Check out our Spring Virtual Programming, a collection of activities, live events and content to keep our camp community connected in the coming weeks.
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:
- Vermont Session 1 “Evening” Meeting, 1:30pm EST on Monday, March 8, 2020 … Use this link (https://zoom.us/j/789777538) to connect via Zoom on Monday afternoon.
- Vermont Session 2 “Evening” Meeting, 2:30pm EST on Monday, March 8, 2020 … Use this link (https://zoom.us/j/771890352) to connect via Zoom on Monday afteroon.
Thank you for your support, enthusiasm and loyalty. Get ready for a much-needed camp season!
Debbie, Eric, Kevin, Kristin, Mike and Ben
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.
Debbie and Eric