RECENT UPDATES


UPDATES:

 

 


-UPDATES-


June 4 Statement from the Directors
(June4, 2020):

 

June 4, 2020

Dear Keewaydin Community,

The murder of George Floyd brings into focus the magnitude of racial injustice in our nation and compels us, the leadership of Keewaydin, to speak out. As an organization, we believe that Black Lives Matter and we stand in solidarity with the Black community and, specifically, our Black campers, families, alumni and staff.  At our camps, we strive to be inclusive communities that value the worth and dignity of each individual. We believe that anti-racist work is an ongoing journey that we embark on together. We commit ourselves to continuous reflection and meaningful action that will help us to live in accordance with our missions and to leave our campsite better than we found it.

Keewaydinly,      With Songa Spirit,         Quay, Quay,              Sincerely,

Pete Hare             Ellen Flight                   Emily Schoelzel          Tim Tadlock

 

 


May 28 Parents’ Zoom with Dr. Michael Thompson (May 29):

Current parents were invited to spend an hour with  Dr. Michael Thompson, a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  Not only is he a preeminent child psychologist and New York Times bestselling author, but he has a deep connection with Keewaydin.  For years he has consulted with Keewaydin and presented staff training, and is himself a Temagami alumnus.

Copy the Password: [email protected]

CLICK HERE to watch.

 


Seven Days Article About Summer Camp Features Ellen (May 26, 2020):

 

 


Dunmore May 22 Zoom Meeting (May 22, 2020):

Current Dunmore parents were invited to join a Director Pete Hare in a Zoom meeting with any questions they hoped to have answered.  To watch a recording of that zoom meeting, please CLICK HERE, and enter the password: 6h&$?%k9


PASSWORD: 6h&$?%k9


Keewaydin Foundation Announces Closure of Camps for Summer 2020 (May 15, 2020):

The following letter was sent to the greater Keewaydin community, and the attached letter was sent to current camper families and staff.

May 15, 2020

Dear Keewaydin Community,

 

This week, the Keewaydin Foundation Board of Directors and Leadership Team convened and determined, with great sadness, to suspend all camp operations for summer 2020.

Earlier today we sent the letter below to parents and staff alerting them of our decision. As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult decision to make, but it’s the right decision given the guidelines from government authorities and the advice from the medical authorities we have been consulting with the past two months.

Many alumni, anticipating this decision might be forthcoming, have asked “How can I help?” Keewaydin’s losses will be substantial. In normal times we count on our alumni, parents, and other supporters to help us maintain our “margin of excellence.” This year clearly does not fit the term “normal times” and we will count on our alumni to come to Keewaydin’s aid. We will be back in touch soon with our fundraising strategy to offset our losses. If you would like, you can make your gift now, or, if you have questions, please contact Mary Welz at [email protected] or call her at 802-585-0614.

We wish you the very best and we thank you for your support.  Stay safe and stay healthy!
Keewaydinly,
Pete Hare,
Executive Director
Dan Kunkle,
Board President

May 15, 2020

Dear Keewaydin Families and Staff,

It is with great sadness that we inform you that the Keewaydin Foundation will not be able to operate any of its camps this summer—Keewaydin Dunmore, Songadeewin, Keewaydin Temagami and the Ojibway Lodge will all be closed in 2020. Though making this decision is extremely painful, it is supported by the directors, the leadership staff at each camp, and the Keewaydin Foundation Board. We feel strongly this decision is in the best interest of our campers and staff, the communities where we operate and where we live, and Keewaydin and Songadeewin.

As we have said for many weeks, we wanted to wait as long as we could and gather as much information possible before making the final decision. By the end of last week, given the guidelines coming from the ACA, the State of Vermont and the province of Ontario, as well as the recommendations of medical experts, it was clear that there was no path forward for camps like ours. Our campers and staff come from many states and many countries. Without widely available and reliable testing, we will not be able to effectively screen campers and, therefore, run the real risk that the virus will enter camp. The types of programs we run are not consistent with social distance guidelines. If the virus does enter camp, it is almost certain some will get sick and many others will have been in contact with them. If that happens we cannot realistically quarantine large numbers of campers and staff. Operating camps like Keewaydin’s is complicated enough during ordinary circumstances; adding a global pandemic on top of the normal demands jeopardizes the ability of running our camps safely and responsibly.

