We’re all dreaming of being back here with your kids this summer!
We don’t really talk about God at Walden… but Jen and I and Howie and Sari have been praying… praying for our collective health, safety and happiness… praying that this will resolve well and quickly enough for us to return to our home away from home this summer.
It goes without saying, but just to be clear, we 100% endorse the measures taken by our government to bring the safest outcome to all of us. We are following their direction in our homes and offices and will continue to do so as we navigate these unprecedented and uncertain times. We have never been able to know what the future holds, but this feels more apparent now than ever. We feel a sense of obligation to responsibly prepare for the summer of 2020 and to communicate with you about those plans.
We also feel a sense of duty to support our entire community through these times, especially our kids. We hope you were one of the 1000 viewers who joined us last night on Instagram and Zoom for the Online Sing Song! If there is anything else you feel we can do to help bring some light into your children’s lives, please let us know!
Let’s dive into what we’re all thinking about…
WILL THERE BE A WALDEN SUMMER?
We certainly hope so!!! With our hearts we hope for the best and with our brains we plan for the worst. You all have access to the same science and educated guesses that we do. So, your guesses are as good as ours.
I’ve bragged about my mathematics degree a few times before, but here again, I can’t help but reduce this question to the following two logical statements that I do know for certain:
• If we all DON’T hope and plan for a Walden Summer, then there CAN’T be a Walden Summer.
• If we all DO hope and plan for a Walden Summer, then there MIGHT be a Walden Summer.
At this point, we feel there are overwhelmingly enough reasons to continue to plan for a summer together at Walden.
For most of you, this probably goes without saying, but just to be clear about our values on the matter:
We feel that the summer of 2020, if permitted to proceed, will be the most important camp season in our children’s lives. Not since 9/11, have our children been exposed to such stress and increased level of anxiety. Never have positive face to face social interactions been so important and needed.
SHOULD I CANCEL MY REGISTRATION?
For all the reasons described above, we really hope you don’t. To date, 1 family out of our over 400 Canadian and International Walden families has cancelled because of fears related to the pandemic. We are encouraged by the collective hopefulness of our community. Many of the camps we are friends with are reporting similar numbers. Having said all of that, we respect whatever decision you feel is best for your family and will continue to honour our cancellation policy found here: www.campwalden.ca/rates-and-dates/. We hope you stay with us.
There are several imaginable (albeit unthinkable!) outcomes:
• If we need to start late, we will make every effort to adjust!
• If we need to run a shorter season, we will make every effort to adjust!
• If we are only permitted to proceed with Canadian campers and staff, we will make every effort to adjust!
• If we are not permitted to operate or are able to open and then told to close early, then we will have to return some or all of the funds and rebuild Walden towards a 2021 summer.
• If we are permitted by you and public authorities to take on the challenge of keeping campers safe in an age where the virus has not been totally contained, but regular life has resumed, we will exhaust all efforts and resources to understand and implement the very best medical advice. We managed something similar, highly unexpectedly, and I hope all agree, effectively, in 2009 with H1N1. That situation was totally different but in one way the same: amidst a health crisis, we took excellent care of our campers and staff. And we welcome the opportunity to do that again if appropriate even if it means significant changes to any of our practices.
THE TONE OF OUR EMAILS…
While people are suffering around the world, we are conscious not to take a “head in the sand, business as usual” approach with our communications. Having said that, we do want to provide joy and light for all our children. With you, the parents, our communications might be a little more serious. With your children, our social media posts will be more light. The goal of this letter was to let you know how deeply we are thinking about the months to come.
As many of you know, my mum passed away a few months ago. While I miss her terribly, I find myself thinking how grateful I am that she doesn’t have to see all of this (she’d be washing her hands every minute of the day and worrying about all of us more than even the average Bubie!) There’s a song she used to sing to me as a child:
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho-o-o-o
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.
All the ram horns began to blow,
Trumpets began to sound,
Joshua told the children to shout,
And the walls came tumbling down.
I find myself thinking a lot about this image… of the voices of children being an important and necessary piece in Joshua’s quest. I look at my own children on their Google Classroom calls and playing in the backyard and it reminds me of why we are doing all of this. Our ancestors survived persecution – we just have to stay home, watch Netflix, and wash our hands. But the struggle is no less important and succeeding no less bountiful.
May our children bring us comfort and joy.
May we all be safe and healthy.
May we be at Walden together this summer.
Sol (on behalf of Jen and Howie & Sari)