Our Coronavirus Update
Mooseness Matters Now More Than Ever
Dear North Star Reach Camp Family,
I have spent a considerable amount of time lately thinking about camp, what it means to me and the importance it plays in my life. Camp has been part of it for nearly of 30 years. I found my campfire later than most when I first volunteered at age 22. One week at camp surrounded by some of the most amazing people I had ever met changed my life. Many of those people I am still close with today, even though I haven’t been at camp with them in 20 years. Over that time, I discovered the place I thought was so important, wasn’t as important after all. It wasn’t the place; it was the people.
As a medical camp that serves children with serious illnesses, the safety of campers, staff, and volunteers is our top priority. Considering the rapidly changing federal and state health and safety mandates to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as the impact on healthcare resources surrounding this pandemic, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend North Star Reach’s 2020 spring and summer onsite camp programs.
OK, deep breath. That’s what I had to do the first time I heard those words too. As a parent, this most likely seems reasonable, logical and responsible, yet, I bet you are still thinking, “No, not yet. There’s still time. Just wait a few more weeks.” That’s the Mooseness you are feeling.
A key factor in the decision about our summer programs is the emerging reality that the critical resources (medical staff and supplies) we require to run camp are many of the same resources required to respond to the pandemic. The medical supplies routinely needed at camp may not be available due to heavy demands by hospitals and interruptions in supplier manufacturing. Many of the experienced physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals who care for our campers are currently working overtime to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. We believe that many of our volunteers will be unable to join us during our upcoming camp season due to the current disruptions in their schedules.
While no one knows how this global outbreak will play out, we feel making this decision at this time is in line with the values at the heart of our Camp Code. Safety, Respect and Love. We are placing the safety of people first; we believe it is respectful to the serious nature of the pandemic; and we are acting out of care and concern for everyone involved.
As we know is true for our campers and volunteers, all of us at North Star are also tremendously disappointed. It’s especially difficult because we want more than anything to come together as a community at camp. Yet, as we all know, camp is something we carry with us wherever we go.
So, what now?
Finding Connection and Resilience in the Days Ahead
I am excited to share that our team is already working on some creative ways to deliver camp programing. We don’t exactly know what that looks like yet but think of this as a rainy day at camp. Sometimes, we must adapt and figure out different ways of doing things. In this case, to help campers, their family members and our entire community connect, even though we may not be in the same place. Remember, it’s not about the place, it’s about the people. Now is when all of us, staff, volunteers, families and especially campers, get to take what we learn at camp and share it with others who need it most. We intend to serve as a hub of support for our camp community and beyond during these challenging times.
We can’t wait for the time to come when we can welcome you back to camp, and we can all be together in one magical place. In 30 years of camp, I have seen forest fires, floods and financial crises. Nothing has had the potential impact on the global and camp community as much as this unprecedented event. Yet I find comfort and inspiration in my connection with our amazing campers, families, volunteers and staff.
Thank you again for your understanding. To everyone in our camp community, especially our camper families, we send our warmest wishes for staying healthy and safe. Look for continued updates in the coming weeks about ways we can all stay connected.
With gratitude and mooseness,
North Star Reach Director of Camping