We make the hard decision, but we do so knowing that by being cautious we are being responsible citizens. We pride ourselves on helping the other fellow and leaving our campsite better than we found it. We teach how to make responsible decisions and how to take acceptable risks. We can take solace in the fact that this hard decision is the right decision. Keewaydin is “in it” for the long haul. We have been around for more than 125 years and we will be around for another 125, and more.

In making these decisions many tears have been shed and many more will be shed over the next few days, we’re sure. We are also sure that we will be there to support each other now and throughout the summer. Camp may be suspended for this summer, but our friendships are still very much alive and well. Ellen, Emily and Pete will be in touch soon with all of our staff and campers to figure out ways to keep connected this summer. For now, each one of us has a video message for our campers, staff and parents, link to videos.  [or see below]

Looking forward to 2021, our plan is to let campers pick up where they would have been in 2020—in other words, Temagami campers scheduled for Section 1 and A will be eligible for those trips in 2021; the same applies for Verendrye and Wilderness trippers at Dunmore and Songa. We want to make sure that all of our campers still have the opportunity to go on their culminating trips. This means that next summer our campers—in longhouses, wigwams and sections–will be a little bit older than normal. Each camp director will be in touch with you regarding details for next summer.

The Keewaydin Foundation Board has decided to fully refund tuition, including your $500 deposit. Within a few days we will send you instructions on how to reenroll for 2021, how to get your refund, and/or how to make your refund or portion of your refund a donation. Thank you for your patience, your support and your trust in us! Embrace each other and remember that Keewaydin and Songa are always with you!
Keewaydinly,
Pete Hare
Executive Director
Dan Kunkle
Board President


VT Digger article, featuring Ellen and photos of Dunmore and Songa (May 7, 2020):

“Vermont’s summer camps face decision time on 2020 season”

Click HERE to read the article!

 

 


Digital Version of the Northwest Wind Released (May 1, 2020):

Dear Friends of Keewaydin,

We wish you and your family well amid this pandemic that affects our daily lives. As social distancing is a way of life for the foreseeable future, our connectedness to each other and to the Keewaydin community is more important now than ever.

It is with that in mind that I am happy to share with you a link to our 2020 edition of the Northwest Wind. We decided to send you this digital version while we wait for our printers to re-open because frankly, it provides wonderful and much-needed reading of a simpler world than the one we are living in right now.

 

We will proceed with the print version – which contains our annual donor report – as soon as we can. Until then, I hope you enjoy the articles and that they rekindle great memories of your Keewaydin and Songadeewin experiences.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and please, stay in touch!

Keewaydinly,
Pete Hare
Executive Director

April 28 Letter to Songa & Dunmore Parents (April 28, 2020):

 

Dear Keewaydin and Songadeewin Families,

Summer camps across the nations are at a crossroads.  Some have already announced they will not be open this summer.  Others express confidence they will operate.  Many are watching, waiting and gathering as much information as they can before making their final decision.  Keewaydin and Songadeewin are in this latter category.  We recognize time is running short and that we will soon have to make a decision, but we believe we have the obligation to our parents and our campers to explore every option, pursue every possible solution and find answers to all the important questions first.

Among the most important questions are the following:

  • Will it be possible to ensure that all of our staff and campers arrive at camp virus free?
  • What measures will the state of Vermont require to mitigate transmission of Covid-19 (e.g. social distancing, masks, temperature testing, diagnostic or serological testing, etc.)?
  • If someone gets sick with Covid-19 at camp what will be the quarantine requirements for that person and all those who have been in contact with that person?
  • Will we be able to run off-site programs (i.e. trips)?

