May 25, 2021
May 20, 2021
Dear Tapawingo Parents and Staff,
We are thrilled to report that we can open Camp Tapawingo this summer at 100% capacity!
Guidance from New York State was just released yesterday and is very much in line with our initial COVID protocols. We are reviewing this documentation in the next few days and will get back to you with an update on specifics for registered and potential families and staff members.
We are so excited to return to in-person ministry this summer. Thank you for your prayers that have sustained us thus far, and please continue to lift us up as we get closer to welcoming campers back to Tapawingo.
May 19, 2021
Dear Tapawingo Parents,
Thank you for your continued patience in waiting for official children’s camp guidance to come from the New York State Department of Health.
I wanted to keep you apprised of an update that I received from the New York State Camp Director’s Association (NYSCDA) last Friday, 5/14/21 (see below). NYSCDA is an organization that is working directly with our health department regarding the status of their guidance.
When the guidance becomes available to us, we will inform you as soon as possible so that you can make any final preparations that are necessary for your daughter to attend camp.
Thank you for holding fast!
Dear NYSCDA members,
Thank you for your continued support.
We wanted to send a brief update before the weekend.
Indications are that the NYS Department of Health will release day and overnight camp guidance soon, likely within the next week. Hopefully, the delay will be worth the wait since we believe that current draft guidance is much improved over earlier versions.
Yesterday, the CDC released new mask-wearing guidance based on vaccination status. NY has not yet implemented the CDC recommendations, which are under review by the Department of Health. We hope for further improvements to the guidance based on yesterday’s CDC announcement.
We will reach out immediately when we have more to share.
April 19, 2021
Tapawingo COVID-19 Protocols
We have been working hard to predict what the NY State guidance will provide. Please know that we are still waiting on this guidance. We have created these protocols based on the guidance of nearby states (Maine who opened overnight camps successfully last summer) - and we believe it will be close to what NY State will provide. Please understand and be aware that some of these policies may change once we receive guidance from the state.
Here are some of the most important things for you and your daughter to be aware of:
Mission of Tapawingo
Our Mission has not changed one bit! We are here to share the good news of Jesus, to glorify and serve Him, to help campers, and staff grow in their relationship with Him and to create a safe environment for this to happen.
Campers and staff who are not fully vaccinated are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 Test (PCR), 4-5 days prior to arrival at camp.
Campers and staff will be tested during the week, after the start of each session.
Masks and Social Distancing
Campers and staff will stay with their cabin units for the duration of the week. It is our hope that within their cabin unit, campers and staff will not be required to wear masks or physically distance (Subject to change based on official New York State Guidance).
We believe that campers will stay as a cabin unit during the day - including activities. If the guidance changes we will adjust accordingly.
Physical distancing between cabin units will be kept in settings where masks cannot be worn, such as dining facilities and swimming areas.
Campers will be required to bring their own masks. Disposable masks will be available as a backup resource.
Masks should have two or more layers of breathable washable fabric, completely cover the nose and mouth, should fit snugly against the sides of the face and not have gaps, and should have a nose wire to prevent from leaking out the top of the mask. Gaiters/buffs should only be used if they have two or more layers. See the CDC Guide to Masks for most updated guidance.
Pre-Arrival Screening and COVID Waiver
Campers and staff will complete a self-screening tool during a 10 day period prior to their arrival at Camp and provide it at registration.
Upon arrival campers and staff will fill out an Intake Screening and Assessment. (Staff Screening and Assessment)
Parents and staff will sign a COVID Waiver before the end of registration. (This waiver can be found under the "Forms" sections on your daughter's CampBrain account.)
Registration and Visitors
Visitors to the island will be restricted this summer to a needs-only basis (i.e. Vespers speakers, food vendors, etc.).
Registration will look different this year to accommodate COVID guidelines. More information to come on this.
Parents: Please note that we will have you release your daughter to our care prior to the boat ride to the island. (Parents will not be able to go to the island this year and there will be no island tours). We know that this is sad for you as it is for us as well. Rest assured! Our staff will welcome your daughter(s) with enthusiasm and care.
If your daughter is considered medically vulnerable or high-risk, we advise you to consult with your Primary Care Provider on the COVID exposure risks and determine if it is safe for her to attend camp this summer.
As much as possible we will be having activities and events moved outside to allow for distancing and ventilation. (Including but not limited to Vespers, Power Hour, etc.)
Outdoor dining will also be available this year.
