It’s official! Governor issues Virginia Overnight Camp Guidelines!

 

 

Hooray! We did it! Our hard work collaborating with the Virginia Department of Health and the Governor’s office has paid off and the Governor announced official Guidelines for Virginia Overnight Summer Camps in the Third Amended Executive Order #72 today with operations permitted as of May 1, 2021! Bring on summer 2021!

As we begin to come to terms with the fact that COVID will continue to play a role in our lives for the foreseeable future, we are excited to put our carefully thought out plans for camp into action and get back to camp. We have been putting together plans to ensure safety according to anticipated guidelines while delivering the Carysbrook experience to our campers and staff. Parents and caregivers, you will see that we have thought through every aspect of camp and have plans in place to make it as safe as possible. What we feel is just as important, however, is that our campers will likely not even realize the amount of thought that has gone into these protocols. And that’s the way it ought to be!

Our staff are already hard at work to put these procedures at the core of activities with a heaping spoonful of fun on top so that’s what campers see! There is already so much campers do not see behind the scenes to make camp happen and this will be no different. And frankly, we believe this is an opportunity to add even more fun to our programming. We are really listening to the feedback we have gotten on what could be better and trading up for creative new twists like at opening campfire and changeover! We will be taking our cues from camps who operated last year with these policies in place, and look forward to the outcomes they reported, including an increase in camper satisfaction, less homesickness, and stronger friendships. So we encourage you to read our Covid Response Plan and use it as a guide to answer your campers’ questions rather than read it front to back for them. We’re confident there is an audience for reading it start to finish but the campers deserve better! These girls have had to think about far too many things over this year and what they really want to know is…

Can I go to activities I want to like I have before? Yes!

Can I see my friends from other cabins? Yes!

There will be some things that are different like wearing masks just like you do at home when you go out of your house or are around people outside of your household. I mean you can do this at home all summer like you have been all year or we can do it together at camp! Amirite???

Will we have trips? Yes!

Will we have campfire? Yes!

Staff may need to plan seating in the van and make sure we have the place to ourselves when we get to our destination, but there will be trips! We will make use of the amazing amount of space we have in the stunning 24149 to be sure we are safe, but we will have campfire!

Is your camper so curious they stumped you? Fear not! It’s okay to say “Hmmmm, that’s a good question, let’s ask!”

 

Erika and her incredible staff will be hosting Zoom calls in the month ahead to answer camper questions and help you guide your campers through what’s new and what hasn’t changed in essence. (Check our online calendar for dates!) I mean if we can put on a mask and enjoy the natural space between us and have camp, wouldn’t we do that?  It’s been far too long that we have been separated entirely. We know how to be safe and have fun. We have been doing it for 97 years. Let’s do it for 98!!! See you there!

Colleen & Erika

Colleen Hagan Egl, Owner
Erika Schlichter, Director

Prepping Your Camper for a Very Special Summer to Remember

 

 

It’s never too early to start talking about camp with your campers! Our campers historically come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. It is part of what makes Camp Carysbrook such a special experience. As a result of the pandemic and the events in our country and abroad, we recognize that campers and staff will be coming from an even greater range of experiences in what they are currently processing as a result of the world today.

Some campers may be back in school with pandemic precautions. Others may be in a hybrid model and are easing back into socialization with precautions. And some may still be in a full virtual or home school learning environment with little contact outside their family unit. We understand that this means that campers and staff will arrive at camp with a variety of emotions and expectations for the summer. We know that many campers will hope that camp is “normal” while others feel anxious about if camp is safe. In our Parent/Guardian Meeting dedicated to supporting our campers this past week, we gathered some pro tips with the following Q&A to share some things you can do starting now to make your camper feel at ease and manage expectations especially this year.

 

You said last year you would do everything to make camp happen and it didn’t. How do we know camp will happen this year?

Despite all our efforts and policies to open safely last summer, the virus was just so new and we did not have the data to prove the mitigation we planned on the advice of the American Camp Association. Now we know that camps who did not follow these mitigation strategies were not able to operate safely but 3000+ camps across the country operated successfully without community spread. The CDC published a study of four Maine camps and Colleen has had the opportunity to consult with one of the co-authors and medical director at two of those camps.