Over the past six weeks, we have spoken with experts in epidemiology, virology, public health, and health care administration, and have consulted closely with other camp directors, alumni and parents (individually and in forums) and, of course, with the Keewaydin Foundation Board.  We are following attentively the guidance from the CDC and the American Camp Association (ACA).  Given the extent of our research, it might seem we already have enough information to make our decision. Nevertheless, we know that experts are learning more about the disease daily and there are developments—especially with testing—happening steadily.  The CDC and the ACA have partnered and will announce guidelines for camps by May 7.  The state of Vermont has not yet produced guidelines for summer camps.  We need to hear from these entities before making a final decision.

We plan to announce our plan by May 25, at the latest.  This timetable conforms with recommendations from health experts and the ACA.  At that point, we will announce whether we will have a full summer, a partial summer or no camp at all.

It is important to be realistic about the prospects of having camp this summer.  Our camps are large and draw campers and staff from all over the United States and abroad—making screening and testing an enormous challenge and social distancing unrealistic.  And though we know that the disease represents a minimal risk to children and young adults, it does represent a risk to the many older adults who work at camp, as well as to our local community and to the communities where our campers and staff will return at the end of the summer.  In the end, we will make the decision that is in the best interest of our campers and staff, the communities we live in, and Keewaydin and Songadeewin.

Thank you for your patience, your support and your trust in us!

 

Keewaydinly,                                      With Songa Spirit,

Pete Hare                                             Ellen Flight

 


Ellen Flight on WCAX News (April 22, 2020):

 

Ellen Flight, Director of Songadeewin and Head of the Vermont Camping Association (VCA), is interviewed in this WCAX News story about how summer camps in Vermont are handling the nearing camp season.

If you would like to go directly to the source, please CLICK HERE to go to watch the video on the WCAX website.

For more information on the Vermont Camping Association (VCA), CLICK HERE to go to their website.

 


John Watson Work Weekend CANCELED          (April 17, 2020):

The following letter was sent out to those registered for this year’s John Watson Work Weekend:

Dear John Watson Work Weekend Volunteer,

We are living in an unprecedented period of time.  Usually at this time of year we are thinking about getting the camps spruced up and ready for campers and staff to arrive.  That entails having a fantastic work crew volunteer to paint, rake, take down trees, and do whatever it takes to get ready for the summer.  This outstanding crew embodies the Keewaydin motto of “Help The Other Fellow”.  

Because of the Covid-19 virus outbreak, we are cancelling  John Watson Work Weekend scheduled for June  5-7.  

Regarding camp and this summer, we continue to monitor the important information coming from the state, the CDC, and The American Camp Association.  We are consulting with other camp directors, our Board, camp leadership staff, and parents.  We will wait as long as we can in order to gather as much information as we can, which will enable us to make the best decision.  We expect we will make final decisions no later than Memorial Day.

To stay up to date with Keewaydin information please go to https://keewaydin.org/covid19updates/

Stay safe, stay healthy and thank you for always supporting Keewaydin.

Pete Hare

Executive Director


April 15 Letter to Dunmore Parents and Campers (April 15, 2020):

 

Dear Keewaydin Parents and Campers,

We all are in a sort of holding pattern now–watching and waiting for news about when and at what pace we can begin to emerge from our shelter in place mode and begin to resume doing the things we normally do. While we wait, we make the best of our situations–not only figuring out how to work at home and do school at home, but also keeping in touch with family and friends.  I know that Diane and I are talking on the phone with our kids more than ever and now have a regular Sunday night zoom get together. It also seems like I’m having more conversations with neighbors (at a safe distance!) when I’m out walking Archie.  Though he doesn’t really respond, I’m talking to Archie more too.

More than ever, I am in close touch with our staff.  They are, of course, a resilient group that knows how to make the best of a situation.  Camilo Duque certainly does!  Camilo, our camp head of kayaking, recently sent me this video of him kayaking on the Samana River in Colombia.  Check it out–https://youtu.be/XsYahlj-mWk!  Please be sure to share it with your kids!

