Dear Camp Temagami Community,
Every year around this time, we find ourselves lost in thought as memories and dreams of camp briefly take us away from our daily routine; memories of trip bacon sizzling over an open fire and dreams of iridescent northern lights dancing across the sky. Today, we find our daily routines, our sense of normal and our expectations challenged. We have members of our camp community spread out across the globe, each of us facing the current pandemic in unique ways. Some areas are harder hit than others, but we are all in this together. Hours spent on the phone with campers, parents, staff and alumni have brought us some comfort as we share our memories, dreams and concerns. Keep these calls coming; we should all find comfort in a call with friends.
We hope all of you are safe and healthy during this difficult time. We know camp is not a priority right now, especially for those who are facing immediate challenges to physical and financial health. However, we also know camp is an inspiration to those who are dreaming about better times ahead.
For many of us, our connection to nature grounds us, provides motivation and clarity during difficult times, and on occasion, it challenges us. A canoe trip with the support of our peers captures all of this and magnifies it with positive social relationships. In an unprecedented time of mandatory self-isolation, quarantines, and social distancing, we know how important camp will be to our physical and emotional well-being in the future.
Canoe trips at camp have been a formative life experience for many of us. They have helped us simplify our daily lives and provided powerful moments of insight to understand our place and role in life. We have learned first-hand that we are capable of more than we ever dreamed possible, and we truly became comfortable in our own skin while on trip. These lessons weave their way into our lives and give us a strong foundation that we can rely on throughout our years.
What has not changed for us during this uncertain time is our effort to plan the next adventure. In 2021 we will have two sections heading to the remote wilderness for 6 weeks. In Labrador and northern Quebec heading to Ungava Bay they will be engulfed by the vast sea of caribou moss, black spruce and tamarack, clear water with brook trout and salmon, and limitless scenic vistas. Others will be in Northern Ontario and Quebec surrounded by boreal forest and the mesmerizing effect of waterfalls and rapids. All of us will get to experience the magic of Temagami. The crystal-clear water, the wind swept red and white pines, and the call of loons as the sun sets below the picturesque granite shoreline.
We are ready to experience life in a simpler form, stripped of technology, ordinary hustle-bustle replaced with the sounds of water pushed by a paddle, the breeze rustling through the trees, and the pitter patter of rain on a tent fly.
We know the heartache many of you felt missing a summer in the wilderness and we understand many are concerned at the thought of missing out on the experience this year. We feel our tripping program by design offers a number of key advantages during a pandemic over traditional overnight camp programs. We already group our participants in small cohorts of peers and each group enjoys the solitude of spectacular Canadian wilderness. As a result, we are optimistic our trips will run this summer even if our in-camp time is modified. We have decided to continue with the official changes we made to our Registration Policies last spring, we have made it clear to anyone who has asked that there will be a 100% refund of all camp fees if camp does not run this summer.
Going forward, we have also decided to waive the deposit fee for new 2021 registrations. However, please keep in mind, we already have a large number of registrations from 2020 for 2021. As a result, when we are full and start a waitlist we will request a deposit to secure your spot at camp.
This is a difficult time for all of us and no one knows how long it will last. Summer 2020 was spent completing numerous island projects in preparation for 2021. In addition, we have spent an incredible amount of time working with policies and regulations. We are planning possible adjustments to accommodate 2021 government requirements and ensure our camp community can come together for an amazing summer experience.
We will continue to register new participants, hire exceptional staff, plan incredible canoe tripping routes, and work hand-in-hand with our local Timiskaming health unit and the Ontario Camps Association to make this possible.
We will provide updates whenever new information is available. Rest assured, we will make decisions for the greater good that place the physical and financial health of our camp community first.
Now more than ever, it is important to provide opportunities to help others find their inner strength, feel the healing power of wilderness, learn that we are stronger as a group, and know that nature has value worth protecting. With good fortune, we will all be able to enjoy the beauty of a wood canvas canoe traversing a calm lake and the colorful glow of an incredible Temagami sunset together with our life-long friends this summer.