The moment has come! We have done all we need to do to re-situate people and reopen registration. Thanks for bearing with us! So go ahead and grab your spot while you can.
I encourage you to register and pay as soon as possible for your best chance at reserving a session for your child. Please select only one session for the summer per child. If you select more than one session per camper, we will remove your child from all but one session of our choosing.
As a reminder, we are only taking those living in-state (VT) at this time. If you live out of state, and would like an exception, please let us know and we can review your situation.
If the session you want for your child is full, I encourage you to sign up and get on the waitlist. As we know, the pandemic is causing ongoing changes and that is one of the main reasons I encourage you to claim your spot on the waiting list. Surely some spots will open up. You will need to make a $50 deposit to get on the wait list and we can refund that $50 if your child does not end up being able to attend camp.
I write this with reserved excitement. It is exciting to offer resident camp in the context of the pandemic. It is also going to be a special challenge for all involved. Our primary goals are to create a distanced, safe, outdoor oriented program with special considerations for the Covid-19 crisis and to give children and teens an outlet for some of the things that have been missing in their lives lately.
Here are the sessions we know we are able to offer considering the many changes that needed to be made:
We are working daily to make the modifications necessary and get needed supplies. We will do our best to keep a FAQ page up to date and add more detail as we create it. Please feel free to call the office with questions – 802-672-5220. Here is the page for your reference: https://www.bethanybirches.org/summer-2020-faq
If you are currently enrolled and want your child to come to Launch Day Camp A, July 6-10, please reply by this coming Sunday, June 14. For all other sessions, please reply by Wednesday, June 17. If you are not currently enrolled, we expect to reopen registration after June 17.
Thanks for joining us in this adventure so far. I invite you to pray one of the prayers I have been praying lately – God, I thank you for (fill in anything you are thankful for). God, also, I need help with (fill in anything you need help with). Thankfulness and acknowledgment of our challenges and needs go hand in hand.
We know a lot more than we did last week! Governor’s restart team gave the go ahead one week ago and our board of directors gave the go ahead on Wednesday night of this past week. Working with our camp doctor and leadership team, we continue to create a modified way of doing camp that minimizes opportunities for virus transmission and utilizes guidance from the VT Health Department, CDC, and American Camp Association.
We are almost finished with our updated schedule. We will not run all of our scheduled programs and plan to announce that by Wednesday of this coming week. The first week of camp will be July 6 and will be Launch day camp for ages 6-10.
We know we will have at least four weeks of residential camp and probably two weeks of day camp. After we share our updated schedule we will be emailing each family currently signed up and work to get you into whichever of the new programs you would like. The way that process will work is fairly simple:
Respond to a future email indicating preference of session (we will give a deadline).
Pay your balance (by a deadline).
Review the materials we will send and prepare your camper for the modified experience (we will get this to you before the decision and payment deadlines). Noteworthy modifications relate to some new activities and some missing favorites, occasional required face covering for all (like during drop off, bathhouse, and meal prep. times), lots of hand-washing, assigned sleeping spaces etc. We believe while it will feel quite different, campers will enjoy what we are preparing.
We plan to limit a camper to one session for the summer. Our goal is to serve as many different campers as possible given the reduced capacity (planning for 36 campers at a time so we can best follow guidance and requirements). Until we help each enrolled family get into new sessions, we will keep registration closed. After the decision deadline for current enrollees we will open registration back up until all spots are filled.
I am praying a part of Isaiah 40 for each of you. It’s a prayer that I needed very much this week. Starting at v. 28: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might God increases strength… they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Bless you.
Greetings Friends. I shared a week ago via email (part 1) that we expected to run some sort of on-site program and that it was not clear what all would be included. I will continue to report our progress and plans on a weekly basis.
We received guidance from the Governor’s team Friday at noon stating we would be allowed to run resident camp.
We had a board meeting last night and uncovered some issues and challenges. Our desire remains to use our wonderful property for the community.
So here are a few things I can share with you, even though we are not yet prepared to announce our summer 2020 offerings.
