Summer 2020 and COVID 19

6/3/20 Update 3

Dear Natures Classroom Adventure Camp Families,

            This is truly an emotionally charged letter and one that I never wanted to write. With great sorrow, I am announcing the closing of Adventure Camp for summer 2020. In the last three months I have spent a great deal of time trying to come up with a way for camp to happen for our families and campers. The value of summer camp for young people is real; I understand it and am a part of it. Camp has shaped me into the person I am today and brought me to where I am now, and I wish it could happen this year more than ever. After months of being largely stuck at home, I recognize just how important it is for young folks to get outside, socialize, be part of a community, get unplugged, and learn new skills. It pains me to add another disappointing cancellation to our camp community’s summer schedules. If we could make camp happen, we would. Unfortunately, the guidelines presented by the CDC, ACA, and the state are far too restrictive to make it possible to run a quality camp experience in line with our core values. There are three major factors that have finally drawn me to this decision: 

  1. The camp experience will just not be the same. As stated above the guidelines are very restrictive making it effectively impossible to run camp and prevent us from creating a quality program while still making sure everyone is safe.  I fear that both campers and staff would leave the camp experience with a very negative experience and opinion of the program.

  2. The safety and health of our campers, staff, and camp families is of utmost importance. While there is an increase in the research coming out suggesting that the virus may not be quite as dangerous as originally predicted, and that children are rarely effected, we are learning more day by day. Although there is a chance there would be no problems at all, it seems too soon to take the chance of effecting vulnerable staff members, our local community, or folks back home who may be at greater risk. 

  3. Running summer camp would cause Nature’s Classroom to lose money, even if there are no issues with COVID-19. I am not a businessperson. Hosting an amazing and valuable program for young people is what I care about most. As hard as I try to think about the importance of camp for kids, the reality is, we are also a business and Nature’s Classroom cannot afford to lose money this summer. 

 

            After sending out my recent email to families and assessing the response it is clear that most folks agree that the camp experience just wouldn’t be the same. I understand the need for childcare as folks are starting to head back to work and I wish I could be there to support. While the traditional camp experience will not happen we are working on ways to make something happen for our camp community. Families who have responded have been incredibly supportive and I am so thankful for that. I will be continuing to work on ways to get our camp community together throughout this summer and beyond. I want to find a way to bring our LITs back for something, especially those who were going into their last year as a camper. As I accept the loss of traditional summer camp, I am now in the beginning phases of writing a new playbook for this summer. My goal is to communicate further plans and ideas through bulk emails to our registered families for this summer and through posts on our COVID-19 Updates section on the website. 

            I will send a follow-up soon in regards to payments for this summer and options for how we are handling that. I truly do appreciate everyone’s support, patience, and understanding as we work through this. The plan is to come back with a tremendous BANG for summer 2021. As a relatively new camp director, one very positive part of these last few months is the connections and resources I have gained among the New Hampshire Camp Community. I feel like I am so much more prepared than I ever was to learn, grow, and build our camp program and I am excited to rebuild and create a fabulous comeback for summer 2021. 

Sincerely,

Matt Caliendo – Natures Classroom Adventure Camp Director

5/29/20 Update 2

Dear Adventure Camp Families,

     I wanted to get another update out to folks as we continue to work on our options. For folks registered, you should be recieving a email from me with some specifics on how camp may look and the challenges we face. Today Governor Sununu announced that residential camps "should" be allowed to open June 28th but still with no official guidance available yet with how we can operate. Hopefully that will come soon. We have been working on figuring out a way to run camp with the drafted guidelines we have available to us. We are also working off of the ACA and CDC guidebook for camps for summer 2020. If you are curious, you can access that at this link: https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/coronavirus/camp-business/camp-operations-guide-summer-2020.  While our governor has announced that it is okay for camps to open by June 28th, that is still not the full story. The guidelines we would have to follow, which are still in draft form through the state make things look extremely challenging for operating for 2020 if even possible. 3 big factors are most prevelant in my eyes. 1) Will we be able to keep everyone safe, no matter how well we follow the guidelines... if that was the only issue we face, i would say yes. 2) Will we be able to operate and keep our heads above water with the current guidelines... doesnt look good... 3) Is the program worth it for the campers as the guidelines will seriously limit our programming. So, for now, we are still planning on running camp and figuring out how. I hope to have another update very soon as i know folks need to know what is going on as they make plans for summer. Hope everyone is happy and healthy as possible and I will be posting an update again soon. 

Sincerely, Matt Caliendo - Natures Classroom Adventure Camp Director

5/14/2020 Update 1

Dear Adventure Camp Families Old and New,

 

           We have been thinking of you during these difficult months and it is encouraging to see that registrations for the summer season continue to come in. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to run camp this year and have been working hard to design a program that will provide an engaging, exciting, and safe environment for campers and a welcome change of pace for kids, families, and our staff.

 

            With the scheduled camp opening date quickly approaching, we are updating our plans regularly as guidelines are released from the CDC, ACA, and the State of New Hampshire. We are currently working on a number of options for modified versions of camp that could be run while maintaining social distancing and sanitation procedures advised in best practice at the end of June.

 

Any changes to the camp schedule will be posted on our website as soon as they are available. Families of currently registered campers will be updated immediately if any changes to their child’s session or cancelation of a session becomes necessary. We are doing our best to ensure Adventure Camp continues to be a safe and welcoming an environment for campers and all camp employees.

 

            We wish to make Adventure Camp financially viable for all prospective campers. Any paid tuition will be refundable, minus the deposit, if you decide you cannot send your camper this summer. If a reduction of camp costs would be helpful, please contact us for a discount code. In the event that camp is cancelled completely, the following options will be available:

 

•    Tuition and deposit rolled over to 2021, summer registration.

•    Deposit rolled over to 2021 registration; tuition refunded.

•    Tuition and/or deposit converted into a tax-deductible donation to Adventure Camp.

 

            The financial impact of Covid-19 on Nature’s Classroom has been significant. The money from your $250 deposit allows us to maintain the property and equipment throughout the year and is used in preparation for camp and school program. This money is an important part of ensuring that we can continue to provide camp into the future. However, if camp is cancelled and your deposit is a significant financial burden on your family, please contact us. Deposit refunds cannot be guaranteed but we will work with you.

 

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Adventure Camp. Be safe, be well and we hope to see you all soon!

-Your Friends at Natures Classroom Adventure Camp