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reviewed the Stay-At-Home Order issued today by the Virginia Governor “in effect until June 10, 2020 unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.”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.

Camp Carysbrook COVID-19 Update


As the situation with the COVID-19 virus, designated this week as a National Emergency, grows more serious, we at Camp Carysbrook continue to be vigilant and alert, and we encourage you all to do the same. Since the time of our first email to 2020 camper families, we have seen proactive measures beyond vigorous hand-washing recommendations in the form of event and even school cancellations to contain the virus spread. We want to reiterate that at this time, there has been no advisement that there will be any disruption to the summer that Erika and her incredible team are preparing. In fact, we have been seeing reports that an outdoor environment may be one of the healthiest places to be with plenty of fresh air and wide open spaces, as long as our health policies and procedures for communicable diseases like the Coronavirus, among others, are in place and properly executed.

That said, it may be wise to explore your protection options including insurance offered by CampDoc at the time of registration. If you are concerned about tuition refunds now that the January 1, 2020 refund policy deadline has passed, we recommend that you contact CampDoc if you have not already purchased their protection plan or if you have any questions regarding coverage. If you are concerned about travel insurance as well, we have been encouraged to recommend Travel Guard to protect your travel plans. We have been in contact with our insurance carrier and we have been advised that the best solution at this time is to make sure customers have their own insurance in order to be able to pursue a refund under the terms of that protection. As you may imagine, because we are a small business, there are a host of financial commitments even before the summer comes, and we are already accountable to service agreements and capital improvement projects for 2020 investing in this summer and beyond for our campers. Therefore, we will be relying on you to make arrangements for insurance including but not limited to any changes to your camper’s schedule including illness, presentation of symptoms at the camp screening, or exposure to the virus within the past two weeks prior to camp. Continuing to partner with you to keep our camp community healthy and to honor our financial commitments will enable us to persevere in these difficult and uncertain times and also continue to operate camp for years to come.

In the spirit of Camp Carysbrook, we would also like to offer a few fun suggestions to support you as you take the recommended measures of social distancing and limiting contact while children are out of school. This is a great time to get outside and go for a walk or a hike in a secluded or unpopulated area. It’s also an incredibly valuable time to connect with those in your home, much like at camp, so ask them to teach you a card game they know, or encourage them to write a letter to someone they are excited to see at camp this summer, maybe even do a book club. Some campers, new and returning, may also find that following the camp schedule is a fun way to structure these days and a great opportunity for you to help them practice for camp including excellent personal hygiene, not only washing hands but also helping sort clean and dirty laundry, getting their living space ready for “inspection”, and even taking rest hour. Carysbrook campers have an excellent bag of tools for times like this, so get out the board games and spend these nights in, make your own evening program like skits, mini rock concert, sing-off, or some quality backyard stargazing. Camp skills are life skills!

We hope that these ideas and information will help you create memories and manage the anxiety of the unknown. We will continue to monitor the situation, consult with the CDC, the ACA, and the medical and health professionals advising us at Camp Carysbrook, and communicate to you the most up to date information.  And we trust that everyone will do their part to listen to the experts and heed their advice to contain and minimize the impact of this virus well within the timeframe of the start of camp so that we can proceed with caution and hope that this will be yet another summer to remember for all the right reasons.

Turning Generosity into a Summer To Remember


What happens when you donate to the tax-deductible CCAA Scholarship Fund?


When you donate any amount to the tax-deductible ACA scholarship fund in the name of Camp Carysbrook, as sponsored by the CCAA, more girls are able to experience Carysbrook regardless of “economic, racial, geographic, religious, ethnic and social” background (American Camp Association). This fund has a broad impact in enriching not just that camper, but our community as a whole and helps fulfill one of our top organizational goals of promoting diversity at Camp Carysbrook. In our efforts to make Camp Carysbrook a genuine living, learning community, we are committed to creating greater real-world diversity in our camp culture, and the CCAA scholarship fund is integral in undertaking this endeavor.


In this season of gratitude there can be no greater gift than when those who have benefited from the privilege of the Carysbrook experience find the inspiration to contribute to the enduring, rich tapestry of the camp community by passing that on to someone else. Noblesse oblige, “the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged” (Oxford Dictionary), was at the heart of the Prestons’ Carysbrook experience. They made it a badge of honor to lend a hand when you can. In partnership with the American Camp Association, the CCAA has built on that foundation, as well as on  Toni Baughman’s idea that “there is a place at camp for every girl, bold, shy, athletic, musical …” and who, for circumstances beyond her control, might not have the life-altering opportunity of a #summer2remember.


The CCAA shines a lovely light on those legacies. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing” (Camp Carysbrook Alma Mater). Let’s keep the fire going this #GivingTuesday

A Place for Everyone: Reflections on Diversity at Carysbrook by Erika Schlichter


“We are all the same and we are all different. What great friends we will be…” – Kelly Moran

Like generations of Carysbrook alumnae, my very best friends are overwhelmingly my camp friends. And, like many other alums, I’m quite certain that these strong, authentic friendships would never have been forged were it not for camp. I am also convinced that my capacity to live successfully with random college and grad school roommates, to make a meaningful experience of studying abroad in Senegal, Africa, and to cooperate and collaborate with people who have held different opinions from me in various academic and professional settings would be far weaker were it not for the many summers I spent in the 24149.

The camp experience is a unique one in terms of its ability to successfully bring together individuals from varying geographic, cultural, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. At camp, kids have the chance to step outside the confines of social cliques and academic pressures at school to forge new meaningful relationships and discover opportunities for growth in a safe, nurturing environment that promotes diversity, understanding, cooperation, and collaboration in pursuit of a common goal: fun and friendship.

Whether long-standing friendship-bracelet-status buddies, new cabin-mates, or proud teammates at Carysbrook, all campers are encouraged and ultimately expected to recognize, respect, and value the different beliefs, culture, and life experiences that everyone contributes to our camp community. And this intentional promotion and development of diversity, which begins with actively recruiting campers from a variety of cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, is one of our most critical goals as an organization, one that is essential to upholding our philosophy.

We are deeply committed to the belief that understanding, respecting, and valuing difference, while seeking commonalities and creating shared experience in the overnight camping context is a worthy endeavor that reaps lifelong benefits for our campers. For more about the benefits of overnight camp, check out this added resource.

And we are especially proud of the rich geographic and cultural diversity that has become a hallmark of our summers to remember. Last summer, we had campers from Spain and France, and staff from six different countries outside the U.S.

Another way we contribute to being intentional about diversity is through the Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association Scholarship Fund, which makes us able to assist families from varying socioeconomic backgrounds and further enrich diversity at camp. The alumnae provide the framework for the fund, but anyone can donate, and it’s tax deductible. For more information or to contribute to enriching your camper’s experience as well as that of another camper, click here.

As Carysbrook alum and CCAA President Whitney Mitchell puts it, “Camp is about meeting and having a community with people you wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with. It’s such an important experience in terms of expanding your worldview and learning tolerance and acceptance. At camp, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what school you go to, what your parents do for a job—everyone is a camper!” And everyone who wants to should have the opportunity to be just that—a camper in arguably the most special place in the world.

In the words of Toni M. Baughman, “there is a place at Carysbrook for all girls – bold, shy, athletic, musical and those who can’t carry a tune,” and when these girls are encouraged “to believe and trust in themselves and discover their unique abilities,” magical things begin to happen: the whole of Carysbrook becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

The unique synergy and one-of-a-kind community that result from the diversity of our campers and staff are what make camp such a special, sacred place, a place where strong values and steadfast friendships are forged not just for summer, but for life.