Dear Runoia Families, Greetings from Great Pond.
Safety and Opening Camp in 2020
The safety of our campers, staff and their families and the surrounding Maine communities remain our priority as we sort through the possibility of opening camp this summer. We know children and families need camp more than ever. Our hopes are to open camp if we are able to meet or exceed the guidelines set forth by the state of Maine and the American Camping Association.
We remain cautiously optimistic as we work with American Camp Association guidelines (a panel of experts compiled with support of the CDC, American Board of Pediatrics, the Board of Camp Nursing and infectious disease consultants) for safely opening resident camps in 2020. With these guidelines coming out in the next 10-12 days and our industry representatives and lobbyist continuing to meet with Governor Mills’ task force for restarting Maine’s economy. As of the past week, a few camps have decided not to operate this summer in Maine, including foundations, medical camps, and three resident camps. Over 120 Maine resident camps are still waiting for more information to make a final decision with safety as the top objective.
The American Camp Association will be releasing the ACA Camp Operations Guide for camps by mid-May. So far they have provided the resource of the table of contents to outline the depth of the finished guide book. We are eagerly awaiting the guidelines.
Availability of accurate testing would be a game changer for our ability to safely open camp. Two of our peers in camping have connections with labs who say they can get us tests. How testing campers before arrival at camp will roll out logistically is another puzzle we are working on. If any Runoia parents are involved in testing and have a way to connect us with quality tests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call #207-495-2228 to connect. Without testing, we can rely on diagnostic information from families prior to camp and checking and monitoring for symptoms upon arrival at camp and implement contact tracing guidelines.
Preparation and Timeline for Camp 2020
We meet daily with other camp owners and directors and our Runoia team, medical consultants and industry representatives. We are working through scenarios including all aspects of running a safe camp parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex and I connect every day working on our plans for camp. We have two doctors who have volunteered to step in to help guide the Runoia Health Team this summer. Both doctors plan to live at camp for part or all of their assigned session. We have a team meeting with them scheduled for mid May.
We have been told we will have more information in the next 10-12 days from the state of Maine and ACA. We will share with our families and staff as soon as we have the final details of our plan. Meanwhile, in addition to these emails, you can find weekly updates on our website: www.runoia.com on our COVID-19 banner at the top of the page. We recognize some families will decide that camp will not be part of their plans this summer. If so, we hope camp will be in your plans for next summer.
Tuition and Refund/Rollover
You may have questions about refunds and tuition rollover. As you know, we work on camp all year. The past nine months have been busy for our full -time employees and our summer staff who work with us in the winter to contribute to the next summer. Financial obligations have been made throughout the year on mortgages, taxes, licenses, maintenance of buildings and grounds, payroll, renovations, equipment loans and purchases, operating expenses, pre-paid expenses, program improvement, horse care, and ironically, an addition to our camp Health Cabin. There is no insurance coverage for this pandemic for loss of, or interruption of, business income.
We recognize that everyone’s situation is different. Some families have experienced reduced income, and others have had financial disturbances. We know everyone has been affected. We are thinking of you. Whatever you are able to do for Runoia is appreciated. If you are able to roll over your tuition for next summer, that will be a great help to ensure camp can continue to operate at our very best. If you are able to donate a part of your tuition to camp’s operations thus far this year, we would be so grateful. If you need a full refund of tuition paid, we will take care of you with love.
We know camp is a very important priority for many families. For 113 summers Runoia has persevered through world wars, the Spanish flu, polio outbreaks, the Great Depression and multiple recessions. In our hearts we want camp to open this summer – we want to see our campers and allow them to just be children at summer camp; their summer camp.
We are holding onto hope, planning and waiting some more. We are exercising our best patience. We appreciate the support many of you are sending us.
For the Runoia Team