MAY 2020 - AN UPDATE FROM CAMP WASHINGTONS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BART GEISSINGER:
Dear Camp Washington Family,
For more than 100 years, Camp Washington has been a place of welcome, joy, friendship, peace, and renewal. A safe place for all God’s people to come together and celebrate the beauty of creation- the simple joys of life. These last few months have left us isolated, socially distanced, unable to gather at camp, church, schools, or anywhere else. As we learned to cope with the uncertainties of life, the anticipation of summer camp and outdoor activities at Camp Washington promised hope and excitement to our campers and staff. And now, after much discussion, listening, conversation and prayer, I write to you to share the news that no one wants to hear.
In light of the current guidelines that are necessary to keep everyone safe, it is in the best interest of our community and beyond to not open camp this summer. The safety of the campers, staff, and families must be our priority, and I do not feel we could guarantee that. This is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make, but I know it is the right decision. Further, if he hasn’t done so by the time you read this letter, we expect Governor Lamont to direct residential summer camps to close this summer. I know this news is hard to hear, and it breaks my heart to write these words. I know that CW is a brave space for our campers and staff to come and be themselves- a place where they are accepted for who they are- a place where they are loved and valued without exception. We know that many of our campers and staff wait all year to return “home” to Camp Washington each summer, with lots of excitement and some nervousness, they pack their bags and count the days until they are reunited with old friends- rushing into the cabins to claim their bunk. We will miss these things this summer- we will miss being together- laughing, singing, playing, eating, camping, gazing at the stars, swimming, Corcling, and sitting around the campfire. But when we considered putting the regulations into practice, we quickly realized that camp this year would look very different from the Camp Washington we love…and we were not willing to compromise that. So, for now, we will need to wait until it is safe for all of us to be together again.
If you have already registered for camp this summer, you will receive an email in the coming days with refund options. Also, we are working on ways for you to stay connected with Camp Washington this summer and will share those exciting plans with you on June 1st.
In the meantime, I hope you will make Camp a part of your days- Be kind to each other: send a card, text or email to a friend. Make a meal and deliver it to someone. Make a friendship bracelet and send it to a friend. Sing camp songs. Teach your family a campfire skit. Make s’mores. Practice ORT at meals and sing the ORT Report. Go outside and gaze at the night sky. Tell someone you love them. Say please and thank you. Respect differences and stand up for those who are not able.
I find courage and hope in the lyrics of Nothing More- a favorite song we sing at worship:
To be humble- to be kind, it is a giving of the peace in your mind,
to a stranger- to a friend, to give in such a way that has no end-
We are Love, we are One, we are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are peace, we are war, we are how we treat each other, and nothing more.
To be bold- to be brave, it is a thinking that the heart can still be saved,
and the darkness can come quick- the dangers in the anger and the hanging on to it.
And tell me what is it that you see- a world that’s full of endless possibilities,
and heroes don’t look like they used to. They look like you do.
On behalf of Kris Martin our Camp Director, program directors: Janette, Katie and Victor, the entire summer staff and everyone here at Camp Washington- please know that we are praying for you and ask that you hold us and our beloved Camp Washington in your prayers and heart.
Until we are together again, may God bless you with abundant love, grace, and hope.