thus we have also set up a gofundme campaign for others who are able to help support camp.
Why can’t you roll my deposit into next year’s registration?
Please read section #1 from above. Basically, rolling deposits to next year’s camp session would mean that we, as an organization, don’t have enough money to survive through this season and/or next season. Camp comes with relatively high fixed costs that need to be paid regardless of us running this year, and we’ve already incurred a large portion of our annual expenses for this summer. Simply put, we’ve already spent your deposit on items directly related to this summer. If you’d like more information regarding this, we’re happy to chat with you.
This was my last year of camp, what options do I have for coming back?
We’re so sorry you didn’t get to spend your last year at camp as you normally would have, and understand how you must be feeling. We want to do something for you, either this year or next, and we’re open to ideas. We haven’t made any definitive plans as of yet, but things we’re kicking around include:
- Extending the age at which a camper ages out to 16
- Running a 16 year-old-only session in 2021
- Having a fall or spring weekend for would-have-aged-out campers at camp for a final mini session.
Seriously, like with all things at camp, please voice your opinion on how this should happen. We’re looking at potentially forming a camper-led committee to figure this out.
What if my camper was on the waitlist?
Your registration will be moved towards next camp season, Once we have a handle on how best to transfer these registrations, we will reach out with a process for you to follow. Since you haven’t paid a deposit for the 2020 summer, please consider donating to our gofundme campaign.
What’s the plan for 2021?
Before we write off 2020 completely, please keep in mind that we are already working hard on plans and programs to help support our campers through this spring and summer. We anticipate having a plan in place in a few weeks. Please keep an eye out for updates and share your ideas with us!
For the summer of 2021, we will be stronger than ever and SO ready for camp! We will have camp looking better than ever, our staff will be energized and ready to rock. We’re excited to use this summer’s cancellation as an opportunity to make our organization stronger for the years to come.
I’d like to speak with someone, can I call?
Yes, of course. We anticipate a lot of conversations with campers and camp families. Please reach out via email to set up a time.