Dear Gate Hill friends and Families,
As you may know, NYS released its guidance for day camps on Tuesday, June 9th. As we have done throughout this process, we have taken the time to review and analyze all information available to allow us to come up with a plan for this summer. I want to thank you for your patience, support and most of all your trust, as we have contemplated what is best for our community this summer.
After reviewing the significant limitations set forth by the guidance and weighing the very obvious risks and unknowns of operating camp in the midst of this pandemic, I have made the decision to not operate our camp program in Summer 2020, but rather postpone it until Summer 2021. I share this news with so much sadness. As I read through the NYS guidance, I repeatedly found myself saying (outloud), “Well that’s not camp at all...” Whether it was the fact that staff would be masked in order to engage with their campers, or that so many standard activities, like team sports, zip-lines, swim instruction, go-karts, the play, and electives would be restricted, or that with proper contact tracing groups of healthy campers would be quarantined for 14-days if exposed to the virus, the recommendations were in direct conflict with our most basic program and core mission.
The concerns for your children, your family, and our staff’s safety were so abundantly clear to NYS that the guidance made camp, as we know it, something very different from what we have grown to cherish, value, and expect. I am literal. I am not one to read words and then interpret them to fit my needs. So although some of the guidance was encouraged rather than mandated, the health and safety of our Gate Hill community is not up for interpretation. For details, you can review the state guidance here: Child Care and Day Camp Programs
Unfortunately, we have run out of time and it is just too soon to bring our community together in the traditional Gate Hill way or in a manner that I see as plausible during this pandemic. This decision was extremely difficult to make. We know how much camp means to our campers, parents and staff. It works both ways, you mean a lot to us, which is ultimately why this decision was made.
As we point our efforts to the 2021 camp season, I am looking forward to the opportunity to make camp an even better place for your children given the new realities in our world today. Being outdoors together while making friends, celebrating, playing, supporting each other, and being kind have taken on even more important meaning now.
So what’s next?
- We will continue to share Gate Hill TV weekly throughout the summer and find other ways to bring our community together virtually
- Although we are unable to run our traditional camp program, it is still summer. Finding a way to open our facility to our families in a safe way is a high priority. Stay tuned for an exciting offering in the days to come.
Erin, Ali, and I will be reaching out over the next few weeks to connect with you, check on your kids, and answer any of your questions. Our goal is to get to all of our families, but if you would like to speak with us before then, please don’t hesitate to reach out sooner.
One Camp One Love- Josh, Ali and the Gate Hill Team
Camp Director / Owner
Gate Hill Day Camp