Coronavirus Updates

Check out our Spring Virtual Programming, a collection of activities, live events and content to keep our camp community connected in the coming weeks.



April 22, 2020
Dear Akeela Families,

The past five and a half weeks have given us an opportunity to reflect on a number of things, including the incredible Akeela community. While we are certainly not surprised, we have been humbled by the engagement, loyalty, and friendship of our camp families and staff. Without question, nothing can quite match our time together at camp, but it’s been amazing to feel some of the magic of Akeela via Zoom, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook!

We want to assure you that our team is as eager and passionate as ever to provide the Akeela experience for our campers this summer. We continue to review and adhere to guidance from the States of Vermont and Wisconsin, the CDC and other federal agencies. Additionally, we communicate frequently with our colleagues at CampGroup and the American Camp Association to ensure that we are following the camp industry’s most up-to-date and well-informed best practices in this unprecedented time.

As parents ourselves, we understand that sharing your child with us requires the utmost trust. We want you to know that we don’t take this responsibility lightly and are carefully balancing our role in keeping our community members physically and emotionally healthy with our shared desire to spend the summer together at camp. We hope you trust that we will welcome campers and staff into our care only when we are confident that we can do so with their safety as our number one priority.

With the information that is available right now, we have identified the following three possible scenarios for the summer:

Scenario 1: Camp opens, as scheduled.
Our sincere hope is that we will be able to open and operate camp as planned this summer in a safe way. We would implement precautionary measures and systems as advised by experts and authorities and we would make you aware of what that will entail before the start of camp.

Scenario 2: Camp opens with modified summer sessions.
If we do not open First Session on the planned date but can safely run an abbreviated summer season, we will provide the same great Akeela experience to as many campers as we can. In this case, we would follow up with session dates, how it will work in terms of a fair and equitable financial adjustment, and any other modifications to the camp routines.

Scenario 3: Camp is postponed until 2021.
In the event that we cannot open, due either to external restrictions or our confidence in our ability to keep the community safe, we will regrettably forego the 2020 season. In this unfortunate scenario, your tuition already paid for 2020 will be applied as a credit to the 2021 season. Additionally, as a token of our appreciation for committing to future summers, we will hold next summer’s tuition at the 2020 rate. For those families who are unable to use their credit towards future enrollment, we will be issuing cash refunds over time, as cash allows. We understand the sensitivity of this topic and invite parents to reach out with any questions and/or concerns.

Like you, we are hopeful that each new day and week will bring us the information we need to make an informed determination about the summer. While we understand that this level of uncertainty is uncomfortable for all of us, we don’t want to be hasty about such an important decision. That said, we can commit to letting you know by late May which of the above scenarios to count on.

As always, we appreciate your understanding, support, and patience.

Our warmest regards,

Debbie, Eric, Kevin, Kristin and Mike



April 7, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

We hope this email finds you and your family well in these uncertain times. We are healthy here in Philadelphia and are, like you, navigating work and “home school” in addition to everything else that’s going on! We hope you’ve found the content we’ve put online helpful and that your campers have felt welcome to join our Zoom events. We have continued to meet with our staff as well and have found all of our virtual programming and gatherings uplifting, as they truly remind us why camp is so important for all of us.

We wanted to make sure you know that we continue to remain optimistic about our ability to open camp this summer. As we’ve said before, we are planning to operate camp for our 2020 season unless we are told by the local or federal authorities that we can not safely do so. We believe it is far too early to make any decisions now that affect so many people. We will certainly keep you aware of any decisions we make but will likely not be able to do that until mid-May.

In the meantime, we hope that you will continue to work on completing your camp forms. You do NOT need to worry about getting the physician’s form completed at this time. We understand that most pediatricians are not seeing patients for well-visits. You can move forward with all other documents!

In the meantime, as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. For those of you who celebrate Passover or Easter, we want to wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday.

