Camp Wise COVID-19 Updates

Dear Camp Wise Families,

As we begin to adjust to new routines for working and learning at home, we hope that the programming that Camp Wise has offered virtually has been a source of comfort and positivity for you and your families. We have enjoyed connecting with you all in this way, and we are committed to continuing to bring Camp Wise virtual programs and opportunities for connection during this time. On a personal note, I have loved connecting with campers, parents, staff, and alumni over the last few weeks and I am reminded of the resilience and the strength of our community.

While the Camp Wise team has adjusted to a new, temporary work environment, we have not skipped a beat in our preparations for Summer 2020. Our facilities team is working to prepare our site for another season and our program staff are developing creative and exciting experiences for our campers. We’d like to take this time to remind you that your pre-camp forms are due next Friday, May 1. In order for us to be prepared to support your child in having the best summer experience, we need you to complete the forms listed in your CampIn Touch account. We understand that doctor appointments for physicals may not be available at this time – if you are unable to submit yours by May 1, please contact the Camp Wise office.

As the health and safety of our campers and staff continues to guide our decision-making, we wanted to share with you that the decision was made this week to cancel the Israel Leadership Summer (ILS) Trip to Israel for Summer 2020. This decision was made in collaboration with JCC Maccabi Israel, our tour partner, and our partnering JCC trip camps, Camp Livingston and Pinemere Camp. We recognize that this news is disappointing and marks a change to what this group was expecting for Summer 2020. The decisions about our alternative program for ILS teens will be made in the context of our larger decisions about all CW programs this summer.

As we continue to prepare for this upcoming summer, the health, safety, and well-being of our camp community and the community at large remains our top priority. We are working with and receiving guidance from several professional partners including the CDC, American Camp Association (ACA), and the Association of Camp Nurses. The CDC is working in collaboration with ACA to share best practices and guidelines regarding the safe operation of summer camps. As you may know, the current stay-at-home order in Ohio, set to expire on May 1, includes the closure of children’s camps. We are hopeful that restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks. Like you, we are awaiting revised orders regarding summer camps from Ohio Governor DeWine and Doctor Acton, and guidance from our team of medical professionals. Ultimately, our decision may be made for us by local, city, or state officials. With all of this being said, we continue to plan ahead for what summer will look like.

At this time, we recognize that camp may not be able to open on June 14 as planned. Should this be the case, we are NOT planning to simply cancel first session. With health and safety in mind, we are working diligently to develop alternative options which would allow campers of all sessions and villages the opportunity to attend Camp Wise. As we greatly value feedback from our families, we would like YOUR input regarding what alternative programs you and your camper(s) would be most interested. To that end, on Wednesday, April 22, the Mandel JCC sent out a survey to camp families. If you have not already done so, please take a few moments to provide your feedback. The survey closes on Monday, April 27. Please access the survey by clicking here.

While we don’t yet know when the CDC guidelines and government updates will be shared regarding the safe opening and operation of camps this summer, we are committed to sharing our plans with you in a timely manner. We remain hopeful that it will be safe to open camp this summer and remain committed to creating a quality experience for our community. In an effort to do our best to be transparent and address your concerns, we plan to share another communication in the early part of May at the latest. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for support.

While we don’t yet know what the summer will hold, we promise to make every decision with the safety of our campers and our community as the number one priority. We recognize the uncertainty of these times and how hard it is to not have all the answers right now. We are in this with you, and will continue to be here for you and your families as we look ahead to Summer 2020 and beyond. Camp Wise has been an institution in our community and in our hearts for over a century. Our history as a camp has taught us that the foundation of Camp Wise is built upon the solidarity of our multi-generational community. With you by our side, we know we will continue to be resilient and successful in the face of adversity. Thank you for your continued support during this unprecedented time – may we go from strength to strength, together.