COVID-19 Update: Camp Closure for 2020

Dear Families,

As the last few months have been some of the most difficult in our lifetimes, the thought of spending the summer at our ‘Nice People Place’ has served as a beacon of hope for all of us. There is nothing we wanted more than to provide a safe haven for your child to be surrounded by friends while learning, growing and having fun. It is with this thought in mind that we write to you today with a heavy heart. After months of introspection, thoughtful discussion and consultations with a myriad of agencies and experts, we have made the difficult and painful decision that Camp Wayne for Girls will not open in summer 2020.

Since 1952 our family has worked with immense pride to nurture and grow a community built on love, kindness and the joy of providing a safe space for children and the adults who care for them. The outsized risks posed by COVID-19, coupled with restrictive state/CDC guidelines and public health recommendations have made it impossible for us to open camp and at the same time protect our children, staff and communities. Our heart breaks for every Camp Wayne camper, staff, parent and alumni. This is a moment of loss for all of us and that loss is very real.

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 hugs and hand-holding 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.

We know nothing can replace the true value and magic of a summer at Wayne but we will work hard this summer to provide a little piece of camp to your children throughout the coming months. Most importantly, we will be here for you and Camp Wayne will be here in 2021 to celebrate our 100th summer! (and for the next 100 years after that!)

To our amazing campers, we say this - We are so incredibly sorry. We can only imagine what you are feeling...that this hurts and it is not fair. And you are correct. You have lost so much this year and we know the thought of camp was like a ray of light to help guide you through these difficult months. But it is just not to be this summer. We are dealing with something right now that is bigger than all of us and even bigger than camp. But WE WILL be back. And as you will miss camp, we will miss you. We will miss your creativity, your silliness, your boundless energy, your talent, your love of canteen and the endless dance parties in the Rec Hall. But mostly we will miss the love, joy, pride and appreciation that you show every day for camp. We will miss getting to know the awesome, new campers. Please try to remember, even though we will not be together this summer, we will remain connected throughout the year and we will be back next June - more resilient and more grateful to be at our beautiful summer home. Let’s all reset our camp countdowns to 2021!

We know many of you have questions and are curious about our UG and CIT summers specifically. We will be in touch over the next few weeks with more details about how that will look, as well as more information about credits and refunds. We are happy to speak with all of you individually to give you the time you deserve and provide detailed insight into our thought process for this decision.

For now, we share in your family's grief over the loss of something so dear to all of us. You may find the following video insightful in which Dr. Tina Payne Bryson talks about how to help children with their disappointment over the loss of camp.

No words can properly convey our appreciation for the patience you have granted us and the trust and support you have given us these last few months. Let us all look to brighter days ahead.

With love,
Matt and Adena

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