Camper hiding a horse

Dear Treetops Families,

As I write, Cascade Mountain is still frosted white, even as the trout lilies spread their vibrant yellow petals. It is a typical Adirondack spring: snow is still in the 10-day forecast, but the cheery white-throated sparrows and the swelling maple buds don’t seem to mind. It has been surreal for me these last two months, observing the usual seasonal shift that marks the coming of summer, while all the while wrestling with the reality of our shared uncertainty.

We remain, as I’ve written before, committed to the health and safety of our campers and staff as we continue to make preparations for the 2020 season. Camps across the country are looking toward the future, trying to find the path forward in these unprecedented times. Our destination is clear: a return to some sense of normalcy, campers barefoot and singing at council, a lake filled with the chorus of happy (and probably chilly) swimmers, the sure signs of a Treetops summer. Unfortunately, though we know where we want to end up, the route is still largely unknown, as is the time it will take us to get there. What we do know is that there are some guidelines we need to meet, some trail markers along the way, and those are becoming clearer.

First, we need permission from NYS to operate. As we wait for information about the State’s plans for reopening, we continue to gather information from the NYS Department of Health, the American Camp Association, and the CDC. With this information and in collaboration with other camps and medical professionals, we have developed criteria that would need to be in place for us to feel confident that we are able to open camp safely.

The list below outlines our criteria for the safe opening of Treetops for this summer:

  1. Permission from New York State and a permit to operate from the NYS Department of Health.
  2. Widespread public access to COVID – 19 testing, contact tracing, isolation strategies, and treatments.
  3. Reasonable reduction in physical distancing requirements and allowance for gatherings of 100+ individuals.
  4. Access to adequate amounts of PPE—masks, gown, gloves.
  5. Ability to accommodate the increased level of disinfecting that would need to happen.
  6. A plan for safe travel for campers and staff to and from Camp.
  7. Capacity within Camp Treetops and local medical resources to respond to medical incidents, including COVID -19 cases.
  8. Approval from Camp medical and legal counsel as well as our insurance company.
  9. Acceptance of risk by all parties.

We are considering all factors carefully and evaluating progress towards our safety criteria. We will send you another update in the next ten days. We understand it will be difficult, if we are unable to open camp. Please be assured, if that happens, we will refund your paid camp tuition for 2020, including your deposit.

We hope you are finding ways to care for and connect with one another. If you haven’t already, please check out our Camp Community Connectedness series on Facebook. Seeing our community come together, even digitally, is a buoy for me during this time. I love the sharing of recipes, of memories and of photos, and I think you will too. Thank you for your trust in us and

for your optimism, patience, resilience, and commitment to Camp Treetops. We will get through this together!

Karen Culpepper
Camp Treetops Director