by Matt Kaufman
on May 14, 2021
This week, Jared and Jackie show off the new construction for our outdoor dining area, discuss authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds, new information from the CDC, and upcoming reminders for the summer.
Happy Friday. And welcome back for this week’s edition of our weekly videos. Very excited to be here with you, as always, I’m Jared, one of the directors here at camp. Very happy once again to be joined by Jackie. How are you doing today, Jackie?
I’m doing very well. Thank you. Thank you. On this beautiful day.
Beautiful. We are in a new location but still outside and really excited and we’ll describe where we are in a moment. Just a couple of things as we often do on these videos. Just a friendly reminder, We’re going to try to be as transparent with you as possible with all the information that we have available. We’re still awaiting some updates and guidelines from New York State, and as soon as we have those, we’ll certainly provide updates to you as well. But at the moment, all the information we have, we will be as transparent as possible with you before we get started on the content of this week’s video, we just want to talk to you a little bit. Just a couple of reminders. Don’t forget your medical forms. We need those for every camper and for every staff member. Don’t forget to order your camp clothing. You want to make sure you have ample time to get that in house and be able to make sure you have all the right sizes and all the right colors and all the things that you need to be ready for what we hope is going to be an amazing camp season.
So I think we’re getting ready to get started. What do you think?
I think we’re ready.
All right. So as I mentioned before, we’re in a different location. Jackie, you want to tell everybody where we are, why this is a significant spot for us?
So this is our new or in the process of being our new outdoor dining area. You can’t see it in the video. Our dining hall is straight ahead of us that we are right outside of the dining hall in our Cody’s Cove area, and you can see that it has been leveled out. We’re going to be putting tables here. And also, if you look up, you can see that there are beams, For lack of a better term, this is going to be a tented area. So it’s not only going to be safer dining outdoors, it’s also going to be a wonderful area that is tented and shaded, keeping the children out of the sun and just making it a much safer dining experience. And it’s also a huge asset at non dining time to have this wonderful gathering and seating area, So we’re super excited and
We’re really very happy to be able to move all of our campers to eating outside for lunch this year. We all know that that is presumably a safer situation for everyone. And I think it’s going to look great and it’s going to be great for all of us. So we’re really excited about all the progress we made with this so far. So let’s move to the next topic and let’s talk a little bit about vaccines. There’s been some big news this week, certainly about vaccines. I think everybody is aware of them. This week we know that the FDA and the CDC gave permission for twelve to 15 year olds to be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, so maybe we can talk a little bit about that and what that means for camp. I don’t know if you want to jump in on this.
Sure. Ages twelve to 15, they are now eligible. As Jared said. So, Ramaquois is strongly advising all of our families to speak to your pediatrician, your child’s doctor, and see if it is something that they recommend. Speaking from a Ramaquois perspective, we are highly recommending as many people in the Ramaquois community to be vaccinated as possible. That is the very best that we can also do to help our entire community be safe. So please consider that for your child, with the guidance of your doctor, I know you can probably speak as well personally, Jared happens to have a son in that age group, right? My children are slightly older. They are vaccinated.
My son is getting his first shot today, and he’s really excited to have the opportunity to get back to some level of normality. And we hope that everybody else also feels likewise. So, again, consult your physician, consult any medical experts that you feel you should check in with. But we’re really encouraged by the opportunity to make the camp community that much safer this summer than we even expected a week ago. We’re so grateful for the hundreds and hundreds of staff members that have already been vaccinated, that are getting vaccinated prior to camp. And we’re just really just so excited about the opportunity to have a substantially safer camp community this summer. I think it’s safe to say that one of the topics that we get the most phone calls and the most questions about is masks and face coverings. And certainly anytime you hear an announcement like we did yesterday from the CDC talking about requirements for masks, it certainly raises everyone’s antenna. So let’s talk about that for a moment if we can. So, as most of you know, yesterday, the CDC made some recommendations that those who are vaccinated two weeks beyond their second shot, or fully vaccinated, are no longer are required to wear face coverings in certain situations, both outdoors and indoors. And while we certainly think that this is very encouraging news, and we’re excited about the opportunity to possibly be able to have situations where we can be outdoors with kids and not necessarily have to wear them, we just want to remind everybody that Ramaquois, as a camp in New York State, is regulated by the New York State Health Department and not by the CDC specifically. So the CDC does give us some great guidance and great recommendations. But we are still awaiting the specific regulations from New York State. So while yesterday’s announcement certainly was a step in the right direction, it doesn’t necessarily dictate what our policy is going to end up being this summer. We’re still waiting specific guidelines from our state health Department. So we don’t really have a specific answer to that common question that we get all the time. But we’re encouraged by the progress. So, let’s shift gears. So, Jackie, what’s the story with trips this summer?
