From our Statewide Director and Dean of Extension:
For forty years, young people from Maine and beyond have come to University of Maine 4-H Camps to live and learn together. It’s no exaggeration to say those experiences have changed thousands of lives for the better. From Bryant Pond in the mountains of western Maine to Tanglewood along the banks of the Ducktrap River to Blueberry Cove on the tidal flats of Tenants Harbor to Greenland Point in the lake country of Washington County, Maine 4-H Camps are special places close to the hearts of all of us. Because of this, it is difficult to have to announce the cancellation of the 2020 summer camp season.
Just two months ago we were gearing up for another incredible season. However, we are clearly in unprecedented times that require careful and responsible decision-making. Our statewide 4-H Camp team and UMaine Extension administration have been monitoring the pandemic and the resulting policy guidelines from the state and federal CDCs, the University of Maine, the University of Maine System, and the state of Maine. As guidelines for the reopening of youth camps become clearer, we may be able to provide limited-enrollment opportunities in late summer, and we intend to offer school-year programs in accordance with health and safety protocols.
We are waiving our refund policy and offering full refunds for summer 2020. If you choose, we can hold your deposit for 2021. As a nonprofit camp network, the cancellation of the season will have a serious financial impact on our operation. Those who are able may donate their 2020 camp fees, which we will accept with heartfelt thanks. Individual camp directors and leadership team members will be in touch with some special opportunities to remain connected to camp and are available to answer your registration and refund questions.
We understand this news will be difficult to hear, especially for our campers who were looking forward to their first summer at 4-H Camp or to returning to a place they have come to think of as a summer home. We believe deeply in our mission of providing affordable outdoor learning experiences, in community with others, which is why this decision was extremely difficult. Thank you for your understanding. We’re already looking forward to seeing the smiling faces of our campers in summer 2021.
With the sincere hope that you and yours are well and safe,
Ryder Scott, State 4-H Center Director
Hannah Carter, Dean of Cooperative Extension
We have been thinking of you on a daily basis and truly hope you are doing as well as you can right now. We told you we would make a decision about our summer programming by May 18th and we have had endless discussions on what the best plan should look like.
As stated in the letter from our Statewide Director, our original summer schedule has been canceled. Based on forthcoming guidelines, we are hoping to offer limited-enrollment day programs beginning after July 6.
We hope to have more information around June 1 and we will send out another announcement at that time. Again, we realize these changes will be a hardship for some families. We will email currently registered families to provide additional details about their options.
These decisions are not made lightly and we can assure you that we are all feeling just as sad and disappointed as many of you probably are. Summer camp is supposed to be magical, restorative, and unifying – a time to build connections with each other and the natural world, a chance to create, explore, and challenge ourselves in new ways. We are heartbroken that we will not be able to share these experiences in person this summer.
The grief your camper may feel is real and valid. Please encourage them to take the time to sit with how they feel AND to remember all that we live by during our time together at Tanglewood and Blueberry Cove: sharing meals, practicing kindness, exploring and learning, eating well, being active, and caring for others and the earth. Who we are and how we live together at camp doesn’t have to just exist at camp.
As we announce our plans to the public, we are also thinking of ways we can stay connected to everyone that means so much to us: our campers and their families, our staff, and our community. Look for more information about that in future communications.
In the meantime, get outside if you can, notice the changes taking place in the world around you, and know that you are in our hearts.
Jessica Decke, Tanglewood Director and Ryan LeShane, Blueberry Cove Director