I want to provide an update on our plans for this summer. Since my last message, Governor Wolf extended his Stay at Home Order through June 4. No one currently knows when our region will transition to the yellow phase in Pennsylvania’s reopening plans. Under the framework laid out by our Governor, it is possible we could open when we are in the yellow phase. But, there are significant restrictions defined in this phase which could limit gatherings to 25 persons. If enforced literally, that would make running our traditional Day Camp impossible.
This whole situation and the restrictions placed upon us have made planning for the Summer of 2020 rather challenging. Every one of us, as citizens in our community, has many questions and few answers. We all want to know what will happen next, but we are not being told what to expect over time and in the future. Organizationally, CCWA- Paradise Farm Camps has many pressing questions which we have asked directly to our elected representatives and the appropriate governmental agencies and departments. So far, our rather pointed questions have gone unanswered. We are quite fortunate to have strong relationships with many of our local leaders and they are working with us and trying to help us. Nevertheless, we are in a waiting game of sorts.
With all of that in mind, let me start by explaining what we have decided so far. We will not run the first three weeks of Day Camp. If your child or children were registered for these sessions, we will provide a refund. We have not made a decision about the rest of the summer. At this stage, we believe it is best to continue gathering information to further explore our options. During our deliberations, our focus will be on what is in the best interests of the children we want to serve.
The realities we now face prevent us from serving your family the way we originally planned. We will not be able to deliver the programs we wanted to and for which you registered. It would not be prudent or safe to run camp programs this summer the same way we have in the past. We would like nothing more than to serve your family in this time of need. But, we can only serve your children if we know we can do it safely. The health and welfare of your children are what matter most.
So, we are exploring the possibility of designing and delivering a camp program that would be compliant with any regulations and restrictions that might ultimately be placed upon us. This is a process that will take some time. We are compiling the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control at the federal level, the Department of Health at the state level, and those from our Chester County Department of Health, which is our licensing authority. The latest updates from the CDC came out on Wednesday of this week. The DOH is scheduled to release its guidance soon. As soon as we have the necessary information, we can get to work in trying to move from conceptual plans to concrete plans.
In addition to the advice and guidance from three levels of government, we are working with the American Camp Association. We are an accredited member of ACA and they have been doing a terrific job in advising us. They retained a number of experts, from the environmental health field to medical professionals with particular expertise in camp programs. The experts are developing a comprehensive guidebook for ACA member organizations to follow, if they choose to run camp programs this summer.
In the end, we will need to make a decision about whether to try to run camp programs later this summer. It is our hope to determine our way forward by June 12. Please be patient with us as we navigate the difficult terrain we are on. We clearly recognize this places your family and plans in a holding pattern. And, we truly value and respect the fact that you will ultimately be the key decision makers here. Your family will decide whether you want to send your children to Paradise Farm Camps for any programs we might be offering this summer.
It is our intention to develop refund policies and procedures in the next two weeks. We will not be able to issue refunds until we are allowed to have office staff members back on-site. As soon as we can begin to issue refunds, we will do so. We will also be setting up ways for you to dialogue directly with our staff members to answer questions you might have as we provide more information. For now, we will continue to have Leah Waldeyer serve as our point person. She continues to work remotely and can be reached through her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for your support and understanding!
President & CEO
CCWA – Paradise Farm Camps