by Steve Purdum on September 29
To date, Midwestern humility might have prevented us from celebrating the fact that we provided a healthy, happy, and safe summer camp experience this summer for nearly 300 children and 70 staff who came from over 25 states and 4 countries. The feat is not just ours to celebrate-credit goes to all who made it possible: The families who kept their kids healthy in the days before coming to Camp, the staff who arrived early and accepted limits and protocols that helped protect our Camp bubble, and most importantly, the campers themselves who made an investment in the experience and reaped the rewards of their work. It was an effort by the entire Camp Mishawaka community!
“Thank you for all of your hard work to provide a safe, almost normal, experience for the campers. It was a much-needed break from the covid world for them.”
Parent of 2021 Camper
We always felt that if we could get everyone here in good health, we could keep it that way. Without parents and kids following pre-camp protocols and limiting high-risk activities, things could have gone very differently. Without our staff understanding the need to put the needs of kids first and set aside some of their own social needs, we could have easily had an outbreak at Camp. Without campers understanding and complying with a few simple guidelines about how and when we interact as a large group, cabin groups may have been forced to quarantine. I can’t help but feel we were lucky, but maybe fortunate is a better word. We had worked to create plans to mitigate introduction and/or spread of the virus- even expecting we would encounter positive cases. It was more than luck, for sure, but as we worked in concert with our parents and staff we were reminded, again, just how fortunate we are to do this work.
A few years ago in a planning session, we identified a guiding principle for all that we do at Camp Mishawaka: Honoring the community and nourishing the individual. This summer, that guidepost took on even greater importance and delivered even greater rewards. We don’t know as I write this (September 2021) what Camp will look like next summer. Will the protocols and procedures that served us so well this summer still be needed? We just don’t know. What we do know is that even if Camp “looks” different, for these kids (and all of us who work here) Camp can feel the same.
We celebrate our accomplishment of running a safe, healthy, and happy summer camp 2019, but more importantly, we celebrate and honor all the folks that made it possible. They share in the success, the joy and communal fortification that we all feel from a job well done. We are a kid-focused community, dedicated to protecting and preserving childhood, and it’s nice to know that is can still be done- even in the midst of a pandemic.
“Really well done! I appreciate all of your efforts to make Camp as normal as possible and your determination to make appropriate, rational decisions during a difficult time. I also appreciate that you keep the traditions of Camp alive while being sensitive to social norms, especially morning reveille and nightly taps.”
Parent of 2021 Camper