Regarding camp and this summer, we continue to monitor the important information coming from the state, the CDC, and The American Camp Association.  We are consulting with other camp directors, our Board, camp leadership staff, and parents.  We will wait as long as we can in order to gather as much information as we can, which will enable us to make the best decision.  We expect we will make final decisions no later than Memorial Day.

In the meantime, stay well, stay positive and take care of each other (a.k.a “Help The Other Fellow”)!

Keewaydinly,

Pete

 


Temagami Shortens Season to 3 Weeks        Letters to Camper Parents (April 10, 2020):

 

Due to the timeline of restrictions currently in place by the Canadian government, Keewaydin Temagami has made the decision to postpone the opening of camp, and has shortened the season to three weeks.  For more information, please click one of the PDF links below to read the letters from Director Emily Schoelzel, sent out to families of current Temagami campers.  The letters, which were emailed to parents on April 10, inform families of details about the current offerings for the summer of 2020.

 


Eric Gottesman – Dunmore Alumnus and Doctor Interviewed on “60 Minutes” (April 6, 2020):

“Beyond anything I’ve seen in my career”:                                       Doctors on the front lines describe surge in coronavirus patients   CBS’s “60 Minutes” March 29, 2020

This clip of  CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which aired on March 29,  looks at the healthcare workers on the front lines against COVID-19 in New York City.  Dr. Eric Gottesman, MD,  is a Dunmore alumnus,  a current Keewaydin parent, and a physician who specializes in Pulminary Disease.  Scott Pelley interviews several of the doctors, including Dr. Gottesman,  who are busy saving lives in NYC.

Click HERE to go to the CBS website to watch the clip.


The Spring KEEC Program Has Been Canceled (March 30, 2020):

The following letter was sent on Friday, March 27 to all schools registered for the 2020 Spring KEEC season.  KEEC is the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center, a program run out of Songa and Keewaydin in the spring and fall for elementary school groups, primarily from Vermont.

As you know, we have been keeping a close eye on news related to the spread of Covid-19 and trying to figure
out what our best steps would be regarding whether or not to operate the KEEC program this spring.

In light of all that has been going on lately, we were anticipating and hoping that KEEC would still be able to be
a positive experience in which students would be able to participate.

While there were still many unknowns, we realized that school closures could have a significant impact on our
ability to be able to operate this spring. We were preparing for the possibility of having to make the tough
decision to cancel spring KEEC.

In light of Gov. Scott’s announcement on March 26th, regarding the dismissal of all schools through the end of
the year, that decision was ultimately made for us.

Before this announcement was made, we were in contact with many teachers and administrators about KEEC.
I was impressed by how many teachers I contacted who were still so positive about the potential to come to
KEEC this spring to share in that experience with their students. That same positivity is what is needed for the
students in our schools and I know the dedicated teachers who participate in KEEC are doing their best right
now to make sure all of their students are still well cared for.

We will miss having all of the students at KEEC this spring but know that, after these uncertain times pass,
KEEC will still be here for many years to come!

Sincerely,
Tim Tadlock, Director
Keewaydin Environmental
Education Center

 


Wall Street Journal Article Quotes Pete Hare (March 27, 2020):

Summer Camps in Northeast Scramble to Deal With Coronavirus Fallout: Camps aim to figure out if they can open, how the safety rules might change and whether parents will send their children

By Leslie Brody, March 25, 2020

With parents and children cooped up in self-isolation in the New York City area, many are dreaming of summer camp to take a break from each other.

But whether camps can open is unclear.

Leaders of sleep-away and day camps say they hope they can operate and will follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities as rules may change rapidly. Many say that during the coronavirus crisis, with all of its stress and school closures, children will need the camaraderie, sports and adventures of camp more than ever.