Cleaning and Sanitation
We will be increasing our cleaning regimen (though already very thorough!) to include sanitizing high-touch areas daily and cleaning the bathrooms multiple times a day.
We will have increased hand washing stations around Camp and sanitizer will be provided in the Dining Hall and around activities/cabins.
Leading up to your daughter’s time at Camp, we will continue to monitor protocols as set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov, Camp Nurse website www.campnurse.org, and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Based upon CDC and NYSDOH recommendations, we may request further information and institute additional protocols prior to and upon your arrival.
Thank you for entrusting your campers to our care. We send love to you and your family during this time and look forward to seeing you in Summer 2021.
February 26, 2020
Dear Tapawingo Parents/Campers, Staff Members and Friends,
Greetings from Speculator, New York!
Last week New York's Governor Cuomo made an announcement that summer camps can begin planning to reopen in Summer 2021! (I think that merits some celebratory "skipping around the room." Don't you?)
We continue to work on plans that comply with COVID best practices (according to the CDC and New York State Executive Orders).
At the same time we are waiting on guidance from the Department of Health regarding what their specific expectations will be.
I do anticipate that there will be some ways in which Tapawingo will look different than it has in the past.
I also strongly believe that perhaps this could be one of the greatest moments in our history in terms of fulfilling our mission. Girls need the outdoors, fellowship, and to grow in their relationship with Christ now more than ever!
I will be in touch with more information as we know it in the months to come.
Here are a few things I anticipate:
· We are working on finding suitable options for testing (there will likely be some added cost with this)
· I anticipate that we will require a negative PCR test be submitted within 4 days of campers' arrival
· I anticipate at least 1 test on site (probably in the middle of the week depending on state guidance)
· I anticipate that we will have some additional testing on site should a camper begin exhibiting signs and symptoms
· We anticipate that campers will wear masks except at mealtimes and when sleeping (there may be other exceptions as we learn more)
· We already clean often, but we anticipate cleaning high touch areas daily
· We anticipate serving meals "cafeteria style" and not "buffet style"
· We are making plans for the girls to eat outside whenever possible in their cabin groups
· We anticipate that cabin groups may stay together for the duration of their time at camp (doing activities together). While not set in stone, this is something we anticipate and are prepared to do
· We will seek to stress the importance of ventilation within cabin settings
· We anticipate doing as much outside as possible. Pray for good weather!
· We anticipate God showing up as He always does!
We are working hard to prepare and we will seek to update you on a monthly basis as we move toward the summer.
Thank you for hanging in there with us. Let us know how we can be praying for you!
November 18, 2020
Click here to read our Fall 2020 Letter.
Click here to read our "Tap Alumni Spotlight: Highlighting Miss Chelsea"
October 21, 2020
Dear Tapawingo Family!
We want you to know that we believe there is reasonable cause for optimism and hope that children's camps will be allowed to operate in some capacity in Summer 2021.
Those of you who chose to roll over your daughter's registration from Summer 2020 to Summer 2021 should have received confirmation from us about your daughter's week. If you have any questions regarding her registration, please contact us. We're here to help.
Within that process there are spaces that have opened up and we had planned to launch camper registration as usual on November 2, 2020.
However, we feel that it is wise to wait on taking any new registrations until we are more aware of what the playing field will be for Summer 2021.
To this end we have decided that Registration on November 2, 2021 will be a "waitlist only" registration. We will be opening up the waiting list for Summer 2021 on November 2 at 12:00 noon. We plan to postpone taking deposits and completing registration for our limited available spots until February 15th, 2021.
Campers interested in applying for the CIT Program may still apply (we are accepting 17 and 18 year old campers to the program at this time). Girls who will be 16 years old at the time of CIT sessions next summer may apply but will be registered for the waiting list for the time being.
Campers interested in the TAP Adventure Program may register for the waiting list (we plan to accept girls ages 15-16 for next summer). Girls who will be 14 at the time of TAP Adventure Sessions next summer may register for the waiting list for the time being.
We will continue to update you as we learn more this fall. We feel that we have good protocols in place and will continue to adapt those as we learn more. We look forward to the day that your girls set foot on the island to encounter Jesus and look forward to hearing how they have encountered Him during this time.
Please keep us in your prayers! Let us know how we can be praying for you!
June 28, 2020
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.
June 17, 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.
May 25, 2020
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.
If you would like to donate more than your deposit and membership fee to the Tapawingo General Fund, click here.
*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.
May 21, 2020
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!