Yesterday, our current camper and staff families received a letter that I never could have imagined writing. Due to COVID-19, the Board of Directors and staff have decided that we will not hold Camp this summer.
Before announcing to our community, we gave our parents a day to break the sad news to their children. In the same manner we teach our staff to greet campers first on opening day, telling campers first was the obvious right thing to do.
In making this decision, we prioritized the health of our campers and staff—even over the health of Coniston itself. Projections show Coniston facing a $1.3 million loss if all tuition payments are reimbursed. That’s because on March 16th, the day NH went into a stay-at-home order, we had already spent $1.1 million preparing for this summer, ordering supplies, and improving facilities. On that day, all spending that could be postponed came to a quick stop.
As our community would expect, we’re offering refunds to our parents. We are also asking those who can to consider donating part or all of their tuition payments, or roll their payments over until 2021 to keep Coniston viable for the future. More answers to specific questions can be found on Camp’s website.
In order for our organization to continue serving you, your families, our campers, and future Conistonians, we need your help in reducing this potential loss. Every gift has an impact. Every donation will make that projected $1.3 million a little smaller.
We hope to not lay off or furlough our full-time staff. After all, they are needed to plan next summer and look for opportunities for Coniston to serve the community during these difficult times. Plus, it just wouldn’t be the Coniston thing to do. To do this, and to remain the same Camp that you know and love, we will need the support of our entire Coniston community.
I hope you will support YMCA Camp Coniston financially if you are able; I know these uncertain times have presented challenges to many of our families. However, if you’re in a position to do so and would like to make a donation to Camp now, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Every session since the summer of 2000 I have begun the final Saturday breakfast with the same quote from Ivy Baker Priest: “The world is round and the place that seems like the end may also be the beginning.” I look forward to creating a new beginning with you and the rest of the Coniston Community over the months to come.