Families of all income levels depend on camps for child care and fun, but many parents are in a wait-and-see mode. Even some campers are leery. That includes 13-year-old Lee Walker Watson in Manhattan, who loves laser tag, trampoline and spy games at his sleep-away camp in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

“Right now, in light of what’s happening, I’m not sure I want to go to camp,” he said. “You never know where people have been. If one person has coronavirus, we’ll have to go home anyway.”

Because of registrations before March, some camp leaders say enrollment has remained roughly steady, but they aren’t getting the typical round of calls from parents who waited until spring to make plans. Many parents who signed up early have delayed sending final payments. Some camps are being flexible about deadlines.

Camp leaders say they are preparing for extra scrubbing of facilities and stricter health checks for children and staff, such as taking temperatures regularly. Some hope rapid tests for the virus will be available before opening day, often in late June, to screen everyone before arrival for programs that generally range from one to eight weeks.

Darlene Calton, a director of Camp Netimus, a sleep-away camp for 145 girls in the Poconos, said topic No. 1 with parents at orientation will be how staffers handle infectious disease. “We have protocols for that because once a child gets a cough it can go through camp like wildfire,” she said. “If kids can safely go to camp, they will be knocking down the doors.”

Officials at the American Camp Association, which has more than 3,100 member camps with about 10.4 million campers, say summer camps are a $3.6 billion industry nationwide. They say the virus might delay camps’ openings, bar visiting days, limit children with medical conditions and require extra nursing staff. Concerns about germs might also affect how children get to camp, such as foregoing the use of buses.

Travel restrictions could hamper the hiring of international counselors—often a mainstay because they enjoy summer jobs in America—but domestic college students could be more available due to the cancellation of summer abroad programs, they said.

An association representative said member camps follow safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and he hadn’t yet seen any new federal or state directives specifically for summer camps since openings were still months away.

A spokeswoman for the New York Department of Health said that as the camp season approaches, “relevant guidance will be provided as more information concerning COVID19 becomes available.”

Susie Lupert, executive director of the association’s affiliate for New York and New Jersey, said it was especially important now for parents to focus on accredited camps so they can be sure that state health authorities are licensing them and monitoring adherence to standards. Camps have faced infectious diseases before, such as last summer’s measles outbreak, she said: “Camps are used to having curveballs thrown at them.”

New York City’s Department of Education is advertising its free summer day camps for various ages citywide, although its school buildings are closed until at least April 20, with students asked to use remote-learning options. A department spokeswoman said it was too early to predict whether there will be camp changes.

At Keewaydin, a nonprofit camp organization based in Salisbury, Vt., executive director Pete Hare said a former camper had written him a long letter about how facing the unexpected twists of its wilderness canoe trips had helped him deal with the rigors of self-isolation during the pandemic.

Cancellations had been minimal, Mr. Hare said, though some parents in Spain had called saying their children might not be able to fly in.

“The biggest challenge is just being prepared and thinking through all the possible contingencies,” he said. If Keewaydin can’t open, it promised tuition refunds, minus $500 deposits, to parents who paid already. Fees range from $4,675 for four weeks to $9,850 for eight weeks, and some campers get scholarships.

If Keewaydin’s affiliated camps can’t open for their total of nearly 700 campers, the organization would lose about $2 million to $2.5 million this summer. “That’s awful but we would survive,” Mr. Hare said. “We are confident we would weather the storm.”

Alison Bellino Johnston, a mother of three in Manhattan, plans to send her boys to Keewaydin if it opens. She takes heart that campers can sleep in open-air tents rather than squeezing into dormitories. “My boys would be crushed” if it is canceled, she said, “but there are people with real problems in the world.”

“Most kids who go there love it and feel it’s a huge part of their life, but certainly it could be worse,” she said. “The kids who would lose out are the kids who would go there this summer on scholarship.”

Parents working from home in close quarters with their families are hoping for vacations, too. Sue Ellen Greenberg at Student Summers, a camp-advisory service based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., said that “If this thing dissipates, everyone, after being cooped up with their children, will want their kids to go to camp because they’ll need a break.’’

