YCAMP OF MAINE & COVID-19
May 15, 2020
“The Camp of Character” has been YMCA Camp of Maine’s dictum since our first year in 1915. YCamp has survived the Spanish Flu, two world wars, economic disruptions, and the effects of societal changes. YCamp has prevailed for 105 years because the Board of Directors, leadership, parents, and alumni have remembered what it means to lead with character - making the right choices, no matter how difficult they are, even when others are not looking.
The whole world is watching us right now because members of the YCamp community span the globe and have done so for generations. This week, the Board of Directors made the painful decision to cease overnight camping operations for 2020. While Governor Mills’ Orders forced us to cancel Sessions 1 and 2, the Board and I have decided that, for the sake of our community, we must cancel Sessions 3 & 4 (including LIT 3 & 4, CIT Group 2, Session 4A, and Session 4B) for the summer of 2020.
I am going to send another letter next week to talk about the options for the fees you have already entrusted to us.
What we see as the right choice is not an easy one to make. The decisive factor has always been our obligations to you and our community, to maintain a safe and healthy environment. We took into account all of the known and unknown factors about the pandemic and our Camp. We consulted with professionals across many industries and reached the best answer for YCamp and the hundred of Campers and Staff who visit us from across the US and from around the world. Every camp across the country is needing to make the right choices for themselves based on their community.
This is hard. This is sad. I am sure you and your campers share the grief that my family and I are experiencing. This is a time when we need to stay connected and help each other. We need to remember what it means to be a Camper at YCamp -
- The Camp of Character
- God First, The Other Fellow Second, I’m Third
- Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Caring
- Friendship and Leadership
-Growth and Independence
Until we can meet again, please help me keep the Spirit of YCamp burning.
April 30, 2020
As life goes on for the wild critters of YCamp, life for the rest of us remains in flux. This week, Maine Governor Mills announced her plans to keep Maine safe, while re-opening businesses. The plan allows for overnight camps to resume operations in Level 3 which, presuming everything goes well, should start July 1. With this fresh news, Sessions 1 & 2 for YCamp are not hopeful. Families with campers registered for Session 1 &/or 2 will receive an email from me next week to discuss options.
Our Board of Directors will be meeting in early May to discuss plans for the remainder of the summer. We are waiting for guidances and protocols from the CDC, and an independent report, commissioned by the American Camp Association, to make any final decisions for the summer.
The commitment of having a safe, fun, and beneficial YCamp experience remains to be the keystone of our decision making. While we understand the new adage of “a new normal,” certain aspects of Camp must be permissible - sharing meals and conversations, sports and activities, personal independence and group living, all coupled with safety and well-being.
We appreciate your patience and support through all of this. We know that you and your families are looking forward to the summer and YCamp is a large part of that. Whether this should be your first summer, or the next summer of many, we are thinking about you and considering you, when we are making these hard decisions.
The next round of camper payments are due on May 1. If your camper is registered for Session 1 &/or 2, your payment will not be processed. If you have been in touch with us to have your payment held, we will do so. If you are registered for Session 3 &/or 4 and would like to have your payment held, please let Jodi know over the weekend. We are going to wait and process payments at noon on Monday May 4.
Forms are due on June 1. Because of all the current uncertainty, hold on and don’t worry about it. We will let you know an updated deadline soon.
We understand that there is a lot of apprehension, confusion, and uncertainty right now. We are all trying to make the right decisions for today, tomorrow, and the future.
Like everyone, we are practicing social distancing and covering the phones to be here for you. We are continuing to plan forward and holding on to the prospects of having Camp this summer. We know you want to get through this and get back to places that bring joy and strengthen resolve - YCamp!
If you can be optimistic with us, please keep your camper enrolled in YCamp for this summer. This will help everyone keep our eyes set on a positive future.
YCamp has been a constant in the community and in the hearts of many for 105 summers. We continue to monitor the situation and talk with our peers and other industries to make sure we are making good choices for OUR community.
This page will be updated as we learn more.
Keep the spirit burning.
At YCamp, the safety and well-being of our participants is always the highest priority. We will be regularly updating this page to inform you of our practices and policies regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are closely monitoring ME DHHS, CDC, and WHO for up to date information. We are also working closely with Redwoods Insurance Group, Chalmer’s Insurance, American Camping Association (ACA), Y-USA, and local physicians to make sure we are up to date with best practices and guidelines. Our local, state, national, and international agencies remain in contact to keep us informed and proactive as new information develops.
For now, the best path forward for all of us is to stay informed on the facts, which are being updated on a regular basis. Below is a list of reliable sources of information:
Frequently Asked Questions
Will YCamp Maine be open this Spring and Summer?
We are planning forward with our Fall Group. It is our plan to be open for groups in the end of August. We will be monitoring circumstances and adhering to guidance from the CDC, the ME Department of Health and Human Services, and other experts to determine whether programs need to be canceled..
Is YCamp accepting phone calls and emails?
Yes, please feel free to contact us at 207-395-4200 or by email. Again, out of an abundance of caution, we have closed our offices and asked our staff to work remotely. We appreciate your patience with our responses while we adjust to a new way of work.
Will I be refunded if Camp is canceled?
Like most nonprofits, YCamp is preparing to experience significant hardships related to COVID-19. Beyond ensuring the health and safety of our participants and their families, we remain optimistic about providing scholarships for campers this summer, funding our overhead, and continuing to offer life-changing YCamp Experience. However, we recognize families across the nation are also bracing for their own challenges.
If your session is canceled, you will have the following options:
Please consider donating your registration fees to help sustain our mission and operations.
You might also consider saving your fees as a credit with us to be used for future registrations during the next year. You will be given priority registration for 2021.
We will refund your full registration fees upon request minus the deposit.
What additional steps is YCamp taking to prevent COVID-19?
It is reassuring to acknowledge that YCamp already meets and/or exceeds all of the public health recommendations of the CDC and ME Department of Health and Human Services. We continue monitoring recommendations and will institute changes in our Health Care Policies as necessary
What are the YCamp’s plans for summer camp?
For the summer 2020, we are not running traditional overnight camp. We are taking this time to make facility improvements and serve our local community. We will be here in 2021 stronger than ever! Our professional leadership team is working with these agencies and many others to ensure that we are fully prepared to continue to offer the same values-based, mission-driven summer camp experience that we have been providing since 1915.
As a donor to YCamp, how can I help?
We are beyond grateful to the members of our community – our alumni, camper families, volunteers, and staff – who have recognized the challenges crises like this can pose to a human services organization regardless of their own hardships that they may be facing. For those who are able and interested, please make a gift here. THANK YOU for your support of children and families during these uncertain times.
News of COVID-19 is everywhere. Many parents are wondering how to bring up the epidemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. Here is some advice from the experts:
Child Mind Institute
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Admin)
We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and share relevant information and updates with you. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to keeping YCamp safe and healthy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at 207-395-4200 or by email