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. Two sections are headed to the remote Labrador wilderness for 6 weeks to 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 many are concerned at the thought of missing out on the experience this year. Even though we expect to see everyone on the island this summer, we know it is necessary to adapt to our evolving surroundings, just as we would on trip. So, we have decided to make official changes to our Registration Policies at this time. 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. If this occurs, we will request that families carry deposits forward to 2021 and reserve a session of your choice at 2020 rates.
We know many registered campers have purchased a travel insurance policy. In the event these participants cannot attend camp, we will refund any camp fees insurance does not cover. In addition, we have made the decision to suspend the collection of camp fees on our normal installment schedule unless you purchased travel insurance.
Going forward, we have also decided to waive the deposit fee for new 2020 registrations. However, please keep in mind, we will only promise 2021 camp sessions at 2020 rates for those individuals who choose to place a deposit for this current season.
This is a difficult time for all of us and no one knows how long it will last. We are optimistic that camp will run this summer and allow our community to come together. 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. We hope time is on our side, with three months before the start of camp. 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.