The Future of Camp Programs 2021
2021 Camp Programs Update
February 12, 2021
To Our Most Beloved Camp Family,
It is with heavy heart that I share the news with you that the board of directors and I have made the decision to cancel our summer 2021 programs. As you know, this decision did not come easily, and leaves us longing for what used to be our normal.
I know for some of you there is relief that we have made this decision, for some of you there are questions, and for some frustration. We understand and respect all of that and more. I can’t even begin to imagine the toll that the pandemic is taking on our camp family.
As you know, there are so many complex layers to all of this. For the last several months we have been wading through the recommendations from the American Camp Association, the Center for Disease Control, and our State Department of Health and the ever-changing guidelines and directions. Through all of that we were then placing the hope, energy, and effort into a summer that may never come due to the state mandate and vaccination challenges that we are all faced with.
As you know, our number one priority in all of this, is to keep our camp family safe and healthy. The uncertainty this year, is just too great, for us to risk anyone’s health. We are making this decision now, so that we can pivot our programs and focus on what we can do, instead of what we cannot. While the future isn’t the normal, we have lots of planning to bring some camp, joy, and fun to you at home.
Click the video above and hear about our plans for the future of our camp programs for 2021. You can also check the Camp Programs page for more information.
We have much to share about our coming programs, fundraisers, and registration information for this year. We will be updating the website, Facebook page, and our newsletters with all the details over the next few months. So make sure you are connected to camp for all the news and information.
We miss you all so very much and we can’t wait until we can be together at camp again. We are just going to have to be patient a little while longer. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Together we will make it through.
Yours in Camping,
2021 New Year Update
January 5, 2021
Happy New Year Camp Family!
I hope this update finds you all healthy and hunkered down in cozy places for the winter. We sure miss you all like crazy and hope that your holidays were full of festivities, even if they were quiet ones.
I wanted to send an update about how things are going with camp. This isn’t easy for us and we know it isn’t easy for you either. We have some pretty big obstacles to over come in order to get back to camp this year, and a lot of it is out of our control. I just want to make sure that you all understand the many challenges that we face. I also want you to know that we are doing everything we can to see you again as soon as possible.
Obstacle 1: State Regulations
Washington State has a current mandate that residential camps are not allowed to reopen for our traditional camp services right now. This mandate was put into place in summer of 2020 and per all of our contacts on the state level, it is very possible that it will not be lifted in time for summer 2021. I have formed a camp coalition with 75 other camps in the state, that are hoping to get this mandate changed, so that each camp can make decisions with their local health departments at the local level. This work began in October and the overall perspective from the advisors and policy makers at the state level, is that we will not get this lifted until the vaccine has created herd immunity. We are working with our state representatives, CDC, and the American Camp Association and are hopeful that we can find the right path through this mandate that keeps everyone safe – but isn’t a blanket statement for all.
Obstacle 2: The Vaccine
While we all have our own perspectives, thoughts, and processes about the vaccine, - it is here, and it is very slowly becoming accessible. Every state has the ability to mandate how, when, and to whom the vaccine is distributed. However, that mandate relies on the supply chain from the manufacturers and then the distribution process. The science and the math have a lot of mixed reviews on when this herd immunity will be achieved. Some are predicting as early as summer 2021 and some are saying as late as spring of 2022. It is incredibly difficult to predict if our eligible and willing members of our community – staff, volunteers, and campers will have the vaccine in time.
Obstacle 3: Timing
With all of that being said above, that takes us to the preparations of our programs. What it takes to create camp as you know it. As I have mentioned in previous updates, we start the summer planning process 9 months before summer. It takes a lot of time and energy to create our programs, do all of our hiring, and be ready to receive our campers with open arms. We are also looking at the reality of a constantly changing set of guidelines for COVID management and safety. Which has us writing and re-writing so many of our programs and procedures. Knowing that the state is in control of our timing, makes things even more challenging.
