Dear Camp Avoda Families,
It is with a heavy heart that we must send this letter. As you can imagine, over the past several weeks we have been struggling with the decision about whether or not we can run camp this summer. Camp Avoda has been in continuous operations for 93 years. All of us – our Board of Directors, administration and staff – would have liked nothing more than to figure out a way to
move forward with our camp season.
We hoped that as time went by we’d have more clarity about if, and how, we could run camp safely. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened. Each day seems to bring less certainty and more confusion about this disease and how to navigate it safely.
We struggled long and hard with various planning scenarios, but we always came to the same conclusion; we could not run camp in a way that would ensure the safety of your children and our staff. Even if we were able to pull it off, we didn’t believe we could do it in a way that would feel anywhere close to a true Avoda experience.
As a result, we have concluded that we cannot run Camp Avoda this summer.
As you likely know, most of the camps in our peer group have made the same decision. While the final guidelines from the state of Massachusetts and the town of Middleboro have yet to be released, the CDC and the American Camp Association’s expert panel have issued detailed guidelines and recommended protocols. These restrictions present too much of a hurdle for us to overcome. Protocols such as intake and regular screening and/or testing, physical distancing, face mask requirements, limiting the size of gatherings for meals, services and camp programs, sleeping density restrictions, and strict limits on guests on campus and out of camp trips by counselors and campers, will be insurmountable for us. And, even if we are able to achieve those protocols, we cannot assure that people will still not get sick and the virus will not spread.
There is just so much we do not understand about this virus at this time and the course it will take in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and health of our campers, CITs and staff. The risk is just too great for us to take.
We understand the enormity of this situation and the effect it has on the entire Avoda community, including our staff, alumni, parents, and most importantly, our campers. We will work to do what we can virtually this summer and continue to build and grow the Avoda spirit even if we have to do it remotely away from the shores of Lake Tispaquin.
We know many of you will have questions as a result of this decision so we have prepared an FAQ document with pertinent information, including in regard to tuition refunds as well as ways you can support Avoda through what will be a very difficult financial situation.
We are sorry that we have to make this decision and are available to speak with any of you at any time. As you can imagine, we could use some cheering up as well.
Ken Shifman, Executive Director, Camp Avoda
Ronni Saltzman-Guttin, Director, Camp Avoda
Russell Sherman, President, Camp Avoda, Inc.