Dear Camp Families,
As many of you know, we have been working very hard over the past three months trying to figure out how to run Boys Camp, the Leadership Academy, and House Party (our family camp) during a pandemic. Because of our strong desire to provide your children with a wonderful summer camp experience, especially at a time when they need it so much, we have considered every possibility and waited as long as we could to make a decision. As we mentioned previously, there are numerous Covid-19 guidelines set out by the State of West Virginia, the American Camp Association, and the Center for Disease Control, which guide summer camps. Just last week, the State of West Virginia came out with new rules, updating their May guidelines. We are absolutely devastated to tell you that these rules make it impossible for us to run a traditional, overnight summer camp.
We are truly saddened by this situation. We understand that your children need to get back to normal – to play with friends, to go to school, and to go to summer camp, among other regular activities. We also realize that not having summer camp causes great problems for many parents and guardians. Many of you need to be able to go to work and know that your kids are cared for, or be able to work from home without your kids demanding constant attention.
We too are hurting mightily due to this decision to not run our traditional summer program. Greenbrier has held regular Boys Camp every summer since 1898 so it hurts our pride that we can’t go forth with regular camp. More personally, our 14 year old son William will miss out on his 9th year as a camper. Being at Greenbrier is the only summer experience he has ever known; he started out as a camper when he was only six years old by tricking his mom (maybe with a little help from Dad…), into thinking he would only sleep in the Tent Area for the first night. He never did return to our family’s cabin.
So that everyone can understand what we are facing and how the rules make it impossible to run a traditional, overnight summer camp, here are just a few of the West Virginia requirements:
- Implement strict social distancing guidelines of at least six feet between campers, counselors, and other employees
- Encourage all campers, counselors, and other employees to wear face masks
- Clean and sanitize every chair, table, art material, piece of sporting equipment, or anything else commonly used by campers or staff, between each use or touch
- Reduce facility occupancy to ensure proper social distancing
As you can see, running the Boys Camp or Leadership Program under these restrictions would not be feasible. There is just no way to keep active boys six feet apart and wearing masks, and clean everything they touch before someone else touches what they touched. And even if we could keep the boys apart and wearing masks, it sure would not seem healthy in a summer camp environment.
Over the past several months, given the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, we have been considering alternatives to traditional overnight camp, in case our regular programming could not happen. In taking a closer look at our programs, it turns out that our family camp, called House Party, is much more in line with a campground than a traditional overnight summer camp. We were very excited to realize that running our family camp in accordance with the West Virginia Covid-19 guidelines for campgrounds was quite possible; in fact, with a few tweaks, we could absolutely do it! Therefore, in true Camp Greenbrier spirit, we plan to run three weeks of our family camp, from Sunday, July 26, through Sunday, August 16, 2020.
We encourage all of you to join us for a night or two, or even a week, if you can! Your boys will get some time outside and everyone in the family can float down the Greenbrier River, check out the beautiful stars, play a little tennis, watch the trains go by, take the required Rest Hour after lunch, and so much more. Plus, all meals are taken care of and the food is delicious!
A number of steps will be taken to make sure everyone who comes to House Party is safe. Families will be asked to maintain physical distancing of six feet from non-family members, and to wear face masks when physical distancing is not possible. Seating in the Mess Hall will be arranged such that each family will be at least six feet from non-family members. In some situations, those in common buildings will be asked to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing, depending on the numbers present. We will also take numerous extra precautions in cleaning the bathrooms, the shower rooms, and any common buildings. We will ask everyone to work together to protect themselves and others from the spread of Covid-19. Although this will take some effort, we truly believe that House Party can be a fantastic experience for everyone.
If you would like to sign up for House Party, click on the link just below. It will take you to a Google form where you can fill out all of the pertinent information. Remember, you can come for any number of nights between July 26 and August 16, 2020. Much of the House Party website information will be updated in the next week or so.
House Party (family camp) Link – Click Here => https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16K0qULjdIHP4KEVGjESRcxKouta4k-77eW8VCpxGLgA/edit
Thank you so much for your patience through this challenging and unprecedented situation. All of us in the camp family hope that you and yours are doing well and staying healthy. We look foward to seeing all of you soon – either at House Party this summer, or in 2021!
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about anything.
Very best to everyone!