Dear Camp Ramah in Canada Family,
We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy — and that you are staying hopeful and connected during these very tough times.
It is a surreal and complex experience to make consequential decisions in this pandemic. We feel deeply the intense pull of hopes and dreams against the intense push of reality, risk and responsibility. In a context of considerable uncertainty, it is easy to be thrown off kilter, resulting in a lack of sure-footedness.
However, the clearest aspect of our mandate as the Camp Administration and Board of Directors of Camp Ramah in Canada has always been our responsibility for the health and safety of our camp community and to ensure that camp will endure into the future. Therefore, as we steady ourselves through the emotional tug-of-war, we are oriented toward those guiding lights.
Consequently, we are writing to announce that as a result of the health emergency created by COVID-19 and the associated orders of various local, provincial, and federal authorities, it has become clear that
we need to cancel our first session of camp.
We make this decision with heavy hearts but with clarity of mind that although this is not what we want, it is what we are compelled to do.
It is also increasingly clear that being able to open camp
this summer is
would be extremely challenging to achieve the high standard of safety that we insist upon. However, we know how deeply important time at camp would be for our campers and their families, particularly this summer. Therefore, we will do everything in our power to bring our community to camp if there is a responsible way for us to do so. We are in ongoing consultation with health experts about all possible scenarios as they relate to running camp in the context of COVID-19.
For the time being, we ask for your patience as we continue to monitor and plan. We will communicate more about what we believe is possible by the first week of June.
As we mentioned in our previous communication, we will be offering refunds for tuition to all families impacted by this cancelation. We will also be asking families to consider donating all or part of those tuition dollars towards the financial sustainability of camp, if that is something that they are able to do at this time. Any donation of tuition dollars will receive a Canadian or US tax receipt and will be a great help to us as we work hard to ensure that we remain viable and strong for years to come.
Details about the logistics and processes for refunds and donations will be shared in a communication the first week of June.
For now, no action is required. We thank you in advance for your patience as we pull together a very complex picture to help camp survive this crisis.
If we are able to run a modified camp session late in the summer,
we will be in touch with all families with clear instructions on how to proceed. Our plan is to accommodate all families who are registered for any sessions this summer to the best of our ability.
There is no need to change registrations now.
Many of you have already seen camp cancellations announced from a number of camps, so this announcement will not come as a surprise. Each camp is in a different situation in terms of local health regulations, size, facility, and other factors; and every camp, therefore, needs to make its own determination about how to proceed. We deeply respect the decisions and timelines of our fellow camps.
Camp has been a beacon of light and longing for all of our families as we entered the new world of social distancing in mid-March. As that light dims for the summer of 2020, our longing increases. We must ensure that we support each other through this period of sadness as we find new ways to raise sparks of light, connection, and joy in these uncharted waters. We will continue to build upon our already successful online based programming and content to keep our campers and community connected and inspired.
In the meantime, we continue our work of securing the future of the institution that we all love so very much.
Jordan, Aviva and Josh
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
Dr. Joshua Charlat,
Chair of the Board of Directors