What will summer camp look and feel like? Quite a bit different! Here is a document from the VT Dept. of Health outlining what parents should expect from summer programs. It details who will not be allowed to attend and that staff will be required to wear face coverings a lot. We will probably have mandatory face covering times even for campers. Examples may include when being in the pavilion, or, when cooking together at the fire. Of course, we will adjust our requirements to stay current with VT Health Dept. guidelines if those guidelines change.
In addition, group size will be smaller overall, and, sessions a bit shorter. Distancing will be part of the experience. If we run resident programs, campers will sleep with heads at least 6′ apart in the open air shelters, among other distancing measures.
Will out of state campers be allowed to attend? Only Vermont campers and those who have been in the state for 14 days will be allowed. There may be a pathway to get around that, but, it’s unclear if we will be able to walk down that path.
If spots are limited, who gets one? We expect to give priority to those already signed up, for whatever slots are available. As of today, we have turned registration off for the weekend so no one else can reserve space. We did this to ease any anxiety you may feel about getting a spot for your child. If you already have a spot, meaning, you have signed up online, or, sent in your paper form before this was written, you will likely get to keep it, even if in a different session than what you signed up for.
So much more to plan and work through. Since it isn’t completed, please be patient with us, and, enjoy the hymn I referenced last week. This version is sung by my brother and a few of his friends a while ago. The lyrics are important to me right now and I hope offers you some encouragement.
Hope you’re all finding ways to be outside, care for yourselves, and those around you.
Bethany Birches office closed to the public. Email, call, social media. We are still working toward summer and beyond!
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org call 802-672-5220 and we would love to connect. The camp’s website and blog and social media will remain updated regarding summer plans. We are currently considering which versions of summer camp may be possible. Campers who are currently signed up and deposited will receive priority for any programming that does happen.
Delivery? Feel free to leave package at the door. We will check for packages daily.
The staff are busy preparing for the 2020 summer camp season at Bethany Birches! We realize that these are uncertain times and there may not even be a 2020 summer camp season. However, we will continue preparing as though there will be summer camp. Feel confident in signing up for summer 2020 because of 1 and 2 below. 3 and 4 below are in hopes of giving your children something to look forward to while being home for what may be quite some time.
1. Summer cancellation without penalty. If you have signed up for summer camp, or plan to do so, you may cancel with no penalty. Cancel for any reason and we will keep every dollar on your account for one year. You could use this at the upcoming winter sessions or the following summer sessions, or for a friend, different child, etc. Also, if the current crisis causes a limited summer session, there won’t be as many spots. Sign up now with confidence. As the pace of life slows down day by day you could get your mind in a different space and reserve your child’s summer spot now: http://www.bethanybirches.org/summer-camps-dates/. If a session is canceled by us or regulators, same thing applies. All cancellations must be made 3 weeks before the start of your session.
2. Safety. Our leadership team and medical professionals are upgrading the current health and safety practices we have in place at camp and if summer camp is held this season, we will have robust check-in and quarantine procedures in case of outbreak of any kind, Covid-19 or otherwise.
3. Get the kids out of the house and off the screen. On the topic of slowing pace, Bethany Birches’ property remains open to you. While indoor spaces will be locked and only used for certain pre-arranged purposes, you are welcome to come and be in the outdoors. Connect with us to learn how you can be here safely (email, phone, social).
4. Virtual Engagement. While we are staying separate from each other to slow the pandemic in our country, we can still be together in spirit and via internet! Stay tuned for a few virtual camp experiences. Possibly things like biking with Tuna, crafts with Cheeks and Susie, camp songs with Meatball, Magic with Rupert, chill time with Beehive… the possibilities are endless! Have a request? Let us know. In the meantime, if you’re going to give your kiddos screen time, have them check out the BBC youtube channel.
You can help
At this time, we believe the most effective thing we can do to stop the spread of this virus (thereby keeping medical facility traffic to a manageable rate) is to keep physical interaction limited (“social distancing”). Please learn and follow local and federal authorities’ recommendations.