Dear Treetops Families,
It is with a profound feeling of loss and sadness that I write today to inform the Camp Treetops community that we have reached the very difficult decision to cancel our 2020 season. Last week, I wrote about the path we were on and about what I hoped the destination would look like. As I reflect on the last several months, I’m less sure there was a path. The journey to this decision was more like a bushwhack: challenging, frustrating, and at times, disheartening. I was pushed forward by the support and trust of this community. I had hoped that we would emerge from the woods, scratched up, muddy and with twigs in our hair, on the summit of a mountain with sun shining and the views breathtaking. That is the destination I hoped for: the embodiment of a Treetops summer. I can assure you, we will have those summers again.
Even as some regions of New York State begin the first phase of reopening, we remain a long way away from meeting all of the criteria for the safe reopening of Camp. With exhaustive compiling of information from the NYS Department of Health, the American Camp Association, and the CDC, and with extensive collaboration with our Board of Trustees, other camps and medical professionals, it is clear that we are unable to assure the absolute safety of our campers and staff while upholding the long-held traditions and values of Camp Treetops. The risk to our Camp community and to the surrounding community looms too large.
This will undoubtedly be incredibly difficult news for your child(ren). I hope they know that their counselors are thinking about them, and that their Treetops friends are also likely sad. As summer begins, we will continue to find ways to connect with your children and the Camp community. We also hope that you might sit down with your child and make a list of the Camp routines, songs, or meals that they will miss. Perhaps some of these activities can be recreated at home. Sunday letter writing, for example, might fit well into a summer routine in your house, as it does in a summer at Treetops. At a time when our community members need one another more than ever before, a handwritten letter is a perfect way to stay connected.
Up until this painful decision, we have continued to make preparations for Treetops’ 100th summer of friendship, laughter, and polar bear swims. It is heartbreaking to imagine July without the warmth of the bonfire as we watch the Super skits, or to think about the tent platforms without their canvas. But already, we are looking forward to next summer, with the hopes that your children will be back, feeding our sheep and hiking the mountains that surround us. We know that the resilience gained from a challenging paddle, the sense of community felt when singing together at council, and the understanding of stewardship developed when caring for the land that feeds us, are ever more important as we move forward together. We hope that memories of previous summers at Camp can provide some comfort and strength until we can be together again.
I am grateful for your tremendous patience over the past couple of months. For so many reasons, across the globe, this is an incredibly challenging time made harder by the fact that we cannot gather as a community. Though we won’t be together in person this summer, I am so glad to have you and your children as part of our Treetops community. I hope you will join us for the summer of 2021. Please know that we plan to stay in touch with your family in the coming weeks and months. Until then, be well and take care.
Camp Treetops Director