Update #3 December 22, 2020
‘Tis the season for sharing good news and we have some for you: at Chop Point we are committed to reopening our programs for the summer of 2021! It was heartbreaking to lose 2020 and we will do everything in our power to make this summer a successful return to camp.
We are in the process of hiring staff. We have a few returners from 2019 and are interviewing some new prospects as well. All of our staff are very excited at the possibility of having campers back in the summer.
Why do we feel that we can safely return to programs in 2021?
- Chop Point has been able to run a school program fully in person this fall with a similar sized population.
- A number of camps in Maine and elsewhere opened last summer with some modifications to their programs and functioned without incident.
- The greatly increased availability of testing to quickly identify a Covid case.
- The year-worth of data and knowledge that will be available to us when we reopen, ensuring that we can use the best prevention strategies and best treatments for Covid.
We have watched the standards and best practices change a lot in the past 6 months and we anticipate those changes to continue as the world’s understanding of COVID-19 changes. Therefore we will adjust our programs based on the most current medical recommendations in the spring of 2021. It is likely that the recommendations will be similar to what they are now, but we want to be confident that we are using the most up to date guidance.
Here are examples of some of the protocols that you can reasonably expect when you return to Chop Point this summer:
- All staff and campers will have a negative COVID test within three days of travel to camp.
- All staff and campers will self-isolate or quarantine for a period of time before coming to camp.
- Families will fill out a daily symptoms and exposure screening of the camper for a period of time before camp.
- Changes to the way we prepare and serve meals at camp.
- Possible reduction in the number of campers at camp at one time.
There are, of course, other policies that we may modify to mitigate risk but we will provide greater details about that in the spring.
Like you, we all would like to return to some sort of normalcy in our lives in 2021. We fervently hope and pray for COVID to fade away worldwide by summer. Until that happens we will continue to take the necessary steps and precautions to make 2021 “the best summer ever”. Join us!
Update #2 May 17th, 2020
We have made the agonizing decision to suspend all of our currently scheduled programs for the summer of 2020.
Summer at Chop Point has always been about community. We start our summer with our staff training. We spend twelve days creating bonds and community together. Our staff bonds through early morning devotions, swim tests, learning to sail, work projects and practicing rescuing each other. In a nutshell, what we do is the opposite of social distancing. When campers arrive, we expand and build on that community. We do it in a similar way through shared time, conversations, games, skits, meals, and hanging out in small and large groups. We encourage campers to pursue what they are interested in and we see campers build relationships with campers and counselors who may not be in their cabins or in their same age group. The mixing of so many different friend groups and interests is one of the things that campers love so much about Chop Point.
As we looked at this summer, we were faced with many very difficult decisions. We have been thoughtfully and prayerfully considering so many options over the past few months. Camp people are generally an optimistic bunch and we knew this wouldn’t be a normal summer, but we looked forward to having staff and campers here. Ultimately, our decisions came down to the ability to reasonably plan for the health and well-being of our staff and campers, the ability to have staff arrive and train together before camp and the lack of clear direction from the State of Maine of what modifications to programs we would be required. With uncertainty in these areas, we don’t feel like we could move forward with opening camp for our scheduled programs.
I have spent the afternoon informing staff of our decision and I know there have been some tears shed. I know you will have a difficult role in sharing this news with your children who have all given up so much this spring by the way of social interaction. We will wait till Tuesday to post this to our website and Facebook page so that your campers can hear the information from you instead of seeing it online with no warning. I am sure former campers will begin to reach out quickly to camp friends so please think about not waiting to talk to your kids about our decision. I have realized, through all of this, that no amount of Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts or FaceTimes can replace the need for us to actually socialize in person and with one another. Camp plays such an important role in reinforcing that for so many young people. I am sad that we will not be sharing meaningful time together along the Kennebec at Chop Point this summer.
Our plan in the coming days is to reach out to each of you personally. We will work with each family to come to the best solution for you and for Chop Point. This will take some time to work through as we have nearly 240 campers in the system for this summer. Please be patient with us in this process. As I said in my earlier email, we would love to enroll current campers in our 2021 programs. We can credit any payments this year to next year’s programs. Some of you may be under different financial circumstances through COVID-19 and we understand if you are not able to do this. We will work with you to provide a refund or a partial refund as needed on a case by case basis.
We will also be asking if you are able to consider donating your payments or a portion of those payments as a tax-deductible gift. We know this will be a hard season for Chop Point, but we are confident in God’s provision.
Our Chop Point community is built on our faith in Christ. That foundation of faith in Christ allows us to build a loving and caring community with our staff year in and year out. That has been the backbone and strength of our programs. We know we can provide that same community to one another as we all work through COVID and how it has changed our lives in 2020.
Chop Point Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Update #1 April 22nd, 2020
First and foremost, through all of this, we are praying that you all are healthy and safe. This has been an extraordinary event that has impacted every part of our lives. We have been praying for those that are directly affected by the Corona virus and especially our camp families and friends in Italy, Spain and France. We continue to pray and hope for a quick and healthy resolution.
We are also planning and preparing for camp. Currently we have not canceled any of our programs for the summer of 2020 and are actively recruiting and hiring our staff for the summer. That being said, we recognize that we are in a very uncertain time and the realities of COVID and its potential impact on our programs is very real.
While we are planning for camp, we also have to look at some very hard decisions. Currently in Maine, the Governor has extended our state of emergency through May 15th and we are still under a stay at home order through May 1st. There is no clear understanding of the next steps that would be taken beyond May 1st. Currently, there is a ban on all gatherings larger than 10 people in Maine. So that gives you an idea of the restrictions we are under.
We are evaluating the situation and will be making some decisions that hopefully will give families guidance in early May. We are waiting on some guidance from the American Camping Association, the CDC and the State of Maine. We will also be looking at travel rules and restrictions and talking to our own medical staff on whether we could run camp safely for our staff and campers. All of these issues will factor into our decision. We will prayerfully consider all our options and we will keep you, our camp families, up to date on our decisions as we make them.
We are also planning for the worst-case scenario. We have always had a cancellation policy in place in the event that circumstances change before a camper arrives and a camper is unable to attend a program. We have returned all the money in those cases, except for the non-refundable deposit which we hold. We honestly have never had to consider a policy that addresses our camp programs being canceled. But here is a short outline of some of the options we are considering.
If we could not run camps this summer, our plan is to try to handle payments and deposits as follows. We would like to roll campers’ enrollments into the summer of 2021. We would apply all payments to the next year’s programs and lock you into 2020 pricing for sessions. Many of our families have had long relationships with Chop Point and understand the implications that a canceled camp season would have on our organization. If parents are able to and are willing, we are able to convert any payments or portions of payments into a tax-deductible donation. For those families who may be aging out of camp programs or may not be able to commit to camp in 2021, we will work with you to come to a fair resolution. Please know these are some of our preliminary thoughts on the situation and honestly, we are praying that we don’t have to implement them.
Please contact us if you have any questions before our early May time line and we will answer you as best as we are able. email@example.com
Chop Point Staff
Our prayer is that God would be a comfort to you and your family throughout this time.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”