SUMMER 2020 UPDATE

DEAR CAMP COMMUNITY,

Thank you for your patience and support through the last few months of uncertainty. It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you that the staff and board of the YMCA of Greater Flint and Camp Copneconic have elected to cancel programming for the summer of 2020.
How did we make this decision? 
This has been, and will continue to be, incredibly difficult. We didn’t arrive at this decision lightly and we share in the heartbreak that there won’t be summer camp at Copneconic this year. Decisions can be the hardest thing to make, especially when it’s a choice between where you should be and where you want to be.
We followed a series of benchmarks, each one building upon the ‘green light’ from the others:
  • Can we guarantee the safety of our staff and campers?
    • With so many uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 virus, we are not confident we are able to operate our summer camp programs without putting campers, their families, and our staff at risk of being exposed. We recognize that each camp has different programs, facility capabilities, and different staffing structures that may allow them to operate differently than us.
  • Can we provide a camp-like experience while managing those risks?
    • We have spent weeks pouring over guidelines and best practices from the ACA, CDC, Y-USA, our local health authorities and other camps. For us, the changes needed to provide a safe environment would lead us to a program that would be so different that we wouldn’t be able to provide the camp experience that would be fun, fair and attainable for all in the ways that Camp Copneconic has come to be known for over the last 105 summers.
    • It’s hard to picture a summer with no high-fives, no all-camp meals in the dining hall, no campfires and no end of the week ranch rodeo programs. All of these activities would have to be suspended under the guidance we’ve received.
  • Can we provide an equitable experience?
    • The short answer is no. Current guidelines are to only serve your immediate communities. Since we’re typically regional we would not be able to serve campers from scholarship agencies such as Oakland County Youth Assistance. Without the ability to put kids on a bus we would not be able to serve our campers from our Safe Places programs in Flint. We would only be providing programs for affluent and middle class families who can afford and transport their campers. One of the greatest values of the Y is that we’re open for all. We would not be able to say that this summer.
What comes next?
Families who are registered for summer 2020 programs will receive another e-mail from camp outlining the next steps. Families will have two options for what camp will do with any fees that have already been paid. They can elect to receive a full refund, or choose to donate part or all of their fees to maintain operations at camp.
Reflection
We know that this is disappointing news for you and your family, and we acknowledge that parents have been required to share a lot of bad news with their kids the last few months. Because of that, we’d like to offer to be the bearers of bad news. We created a video explaining our decision to kids. Please share it with your camper so they can hear it from us.
Camp has always been a safe place to grow, be independent, and create connections – with others, with nature, and most importantly, with oneself. These missed opportunities for connection saddens us, but we take comfort in the belief that our decision is what’s best for our Copneconic community.
While campers and staff may not physically be on camp this summer, we will still be in each other’s hearts, for camp is more than a place.  For some, our activities may be a new challenge, a thrilling ride, or a calming place. But those activities are all just tools used to enlighten our campers to growth, for camp is more than a place.
At camp, we encourage kids to put themselves third by putting their beliefs and values first, friends, family and others second, and themselves third. We followed this philosophy when we made our decision. We put our values and our promise of keeping kids safe first, the health of our community second, and the needs of camp third.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have or if you’d simply like to talk camp and share a story.
With Kind Regards,
Brandon Dreffs, Executive Director
YMCA Camp Copneconic
Shelly Hilton, CEO
YMCA of Greater Flint

FOR FAMILIES REGISTERED FOR SUMMER 2020 PROGRAMS:

 

You will have two options for the camp fees you’ve already paid for this summer. You may elect to receive a full refund, or to leave part or all of your fees as a donation.

We are asking that you inform us of your decision by May 31st. We will process refunds the first week of June. Any families that do not inform us of their decision will automatically receive a full refund.

To inform us of your decision:

  1. Log in to your Camp In Touch account
  2. Click “Forms & Documents”
  3. Click on “Summer 2020 Refund Options”
  4. Indicate your decision

Please contact us with any questions:

Brandon Dreffs, Executive Director

brandond@flintymca.org

Thomas Bawden, Associate Executive Director

thomasb@flintymca.org

Katie Comack, Summer Camp Director

katiecomack@flintymca.org

810-629-9622