by Matt Kaufman
on July 15, 2020
Several weeks ago, we shared with you our benchmarks for opening camp. They were:
We have been given approval by New York State to operate a summer camp, and now that we have seen the New York State day camp regulations and considerations from the CDC, it has become clear that we will not be able to meet our second and third benchmarks.
There are many reasons why the guidelines make it impractical to run a camp like Ramaquois. To name just a few, campers are permitted to interact primarily with only the nine other campers in their group, staff would be required to wear face coverings whenever they were around children, and group sports such as basketball and soccer would be ‘discouraged.’ All of the close interactions, special events, high-fives, and hugs that make Ramaquois the place we love, would be completely different, or not allowed. A socially distanced environment is contrary to everything we believe.
Additionally, there would be many hurdles to offer transportation in the Ramaquois way. Lunch, leagues, and camp traditions would be unrecognizable. Regulations would require us to separate campers that had been in the same group for years - and likely force us to turn away campers that have spent their whole lives at Ramaquois.
This decision was not made lightly. We looked at every scenario and investigated all possible precautions, but it has become clear to us that if we opened camp this summer, we would not be able to promise that we could keep our campers, staff, and their family members safe.
We know that now, more than ever, we all need camp. Camp is a place where children feel physically and emotionally safe. Each individual is a valued member of a larger community. If you had to describe Ramaquois in two words, those words would be safety and love. It is important to share with you that we left no stone unturned in our quest to create a safe and loving environment at Ramaquois this summer. In the end, we had to make this decision with our heads, and not our hearts.
We want you all to know how much we love you, and how devastated we are that we won’t see you at Ramaquois this summer. An announcement like this can impact people in different ways. If you, or your camper, would like to talk with us, please let us know. We are here for you.
With Gratitude, Jared, Phil & the Entire Ramaquois family
Matt has spent his summers at Ramaquois since 1984 — as a camper, counselor, and in various administrative positions. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. At camp, Matt works in program development, staff training and camper engagement. Outside of camp, he enjoys hiking, reading, web site development, and spending time with his wife, nieces, nephew and dog.