I write to you today with a heavy heart to share our plans for summer 2020. A few months ago, the thought of a summer without camp was unimaginable. As the reality of the coronavirus pandemic set in, we began searching for answers about how we might give our campers time together at camp this year. A time that, for many, sustains them from one summer to the next.
Our staff and our Hi-Rock board have been digging deep in consultation with camp leaders around the country, the YMCA of the USA, the Massachusetts Camping Association, the American Camp Association, the Mount Washington Board of Health and local physicians. We have considered all available guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We have come to the conclusion that the best decision to protect our campers, our staff, their families, our local community and the communities far and wide from which Hi-Rockers travel, will be to suspend our overnight camp, day camp and BOLD GOLD wilderness trip programs for the summer of 2020.
We are currently exploring the possibility of running family camp for several weeks this summer. Giving our campers the chance to share Hi-Rock with their families might be a silver lining to otherwise cloudy circumstances. If we determine that an extended family camp program will be an option, we will be in touch with more details over the coming weeks. We do plan to run our regularly scheduled Family Camp program from August 24 – 30.
Because this may be difficult news for children who were hoping to attend camp this summer, we will not be publicizing the cancellation of summer camp until tomorrow, May 29. We hope this will give parents a chance to share the decision directly with their children and allow them time to discuss it as a family.
This is a sad day, but I am comforted by my knowledge that camp friendships are especially strong ones. We build them with the understanding that geography might work against us. We have camp friends all around the world and we find ways to stay connected. Even when we are not connecting often, it helps just to know our camp friends are out there.
The novel coronavirus is presenting great challenges to YMCA Camp Hi-Rock but we have an extraordinary community with a deep passion for and commitment to the work we do, the ways in which we change campers’ lives, and the very special space we have the privilege of calling our home away from home. We will get through this, together.
Big Hi-Rock love to you all,