Aloha Summer 2020: A Message from Colleen Hagan Egl and Erika Schlichter


Click here for a video message from Camp Carysbrook


There is no easy way to say this. We fought a good fight. But leadership means knowing when it is time to recognize where we are and how to re-calibrate. With no path forward and a deficit of time, Camp Carysbrook has made the difficult decision to cancel our remaining 2020 session. In an effort to reach our campers directly, we made the attached video as we know that they will grieve the summer as much as we have.

We are dismayed at the lack of guidance or any time frame to permit overnight camps in Virginia to operate despite all of our collective efforts to show not only that we can operate safely outdoors this summer, but also how much Carysbrook is needed. It is especially heartbreaking when we know that it is spaces like summer camps where true community is fostered across both privilege and inequity.

It was our intention to stay flexible while we safely moved through the various phases; however, despite all the calls and emails, overnight summer camp operations have received neither guidance nor guarantee. Based on conversations we have had in recent days, it seems overnight camps are only beginning to be evaluated, and today it was announced that overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in Phase 3.

There is nothing sadder than a camp without a camper. This haven was created in 1923 for young women to explore the beauty of nature in the shade of Miss Kat’s bath, to forge closer bonds with people who are not like you as you tube down the Little River, to reflect on the moments of growth and opportunity by the campfire, and to be lulled to dream by the bullfrogs under a starry sky. We see footprints and heart prints left here from our previous summers, but we are incomplete without the campers and staff of the 97th summer.

We recognize that it is a privilege to come to camp and can only hope it is one all of us will now treasure even more after this fragile world made this summer impossible. We are so grateful to everyone who advocated on our behalf and supported us through this process. Although this will be a trying time emotionally and financially, we appreciate every act of kindness and generosity to help us come out on the other side. We plan to offer more opportunities to help Carysbrook survive, including an option to rent cabins this summer as a family or a mother-daughter retreat to rest and relax in the 24149 this summer starting July 3rd. More information and 2021 dates to follow.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the form to indicate how to process refunds as well. If you did not complete the form, we will automatically roll your tuition over to next year. Your generosity to camp will be paid forward in the continued care of our community as we preserve this space and expand its efficacy and its reach to provide a safe space for young women of all “economic, racial, geographic, religious, ethnic and social” backgrounds going forward.

Before we dig further into that work, we are going to take a moment and mourn what we have lost. A summer to remember when we needed it most. And once we have, we will pick ourselves back up modeling the courage and tenacity grown at Camp Carysbrook until we can be together again. Stay tuned.

Until then, Aloha…

It’s more than just an easy word for casual good-bye;
It’s brighter than a greeting and it’s sadder than a sigh;
It has the hurting poignancy, the pathos of a sob;
It’s sweeter than a youthful heart’s exquisite joyous throb;
It’s all the tender messages that words cannot convey;
It’s tears unshed, and longing for a loved one gone away;
It’s welcome to Carysbrook and it’s lingering farewell;
It’s all the dear and silent things that only a friend can tell;
It’s woven into friendship bracelets and our old camp songs;
It’s frailer than a spider-web and strong as our team bonds;
It’s fresh as dew on daisy blooms and older than the moon;
It’s in the little lullabys that campfire chorus croons;
It’s said a hundred different ways, in sadness and in joy;
Aloha means “I love you.” So, I say “Aloha Oe”

-adapted from “Aloha Oe” by Don Blanding