Dear Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert Alumni, Campers, Parents, and Staff Members,
The time has come, and this really hurts.
We are, with great reluctance, but with clear conscious and conviction, writing to let you know that we have decided to cancel the 2020 Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert Summer Season. Like us, many of our campers, parents, and staff members have held onto the anticipation of camp to help them get through the past several months, and this news pains us deeply. We are so, so sorry to take away yet another opportunity from you all during these unprecedented times. Please know that here in the office, all of us have worked tirelessly since this pandemic first appeared to find a way forward. Through the ups and down of this spring, your calls, letters, and text messages of encouragement and expressions of hope for camp kept us highly motivated and optimistic. Thank you to all that reached out to us. It is your very inspiring words that make this decision all the more painful.
As extremely difficult a decision this is, we know that in our hearts, it is the right decision to make for our two camps. Our year-round leadership team have spent the past months working through numerous plans to operate camp while keeping our campers and staff members safe. After weeks of lacking information and changing guidance, these last few days have brought us enough clarity to feel that it is time to close our camps for 2020. The American Camp Association released their Field Guide for Operating Camps under the Covid-19 Environment this past Monday. Our camp directors, with the help of a number of our summer leadership team members, have been pouring over these recommendations nonstop since their posting. While reading each one and considering how to manage the change to how camp operates, we felt like “We got this!”. However, when we took a step back and considered what camp would look like, it was quite sobering to us all. Each change, taken on its own, was fine. However, when putting them together, camp, for us, would no longer be the camp we have enjoyed since 1909.
Too much of camp as we know it, would not be able to happen under the guidelines. It is strongly suggested that cabin groups only interact with their own members – no mixing with other campers, including siblings. Activities, free time, meals, everything would be done by cabin groups. This would mean no activity choices for campers, group campfires, division activities or special days like Color Wars. Time spent in activities would be reduced in order to give the necessary time for cleaning and disinfection protocols. Meals would be eaten in shifts, with a handful of campers at each table. Too, there would be no beats or singing camp songs throughout the summer. It is so hard for us to imagine camp without the sound of campers singing Blue Sky or dancing along to The Alligator Song. These things and so much more would be affected. Making any one of the changes that would be required, and camp would be fine. Making all of these changes collectively, and camp would no longer be recognizable.
Many of the strengths that have made Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert great in the past, now have become complicating factors. One of our proudest hallmarks is the vast diversity of our campers and staff members. We love that our campers and staff members come from over 45 states and 13 countries. This diversity becomes problematic in a Covid-19 World. Similarly, travel is a serious issue, as is the mixing of so many communities experiencing different levels of infection rates and social restrictions. Our leadership team and doctors average over 35 plus years of experience working at Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert. Normally this level of experience is a bragging point. Under Covid-19, it unfortunately puts the leadership of the camps in a high-risk group. It is important to consider the ramifications of running the camps if members of this team were to become ill this summer.
Please know that we have held on, waiting for some degree of certainty as to how to safely and effectively run camp this summer. We have researched, planned, and debated along the way, dissecting each nugget of information that has come along the way. We felt that we owed it to our campers and camp families to try our best to make this summer happen. We know how much the camp experience means to you. More than in any prior years I can recall, camp has been a light at the end of the tunnel of isolation and social distancing. In talking with the other directors, we all feel like we have failed you and are so sorry that we do not see a safe pathway forward to make camp happen this summer. Unfortunately, this is the right decision for Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert.
This news will be profoundly disappointing to your child. As parents, you no doubt have a lump in your throat when thinking about breaking this news to your camper there at home. The cancellation of camp is one more disappointment in a line of disappointments in 2020. Here is a link to Dr. Tina Payne Bryson’s short video with suggestions on how to talk with your camper about this loss of camp (Click HERE). Our leadership team, and my family, are heartbroken over this conclusion. However, we are all 100% dedicated to pivoting to planning and preparing for 2021. Rest assured, there will be campers on Lake Hubert next summer and with 12 months to prepare, we believe 2021 will be one of our best yet!
As soon as our final decision was made, we wanted to reach out to you right away so that you could start planning. More information will be coming shortly as we sort through the process of closing for the summer. In the coming week, we will be calling our camp families to discuss the cancellation of the 2020 Season, check on how you are doing, talk through the refund options, and let you know of our plans for 2021.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for your support and patience as we worked through the new reality this pandemic has evolved into this year. We will get through this together and will be back next summer. Take care and be well.
Ruggs, André, and Stacey