With great sadness, I share that we have made a decision regarding camp in 2020.
After careful consideration, we have come to the difficult decision that Herzl Camp will not offer overnight camp in 2020. We make this decision to protect the health and safety of our campers, staff, and community. This decision is guided by recommendations of the American Camp Association, the Center for Disease Control, and the State of Wisconsin.
While many of us have been anticipating this decision, we all were hoping for a different outcome. Even as hope dwindled, we hoped to be together again in Webster, WI. I want you to know we are so sorry. It is painful to realize that the buses will not roll in, campers’ voices will not fill the Chadar, and the Mercaz will welcome Shabbat, empty and silent.
This is a loss felt deeply by all of our community – campers, staff, alumni, parents, and friends. I want to especially acknowledge our B’yachad and Ozo campers, who will miss their last summer at camp. Losing those cherished traditions and rites-of-passage adds an extra level of disappointment and loss.
Over the next few days, we will hold a series of online gatherings and Q&As. A summer without camp is new to all of us. Let’s take some time to be together, share our concerns, and acknowledge our loss. Follow our Facebook and Instagram to join us for community-wide gatherings. Campers and their families have been invited to program-based gatherings in a separate email.
Though we will not gather at camp, Summer 2020 will go on virtually. Virtual camp activities will be offered this summer at no cost. It won’t be the same; it can’t be. And just like at camp, we will make the best of it. Detailed schedules and sign ups will come in the next two weeks. This is also an opportunity for children who are not currently registered to “taste” camp virtually. Email us for the registration information if interested.
Looking ahead, Herzl Camp is in uncharted waters. As an independent nonprofit, almost 90% of our revenue comes from camp tuition and donations for direct camper services. A full year without income will create a significant operating loss. To get to the first day of camp in 2021, we will need to make deep cuts and raise nearly $2 million.
Fortunately, our global community is strong. Herzl’s friends and alumni have already begun donating to save camp, with over $250,000 committed in the last 24 hours.
Will you make a donation to help camp through this crisis? Together, we can ensure that campers gather in Webster in 2021.
With full faith in the generosity of the Herzl Family, we are restarting the camp countdown. There are 421 days until we are together again in Webster.
Im tirtzu ein zo agadah. If you will it, it is no dream.
With love, ruach, and a tip of my orange hat,