COVID – 19
May 17, 2020 Update
Thank you to our families and camp community for your support and patience this spring, We also want to thank the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and our peer camp community for their endurance, hard work and support through some tough decisions.
We have some bittersweet news to share with you. We are canceling our June sessions for this summer. In seventy-five years of camping, this is the first time we have canceled a session. It is something that has weighed heavily on us as we think about what this means to all the campers and families who will not be able to come to camp this summer. A lot has been taken from us by this virus, and we hate that for many of you this summer at camp will be included. We are especially thoughtful of our oldest campers and we want you to know that we are working to develop a special program for you specifically.
We are thankful to announce that we are on schedule to open our second and third sessions starting July 5th. This opening is dependent on North Carolina reaching Phase 3 of its three-step reopening plan, and our receiving the state’s Phase 3 guidance for summer camps. In addition to following this guidance, we will require all campers and staff to have a negative PCR test for COVID 19 prior to attending this summer. There is more information on this below. We will also not be able to receive campers flying into camp. We strongly believe that by both meeting this guidance and requiring testing we will be able to provide the same high standard of care for our campers and staff that we have since our opening in 1945. It is important to us that we continue to fulfill our mission: growth through friends and adventure.
So what is the next step? All campers from any session will have the opportunity to withdraw and receive a full refund if you feel that this is not the right summer for your family. You will also have the opportunity to roll over your deposit or full tuition to 2021 in order to reserve your spot for next summer. Finally, if space allows, our first session campers will have the opportunity to transfer enrollment over to a later session this summer.
We’re grateful to our families for your ongoing patience and support and we’re excited to keep momentum with so many campers who have invested so much in their own growth. White Feather and Little Chief, Founder’s Arrows and Sons of Timberlake Awards, adventure, friends and the gospel will all be a part of camp this summer, so we hope you will join us.
From This Haven…
Adam & Ann
John & Catherine
Other Important Information – please click on and read each
- Let us know what you’d like to do this summer (Merri-Mac form or Timberlake form)
- Testing, waivers and family responsibilities
- 2021 Prices and refunds
May 7, 2020 Update
You probably know that a number of camps in our area have pushed back their start dates. We are in close contact with many of these directors and know how difficult each of their decisions have been. Camps in our area are very close, but each is also distinct, so directors have to make decisions based on what is best for their families and programs. Throughout this process Ann and I have remained impressed by how thoughtfully each has done so.
For our part, we are committed to giving each session every opportunity to open because we believe campers need camp now more than ever. Camp has always been a place campers can count on, growing with their same friends, the same traditions, and new adventures. We also hold the heavy trust of protecting our campers and staff so we are waiting expectantly for the CDC and the American Camp Association to release their guidance for overnight camps. After that we expect the North Carolina Department of Health to give its direction in time for us to share our plans for our earliest sessions by May 18th.
We are encouraged by the collaboration between the CDC, the American Camp Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and we appreciate that NC’s Department of Health and our local counties are waiting for their guidance before issuing standards. At the same time collaboration is slow so we want to thank you in advance for your patience.
Finally, we continue to be grateful for your encouragement and promised prayers and we are joining you in praying for your families as well.
Adam & Ann, John & Catherine
April 20, 2020 Update
We’re having a perfect camp spring. The lower mountains are starting to green, the bears are moving and we’re putting final touches on our winter projects. We feel like it’s time to open camp, but of course we are not sure what that means for this summer. With that in mind, we thought a quick update would be helpful.
There’s a lot happening every day and I expect it will be mid-May before we have reasonable clarity on which sessions we can open. That said, we’ve seen some light at the end of the tunnel as we’ve started to talk with more and more state authorities about what operating a safe camp might look like. For us it means two things:
- Safety. We have continued conversations with our state and local health authorities as well as our local camp community, the National Forest Service and the American Camp Association, and still feel that it is too early to know what our summer might look like. Of course, we are committed to following our state and national guidelines but we also need to be convinced on our end that we are ready to run a safe program. We love our campers, families and staff, and are committed to safety as our first priority.
- Tradition. Most of the state agencies we are speaking with are intent on helping us run a summer program, but we’re committed to running our summer program. We operate a small city every summer, and we’re wonderfully adaptable; that’s part of what makes us love what we do. Seriously, it’s fun to always be on our toes, ready to pivot at any moment. But there are some things that we cannot remove without changing the character of camp. Put another way, we’re serious about our mission of experiencing the gospel through friends and adventure, so being able to accomplish that will be part of deciding whether we are ready to open our sessions. We’re not interested in running a program. We’re interested in running Merri-Mac and Timberlake! We’re also really good at adapting and we’re ready to be creative.
At this point we have rescheduled our spring programs for school groups. We have also rescheduled our Father Son and Mother Daughter Weekends to September 4-6. You can learn more about Father Son here and Mother Daughter here. The new dates are filling but we have openings and we’d love to have you join us. Finally, we’re starting to think through family adventure programming in the event that social distancing continues longer than we would like.
The most important thing to know is that we’re still preparing to run camp starting with our first June 8 session. We’ll keep you posted as we get more information, and until then we remain thankful for your support and patience.
Adam & Ann, John & Catherine
April 3, 2020 update
With so many important things changing every day we wanted to confirm that we’re committed to camp staying the same, because we think it is more important now than ever before. We’re also grateful that so many of you feel the same way and want to say thank you for your many emails and calls of support.
This is our 75th summer and we’ve seen some hard times. Camp has endured a world war, social upheaval, polio, multiple epidemics, and several deep recessions, but this is the greatest challenge that we have seen in our time here. Still, camp is resilient, and we’re really good at adapting, but it will not be easy. Big events are hard on small businesses, and this could be especially difficult for the fifty plus camps in our area. Not opening means no earned revenue between August 2019 and June 2021, so you can imagine that our local camp directors – who are some of the most talented people I know – are thinking hard about how to shepherd their programs through challenging days.
For us this means two things:
- Renewing our focus on camp’s largest mission, experiencing the gospel through friends and adventure, and
- Renewing our commitment to our most important assets: our families, and the staff who are so committed to serving our campers.
The result is that we are encouraged, and honestly, a little excited to see what might happen in the coming days. Uncertainty is unsettling, but so is commitment, investment and growth. That said, we do not have all the answers, but there are some questions we can help with now.
Will camp happen this summer?
We are in close contact with our local health departments and will follow the guidance given by North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services. If we do need to cancel, we will do so on a session by session basis. We will let you know as early as possible, but it may be as late as two weeks before the start of each session. Again, we think campers are going to need camp this summer more than ever so we want to give each session every chance. We are also committed to camper and staff safety and so will not open unless we feel fully confident about keeping our campers safe. This is the same standard we hold for anything we do for camp and we promise to be vigilant here.
If my camper’s session is canceled, will I receive a refund?
Yes. All campers paid in full will be offered to either roll their tuition over to 2021 or receive a full refund.
What if I cancel but my camper’s session is still being held?
Our regular refund policies will apply. We understand that we may need to make special provisions for international campers and we will make these decisions on a case by case basis.
We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available, but until then we’ll be busy putting final touches on staff hiring and building projects.
Adam & Ann, John & Catherine