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Original Article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/summer-camps-in-northeast-scramble-to-deal-with-coronavirus-fallout-11585167029


Letter Regarding Office Availability During Business Shutdown in VT (March 25, 2020):

Dear Keewaydin Families,

The state of Vermont has ordered all non-essential businesses to remain closed beginning March 25 at 5:00 p.m. and continuing through April 15.  That means that here at the Keewaydin Foundation office we will be doing all of our work remotely for the time being.  We do not, however, anticipate any disruption with our work.  Though your phone calls will go into voicemail, we will check the voicemail several times a day and will be back in touch in a timely manner.  Of course, you can always reach us by email.

We are remaining hopeful for the summer season and will keep in touch as we have news. In the meantime, we hope all of you are staying healthy and making the most of your staying-at-home time!

Keewaydinly,
Pete Hare

How Keewaydin Prepared Me for a Global Health Crisis (March 23, 2020):

 

Johnny Clore ’00 recently shared these reflections with Director, Pete Hare. Johnny was a Dunmore camper 1999-2001, staff 2005-2016, and Wiantinaug Director 2013-2016. 

Yesterday, I was exchanging text messages with Ash Phillips (Wiantinaug staffman 2008-2016) as we shared updates about our experiences in social isolation for COVID-19. To get his exercise, Ash mentioned that he’s been introducing his roommates to the workout routine we used to do at camp for Wiantinaug fitness club. Pushups, situps, squats, no equipment required. His adaptation of this regimen got me thinking about how well camp has actually prepared me for dealing with the current global health crisis. In ways large and small, Keewaydin teaches its campers and staff to prepare carefully, adapt quickly, and live joyously in whatever circumstances may arise.

An early lesson in this philosophy came for me in 2002, when I was a camper on a Wilderness trip to the Rupert River. A little under two weeks into the trip, after leaving Lake Mistassini and running parts of the Marten River on our way to the Rupert, we became aware that large forest fires were blazing across northern Quebec. If the smoke-blackened sky and fire-red sun were not clues enough, Sam Cooncum, our Cree guide, was prepared with a radio and managed to uncoil long wire antennae to communicate a signal back to the fire department in Mistassani Post. They confirmed the dangerous situation and immediately began driving to evacuate us. We paddled to the nearest road and waited. When the “calvary” arrived, they were flying down a dirt road in a fire truck, blasting Brittney Spears as they sent dust flying in their wake. We loaded our canoes in a precarious heap on top of the rescue vehicle, piled into the back, and enjoyed the music on a very bumpy, very dusty ride to Mistassani. Once there, we slept in Sam’s basement, enjoyed a feast of Canada goose, and waited for Seth Gibson to arrive. When we saw the familiar Keewaydin van and trailer, we loaded it with great alacrity and hopped on board. The next leg of our journey featured Seth’s classic books on tape instead of the fire department’s pop, but nevertheless, we enjoyed the ride west, out of the fires and onto the Missanabi River, where we would conclude our trip by paddling into Moosonee on the James Bay. This wasn’t the river we’d planned to paddle or the trip we’d expected to have. But Keewaydin never gave us a moment to dwell on what was lost; instead, our leaders encouraged us to embrace what lay ahead and revel in the unique experiences the journey would afford us. A decade later, when I revisited Moosonee as a member of Expedition 2012, it occurred to me that the unexpected elements of my wilderness trip prepared me for future challenges and opportunities in unforeseen ways; it’s hard to predict where life will lead us, but if we listen, the bumpy, winding road we’ve walked has a way of teaching us the skills and dispositions that we need to continue walking wherever that road may lead.

