Parent Update #6 (Sent May 23rd)

AstroCamp Families,

Astrocamp summer COVID info is found here. Thank you for your patience and understanding over the last 2+ months as we worked through every option for this summer and sought guidance from trusted resources.  The health and wellbeing of our camp community has always been our top priority and has guided our decision-making process.  In addition to considering the health implications of operating this summer, we have also been considering the barriers to running a camp program while maintaining social distancing practices.  Our team tirelessly have been looking at our program with a microscope and exploring what modification options we can do to schedules, activities, housing, dining, screening, and much much more.

After many conversations with local and State Health Officials and reviewing of the recent guidelines, we know that there would be significant limitations on the way we could operate this summer.  At this time, we don’t feel that we would be able to offer the quality of program that we are so proud of here at AstroCamp while also ensuring the health and safety of our campers and staff.  It simply would not be possible for us to gather at the campfire, in the dining hall, or even play large group games.

It is with a very heavy heart and after much consideration, AstroCamp has made the very difficult decision to not operate our 2020 summer season.  We have prepared a video that we hope your family will be able to view together: AstroFamily Summer 2020 Update

Our hearts are broken, but we are confident that this is the wisest decision for our campers, our families, our staff, and the hundreds of individual communities from which our campers and staff come.

Parents: For the next steps, early next week, we will email each of you with details about your next steps, including your different rollover and refund options. For now, we want to give you all some time to process this news.

As you can imagine, operating without our summer income will provide some distinct challenges. We ask you to consider rolling your tuition forward to 2021 or, if your family is in a position to do so, make a donation of part or all of tuition that you have paid to help camp bridge the financial gap until our next season.  Your donation will be tax deductible as we are a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Please know that we are here for our families.  We will be taking this holiday weekend to be with our staff, family, and process this ourselves.  We will be available on Tuesday via email or phone call as normal.  Though we are not gathering at AstroCamp this summer, our team is working on opportunities for connection this summer.  We will keep you updated as our plans develop.

We have always known that what makes camp so special is the campers.  We can all carry the spirit of AstroCamp with us until we can gather together again.  We WILL get back to all the things you love about camp – the laughter, the staff, the mountains, the friendships, the fun, and gathering in the meadow. We can’t wait to see you all here again!

Sincerely,

The AstroCamp Team

  1. We know that sharing this news with your camper is very difficult. The below resources we believe to have some very helpful points in supporting your kids deal with disappointment, sadness, frustration, and general grief that they are going through with all of the cancelled events in their lives:

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Parent Update #5 (Sent May 13th)

Greetings from AstroCamp!  We thank you and your family for your understanding and flexibility during this uncertain time. Many have sent very warm emails of support and encouragement which have been much appreciated by our team as we all navigate through some seriously uncharted waters.

We strive to give our families the most transparent and frequent communication that we can provide regarding camp this summer. Camp is by design an experience that promotes social engagement, and we are working to modify that experience to the best we can. This continues to be a moving target as news and local orders continue to change frequently and often contradict each other. AstroCamp is continuing to move forward with preparations for operating in a modified fashion this summer as permitted by local and state health officials. We know that many of you are looking to make decisions regarding your summer plans. To help inform your decision, we wanted to explain some of the specific challenges we are facing:

  • Camp Safety Protocols: Our team is still awaiting some key information that will allow us to finalize our protocols and modifications that will have to be made for this summer.  That key information will come from the detailed field guide that the American Camping Association is creating in collaboration with expert consultant Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc (EHE) as well as guidance from our local health department. Once this information is released, our team will be reviewing and evaluating what adjustments need to be made to our current practices and communicating those modifications with our families.
  • Program Details: 
    • We feel that we will not be able to run programs in June, which means we will have to reschedule our June 1-week programs for July and August.  We are currently working on those options for our 1-week registered campers and will be presenting them very soon.
    • We are unable to provide airport and bus transportation this summer. Campers will need to be picked up and dropped off at AstroCamp by a parent or guardian. We will be reaching out directly to all families that have indicated airport or bus transportation in their registration.
    • Families that remain registered will have the ability to cancel for any reason at any time and receive the below options. 
    • It has been advised that campers travel in cohorts. Traditionally, campers had the option to choose their activities with groups mixing each day. In order to reduce cross contamination between groups, our campers will likely stay with their cabin groups for their daily activities.
    • We are watching guidelines for group capacity sizes, social distancing requirements, and restrictions on location-based populations. We feel these things may be the biggest factors that could alter this summer. This includes the possibility of cancelling our summer program.

While we plan to continue to update our families on details regarding program modifications, we did want to share the options available to your family – please read through carefully:

Option #1:  Remain in Current Enrolled Session and Await Modification Updates  

As mentioned above, we are hopeful to run a modified program this summer and are working to provide full details to our families soon on timing, duration, safety, and programming protocols. Please note: you will be able to cancel for any reason at any time this summer. 

As a reminder, we are postponing the final payment date from May 15th to June 1st.

Option #2: Roll Deposit to a Future Summer with Additional $100 Credit

If you choose to roll your deposit to Summer 2021 and on, we will credit your account an additional $100 to be used for a future summer.

IE: If you credit your $300 non-refundable deposit to Summer 2021, we will credit your account $400 for future summer and your spot will be secured for next summer.

If you have made additional payments or paid in full, you can roll the entire payment amounts, or just the $300 non-refundable deposit and the remaining balance will be refunded.  

Option #3: Full Refund (including Non-refundable $300 Deposit)

We understand that the current situation has created many unknowns for our camp families. If you need to cancel your camp session for any reason, we will refund your $300 non-refundable deposit. Please bear with us as we work on a timeline to refund these deposits to families. 

Option #4: Donate Your Deposit to our Financial Aid Fund

During these tumultuous times, we ask that you consider donating your deposit to the Guided Discoveries Campership Fund in any amount. Many of you may not know that AstroCamp is operated by Guided Discoveries which is a charitable non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization. This year, all charitable donations, regardless of the amount, are 100% tax deductible.

Each year, our programs operate enrichment summer camps and also engaging outdoor education school programs. Nearly 1,500,000 young people’s lives have been positively impacted by their experience at one of our programs during the past 42 years. With your support we will continue operating for years to come.  We are in need of benefactors to help us during these times of recovery. If you are interested in additional charitable giving opportunities, please email our founder, Ross Turner, ross@gdi.org.

Please review these options and let us know what your family would prefer. Again, we are so appreciative to our AstroCamp community for their support during this difficult time. It is with heavy hearts that we communicate these updates to you. If your family is not able to attend this summer, we sincerely hope to see you next year.

Please know that we are doing everything within our power to run AstroCamp this summer. We are aware how important camp will be for our children this year. However, due to governmental policies and guidelines that are out of our control, there is a real chance that we will not be able to run our programs this summer.

We are disappointed we cannot offer a full summer. We are hopeful to provide a space for campers in July and August. While it might look different than previous years, the magic of AstroCamp will remain. We appreciate everyone’s understanding while we make these challenging decisions. We are working our hardest to be able to serve our campers this summer. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

We hope your family and loved ones continue to stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Diana Huff

Summer Camp Director – AstroCamp

Guided Discoveries, Inc.

(909) 667-7085 (Direct)

(909) 625-6194 (Main Office)

https://astrocampsummer.org/

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