Obstacle 4: Safety
Finally, and most importantly is the safety of our campers. The decision for so many of our campers, to get back out into a public space is a delicate one. Everyone has their own perspectives about what is safe and appropriate in the midst of this pandemic. Many of our campers are immune compromised in some way, and that adds an additional layer of concern for getting back to camp and other social activities. With many choosing to stay home for their own safety until herd immunity is achieved, we have to look at the big picture for summer and take all of this into consideration as we make our decisions on how to move forward.
What does this all mean to you? Our beloved campers, staff, families, and volunteers – we want to get everyone back to camp as soon as possible. What we know right now is the following:
- Spring weekend programs are canceled for 2021
- Summer is still up in the air, and I will have a decision for you regarding summer as soon as possible
- Fall programs are feeling very possible and we are working on putting together a plan and calendar to share as soon as we are able.
It is important to share with you all, that we are not alone in this. CBNW is a member of a national collective of residential camps around the country that serve people with special needs. We are all in the same boat on so many levels. We meet once a month to discuss how we support our campers and staff safely, and how we can get back to camp as soon as possible. All of these camps, we are all on the same page and dealing with the same obstacles - but we know through all of our collective efforts that we will get back to camp.
We do want to share that we have been hard at work at camp these last bunch of months fundraising, seeking donors, and writing grants so that we can continue to be here when the pandemic is over. It is hard, but we are still here and plan on being here when this is all over.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
We miss you all very much and hope that you are doing alright in the midst of the tough stuff.
Yours in Camping,
Hello Camp Family,
October 15, 2020
We miss you all so very much! I hope that you know that! This year has been so hard on everyone, and not having your laughter, love, and light at camp has made it even harder. You have to know that we want you all to be safe and healthy, and we hope beyond hope that your lives have been as smooth and kind as possible, in the midst of this pandemic. We know this has been so hard on all of you. So many of your resources and programs are not operating and we are devastated to have to continue to be a part of that.
We know that you are all eagerly awaiting the release of our camp dates for programs in 2021. We have been working hard over the last few months trying to figure out how we can offer camp programs in 2021 safely for our campers, families, staff, and volunteers. As of October 15, 2020 - We are not able to post dates for our future. It is imperative that we have the right information, that we are in the right phase, and that we know that we can safely offer programs to you - before we commit to our camp dates.
What does that mean? That means we are working with the American Camp Association, Special Needs Camps around the country, the CDC, the local and state health boards, and a group of amazing volunteers who are a part of all things COVID to help give us the right guidance on how we create and provide our programs for you. We have to look at every aspect of our programs and figure out the answers to how we care for our campers with each step. We are writing new policies. We are creating new ways to do things. A lot of things will have to change at camp, for us to be able to offer our services to you.
What kinds of things are we looking at and considering? That is a great question. First and foremost we have to take into account that a great number of our campers have compromised immune systems. Next we are hopeful for better treatments and protocols for the virus as well as accurate, affordable, and available rapid/quick testing. From there we are looking at how we quarantine staff, if campers can isolate before coming to camp, mask wearing and PPE for staff and campers, and then how we assist with activities of daily living. While we know you are winning at all of this at home - that all changes when we travel and bring new groups of people together. We are looking at hands free stations for hand washing, hand sanitizing, and water bottle filling. Meal time rotations. Lowered camp capacity to accommodate for social distancing. We are researching cleaning and disinfecting protocols and companies. Finally, we are figuring out how we run programs that keep our campers & staff sociallly distanced from each other, but still social. We have SO MANY things to worry about to create these programs and services and we want you to know that we are working hard towards our future possibilities. It is also super important to note that we also have to be in Phase 3, at a minimum, for any of this to happen.
We are hopeful that the winter will give us more information, more access, more resources, and more knowledge that will help us make all of these decisions. We are grateful for this time as it is giving us the opportunity to look at every component so that when it makes sense to open our doors - we can!
We don't have all of the answers. We don't know what 2021 holds. We don't know what kinds of programs we can run. We don't know how many programs we will be able to offer. But what we do know, is that we WILL be here ready to welcome you back with elbow bumps and hoots and hollers when we get the OK to do so. And we can't wait!
