Welcome to Second Term!!
I cannot tell you how excited we are to even say those words!
On March 12, Susie Ma’am and I had just left a camp conference in Atlantic City (the largest meeting of camp professionals in the world) and were in New York to see two shows on the 13th and 14th.
On the 12th, both Broadway and the NBA closed. The next day, virtually all of our spring retreats and outdoor education groups (from schools) cancelled.
This was a fairly challenging 24 hours.
Our minds instantly turned to summer. Would we be able to have camp? If so, what would it look like?
We were briefly distracted as Susie Ma’am had a 7-10 day case of COVID herself soon after we returned. But even as we kept an eye on her (it was never bad by the way), we thought about camp.
We dearly love what we do and we believe it makes a difference in the lives of children. You do not become a camp professional for the lazy summers – it is really busy. But if you love impacting kiddos, there is nothing like it.
It is a LONG story about how Texas became one of few states to open camps. It is worth noting that the Texas standards are very well-thought out and they closely match the best practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Camp Association and the YMCA. Our procedures are even more rigorous, but we were happy that Texas agreed with the other experts so it was easier to execute our plan.
Our first two weeks were wonderful, but we had fewer campers here. We were one of the first camps in the nation to open and we wanted to make sure we could make our new schedule and procedures work.
Which brings us to the joy we feel as we saw all your campers arrive today. We will have more smiles and more energy than any other time this summer!
I can also say that we have the most amazing team to join us on this adventure. Normally, we have many of our favorite counselors leave us for internships or summer travel programs. When these programs cancelled, we got our superstars back.
But wait – there’s more. We also picked up superstars from other camps that have cancelled as well.
This is as strong a team as we have ever put together.
We hope you enjoyed the expedited drop-off. Not only did it mean fewer logistics for you, but (more importantly) it allowed the cabins to begin bonding even quicker.
Each division had its own meeting to talk about some of the important things we will be doing to make camp healthier, from handwashing to modified meal schedules. We explained we will be taking their temperature and checking on their health daily.
We also explained some of the other alterations we will be doing to have camp in the world of COVID.
But what has struck me is not the changes. Sure, we have been obsessing over how to execute camp using a different set of guidelines. When you have been doing anything for a while, changing it can be tricky. As a result, we have spent many days and nights thinking about “new” stuff.
But camp is about the “old” stuff. – those things that are uniquely extraordinary about camp. What is most important is what is still the same:
- The 4 Rs (respect, responsibility, reaching out and taking reasonable risks)
- Being silly
- Being loud
- Feeling the breeze on your face.
- Looking at stars.
- Talking with friends and adults without a single person looking at a phone, tablet or screen.
Also, after months of sedentary quarantine, being at camp is extra sweet.
Please know that we are keeping an extra-close eye on your precious ones. The past few months have been odd for all of us, so we are ready not only to play, but to listen and love.
We hope you enjoy the photos, blogs, camp-tweets and occasional video we put together for you. Why should the campers be the only ones having any fun?