May 15, 2020
It was my hope, mine and all of the staff, that today we would be able to announce with confidence that we would be able to proceed with summer sessions as planned, or perhaps shortened sessions. That is not the case. There is just too much uncertainty. The much-anticipated document from the American Camp Association (ACA) and CDC has been delayed, as well as final guidance from the state of Minnesota, but what we have seen (even if we are allowed to operate) would place severe restrictions on our ability to conduct Camp Mishawaka, as we all know it: Campers and staff in masks, social distancing, groups no larger than 50, travelling through the summer in pods of 20 campers and even an expected ban on singing in Camp.
It is with great sadness to announce that we have cancelled all summer sessions.
Every day, for the last eight-weeks, we have come to the office and worked to make summer happen for our campers. Every day, we started out with “we got this”- camp directors and staff are, by their nature, problem solvers. Inevitably, every day, we would also conclude that we couldn’t do this, and often that we shouldn’t do this. Guided by our top-line concerns of the Camp Mishawaka motto of Safety, Health and Happiness we realized that we were not in a position to confidently offer this to our campers and families. The guidelines we were getting would impede our ability to provide a Mishawaka experience that was familiar or rewarding to veteran campers, safe and welcoming to our new campers, or allow our staff to remain vibrant.
I have shared some more of our considerations in this short video.
To say that we are heartbroken is an understatement. We view our work with children as a vital service, and at this time, when children need a camp experience more than ever, we feel the calling more than ever. Julie and I have always asked ourselves, in assessing risk in our program, “would we let our own children do this?” In this case, our own inability to answer that question with a resounding “YES”, even as we recognize their need for normalcy, has brought us to this conclusion.
2020 Counselors-in-Training will be invited to return for this capstone experience in 2021. We will also be reaching out to them individually as I know this news will be particularly difficult for them.
Finally, let me say thank-you for the support and input we have received in the past two months. The messages of encouragement and thoughtfulness have been tremendous. We will continue to work to support our campers with contact throughout the summer, checking in with correspondence and encouragement. As the Camp song goes, “The Mishawaka spirit that our elder brothers (and sisters) knew, is the spirit that we know is here to stay.” That spirit, and our promise, live on, and we are all committed to a future that includes Camp Mishawaka. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
April 5, 2020
We are committed to providing kids a Camp experience that they have looked forward to, and one that they will need more than ever, given the current circumstances. With each passing day that resolve strengthens, but also, with each passing day, we learn of new projections for just how deep and wide this virus will be, and we must acknowledge the possibility that we will not be permitted operate this summer.
Presently, camps are not permitted to operate in the state of Minnesota. This restriction is in place until the end of April, at which time we expect further guidance from state officials. If camps are given the green light to operate at that time, we will review our ability to conduct a safe camp experience- one that we have promised and our campers, and you, expect and deserve.
With that in mind, we are proposing the following timeline for decision making.
With all our wishes for your health and safety,