SUMMER 2020 COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENT
May 23, 2020
Dear Camp Families,
We want to begin by taking a moment to thank you for your constant encouragement and patience over these last few months. Navigating our way through this Covid storm has been difficult, but the difficult way has been made easier knowing that we walk forward with the thoughts, prayers, and support of this community we love so much. Know that you remain in our prayers daily as well.
Community is central to who we are and to what we do at camp. The close friendships we form here are life changing and often last a lifetime. When those beautiful relationships are combined with the freedom and challenge of the outdoors and an encounter with faith, the magic and the miracles that occur are often a game changer. We see it every year in the lives of our campers and staff members. These are only some of the blessings so abundant in the mission of Camps Kahdalea and Chosatonga. God’s touch here is evident.
With all of these things in mind, it is with heavy hearts we announce the cancellation of our usual summer sessions. We still hope to organize some group programming in late July (likely one week sessions) once North Carolina enters Phase 3; we will let you know as soon as we can if this will be possible.
We’ve waited until now to make a decision because we were holding out hope to run normally this summer. After many hours, though, of consulting with our state and local health departments, our camping associations, and the CDC, it is clear to us that this summer we cannot offer camp as we have known it. The regulations and guidance passed down from the CDC and from the State of North Carolina are too restrictive for us to offer the community experiences we have always provided our campers and staff and, of course, the health and safety of our camp community is paramount to us. We are all about building community and connection—building family. Camp life requires time as well as opportunities to play together, pray together, and live life and experience challenges together in all that is Kahdalea and Chosatonga. Moments around a campfire, Friendship Councils high up on a ridge, singing together, sharing a meal, bombardment, Carnival, soccer, and time spent with friends on the rocks, rivers, and trails are all integral to who we are. The current guidelines would make it impossible to have the camp sessions we all know and love.
Parents and friends, you have been warmer than warm and eternally patient. We have received endless calls and messages of kindness, support and encouragement always saying, “We understand.” We know our parents and we thank you with all of our heart. We are so sorry that camp as we know it cannot happen this summer. We will miss you greatly. Next summer will be amazing, God willing! We cannot wait to welcome you all back.
We know you have questions so there is a list of FAQ’s below this letter. If there is something we didn’t address, please drop us an email or give us a call. As you know, we are always at your service.
Again, we are working on some possibilities to run some programming when North Carolina enters Phase 3 in July; we will keep you informed!
You all remain in our prayers. May God bless you and keep you.
Anne, David, Adam, John & Jeffrey
How did you come to this decision?
Until recently, we were still hopeful that we would be able to host sessions this summer. Unfortunately, as the guidelines have trickled down over the last week, it has become clear that it will be impossible for us to run any programming that we would be willing to call “camp.”
Our program pivots around the tenets of outdoor adventure, camper autonomy, and community—a community so strong it is like a family. The current restrictions require small groups, for instance around ten campers, that aren’t allowed to come in contact with other groups. Campers would be expected to practice social distancing. Field trips to public places would not be allowed. Soccer, bombardment, and many other games would not be allowed. If two people develop coronavirus, it is considered an outbreak and requires many people to be quarantined individually for 14 days or go home immediately. Because they must stay in small groups, campers would not be allowed to individually choose their own trips and activities or to freely interact with other groups. We would be discouraged from even hugging a homesick camper. We do not believe we can create a place where our camp community can really flourish. Even for our staff, the restrictions allow time off but no venturing into town without a 14 day quarantine. Above all, this illness is unpredictable, common enough, often lasts for weeks, is very contagious, and can be very very devastating.
We do feel, though, that while we cannot offer a quality and true “camp” experience, there is still hope for some tripping and small group experiences. We will be in touch about those possibilities in the coming weeks as NC approaches Phase 3.
My child is enrolled for a session this summer: what are my options regarding sessions and tuition, and how do I let you know?
We realize that this pandemic has put many within our camp community and the nation in a difficult situation. This year will inevitably be a challenging financial one for us, as it will be for so many others. We have already invested a great deal in programs, facilities, hiring, equipment, and so on. If it is possible for you, we humbly ask that you consider options 3 or 4. Any donations will be used for camp operations, payroll, maintenance costs, etc and will not be tax deductible.
Thank you. Every bit helps in keeping us moving strongly forward to the future and in allowing us the financial security to be flexible with some of our families who are also in great need.
We invest significant resources in preparing for camp, replacing and preparing facilities, equipment, vehicles, and much more. We have withdrawal deadlines based on these investments and commitments from our camp families. Even though the application states that the entire reservation fee of $500 is forfeited after April 1st (wording from the application is at the bottom), and a few parents withdrew early enough to make that deadline, we think this is a very unpredictable, fluid and difficult event. Because of that, we feel uncomfortable having a hard and fast position about the $500. In this case, we both have been blind-sided. We so appreciate the trust of our parents, and we want to do what is right. We would feel more comfortable splitting that reservation fee with you in half. That would reduce it to $250. So if you request a full refund we will not deduct the $500 reservation fee but will split it for you.*
We so appreciate our camp families and we want you to know that we support whatever option you choose.