We have also gotten confirmation from the Deputy Secretary of Trade & Commerce from the Governor’s office that we will be permitted to open according to the guidelines the Governor will release in the coming months. When the Governor approves the guidelines it will be official and we will be in business. So while it is not all wrapped up with a bow yet, every indication points to getting that Executive Order in the coming months.

 

How can I organize my thoughts about what camp will look like this summer and get answers about my concerns and questions?

Camp Carysbrook Owner, Colleen Hagan Egl is hard at work with all levels of the government and health departments as well as our medical staff to make sure that camp can open and that operations will be safe for campers and staff. As soon as we have a firm idea of what will be required, Colleen and Erika will present a detailed plan for the protocols that will be essential this summer. What we can tell you right now is that we are collecting information and updating our policies and procedures to comply with potential guidelines and ACA recommended best practices. Once the guidelines are approved, the Governor will amend his Executive Order to permit overnight camps to operate.

You can check out the areas we are evaluating and see our proposed changes if they become necessary. Please note that this is a working document and not all policies may be required while some new ones may become necessary.

 

Campers may also find it helpful to use the daily schedule and identify activities they are excited about and times where they can “schedule in” their self-care and recharging routines. It may also help with any separation anxiety to know what those they have been living with in close quarters will be doing at those times as well. This could be a fun activity for all of you in preparing for camp.

If you still have questions, please contact Erika 540-382-1670 or erika@campcarysbrook.com

 

 

When I feel worried, anxious, overwhelmed at camp, I can…

 

  • Talk to my counselor
  • Talk to a friend
  • Journal
  • Read
  • Breathe/meditate
  • Craft/color/draw
  • Rest on my bunk

 

Let your camper know that this summer we will be discussing all these ideas during the first day and night when each cabin makes their cabin code. The cabin code is a set of values unique to the cabin in that session and helps campers and staff identify what they need personally and as a cabin unit to feel at home at camp. Some ideas we have discussed with our Head Counselor, Samantha Schlesser, who manages cabin row, include offering the option to have the inside of the cabin a quiet zone during free time for those campers who need alone time to recharge and having the porch and within the free time boundaries outside be available for more extroverted socialization and activity.

We encourage campers to be honest about how they are feeling and be empowered to discuss their feelings in a constructive way knowing that while they may have different approaches to self-care and recharging, they are not alone. So please discuss how their pandemic experience could be different from other campers and give them language to advocate for what they need while at camp. These are life skills that will transcend this moment in time.

Discuss what activities and hobbies campers have been doing at home to cope with negative feelings and discuss which of those items are available at camp or could be packed. The wide variety of new hobbies is some of the lemonade or silver lining to this time and we want to encourage campers to continue those that suit the camp environment from drawing to reading to hiking.

Whatever helps your camper relax so they can enjoy all that Carysbrook has to offer is important to discuss with Erika. You can reach her to discuss any concerns not covered here or a strategy to best support your camper this summer at 540-382-1670, erika@campcarybrook or by scheduling a phone call using her Calendly scheduler.

If your camper, new or returning, has experienced any concerns referenced in Confidential Info section of the 2021 Camper Handbook, it really is critical that you connect with Erika so that we may ensure that we can provide the necessary accommodations for your camper to be successful and that our staff is equipped with a plan to facilitate that camp experience within the professional constraints of our programming. We have a lot of experience with a range of challenges confronting young women and at the same time, the staff at Camp Carysbrook does not specialize in serving those with special needs, including mental, emotional, social, and behavioral difficulties, so preparation within those constraints may be necessary prior to your camper’s arrival. When it comes to partnering with you to prepare for the summer ahead, there is no such thing as over-communication, so please share anything, big or small, that you think could be of any importance during your child’s time at camp!

 

2021 Reopen Announcement from Deputy Sec. of Trade & Commerce

2021 Reopen Letter from Virginia Deputy Secretary of Trade & Commerce, Cassidy Rasnick

Welcome news this following months of planning and communication from Colleen Hagan Egl, head of the Reopen Committee for the Virginia Coalition of Overnight Summer Camps!

Colleen and the Committee continue to meet with the Deputy Secretary of Trade & Commerce and the Virginia Department of Health as well as UVA Pediatric Cardiology Specialist Dr. Jeffrey Vergales, contributing author to the CDC MMWR report Preventing and Mitigating SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Four Overnight Camps, Maine, June–August 2020 and part of the medical staff which oversaw the implementation of the ACA Field Guide at two of the camps in the study. We hope to have a working draft of guidelines from the Governor’s office for the 2021 season this month.