Well, the story with trips this summer is that it is very unlikely that we are going to be able to offer off campus trips this summer. There are a couple of reasons. One being is a contact trace is a really strong consideration for us. It’s possible that one interaction with one person in an environment that we cannot control could really knock out dozens of people in a contact trace. That’s one of our concerns. And the second concern relates to that is that whenever we do leave the ground, you’re entering a less controlled environment for us. You, our families, know how Ramaquois operates and what Ramaquois does. It’s dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s and thinking of everything. And once we leave the grounds, a little of that control is out of our hands. And we are not sure that that’s something we’re comfortable with. Things may change. Halfway through the summer, we saw different guidelines coming out in the last few days. If it’s something that we can do later in the summer, it’s something we are still considering, it is not completely off the table for a whole season. It is just unlikely at this point that we are going to plan trips.
Right. So again, we’re disappointed as a sure, some others are, but really excited. That just means we’ll have more time together and enjoying this beautiful place that I think we all know and love and are very excited to be here. Let’s also talk about another question we get these days, which is pretty common. We’ve gotten a few of them last week’s video. What’s the timeline for how I’m going to hear from people, whether it’s my child’s division leader, the camp, how am I going to know what the next steps are? Maybe if you want to talk about that.
Thank you, Jared. It’s actually a very timely question because some of you may have already received emails, but our side directors are reaching out to all of our new, Ramaquois families to introduce themselves and introduce their child’s division leader. From that point on, the child’s division leader is going to reach out to every family. So if you have two children in different divisions, you will receive two phone calls. So those of you that have not received that first email, you will. Please keep in mind most of our division leaders, if not all of them do not work at Ramaquois full time in the off season, and they’re teachers, they have other jobs, and they are doing this in after hours for their other commitments in the off season.
So it’s very possible that your friend might get a phone call one, two, three days or weeks before you do. But please keep in mind you will get one. We will reach every family before camp, and those calls have begun. So please bear with us with that. And division leaders are really excited to speak to all of you and get to know a little bit more about your children.
And unlike the majority of our division leaders, we are here full time. So if you have any questions and you just are antsy or anxious and really want to get the answer to my questions, you could always call us at the camp office. We’re here a lot.
Absolutely. I have joke that I feel like now that is May that we kind of move in. We are here every day.
But we’re really excited to start making that contact with everybody and start getting some details. So keep an eye out for those emails and definitely keep an eye out for emails from the division leader trying to arrange a time, set an appointment to get on the phone and talk to you.
I also just want to add our division leaders. Our entire administrative team was at camp for our very first in person, socially distanced outdoor division leader administrative meeting. So we were all at camp, and the excitement is just so authentic. We cannot wait for the summer. And that kind of jump started all these emails. We have turned the page camp is here for all intents and purposes, and we really could not be any more energized and excited. And that is really authentic. And and I even got an email from one of the division leaders that work on Girls’ Side with me saying that now that I was at camp this week, I really can’t wait. And I just wanted to kind of share that with all of our family, it was important.
There was a lot of that. It was great having everybody here really just very uplifting.
So I think we tackled all these questions, right. So I know we have a few reminders, right. Again, your clothing, your medical forms. Please don’t forget to do those things. It’s really important to have those things be able to open camp. And is there anything else we forgot?
Continue to follow us on social media. Email Jared all of your questions.
That’s right. J-A-R-E-D. At Ramaquois. Com. That’s R-A-M-A-Q-U-O-I-S. Com. And we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions, either directly or in subsequent videos as we continue to make these. And I think that’s that’s it for me.
I think that’s it, as you can see and believe us in person.
Have fun, there’s a camp out there.
Matt has spent his summers at Camp Ramaquois since 1984 — as a camper, counselor, and in various administrative positions, including his current role of Associate Director. 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. He has served as the program chair of the Tri-State Camp Conference and authored a book about summer camp staff training entitled The Summer Camp MBA. Outside of camp, he enjoys hiking, reading, website development, and spending time with his wife, nieces, nephew and dog.
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