A Letter from Our Tapawingo Director:
Dear Tapawingo Families,
Greetings from Speculator, NY.
As you know, the last few months have been different than anything we’ve seen in our lifetime.
Since the middle of March, we’ve been monitoring the Coronavirus situation. I’ve been meeting with CAMP-of-the-WOODS (COTW) Leadership as well as our Tapawingo Health Directors. We’ve had many discussions with our local health department regarding the specific challenges of running a children’s camp in this environment. We’ve studied public health guidelines and consulted with industry experts. We’ve prayed and sought the Lord, asking Him for an open door to move forward with Tapawingo as we know it. I’m proud to work with such talented people who love the Lord.
But despite our best efforts, myself, Jim Hammond (Executive Director, CAMP-of-the-WOODS), and Jack Zimmermann (the Chairman of our Board) believe that we have exhausted every avenue. We have made the difficult decision to suspend the in-person opening of Tapawingo for Summer 2020. It is just not feasible to run a Children’s Camp in this Coronavirus environment.
This means we will not be running Tapawingo Sessions 1-8 this summer.
A separate e-mail will be sent shortly to the parents of TAP Adventure campers and Counselors-In-Training regarding these programs.
Ultimately, we believe this is in the best interest of our campers, staff and the long-term mission of Tapawingo.
This decision was not easy to make and our hearts are hurting along with you because we know that the island is a place where girls encounter Jesus, experience deep friendship, and witness godly role models.
So please pray…
Pray for our campers.
Pray for their parents to have wisdom in sharing this news.
And pray for our summer staff who are dealing with the loss of their expected summer ministry.
If you are registered for Camp this summer, see below for how we are handling the cancellation of your registration.
In closing, I want to remind us all of this:
The essence of Tapawingo:
- Is not the physical island.
- Is not our program – although banana boating is really fun.
- It is not the community – although there’s no other community in the world quite like it.
- It is not the singing – though some nights I’m convinced we could raise the Chapel roof right off.
- It is not even the staff – though they’re the kind of women you’d take anywhere with you.
The essence of Tapawingo is Jesus. “His efforts to woo us, through love, never cease.”
My prayer for us in this time is that we would hold fast to Him and WE would be the Tapawingos. WE would be “places of joy” for others this summer.
Jesus said it this way, “YOU are the salt of the earth. YOU are the light of the world. A city (or in this case an island) set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
As best we can, we want to support you through this time. Your girls look forward to camp all year long and so do we, which is why we are still actively planning and preparing for how we can encourage your daughters and keep moving this ministry forward. Please stay in touch with us. We can’t wait to see you face to face in Summer 2021!
What we ARE able to do this summer!
We know this is no replacement for the experience and memories to be had on the island, but we are still striving to fulfill the mission and purpose of Tapawingo.
Tapawingo Summer 2020 Offerings
Each week we will be posting Power Hour (bible study) videos taught by Miss Joy, Vespers (worship and a message) given by different counselors, Morning Exercises videos, Cabin Devotion Blogs, and a Craft/Recipe of the week to try at home! Click here for more information. Click here to watch the videos!
In addition to these weekly postings, we will have a couple live Bonfires via Zoom, we are creating a Summer 2020 Badge that can be completed at home, and we are going to host a Zoom Virtual Camp July 20-24, 2020 and August 10-14, 2020.
Details on Virtual Camp:
Dates: July 20-24, 2020 and August 10-14, 2020
For our virtual camp we are using content provided by Brain Chase. Click here to watch a short demo video. Each day will begin and end with a virtual escape room, in which everyone works together to find clues and solve puzzles. During each day, campers will have different assignments to do for the three activities: Art, Cooking, and Engineering. These assignments are done at home, off of Zoom.
Questions You May Have:
Below you will find information that we think may be helpful to you in this time.
How should I talk to my camper regarding this news? To be honest, I’m a little sad myself…
When they’re uncomfortable or upset, girls need empathy and a listening ear more than anything else. Showing them that you feel for them and providing assurance that you will help them through this challenge will often be all they need to get through this time of uncertainty.
· For elementary school-aged children, be the director: You need a plan of what to say and how to say it. Anticipate what questions your daughter might have and what responses you might give.
· For middle school-aged children, be the tour guide: You need to lead but can also change course, depending on your daughter’s response and tolerance for the conversation.
· For high school-aged children, be the torch-passer: More is less with this age, so share the information and then pass the torch to your daughter to let her lead the conversation while you listen.
(Thank you to THE URJ BRIUT TEAM for this resource.)
What does this mean for refunds and cancellations?
Please note that the Tapawingo Deposit Fee ($15 Membership/Session + $95 Deposit/Session) is non-refundable. These fees are allocated toward paying our full-time Tapawingo Staff and preparing operationally for the summer.
In order to try to work with you, we have developed the following options. Click here to select the option you desire.
Option 1: Roll over the Deposit Fee ($95) and the Membership Fee ($15) to Summer 2021 for the same session. Summer 2021 rates will apply. If you paid any additional tuition fees, beyond the deposit fee and membership fee, you may request that they be refunded to you.
Option 2: Roll over the full tuition (Deposit Fee ($95), Membership Fee ($15), plus full paid balance) to Summer 2021. You will receive the 2020 tuition rates, guaranteed same session acceptance, and will be considered enrolled and paid in full for Summer 2021. You may request to have your camp store account refunded at this time.
