We’d like to start by thanking our entire camp family for your unwavering support and patience while we worked to better understand the challenges that COVID-19 would present in running camp this summer. Your emails and phone calls were a constant reminder of how important Camp Wayne is to your families, especially after such a trying few months for our children. As you know from our previous emails on this subject, we have always been realistic about the obstacles we faced while being brief and to the point. Keeping this email brief and to the point is simply not possible.
After months of careful consideration, including consultation with medical professionals and colleagues in our camp community, and reviewing federal, state, and local health guidelines, we have made the agonizing decision to cancel the 2020 camp season. Knowing that camp was the light at the end of the tunnel for our campers and staff makes this decision all the more painful for us. We are heartbroken knowing how disappointed our camp family will be to hear this news.
There is still so much we don’t know about the virus, including the potential impact on children. But there are also undeniable facts that ultimately led us to this decision. COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily, even from those who are asymptomatic. In a resident camp environment, with campers and staff traveling from all over, we would be unable to guarantee that we can keep the virus from finding its way into camp. In addition, guidelines that call for social distancing and quarantining simply aren’t compatible with life at Camp Wayne, where high fives and “bro-hugs” are part of who we are. We have considered every possible scenario, but ultimately we always came back to the facts above. As the saying goes, sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. For us, the right thing is to postpone the summer.
The camp experience means different things to those of us who are lucky to be part of it. For our campers, it’s a time to focus on the fun of being a kid and making lasting memories with their camp brothers, far from the stressors of the “real world.” For our parents, it’s a sacred trust that their children are safe and having fun, while learning invaluable life skills that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. (We assume a few quiet meals at home would make the list as well.) For our staff, including us as directors, it’s seeing the smiles on our campers’ faces, watching friendships develop and blossom, and knowing from our own experiences how the values we learn at camp are woven into the fabric of who we become as adults, changing lives for the better. While waiting another year to experience the magic of camp is a bitter pill for all of us to swallow, we know that the bonds that support the foundation of our camp family will prevail. We will celebrate our 100th summer together in 2021.
As always, we are here for you and your family, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We promise to keep in touch about ways we will stay connected this summer and throughout the year. We will be sending a separate email in the coming weeks with information about rolling over payments and refund plan options. We also know how our incoming CITs have been looking forward to this summer for years, and will be addressing programming options for them as well. We greatly appreciate your patience while we all fully digest this news.
We hope you and your family stay healthy and well. Our hearts are with you.
Josh, Carrie, and Joe