We will send an email asking for your choice of tuition options next week.
TUITION OPTIONS to consider:
1) Full Refund of Paid Tuition Less the Reduced $250 Reservation Fee.
That would be tuition paid, less the $250 reduced reservation fee. (*See above)
2) Leave the $500 Reservation Fee for Next Summer.
Leave the deposit for next year and let us know you would like the rest. Your child will be an Early Early Bird (2020 tuition rates for the 2021 summer & will receive either a special trip out or an option to get one item from the camp store with a value up to $25).
3) Rollover to a session next year.
Select this if you have a fully or partially paid tuition and want to roll it over to next year. Your entire credit will be moved for next year’s same session, or let us know the session of your choice. Your child will be an Early Early Bird (2020 tuition rates for the 2021 summer & will receive either a special trip out or an option to get one item from the camp store with a value up to $25).
Donate all or part of your refund due for camp this year and receive Early Early Bird status and the session of your choice for next year. Thank you.
What are Summer 2021 Dates and Rates?
Our dates and rates are usually posted by Labor Day weekend. We expect next year’s dates and rates will be very similar to this summer’s. We hope to be able to post them earlier, but we might need a bit of extra time to gauge school calendar changes as they are affected by this pandemic.
One of my children is aging out of the program, if I apply my funds paid to 2021 may I use those funds for a different child in my household?
Absolutely! Just call or email our office and we will be happy to help make arrangements.
My son/daughter was signed up to be a JC 1 or 2 this summer. Will he/she be able to return next year as a JC 2 or apply as a staff member?
Yes! We will be reaching out to our JC families soon in hopes of offering them some alternative leadership programming that would qualify them to come back next year as a JC 2 or counselor.
If guidelines/recommendations clear up during the summer, will you reconsider this decision?
Most definitely. We want to do everything we can to make camp happen. It is, however, important to note that even if government regulations were relaxed, several major hurdles would still lie between us and a fully operating program and we are not sure it will be possible. Please keep an eye out for possible announcements about some alternate online and in-camp programming!
Are you planning on any alternate programming for campers this summer?
1. Family Camp:
Our August family camp is still on! Its programming may well be different this year as (to follow social distancing requirements) it will need to have a heightened focus on single family experiences, and perhaps more limited attendance, but at this time we are still confident that we can offer quality experiences for the whole family. Please sign up, or if you are already signed up, we’ll be in touch with more specifics soon.
2. Online presence:
We’ll be working hard to keep in touch over social media. If you don’t already, join us by following and liking our pages on Instagram and Facebook! We already have Morning Watch, chapels and various fun posts. We also hope to be able to put together a little online programming for later in the summer. We’ll let you know as it develops!
3. Other summer programming:
While decisions are still forthcoming, we hope to offer 2 or 3 separate one-week sessions, as well as some week-long wilderness adventure trips—both designed for smaller groups. During the short sessions at camp, small groups would operate mostly independently and would run through pre-set programming. The wilderness trips would be similar to longer trips we run at Camp and would focus primarily in one or two activities (e.g. wilderness, climbing, paddling, and biking).
How can I support Camp?
First, the most important thing for us is that we stay together as a strong camp community! Please stay plugged in, in touch, and most importantly: keep us in your prayers!
Though we are confident that camp will be here for many years to come, this year will inevitably be a financially challenging one for us, as it will be for so many others as well. If it is possible for you, we ask you to prayerfully consider rolling over your camp tuition to next summer. Every bit helps in keeping us moving strongly forward to the future and in allowing us the financial security to be flexible with some of our families who may be in need.
Lastly, you can follow us online, and if you can, please join us in our forthcoming alternative programs: online, family camp, or any shorter adventure programming we may be able to run later in the summer! We will be in touch in the coming weeks as the future and government guidelines become clearer. If you have a big family and are looking for a destination reunion spot this summer, we may be able to help with that too!
PLEASE KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS AND REACH OUT ANYTIME!
WE ARE AT YOUR SERVICE AND WE LOVE OUR CAMP FAMILY!
Wording from the Camp Application for your reference:
A reservation fee of $500, applicable towards tuition, must accompany this application. The tuition balance is due May 15 for all camp sessions… Cancellations: If a request for cancellation is made prior to April 1st, the amount paid, minus $100, will be refunded. After April 1st, the entire reservation fee is forfeited. As of tuition due date, no tuition refunds are granted for any reason, including medical. Trip insurance is readily available which covers lost camp fees and tuition in case of a medical difficulty. No reduction is made for campers arriving late or leaving early. Make checks payable to CAMP KAHDALEA or CAMP CHOSATONGA.”
