A Message to Camp Wapsie Families

Dear Camp Wapsie Families,

Here at YMCA Camp Wapsie we have been excitedly preparing for the start of summer 2020, as I am sure you have been. Anticipating the gathering of returning and new friends and trying the many activities that remind us of camp; the taste of food prepared over a fire and the heartfelt emotions we feel at the closing wish-stick campfire.

The last couple months have made us realize that camp was going to be different this year. While addressing the many concerns and challenges related to COVID-19, our staff have been working diligently to make the necessary adjustments to offer the best camp experience. Every day over the last couple months, we planned adjustments to be able to run camp. With the current level of COVID-19 in our state and the recent recommendations we received from the American Camp Association, YUSA, the CDC and our local health department, we realize it is getting exceedingly difficult to be able to offer the safest and highest quality Wapsie summer camp experience you expect and deserve.

With the guidelines and recommendation’s that we have been given, and our commitment to put our community, staff and most importantly putting our campers’ health and safety first, YMCA leadership has made the painful decision to suspend the first four sessions this summer. We will monitor and evaluate upcoming recommendations and current conditions to make plans to start summer camp programming on July 5th (session 5) if current conditions improve and state guidelines allow operation of camp programs. We will notify families in mid-June if we are able to open for the remainder of the summer. Should we be cleared and able to begin operating, we will provide a thorough update on safety protocols, updated policies, and program updates in upcoming communications.

It is with great struggle that we came to this decision. We believe in the value of camp, bringing people together to develop friendships, and connecting with the outdoors. We hope to be able to do that again soon and feel this decision keeps that a possibility for the near future. Please stay with us and watch for updates as we monitor and evaluate conditions and review recommendations throughout the next couple of weeks. We look forward to the day that we can welcome back our Wapsie community to camp.

To help you break this disappointing news to your children, please see the above video from camp where we share the news and try to acknowledge the challenge and hope of moving forward.  Thank you for your support and patience through this trying time. This has been a difficult time for everyone, but together we will work to overcome, support each other, and get back together as soon as we can.

Sincerely in Camping,

Paul Denowski
Executive Director
YMCA Camp Wapsie

FAQs

WHY HAS CAMP WAPSIE DECIDED TO SUSPEND THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS OF SUMMER CAMP?
IF MY CHILD WAS SIGNED UP FOR ONE OF THE FIRST FOUR SESSIONS, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
HOW WILL I BE REFUNDED?
WHY IS CAMP ASKING ME TO CONSIDER DONATING?
IF WE ARE REGISTERED DURING WEEKS 1-4 WHAT DO WE DO IF WE WANT TO REGISTER FOR A WEEK LATER IN THE SUMMER?
WILL FALL PROGRAMMING TAKE PLACE?
HOW DO I CANCEL MY CHILD’S ENROLLMENT IN WEEKS 5-9 IF I AM NO LONGER COMFORTABLE SENDING MY CHILD TO CAMP?
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO SUPPORT CAMP?
CAN WE VISIT CAMP THIS SUMMER?
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF CAMP WAPSIE LOOK LIKE?
THIS IS DIFFICULT ON MY CHILD – ARE THERE ANY TIPS FOR TALKING WITH THEM?
WHY HAS CAMP WAPSIE DECIDED TO SUSPEND THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS OF SUMMER CAMP?

Everyday over the last couple months we have planned adjustments with the hopes of being able to run camp. With the challenges and concerns related to COVID-19, and the recommendations from the CDC, the American Camp Association, and our local health department, we just did not see a clear path to run the quality program you signed up for while following all the mitigation steps necessary.  Our Board of Directors and leadership felt it was in everyone’s best interest to suspend weeks one – four of summer camp.  This decision was not easy to make and we understand how disappointing it is to our Wapsie Family.  We value the camp experience. However, we know this decision puts campers’ health and safety first. Please stay with us and watch for updates from camp as we look to the future and when we are able to resume programming.  Until we see each other again, keep the Wapsie Magic alive, just like you do the rest of the year.

IF MY CHILD WAS SIGNED UP FOR ONE OF THE FIRST FOUR SESSIONS, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Camp Wapsie, like many non-profit organizations, is preparing to experience significant hardships.  In addition, we aim to continue to provide financial assistance for participants when we reopen, fund our overhead so that camp is fully ready to serve you and our community in the future, and continue to offer year-round programs for all.  However, we recognize families across the nation are also facing challenges.

For those of you that have registered for camp and have paid full or partial fees there are several options to consider:

  1. DONATION – Making a gift of all or part of the funds you have already paid to camp is a generous way to ensure that Wapsie remains strong and ready to reopen. With over 100 years of dedication to campers, your gift helps preserve our commitment to you.
  2. ROLLOVER CREDIT – By selecting this option, your payments will be applied as a credit to your account that can be used for future Camp Wapsie or YMCA programs in the next year.  Credit is valid through 2021.
  3. REFUND – We understand the financial hardships that your family may be facing. We can process a refund of the full amount paid.  Please be patient with us getting your refund back to you.

Please allow four weeks to receive your refund on the original payment method.  If we do not hear from you by June 5th, we will automatically apply a rollover credit your account.

HOW WILL I BE REFUNDED?

Should you choose to be refunded versus a system credit or donation to Camp, the full amount of your program fees will be refunded to your account.  Please allow four weeks for your refund to be visible on your original payment method.

