Dear MountainCamp Families, Staff and Supporters,
I want to start by saying we miss you, we are thinking about you, and we hope that all is well in your families and homes during this trying time. We thank you for your patience with us while we go through our decision-making process for this coming summer. We have not taken anything lightly, and through this process realize that any decision we make for MountainCamp this summer comes with many intentional and unintentional consequences. The most important part of this decision-making process has always been to put our families, campers and staff at the forefront of all of the options we have moved through. We have recently been given more information from our state, we are now at a place in which we can offer you more information about what we are thinking. Because MountainCamp has always been based on building an intentional community of our campers and families, we want to now reach out to our community for feedback on our next steps.
Currently, the information we are basing our decisions on are based on the reopen plan for North Carolina. With this plan, we would open in the phase 3 in which most all restrictions have been lifted and group sizes should be larger. We are not sure yet as to what those group sizes will actually be, so should we open, we would still like to run with a conservative number for the overall camp group size that we can welcome.
We also have been reviewing all CDC guidelines and how those guidelines may affect how we program camp and what other implications that may bring. We are also waiting for official guidelines for residential camps that will be coming out in the next week as a collaboration of The American Camping Association (accrediting agency for camps) and the CDC. Those guidelines will continue to shape our plans when they are made available.
With this information in mind, we ask you to review our following options and give us some feedback on what you think would be best for our community, the safety of our campers and staff and decisions that will match with our MountainCamp traditions and values.
Our first option is emotionally the hardest option. We propose to cancel MountainCamp 2020 to preserve our traditions and camp as we know it; while also keeping our campers and staff members safe by not exposing anyone to groups outside of their own families and communities.
Our second option is to offer a modified MountainCamp to start later in the summer. Right now, we have not worked through all of the implications of how camp during a pandemic would work, but have made decisions on the overall look of what a later camp would be and what programs we would be able to offer, while also keeping exposure to campers and staff members as low risk as we can control. It would look something like this:
Campers attend 1 week sessions only with very limited space depending on where we are in the phased reopening. The space availability could be as low as 12 for Farm Camp and up to 38 campers per week for our age group camps.
Beginner Camp, ASCENDERS, Counselor in Training, Outdoor Skills and Adventure and Explorers will not be offered for the 2020 summer.
Our camp week would run from drop-off on Sunday to pick-up on Friday to allow for additional cleaning and time between camper sessions.
We will add additional conditions to attend camp to our Healthy Camper policy to include the symptoms and signs of the Covid19 virus, and we will take additional steps in our check-in health screening.
During camp, we will not be offering any off mountain trips to campers or staff and will work social distancing and small groups into our programs rather than the tradition of large group camp programs.
We will be washing our hands as part of our routine much more than ever before, with handwashing being the main piece of transitions from activities and movement throughout camp.
Our dining hall experience will be different and be molded around keeping sanitation at the forefront of our service and eating habits.
This short list is by far not a comprehensive list of all the changes and processes that we would need to put in place, but a sampling of our process. And due to the still unknown for us, we know that even these things may change, so it’s important that we convey to you that while MountainCamp 2020 will be in the same location, the day-to-day schedule and programs could be very different than what we are used to.
The possible dates for our late summer start are:
June 28 to July 3rd Farm Camp (Max 12 campers)
July 5 to 10th Elementary Camp (Max 32 campers)
July 12 to 17th Intermediate Camp (Max 38 campers)
July 19 to 24th Senior High Camp (Max 38 campers)
July 26 to 31st Mix age Elementary and Intermediate (Max 12 campers) to run alongside Intergenerational camp
Aug 2 to 7th Mix age Senior High and intermediate (Max 16 campers) to run alongside the Climate Justice program
As you digest this information, there is some information that will not change:
We have revised our refund policy to give all enrolled/ registered campers a full refund including deposit regardless of if we do run camps or not this summer. With that being said, we will ask any families choosing to cancel to allow us to keep $5 of your fees to help us cover the cost of the credit card fees for processing a refunding.
We also can give families a choice to donate some or all of their registration fees toward either a yearly family membership to The Mountain or donating to our general annual fund to help The Mountain with overhead and staffing costs while we do not have groups and programs running.
I know there are still going to be a lot of questions going forward, I have them too. This is just our starting point and as more information becomes available, that will continue to shape our response and plans for MountainCamp.
I have put together a Google Form to allow for you to give us your feedback and for us to be able to organize it in a way that we can see trends and keep the information together. If you will please take the time to talk with your campers, staffers talk to your parents and support systems and give us your best thought-out opinions and feedback on the two options we have come to. We do have the gift of a little more time to make these decisions, and we will reach back out to you when we come to a conclusion for what our summer will look like here at The Mountain.
Thank you for your continued support and contributions to our community. We continue to send our thoughts and love to each of you and pray for your safety and health during this time apart.
Summer Camp Director