We love you all so very much and we are so grateful that you are a part of the Camp Beausite family. We will do our best to keep you posted and in the know. As soon as we know what our future holds, you'll know!
Stay Healthy! Stay Safe! Stay Happy!
Yours in Camping,
Raina Baker, Executive Director
Dear Camp Family,
July 16, 2020
Hello Family. It is time to update you about where we are headed for fall, winter, and 2021. We have made yet another difficult decision to cancel our fall weekend programs. We know this is hard for everyone, and we are working hard on figuring out how we do camp in the future.
If you are registered for any of our fall programs, we will be in touch regarding your refunds and credits.
We are hoping that taking a little more time to let COVID iron itself out, and for the health community to figure out some best practices, treatments, and vaccines - that we will be able to return to some fabulous programming in the spring of 2021.
If you have any questions or if you need any additional information, please feel free to reach out us at 36-732-7222 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
We miss you so much. But have faith my friends. The future is ours and it is going to be spectacular!
Yours in Camping,
Dear Campers, Parents, Staff, Friends, and Family,
April 18, 2020
Camp Beausite Northwest will be closing for the Summer 2020 Season.
We are hopeful for our 2020 fall and 2021 spring programs to be able to happen. We are in full swing planning for summer 2021!
We want to share with you why this is happening and how we came to this decision. As you can imagine, it was not an easy decision to come to. Camp Beausite Northwest is built on the foundation of our mission to provide inclusive learning, social, recreational, and therapeutic opportunities for adults and children with special needs, and their families. For us, a key aspect of this is to create a physically and emotionally safe environment for our campers and our staff.
COVID-19 has created so many unforeseeable circumstances that continue to change every day that are out of our control.
- Our planning for summer 2020 began last fall – camp doesn’t just start in June. Months have been lost to this virus for our staffing, fundraising, programming, camp physicals, and the like.
- For our campers, our families, and our staff – being close is a part of how we do things at camp; riding in buses, caring for campers, swimming, high fives, hugs, meals, activities. 6 ft. distancing doesn’t work for us to do what we do.
- We cannot begin to “guess” or “hope” that things will change enough, for us to be able to provide our programs and SAFELY operate camp this summer.
- Our number ONE priority is the health and safety of our campers and staff.
We know that this is HARD. For all of us, but our campers and families. We see you. We will do everything in our power to support you. We still have three weekend camps on the books for this fall, and we will do everything we can to provide support to you. Even though Summer 2020 has been cancelled, you haven’t heard the last from us.
To Our Prospective Families:
Thank you so much for wanting to join the Camp Beausite family this year. We hope that you will join us for a weekend program or for summer 2021. Keep an eye on our Camp Programs page. We can’t wait to meet you!
To Our Registered Families:
If you have registered for summer 2020, we will be contacting each of you soon about your registrations. We will begin processing refunds next week. Please be patient, as we are reaching out to everyone and working through each family’s needs and preferences regarding their fees and registrations. This process will take at a minimum a few weeks. Please see our Camp Cancellation Policy.
To Our Campers:
You mean the world to us. We will miss you so much. We feel sad and we want you to know that it is OK to feel sad, too. We are working so hard to get you back to camp.
To Our Staff:
You are our glue. We could not do what we do without your dedication, kindness, and willingness to be a part of this incredible organization. Please know that we are hopeful for your return as soon as it is allowed. Weekend Camps are going to need you and summer 2021 will be here before we know it.
Please sign up for E-mail Updates. Starting on May 15th all of our group e-mail communications will be going out via our online news and information platform. This is where we will share information about upcoming programs, the state of camp, staffing needs, camper fun, parent information. ALL OF IT!!! Please make sure you sign up for our e-mails so we can keep you in the loop about our FUTURE.
Please stand with us through this incredibly difficult time. Our Camp Beausite Community is so important to us and it is imperative that we are here to serve you for another 30 years. Please know that there are a million things that needed to be considered in order to come to this conclusion. So many moving parts. So many variables. So many what-ifs. There are so many camp programs around the country that have made this decision – we are not alone. We are all in this together. And, somehow, we will be better for it.
Yours in Camping,