In a smaller way, these lessons resurfaced in the summer of 2008, when it seemed to rain every day at camp. It rained so much that the Wiantinaug OD shelter became an island. The docks had to be weighted down with ABS canoes filled with water. Despite Owen’s best efforts to monitor the weather radar, our activities constantly needed adjusting. Afternoon activity periods originally scheduled for rock climbing at the Falls of Lana quickly became games in the Lodge. Tennis became stories with Eddie Dobson. Basketball became dam building in the streams that poured off the side of Mount Moosalamoo. Carefully planned out activities had to be scrapped just about every day. In their place, new activities sprung to life and brought joy to everyone in even the dampest of days. We paddled the flooded White River. We taught rock-paper-scissors strategy (including the now infamous “Claw” move which features an ambiguous and adjustable hand configuration). We hosted finger jousting tournaments and I pioneered a still undefeated “backstroke swoop” technique, which revolutionized finger jousting across the world (or at least in Wiantinaug). Chris Nevin also seized on this activity to make one of the greatest activity circle puns of all time when he asserted that these hand games were entirely fitting of “today’s digital age.” Despite the rainy weather, the summer of 2008 was one of my most memorable and most fun summers ever; we planned for each day, adjusted when the weather changed, and reveled in the fun we found amidst the flood.

As I sit around the house, waiting out the coronavirus, I’m reminded of these moments from camp and I’m inspired to adapt and enjoy the “new normal” just as we did on those rainy days in the lodge. Learning to teach via “distance learning” platforms will likely help me to improve my pedagogy in general. Minimizing trips to the grocery store will help me to develop better habits around eating my leftovers. Being cooped up at home has helped me to get in a routine of calling friends and family on a daily basis. Everyone is facing different challenges in this trying time. Some are undoubtedly facing more dire straits and more uncertain futures than I. Nevertheless, I know that for me, Keewaydin has built a set of dispositions that will carry me through this and any challenges that lie ahead.

Johnny Clore, March 20, 2020

 


Questions and Answers:

Keewaydin’s Refund Policy and Trip Insurance (March 18, 2020):

 

A number of parents have had questions related to trip insurance and about our refund plan.  We apologize for any confusion.  We hope this letter will answer your questions!

Will Keewaydin refund tuition if it has to cancel camp? 

Yes, if Keewaydin cancels or interrupts the summer programs due to COVID-19, we will refund the tuition paid for the portion of camp missed, except your $500 deposit.

Will Keewaydin refund tuition if families cancel?

No, if a family makes the decision to cancel — for whatever reason — tuition is non-refundable. This has always been our policy.

Should families get trip insurance?

We recommend that families purchase trip insurance.  CampDoc offers a basic plan, which is available to all families, and a deluxe plan, which includes a “cancel for any reason” policy, only available to those who have not yet paid tuition in full.  The link to the CampDoc trip insurance is www.campdoc.com/protection-plan

The benefits of trip insurance generally include protection in case you cancel for sickness or injury or other reasons. Ultimately, you should understand the policy coverage, but our understanding is that a “cancel for any reason” plan gives you almost unlimited reasons for canceling, including (i) camper withdrawal before a decision is made by Keewaydin to cancel, or (ii) the family decides to not send their child to camp and camp is “on.”

Will trip insurance cover tuition loss if Keewaydin cancels camp?

It is unlikely that any trip insurance, including the CampDoc product, will refund your tuition if Keewaydin cancels all or part of the summer program.  However, in such a case, Keewaydin would refund tuition as stated above.

Summary:

If Keewaydin cancels or interrupts the summer programs due to COVID-19, we will refund the tuition paid for the portion of camp missed, except your $500 deposit.

If your family decides to cancel and camp is “on,” the tuition is non-refundable by Keewaydin.

If your family decides to cancel for any reason and you have the “cancel for any reason” plan, your insurance will refund your tuition subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.

We are remaining hopeful that we will be able to have camp this summer and we are keeping ourselves informed in order to make the best decisions!