WHY IS CAMP ASKING ME TO CONSIDER DONATING?

Camps primary revenue source is our summer programs. The loss of over four months of revenue has a huge impact on our operations and budget. We need your support! The generous donations from our Wapsie family allow us to maintain the camp property, keep key staff employed, offering alternative programing, and help us make it through this difficult time. As a member of the YMCA of Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area association, we are a registered 501(c)(3) organization. This qualifies your donation as tax-deductible under the new CARES ACT, even if you are not itemizing your taxes.  Once we have processed your donation, you will receive a receipt for tax purposes. If your business has a gifting program or matches employee gifts please let us know. We would love to work with them as well.

IF WE ARE REGISTERED DURING WEEKS 1-4 WHAT DO WE DO IF WE WANT TO REGISTER FOR A WEEK LATER IN THE SUMMER?

You can log into your account at www.campwapsie.org and put your child on the waitlist.  If we are able to run camp and spots open up we will contact you to let you know you have a spot.  There is no cost associated with putting your child on the wait list.

WILL FALL PROGRAMMING TAKE PLACE?

We plan to run most of our fall programming and even hope to make-up some of our cancelled spring programs. We are continuing to monitor the situation to make final decisions about fall programming.

HOW DO I CANCEL MY CHILD’S ENROLLMENT IN WEEKS 5-9 IF I AM NO LONGER COMFORTABLE SENDING MY CHILD TO CAMP?

Please contact camp during normal business hours and enrollment will be cancelled.  Please note:  cancelling enrollment in weeks 5-9 will result in a non-refundable $75 deposit.  However, normal cancellation policy will not be applicable if camp is not able to operate weeks 5-9.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO SUPPORT CAMP?

If possible consider keeping your fees at camp as a system credit for future camp programs (this saves us a lot of time and processing fees) OR consider donating some or all of paid fees to camp to help us get through this challenging time.  Could you consider making a charitable gift to support camp? Please give online or contact us to discuss opportunities.

  • Volunteer! We have volunteer opportunities for businesses, our camp families and alum who wish to help us with projects around Camp. A variety of projects will be available including family-friendly options.
  • Make a donation for the reasons listed above. YMCA Camp Wapsie needs and appreciates your help. Please remember Camp if your company offers matching gifts. We’d be honored to be your match!

Notify us of any grants, foundations, or other funding opportunities you are aware of that could provide support to Flat Rock River YMCA Camp during this time.

CAN WE VISIT CAMP THIS SUMMER?

Camp is a special place for us all.  We understand your desire to come out and visit.  For the safety of our staff, please contact us to discuss if it is a good time to visit.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF CAMP WAPSIE LOOK LIKE?

Like many of you, the unprecedented times are weighing heavily on us. Camp is resilient. Though the loss of some summer camp programs, it is hard for us not being able to share the life changing growth opportunities we provide to campers. We plan to get back to offering those programs as soon as we can. We are looking at options to offer some alternative camp programing later this summer that fall with in current guidelines. Suspending camp programs will also have a large financial impact on Camp Wapsie and the YMCA.  Our Staff and volunteers believe in what we do and will work hard to carry camp through this challenging time. We will need the support of our camper family and community. Please consider supporting us if you can. With the generosity of our community, Wapsie can make it through.  As we like to say at camp. “We will weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.” We cannot wait to be together again.

THIS IS DIFFICULT ON MY CHILD – ARE THERE ANY TIPS FOR TALKING WITH THEM?

First, remember that you know your child best. Try to digest the news yourself before talking to your camper. Below are some tips that can help guide how you:

  1. Acknowledge their feelings. Expect a range of emotions, including disappointment, anger, sadness, or even grief. Most of us, including our children, have experienced a lot of cancelled plans, and adding yet another disappointment to the list may feel overwhelming. Acknowledge that it is frustrating to suffer yet another loss.
  2. Ask: What would help? When your camper is ready, think about what can be done to cope. What are some things that your child can do to share their favorite parts of camp with your family? Maybe they can teach you a game from camp or camp song. Is there a camp meal you can make at home? Ask them to tell you about their favorite things about camp.  Below are a few resources to reference:

How to talk to your kids about COVID-19 (Mayo Clinic)

Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting From COVID-19 (National Association of School Pshychologists)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child (KidsHealth)

How to Talk to Your Kids about Cancelled Summer Plans (ReformingJudaism.org)

No field trips, spring musicals or sports? How to talk to kids about coronavirus cancellations. (Asbury Park Press)

Talking with Children About Coronavirus (Fred Roger Institute)

Not every child will feel better by doing camp activities at home, so let them be the guide. Remember, it may take time for your child to process their feelings to get to a place where they can think about pro-actively moving forward.

  1. Check-in Again. Over the next few days, gently ask how they’re doing and see if they need more support. Try to remember to ask again as we get closer to the days when camp would have started.
  2. If campers need a taste of camp encourage them to visit our Facebook page and enjoy a tour, campfire or other Wapsie photos and memories.

SUPPORT CAMP WAPSIE

Now more than ever, Camp Wapsie needs your help. Donations to our Annual Support Campaign will ensure that campers will be able to continue to participate in Wapsie programming for many seasons to come. Please consider a donation to help serve the growing needs of our community.

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