Dear Campers, Counselors, and Friends of the Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp:
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reaching out with the sad news that our 2020 in-person Youth Camp has been canceled. The camp location is part of the University of Tennessee system, and they have closed facilities and programs through the summer. While we are disappointed about this change, we understand and support the University’s decision. Our mission to serve our community and ensure the health and safety of our attendees is our highest priority. We know how disappointing this is, and we are going to get through this together!
Here’s the good news: we’re preparing an online camp-focused week in July. We know it’s not the same as sitting around a campfire eating s’mores and singing songs, but we still want to continue to provide a sense of community and continuity, knowing this a highlight in the year for so many of you and for us.
Here are some questions we know you’ll have, so we wanted to address them:
Q. Are you sure you really have to cancel camp? Can’t we have camp somewhere else?
A. Given everything going on, we have been actively seeking the best, most up-to-date public health advice for travel, large groups, and dorm-like sleeping arrangements. In addition, we were proactive in looking into other location options and there aren’t any other places that can safely deliver what we would need this summer. We know how frustrating this must feel — we’re right there with you.
Q. Why can’t you just go back to the old camp location in Ohio?
A. Sadly, they are closed, as well. We work closely with the American Camp Association and cancelations and closures will be happening in most places this summer. It’s just not possible to provide an in-person camp experience this year.
Q. What will the online camp cost?
A. Nothing! It’s free to our registered campers and counselors.
Q. Is online camp happening the same week as in-person camp?
A. Yes, the week of July 6 – 11 is when we’ll host most of the online camp activities. However, we are also looking into a few activities our campers can do at different points throughout the summer to stay active and engaged. We’ll provide more details as soon as we can!
Q. How do I register my camper or myself for online camp?
A. There will be a very small window of time during which to register, and we’ll need everyone to register again to make sure we get the right materials sent to you to be able to fully participate. We will also require proof of age and verification of limb loss or limb difference (especially for anyone who is a first-time attendee). We will be conducting video screening calls to verify that all our campers and counselors are part of the limb loss and limb difference community. This ensures the safety and security of our youth and counselors. Even if you registered for in-person camp, you must re-register for online camp.
Q. Will the online camp activities be supervised by a counselor, or will you need parents to be involved?
A. We are working on a mix of activities, and we absolutely will have our trusted counselors involved.
Q. What’s the website for online camp? Are you using Zoom or Facebook or Skype?
A. We’re still in the process of finalizing the program and the related tech platforms, and we can’t wait to announce everything to you as soon as we can. Again, keep a close eye on your email inbox and Facebook camp group for more details.
Q. This whole quarantine situation just stinks. Will there be time for campers to talk about that?
A. We agree — it does stink! We are consulting with the Amputee Coalition Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee on ways campers can talk with one another about isolation, loneliness, and other issues related to the COVID-19 quarantine. While we don’t want the whole camp experience to center around something we’re all frustrated about, we know it will come up. Counselors will be able to engage in small group discussions during online cabin time to help provide support during these challenging times.
In the next week or two, you will be receiving travel cancelation notices from our travel and planning vendor, Corniche Travel. And, we’ll email you with July’s online camp plans as soon as we can.
While we know camp is something our community looks forward to every summer, we are excited about the plans we have in the works for online camp. So, thank you so much for your understanding and your willingness to join us for a fun, virtual summer camp experience. We will be back in touch with you soon with more details and registration information!