It is with an extremely heavy heart that camp’s leadership and the Board of Directors announce Brown Ledge Camp must suspend its program for this summer.
We have spent every day of the last two months analyzing, puzzling, and assessing scenarios of how camp could safely operate for the 2020 season. The information about how this virus moves, who it affects, and how to manage it in a close community setting changes on a weekly, sometimes, daily basis. Our approach has included guidance from the American Camping Association (ACA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), consultation with Melissa Fishel Mauer, our head of BLC’s Health Center, and the State of Vermont’s health officials. We have been closely tracking Vermont’s trajectory to re-open this summer through our Governor’s weekly press announcements.
With all we have learned, we have determined that we cannot safely run our summer program for the 2020 season. We do not believe the risk of exposure or the risk of spreading the virus is manageable even with the necessary changes prescribed by the State of Vermont and the ACA. In addition, the adjustments needed in order to operate camp would have created a strict, sterile, regimented, and strange experience. Our freedom of choice philosophy, even a watered-down version of our program, would be impossible under the current recommendations.
We know that this is hard to hear and that it will take some time to process. We know that this news brings disappointment, sadness, frustration, and possibly, anger. We feel the same way. But we feel firm in our resolve that the difficult decision to close for this summer is the right choice for our camp community, for the larger community of Colchester, VT, and for your hometown communities. With the support of our Board of Directors, we believe this is the best course of action for our organization. For more information on how we arrived at our decision and information on tuition refunds, click here for our FAQ sheet.
We have many ideas about how to keep our community connected this summer. In the coming weeks, we will be in touch to share how we will support our campers through this loss. Last-year campers and junior counselors will receive additional information within 48 hours about how camp’s closure impacts their unique position in camp and their attendance in 2021.
It will be a challenge emotionally, mentally, and financially to get through this, but with your help and support we have no doubt that Brown Ledge will survive. In 2021, we hope to come together on the shores of Malletts Bay to sing, play, hug, and rejoice in the simple pleasure of returning to the place we love.
A song that rings out with gusto in our Dining Room starts with the line “Brown Ledge Spirit never dies.” This refrain will be in our minds over the next year, and we hope it will be in yours, as we prepare to return stronger and more spirited than ever in 2021.
Abby Lovshin-Smith, Director, Brown Ledge Camp
Katy Robbins Ritz, President, Brown Ledge Foundation