Be assured, camp will be open this summer and Erika Schlichter and her staff are staying flexible and ready to implement the guidelines necessary to keep our campers and staff safe as you have come to expect from Camp Carysbrook throughout our 98-year history. Looking forward to fun and friends and a much-needed #summer2remember!

 

 

 

CCAA Holiday Fundraiser Ends Dec 1, 2020

 

CCAA Holiday Fundraiser 2020

The Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association’s annual winter fundraiser is here! The perfect cure for those of you who are camp sick as we head into the long, cold winter months while supporting the CCAA Scholarship Fund.

All of the proceeds will support the Scholarship Fund, which helps girls experience Carysbrook, regardless of economic, racial, geographic, religious, ethnic or social background.

Sale ends December 1, 2020 to ensure delivery for the holidays!

If you’re interested in international shipping, please contact Erika in the camp office.

Shop and support now:

CCAA 2020 Holiday Fundraiser

* Please note: Different designs/products may need to be checked out separately due to different shipping sites from the vendor. We hope that the variety of products outweighs any inconvenience. We appreciate your generous support of the Scholarship Fund in this important year.

Camp Carysbrook: Coming Back in 2021 Better than Ever

 

 

We are beyond grateful for the support and connection of Carysbrook families in this dizzying environment of constant pivoting this year. The roller coaster analogy has long since become moot. The fatigue of planning is palpable, and still we must move forward, for ourselves and for our children who so desperately need to see that light at the end of the tunnel, a return to childhood joys on the horizon.

Will it look different after what we have been through in this turbulent year? Most definitely. This year has tried and tested us all. Camp Carysbrook has learned at an incredible pace to emerge with the confidence that camp remains the antidote for our beleaguered children, exhausted by Zoom, division and injustice, and the utter absence of social interaction. The soft landing we so desperately seek, despite the unknown, is still out there in the 24149 and we are ready and planning to get our campers back to camp.

And so, we are thrilled to announce the opening of registration for the 2021 season. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Colleen’s role in the management of Camp Carysbrook. Over the past ten years, she has helped expand the reach of camp’s mission and philosophy, cultivated and mentored quality talent in staff, and improved the facilities while honoring the rustic nature of camp. We have a strong foundation on which to build the future of Camp Carysbrook.

 

 

This summer is perhaps the most critical in the survival of Carysbrook. The loss of a summer to remember is of financial as well as emotional significance. You will notice that we are changing our rates across the board in order to continue to provide the value you have come to expect. We will be adding value to your camper’s overnight camp experience with improved laundry services, bathhouse facilities, sanitation protocols, and food services.

You will also notice that we will continue to offer competitive rates below our competitors to continue to provide access to the overnight summer camp experience for girls in a safe and fun environment. We are confident that as customers, you value the quality of the experience we provide while continuing to make camp as affordable as possible in spite of the financial obstacles forced upon us by the pandemic and inability to operate in 2020. This change is vital not only to the quality of our programming but also to our commitment to the longevity of camp itself.

What will not change is the mission and philosophy of Camp Carysbrook, a beacon for young women in a world dominated by technology, social media, and isolation, now more than ever. Reconnecting with friends and with nature will be more important than ever as this generation restores depleted skills only attained in a social environment and a community dedicated to developing them in a healthy and fun setting.

We have a lot more information than we did last summer and so despite the unknowns ahead, we do feel confident that we will be able to operate in 2021. According to the American Camp Association, this past summer over 3000 camps offered just such outcomes to young people across the country in a safe and healthy environment with safety and sanitation protocols provided by the ACA, CDC, local health departments and state regulations. The CDC is out with a new study which reports:

“During June–August 2020, four overnight camps in Maine implemented several NPIs to prevent and mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including pre arrival quarantine, pre- and post arrival testing and symptom screening, cohorting, use of face coverings, physical distancing, enhanced hygiene measures, cleaning and disinfecting, and maximal outdoor programming. During the camp sessions, testing and symptom screening enabled early and rapid identification and isolation of attendees with COVID-19.”