Warmly,
Debbie, Eric, Kevin, Kristin and Mike



March 19, 2020

Dear Akeela Families,

We hope that this letter finds you as well as can be expected in these trying times. All of us are being inundated with news reports, emails and social media posts about COVID-19. Rather than repeat any of that information, we really just wanted to reach out and connect with you. We often talk about Akeela being a “family” and that’s never felt more true – nor more important – than right now.

While things have moved quickly in the week since our first Coronavirus letter, we remain optimistic and look forward to a great camp season! A few more specific notes and details:

  • There are still 100 days before camp opens in Vermont (126 for Second Session) and 102 days until Akeela in Wisconsin begins (115 for Second Session). We are operating with the full expectation that all of our camp sessions will be offered and will open on time.

  • Camper applications continue to come in and we’re having a great time meeting new campers, welcoming them to the Akeela community, and putting bunk groups together.

  • Because of the impact on US embassies abroad, there is a chance that international camp counselors will have a harder time obtaining visas this spring. As a result, we are focusing on hiring as many American staff members as possible … and are feeling great about how this year’s staff is coming together.

  • Just yesterday, we led an online training session with more than 50 Akeela staff members. It was a great reminder of how excited and passionate they all are to have a profound influence on the lives of your children!

  • We are working closely with our camp medical staff and a variety of outside experts to develop a number of contingencies for health care plans and protocols, including robust screening for both campers and staff.

  • We will continue to partner with you to make sure you are aware of our plans in the coming weeks and months.

  • In the meantime, we will be delaying the final payment due date for Vermont to May 15th (to match the Wisconsin payment date).

Most importantly, please be patient, stay optimistic and keep in touch. A fun-filled, happy summer is just around the corner. We will be providing a variety of opportunities for campers and their families to stay connected over the coming weeks. Our staff training yesterday yielded a number of exciting ideas, including virtual “Evening Meetings”, staff-led camp activities that you can do at home, sharing experiences via social media, and more! (If you don’t already do so, please “like” and “follow” Camp Akeela on Facebook and Instagram.) Our first two events:

Thank you for your support, enthusiasm and loyalty. Get ready for a much-needed camp season!

Debbie, Eric, Kevin, Kristin and Mike



March 13, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

While there are still more than three months before camp opens, this time of year always finds us very busy planning for another fantastic summer at Akeela. We are welcoming new campers to the Akeela family every day, and our staffing team is putting together what is shaping up to be our best staff ever!

That all said, we would be remiss not to reach out to you about COVID-19, or Coronavirus. We understand the concern about the impact of the virus and how it might affect camp this summer. We, too, are closely monitoring the latest updates and developments. Having just returned from the annual Tri-State Camp Conference (the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world), we can assure you that – as always – the health and safety of our campers is very much at the forefront of our minds. We are preparing a number of contingency plans to adjust for however the Coronavirus might have an impact on camp. We will follow all guidance from the CDC, continue to partner with our local Health Department, and coordinate with safety guidelines provided by the American Camp Association, in coordination with our camp medical staff.

Most importantly, we want to assure you that we remain confident that camp will open this summer, as usual. Not to diminish what we’re all experiencing right now, but Akeela, as well as the camp industry as a whole, have successfully managed public health crises in the past. Camps are strong and vibrant communities that are resilient and capable of adapting to withstand a tremendous number of challenges. Indeed, we see camp as a beacon, a place for children to get away from their home communities, into the fresh air of rural Vermont. In fact, should the virus still be of concern this summer, camp may indeed be the safest and healthiest place for children to be. We are committed to Akeela 2020, providing the oasis our campers look forward to all winter long.

Like all of you, we are monitoring the latest developments and will keep you up to date as the need arises. In the meantime, the links below are great resources for talking with your children about Coronavirus.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Fondly,

Debbie and Eric

How to Talk with Your Kids About Coronavirus
Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus
NPR Comic How to Talk with Kids about Coronavirus