 


Trip Insurance Update (March 16, 2020):

 

Dear Parents,

We have learned from CampDoc that the trip insurance plan may soon require that it be purchased prior to 90 days before the camp start date.  We strongly encourage you to purchase trip insurance as soon as possible. As a reminder, here is important information, including the link to CampDoc, that we sent to you last Friday,

“We recommend that families purchase trip cancellation insurance. A basic plan covers you, among other reasons, if your child is ill or injured and can’t come to camp. If you get a “cancel for any reason” policy, you can cancel and get a refund for any reason. If you have not yet paid your tuition in full, you can get a trip cancellation policy with “cancel for any reason” from CampDoc, www.campdoc.com/protection-plan. The basic plan is available even if you have already paid tuition in full. For your own protection and for the best interests of Keewaydin, we urge you to purchase trip cancellation insurance as soon as possible.”

Wishing all of you well,

The Keewaydin Leadership Team

 


Leadership Luncheon CANCELED (March 16, 2020):

The Keewaydin Foundation’s Leadership Luncheon, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, has been canceled.


Young Alumni Event CANCELED (March 16, 2020):

This gathering, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 5 at The Wren at 344 Bowery in New York City, has been canceled.


Letter to Keewaydin Parents and Alumni (March 13, 2020):

Dear Keewaydin Community,

The outbreak of COVID-19 has prompted several inquiries from parents about the potential disruption to our camps over the summer.    Many of our alumni have also reached out to offer their support and encouragement and to inquire about how we are responding to this health crisis facing our country and our world.

Below is the correspondence sent last Friday morning to all parents of campers currently enrolled at each of our camps.   In addition, we are in close communication with the Vermont schools who participate in KEEC (Keewaydin Environmental Education Center) in order to decide how we will proceed with that program this spring.

My thanks to you all for your continued support as we navigate the ever-changing landscape ahead.

Pete Hare

Executive Director

 

Letter to Parents (represents merged content of letters to account for camp-specific information)

Dear Keewaydin and Songadeewin Families,

We are deep into our preparations for the summer, including, as always, making sure that camp is

prepared to keep our campers healthy and safe during the summer. Given the level of attention focused on COVID-19, we want to reach out to you to let you know how we are preparing ourselves for the 2020 summer season.

Most importantly, we are reviewing all of our policies and protocols related to making sure that staff and campers arrive healthy and not potentially contagious; screening campers and staff when they arrive; maintaining a high level of hygiene and sanitation at camp; and providing the best possible health care for campers and staff while at camp.

To help achieve this at Dunmore and Songadeewin, we are working with the state public health department and our own consulting physician’s practice, as well as consulting with the recommendations of the CDC and the American Camp Association. At Temagami, we are working with Temiskaming Health Unit, and our consulting physicians, as well as following the recommendations of the CDC and the Ontario Camps Association. We are extremely fortunate to have experienced and high-quality medical staff at all the camps and to work with outstanding medical practices in Middlebury, and Temagami.

We recommend that families purchase trip cancellation insurance. A basic plan covers you, amongother reasons, if your child is ill or injured and can’t come to camp. If you get a “cancel for any reason” policy, you can cancel and get a refund for any reason. If you have not yet paid your tuition in full, you can get a trip cancellation policy with “cancel for any reason” from CampDoc, www.campdoc.com/protection-plan. The basic plan is available even if you have already paid tuition in full. For your own protection and for the best interests of Keewaydin, we urge you to purchase trip cancellation insurance as soon as possible.

In the unlikely event that that our summer camp programs have to be canceled or interrupted because of COVID-19 and your trip insurance does not cover your loss, Keewaydin will refund tuition paid for the portion of camp missed, with the exception of your $500 deposit.

With the heightened anxiety around the world related to COVID-19, we have one important element on our side: time. Camp doesn’t open for another three and a half months. In the meantime, there will be steady developments, new information, and clearer recommendations as COVID-19 runs its course in the US and around the world. We will be following these closely in order to be prepared to make the best decisions and we will give you updates as we have them!

 

Peter Hare                                              Ellen Flight                                           Emily Schoelzel

Executive Director                                 Songadeewin Director                          Keewaydin Director