You may notice that these are measures Camp Carysbrook had in place, with the exception of access to testing, ahead of last summer and honed during our retreat model with no reported cases of COVID-19. With testing continuing to improve in accessibility, accuracy, and duration of results, we feel certain that regardless of the virus, government officials will have the data they need to permit operations. Our staff showcased their agility and professionalism in adopting the necessary protocols to bring camper families a Carysbrook experience and we are ready to build on that success in 2021.

Keep an eye out for new details on rates, payment information, important dates, and how we will handle refunds in our 2021 Carysbrook Handbook and coming soon to our website. We hope the promise of a summer to remember, a proper do-over, gives you the necessary energy to get through the road ahead. We will be there to welcome you with the time-tested traditions and outcomes of Camp Carysbrook 1923 to forever.

In the Spirit if Carysbrook,

Erika Schlichter, Director & Colleen Hagan Egl, Owner

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

Black Lives Matter: A Statement from Colleen Hagan Egl and Erika Schlichter

 

*** Adapted from social media post June 2, 2020 ***

At Camp Carysbrook, we strive to provide a social and physical environment that promotes, develops and enhances the emotional, social, and spiritual potential of each camper and assists them in the discovery and enjoyment of themselves and the richness of life as they grow and develop.

We believe that Black lives matter and we are overwhelmed with grief and anger at the systemic racism that led to the murder of George Floyd last week along with countless Black men and women across this country.

We at Camp Carysbrook acknowledge the systemic racial barriers that people of color have faced when it comes to accessing outdoor spaces and recreation, including summer camp, and we are committed to challenging ourselves to be better listeners, partners, and advocates in changing that.

We will stand and be brave together with you, and if we get it wrong, we will apologize and do better. We are dedicated to modeling the change we want to see in the world outside our gates. This is our power, and it is imperative that we each find a way to replicate the safety and space for everyone to be able to thrive.

At Camp Carysbrook, we are finding hope in the outcomes we seek to instill in our campers such as:

· learning how to use our influence to empower ourselves and those we care about

· leading with empathy and awareness

· staying curious and asking questions to find deeper meaning and connection

· finding value and worth in every member of the community

· recognizing that our differences are but a part of the fabric that blankets us and makes us whole

· finding our voices to speak up when we need to do better and change things

“Everything we need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be” is right here at Camp Carysbrook. And it is up to all of us to take that out of the gate and down the gravel road to wherever it is that we find ourselves to make this world a place we want to live in the rest of the year.

In the spirit of Carysbrook,
Colleen & Erika

COVID-19 Update May 8, 2020: A Message from Colleen Hagan Egl

 

We have all been inundated with news and information over the past few days, and frankly with a lot of opinion-based rather than science-based information regarding COVID-19 and how the pandemic will impact camp. We continue to monitor all the information and sort through it with the guidance of our veteran medical panel and the American Camp Association (ACA).

On May 7th, the media reported that the White House had tabled the CDC guidelines that were being developed for a range of industries, including the camp industry. In the absence of federal guidelines, I consulted with the Environmental Health Manager at the Montgomery County Health Department. We discussed at length next steps, and he agreed with my time table on decision-making starting June 1 for the sessions starting June 21st.

While we have not received any guidance specific to summer camps from the office of the Governor, the Governor did announce today that overnight camps will not open in Phase 1 in Virginia. Phase 1, anticipated to begin May 15 could last 2-3 weeks but could last longer.

This is consistent with the information presented today at the ACA Town Hall. The ACA has been working with the CDC and the YMCA, as well as an independent consulting company, Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EHEINC) to develop a field guide consolidating information not only from the CDC, but also from the EPA and OSHA, with suggested practices for summer day and overnight camps. Among the topics covered are resources and best practices for:

  • Opening Decision Support
  •  Safety Actions
  •  Monitoring & Preparing
  •  Pandemic Surveillance

They have already released a “Suggested Camp Supplies and materials for 2020 Camp Season,” and we our working with our vendors to secure the recommended products and quantities. They will release Day and Overnight Camp Documents May 11 and suggested practices May 15. The full Field Guide will be available May 18, subject to review.

We continue to remain cautiously optimistic with the decision deadlines we put in place in our last message. While this summer certainly will look different from a “normal” summer, we will continue to partner with you to make this a summer to remember for your girls, who need the comfort of a space that manages risk but also feeds the soul with social connection, Vitamin D, and physical activity outdoors.