Option 3: Donate* your Deposit Fee ($95) and Membership Fee ($15) to the Tapawingo General Fund. You can rollover to the same session in Summer 2021 or cancel your registration. If you paid any additional tuition fees, beyond the deposit fee and membership fee, you may request that they be refunded to you or entire amount donated.
*Our customary policy is that deposits/memberships cannot be made into a donation if a cancellation occurs. This policy has been temporarily suspended for the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation. If a Tapawingo family directs us to treat any paid monies as gifts, they will be applied to the Tapawingo General Fund. June 5, 2020 is the cutoff date for this option.
What does same session enrollment mean? Same session enrollment means that the Session your daughter is enrolled in for Summer 2020 is the same session she will be enrolled in for Summer 2021 (Week 1 = Week 1)
What if I need to change my daughter’s session next summer? If you decide to roll your tuition over to next summer, you will be considered “pre-registered”. In the fall, prior to registration opening, we will attempt to move anyone who is pre-registered to another week if they wish to do so at that time and provided we have the space.
Can I have a full refund? The deposit and membership fee cannot be refunded. If you paid any additional monies including camp store deposits, you may request that they be refunded to you.
What will happen to the pending charges on my credit card for June 1st? We will delete those charges for this summer, so you will not have to worry about paying them.
What if my daughter is registered for two sessions? The selection you make above applies to the deposit and membership fee of each session.
What do I need to do right now?
Click here to make your selection regarding Tapawingo Summer 2020 Options. This form is due by June 5, 2020.
What about the CIT and TAP Adventure Programs?
As you know, we decided to cancel Tapawingo Weeks 1-8 about a month ago.
At that time, New York State had not officially come out with any guidelines or statements regarding what would be allowed for Summer Overnight Camps. We made the decision to cancel our main program long before they did based on much research, collaboration with the health department, etc. and based upon the difficulty of social distancing with that large of a group every week.
However, at that time we were speaking with our regional Health Department (who write our permits) and told them that we thought we could safely run our TAP Adventure Program with a group of under 10 campers and our CIT Program with a group of under 10 campers. They felt that it was reasonable for us to pursue that and we gave them our detailed plans of how we would do that. So we moved forward along with them.
This past Friday evening, however, New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker made an official statement on overnight summer camps.
Statement from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Overnight Summer Camps
ALBANY, N.Y. (June 12, 2020) - Throughout this entire public health response, there isn't a single decision we have not made based on data and science, rather than emotion. Using the best currently available science and data, I have reached a decision to prohibit overnight children's camps from operating this season in New York State.
Unlike day camps, which are approved to open June 29, overnight camps are a difficult setting to manage social distancing and face covering and infection control practices. Overnight camps have congregate settings and sleeping arrangements in close quarters that present too many risks. In such a setting, even a single positive case in a camper or staff member could create an untenable quarantine situation and overwhelm camp health personnel that may not be able to handle a serious infectious outbreak of this nature.
I have fond memories of summer sleepaway camp as a kid and I understand the role they play in childhood development and the disappointment this decision may bring to families across the state. But amid the worst public health crisis in a century, my number one priority is the health and safety of all New Yorkers. And while infection rates are declining, we need to proceed with caution and take every step possible to avoid undoing all the progress New Yorkers have made in bending the curve and reopening the state safely and responsibly.
On Monday, I called our regional Health Department to confirm that this decision applied to the plans we have been putting in place. They told me that this decision was no longer in their jurisdiction and that I needed to contact Empire State Development.
After leaving many messages, I was able to speak with them today and they told me that their decision regarding our TAP Adventure Program and CIT Program was, "No."
Thank you for sticking with us as we have sought to do what we felt we COULD do for our campers this summer. We are so sorry for this disappointing news and we know that it must be difficult for you and your daughter.
We will plan to roll your daughter to the same session next summer unless we hear otherwise from you.
We are here for you if you have questions and we are sad that we will not be able to minister to your daughter in person this summer.
How did you make this decision about Camp Tapawingo?
Throughout this entire process, we have studied New York State public health guidelines and facts. We have been in consistent communication with our local health officials. I have met with the COTW Leadership Team and Tapawingo Health Directors to share information. We created a Tapawingo COVID-19 Risk Management and Operational Plan using an outline created by The American Camp Association (ACA) (working in conjunction with the CDC) to develop COVID-19 guidance for children’s camps. This guidance was helpful in making our summer decisions.
This was a tough decision. We wanted to give every chance for Tapawingo to open and not make a premature decision.
Will you try to encourage my daughter in other ways?
Know that we are still exploring different ideas and plans for how we can encourage your daughter this summer. If we can do something that is meaningful, we will. We are active on Instagram and Facebook. Feel free to follow us on those platforms.
What is happening with the Mother-Daughter Weekend Retreat?
We are still planning to run our Mother/Daughter Weekend in August. Click here for further details. Space will be limited.
What if I have more questions?
The Tapawingo team (Miss Claire and myself) is here to help answer your questions. Please reach out to us via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mail will be the best way to reach us during the next few weeks. Please be patient with us as we will be processing a high volume of questions and e-mails.