Choose Your Country
As a camp professional, you don't need to be told that camp is important, that camp can be operated safely during this pandemic, or that camps need guidance so that they can plan for the summer of 2021.
You're already planning, accepting enrollments, and getting set up for success. But you know that camps need to be told what their state and local governments will require them to do to meet requirements imposed because of COVID-19.
What can you do?
There are three things you can do to help camps get guidance for the summer of 2021.
Write a letter.
Find out who you should write to. If you click this link, and put in your address, you can find out which lawmakers represent you. When you click on their name, you'll find an address for you to send a letter to.
Write a letter. You can handwrite it or type it. Feel free to write a heartfelt letter about what your specific program needs. But in case you have writer's block, here's an example of what you could say (you just need to add your story to the parts where it asks you to, which are in red):
Thank you for your leadership during these particularly challenging times. In the resident (sleepaway) and/or day camp (Based on your state’s guidance) world these times are particularly hard because the guidance still has not been provided for how we could operate when conditions improve enough to operate. I am the <<director/owner>> of <<camp name>> in your district and I’m asking for your help.
This past spring, many states and counties allowed for camps to operate following the guidance of the CDC, the American Camp Association (ACA). Those guidelines were shaped by the Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance, which was developed by an expert panel.
Last summer (2020) day and overnight camps operated across the nation with little to no COVID-19 transmission. This was especially true in camps that followed the guidelines prepared by the American Camp Association. (Your State) resident camps and/or day camps stand ready and willing to apply the lessons from camps across the nation to provide positive life changing experiences to the thousands of children who have already lost so many formative moments to this pandemic. Camps are not asking to be allowed to open right now. What camps need is guidance. They want to be responsible and to reopen when it is safe.
With guidance, camps can begin to plan for a successful summer. It may seem like summer of 2021 is a long time away, and it is. However, camps, which earn more than 90% of their revenue in the summer, begin planning and preparing for the summer now. Here is a basic overview of what camps are doing to prepare.
Camper enrollments have begun already for many camps, deposits have been collected and family plans have been made
Seasonal staff hiring begins in the October and continues through the spring.
Facility maintenance is a year-round process for these large complexes
Many aspects of providing a program such as vehicle rentals, horse leases, and public lands permits must be completed in the fall.
Purchasing of new equipment for program occurs during the winter and early spring.
Camps provide an integral role in the development of youth across the country, from how to make friends to 21st century skills. If camps are not able to prepare properly, and to operate this summer, this may signal the end of the camp industry as we know it. Camps are not asking to open, but rather to be told what the guidelines are so that when they can open safely and go back to giving children valuable experiences away from screens and with their peers.
Share this CAMPaign.
We as camp professionals have been asking for guidance since the pandemic began. Unfortunately, our voices have seemingly been drowned out by so many other small businesses that are also asking for help and guidance.
But we have a secret weapon. We change the lives of our customers.
We recognize and appreciate that camps generally have not asked their camp communities to be active politically. However, an issue like this provides us an opportunity to help our campers learn how to engage in a POSITIVE way with their representatives. Getting guidelines to reopen safely is a non-partisan issue, and we can use this as a chance for our campers and their parents to fulfill the desire to be engaged in a positive way.
Coming from you as a camp, this campaign will have immediate credibility, and this website has good resources under both the parents and campers tabs. You can find a fun way to share all of this.
Since so many camps didn't operate in 2020, our camp communities are eager to help. This is a concrete thing that they can do to help camp. So share this wide and far and help us #SaveNextSummer!
Join an advocacy group
Joining an organization that advocates for camps in your state is a great way to stay informed and to be able to take action. Many states have organizations, here's a list that we've put together:
Colorado Camps Network
Also, if your camp is not a member of some sort of national or regional camp association, please strongly consider joining one. It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, but these associations are really powerful allies for camps as they navigate the world of increasing regulation and rules.
Some of the best organizations your camp could join are
As a camp professional, you don't need to be told that camp is important, that camp can be operated safely during this pandemic, or that camps need financial assistance to continue to deliver amazing experiences for campers.
How can you help?
Write a letter to your MP - find them here https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en
Member of Parliament
Their office address
Dear (Name of Member of Parliament),
I’m writing to you today as your job title and camp. The Canadian camp industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the financial strain is forcing camps to make decisions that will affect whether or not their doors will stay open.
My experience/relationship with camp, impact camp has on children/youth in general in Canada. How your camp/outdoor education centre has been affected by COVID-19.
It’s been encouraging to hear that leaders in the camp industry are having an ongoing constructive dialogue with the federal government about securing the right help — including with senior leaders from the Prime Minister’s Office, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the office of the Minister of Economic Development.
As a constituent of your riding, I am asking for support or encouragement that you can share with their offices to keep those conversations going will be deeply appreciated.
Canadians — including the kids who attend camps, and the 70,000 young adults who get employed by in the camps industry — will need summer camps more than ever once the pandemic is behind us. Anything you can do to support camps today will make a very important difference.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Encourage your campers, alumni, and parents to write their own letter! If they’re younger, encourage them to draw a picture of camp, and if they’re older, have them write a letter using the resources found on our Camper page!
Share your camp story on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using #SaveCanadianCamps and #SaveNextSummer. Please tag the camping association for your province and the Canadian Camping Association!