The application is available on the "Camper Info" page.
Dear Wonderful Camp Families, 4/25/20
Camp is such an abundant gift on so many levels for our campers and their families. However, we are swimming upstream with our summer plans and praying that things for camp will come together well.
Our North Carolina Camp Association has been all in lobbying for camp dates that will work, social distancing that can also work and group sizes that allow a camp community that encourages campers to be inspired. We think it is so important for campers to have time to sleep under the stars, be together with special friends, hear words and encouragement from caring counselors and leaders, and have time for much needed play.
Our summer this year is not going to be the same but we want to have a place for the most important parts of what camp means to all of us. For that to happen, we need and are counting on some great progress with our legislators and our Department of Health and Human Services. Frankly we have some very good allies and our NC camp association is doing a great job lobbying for a positive outcome. With so much going on with the state, it is too early for us to schedule anything with camp. The state is still assembling a plan. We are pointing out camps’ unique and advantageous circumstances like resident nurses, secluded living in spacious woodland locations, healthy screened cabins, and a humid and sunny environment.
So, our state’s 3 phases, as they are right now, mean we won’t be allowed to open on June 6th as planned. Our best case appears to be a start date in late June with some changes in session length, unless the new rules for summer camps, which are on the burner, bring some good news. We are feeling hopeful. We will also adjust tuition and offer options. The dates, which are dependent on a “flatter curve”, could also shift to quite a later date. We know you understand, but we are ready to go and frustrated since we would love to give you a solid start date! When will that happen?... They promise us that we will know by May 15th. We’ll keep you posted.
We believe in our families, camp’s gifts and camp’s mission so please know we are committed to doing all we can to make this summer happen. We believe the most important and essential things about camp can still be imparted to our campers even with a shorter session. We intend to make that happen.
In the meantime, we plan to follow the directives of our state and we will continue to work hard for a great and safe time together this summer. We are heartsick about the many trials and difficulties that so many are experiencing around the world and we pray for a powerful breakthrough to end this virus. We remain grateful for you and the many many blessings that have come even in the midst of this.
God bless you!
David & Anne
Adam, Jeffrey & John
Dear Wonderful Camp Parents,
Our mountains' warming weather and the beauty of blooming flowers and the new leaves on the trees constantly reminds us that summer is around the corner and brings you to mind. Everyone at camp is praying for you, and we hope that this message finds you all well. We want to take a moment now to give you another update on camp—the program and refund extensions.
As you can imagine, there is plenty of deliberation ongoing for us about what will need to happen to allow camps to safely open this summer. Things are changing rapidly. Fortunately, the CDC has recently let us know that they are now drafting a document regarding Covid-19 and summer camps. We know how necessary it is to be able to provide a safe environment for our campers, and we are thankful for the guidance that the experts at the CDC will provide. While several of these drafted recommendations may change the way many of us conduct camp, we are encouraged that they are interested in our input and are working actively in partnership with camping organizations. And, of course, we are also working with medical experts and other camp professionals to further develop our summer procedures and programming.
We are HOPEFUL that we will be able to operate this summer. We may have to adjust dates and sessions, and will probably have some changes in programming and ability to run some of our usual out-of-camp adventures, but nevertheless, we are blessed to have unparalleled direct access to the outdoors. Add to that our amazing staff and many years of excellence in the industry, and we expect that we will be able to provide our fine mountain experiences while we strive to understand, implement, and exceed safety and hygiene requirements.
As the situation continues to develop through these crucial next few weeks, we promise that as soon as we know, YOU WILL KNOW!
Concerning tuition: Please know that we are changing our May 15th cancellation reimbursement deadline to one week before the opening day of your session. To clarify: all tuition, less the reservation fee, will be reimbursed for cancellation up to one week BEFORE the opening day of your session. We hope that this helps to lessen any financial stress around your summer as we all see how the situation continues to unfold. We want to make this work. We reserve the right if we feel it's necessary to modify session dates. We also want to say that in the event that we must cancel a session, we will offer several options for refunds, tuition rollovers to later sessions or to a future year, or donation opportunities. Should it prove necessary, details will be published with that announcement. Lastly, if you have any specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call and speak with us directly. We are one community working through this together, and we are always at your service.
We love our camp families and know you are looking forward to camp as are we! We are grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement from so many of you. It's such a gift to share this mission with people who GET this mission! We are sure we will come through this with a greater appreciation of all the blessings that fill our lives. Please keep us in your prayers and know that you remain in ours.
Thank you so much! God bless you! We are at your service.
The Trufant Family
Camps Kahdalea & Chosatonga
2500 Morgan Mill Road
Brevard, North Carolina 28712
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