 

 

COVID-19 Update April 16, 2020: A Message from Colleen Hagan Egl

 

Masks, gloves, six feet apart, and quarantine are the new normal. Meanwhile at camp, mowers and weed eaters, chainsaws and the tractor are humming along, tending the landscape of the 24149 to be ready, primed for what we are all collectively holding our breath for: that Camp Carysbrook will announce we are open for a summer to remember. Phone calls and emails to Erika, along with Zoom meetings with staff members, parents, campers, and alums have become the absolute highlight of these strangely drawn-out days and weeks. Every word and gesture of support, from a simple post-it note “thank you” in the mail to a response on a social media post, means the world to us and gives us even more strength to fight for our most important summer to date.

 

 

When will we know? What will be different? These are swirling questions for us all. Right now we are all being forced to make tough decisions with the information that’s currently available, which could change, depending on a number of variables, and does, almost daily, all while we navigate this new normal. We continue to check in with the ACA and the Montgomery County Health Department. We watch the Virginia governor’s press briefings for clues, and yet with 59 days until camp, there is still nothing definitive. We know you want answers and so do we. So let us share with you what we do know.

 

 

At this time, the American Camp Association (ACA) has advised us in an email as follows:

“ACA has had the opportunity to connect with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they develop COVID-19 guidance for day and overnight camps for this summer. The CDC’s guidance will help state public health authorities and camp directors with their summer decisions, as well as utilize best practices in health management, community management, and camp operations.

The CDC advises camps to give themselves as much time as possible before making final decisions about the summer. That’s because you’ll need to use the upcoming CDC point of view in your decision-making process. Rest assured we will keep you closely informed about when the CDC will release their guidance.”

American Camp Association, April 15, 2020

Like you, we are processing our present situation and considering our future with very little definitive information. I am a planner without a plan. And that never lasts long with me, so we have a series of backup plans in order to be ready when the time comes to make the decisions of what this summer looks like. But to be sure, it will require patience, flexibility, determination, and risk-management from all of us. It’s a good thing we have been nurturing these skills summer after summer for decades.

We believe the service we provide at Camp Carysbrook is integral to the recovery and reintegration into society of our campers as a result of this pandemic, in addition to the everyday obstacles the modern world already presents to young women. So the viability of the summer is something we believe is worth fighting for, and if waiting for a plan from health professionals is what we need to do, we will do it.

Meanwhile, here’s what WE are doing now:

  • We are in touch with our food and other supply vendors to secure essential supplies like cleaning and disinfecting supplies, TOILET PAPER, hand soap, etc.
  • We are consulting with other camps in Virginia and West Virginia, to share information and ideas and formulate timelines to make an informed decision for Camp Carysbrook.
  • We are evaluating our health policies and procedures with veteran camp health professionals to address COVID-19 and assess our current facilities, including installing more handwashing stations at camp and improving the bathhouse facility for improved ease of disinfection.
  • We are in touch with the agencies that provide our invaluable international staff and we are closely monitoring decisions by the State Department and travel restrictions going forward, and we hope to know more by mid-May. As part of our safety and health measures in addition to guidelines from the CDC, ACA, and the Montgomery County Health Department, we are advising campers and staff to self-quarantine before camp and follow any government-mandated orders.
  • In order to ease the pressures of getting your camper’s health documentation in order, we will be extending the deadline for completing your health profile in CampDoc to June 1, 2020. Please contact Erika in the office if, for any reason, you’re unable to schedule a doctor’s appointment prior to this date.
  • We are using the following calendar as a guide to decision-making for operations by session as follows:

June 1 decision on opening on June 21 for the 1,3, and 7 week sessions

June 15 decision on opening on June 28 for the 2,6 and modified 3 and 7 week sessions

June 30 decision on opening July 12 for the 4 and modified 6 and 7 week sessions

We will stay flexible to offer campers not signed up for those sessions a spot if available on a first come first serve basis. Please stay flexible with us as we try to make an earlier decision where possible or otherwise make changes to these goals. If your camper’s session is modified, we will adjust the tuition. We will keep monitoring the situation and keep you updated accordingly.

 

 

What YOU can do now:

  • Pediatricians are offering telemedicine appointments. We strongly recommend discussing both your camper’s health including any conditions exacerbated by COVID-19 such as pulmonary conditions, asthma, and immuno-compromised conditions AND your camper’s plans to attend camp. Your pediatrician will be the best expert to advise you on whether or not attending camp this summer will be the right decision for you. If your camper does have one of these conditions, or if you have any concerns about her health, please contact your pediatrician if your paperwork was completed before March 15, in order to provide a more accurate assessment of your camper’s readiness for the camp experience.
  • Make a plan that is flexible. That means making travel arrangements that can be adjusted depending on circumstances after booking. Travel insurance is your best protection if you need to book flights.
  • Continue following your state’s social distancing and stay at home orders. Wash your hands!
  • Teach your campers the importance of good personal hygiene in the time of COVID-19. Their counselors will guide them once they are at camp, but these are new life skills and starting now will make for healthy habits at camp washing hands frequently before meals, after activities and after going to the bathroom. Not sharing clothing, utensils, hair brushes and hair ties, and water bottles will be essential to a healthy camp now more than ever. Not sharing clothing and learning to put dirty clothes in a hamper not back in a drawer or trunk will be essential at home or at camp.

 

Erika and I continue to pilot uncharted waters, proceeding with staff interviews, parent phone calls, cabin lists, bills, loans, and putting the puzzle together again for a summer to remember after a spring of disruption we might rather forget. We check on each other, commiserate, share tips and recipes and hope, drawing on Carysbrook for inspiration to do much with the bare minimum and inject the monotony of our new normal with creativity like we have learned in the 24149. We hope that you do too. As new business owners, Joe and I have made calculations as best and as informed as we can, and to not have camp at all is our absolute last option. We operate the business year round while opening our doors for two months; and, much like a festival or a wedding, there are never ending to-do lists and payables in anticipation of the main event. What that looks like we still cannot predict, but with trust at the foundation of our whole relationship, you can trust that we will do our best by you no matter what the future holds. We are all in this together. And you can trust that, while there is no foolproof method to navigate these challenges, our priority is the care, health, and safety of your campers, and the health of camp as a business to be here for young women 1923 until forever.

COVID-19 Update March 30, 2020: A Message from Colleen Hagan Egl

 

The daffodils are in full bloom and the rhododendrons have purple buds teasing us that life is normal. Like you, we know it is not and the toughest part is that there is more that we don’t know than what we do. We have reviewed the Stay-At-Home Order issued today by the Virginia Governor “in effect until June 10, 2020 unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.” At this time, unless otherwise ordered, we are planning to open according to plan on June 21, 2020. As you can imagine, we are as eager as you are for some certainty, however at this time we have been advised it would not be prudent to make any final decision on the summer otherwise.

In the unfortunate event that camp is ordered not to open, we will do our best to work with families to make any insurance claims that are applicable, to roll tuition over to the following year, or to pursue a refund as we try, in our flagship year of ownership, to do the right thing by our customers while staying in business to be there for you all for years to come.

We are working with the Montgomery County Health Department to better understand the specifics of how the order applies to Camp Carysbrook even though it does not, at this date, impact our opening start date. That said, we will continue to stay flexible, while adhering to any applicable governance, to finding a path to open camp this summer. We anticipate that we will review our plans again towards the end of April/beginning of May, however, as of today, we are proceeding according to the original plan.

 

 

So how do you plan for camp during these times? Well my response is how do you not? This year we are set to celebrate our 97th summer and it may be our most important yet. My grandmother started camp in the depths of the Great Depression and it remained, long after her camp days ended, as her most cherished memory of carefree days. We are all going to need a safe haven to transition out of our homes and back into a community of in-person interactions, unplugged. There is no kinder, gentler, less complicated place for that than Camp Carysbrook. And so Erika and I prepare for that moment when we can receive the socially distanced and technology wrought young women who count on the Carysbrook experience to help make life make sense. This is where our focus is right now because when this is all over, Camp Carysbrook will need to be there and ready to receive you.

We hope you all stay safe at home and in doing so know that you are doing your part to make this summer at camp possible. Our hearts go out to those in our community who are ill and we are grateful for the courage and dedication of all of the healthcare professionals among us keeping us safe and healthy. These are tough times for us all. Camp Carysbrook is here with the grace, if not all the answers, you need right now. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can be a support to you as we continue to plan with cautious optimism that all your sacrifice and efforts will produce the results we need and we will be greeting you in the respite of the 24149 this summer.