COVID-19 Update

Dear Families,

With a very broken heart, we are writing today to share with you that Camp Watitoh will not be opening this upcoming summer. We know how surreal and devastating this is to read and to process. It is the same for us as we write this letter to you. We are so grateful for your patience during these last few months, and especially these past few weeks while we were living with the uncertainty of the summer.

For months we have been cautiously optimistic about opening camp, making contingency plans and hoping for a clear path to emerge for us to open in a safe manner. We’ve been participating in seminars with colleagues, speaking with health officials, evaluating the accuracy of testing, and listening for more guidance from the state of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, even amidst all of these conversations and analysis, that path has not come to fruition for us.

It was important that we took the time to exhaust all possible scenarios before making this decision and we so appreciate your patience. We know it hasn’t been easy. At this point we feel no stone has been left unturned. In the end, we needed more certainty about this unknown virus to feel that we could keep our campers and staff emotionally and physically safe in a way that you trust us to do every summer.

We know this email does not come as a surprise, especially with so many camps making similar decisions. At the same time, it is still extremely disappointing. Attached you will find some resources to help speak with your child(ren) about this news and help them process this message. Campers are going to be sad, disappointed, angry, confused, and everything in between. Some of them may even be relieved because they were nervous about coming to camp under these circumstances. It is so important to give them the time and attention they need to get through this.

What we do know more than ever is that Watitoh is about the people and not the physical place. If we have learned anything the last few months, it is the strength of our community and relationships. It is those people who will get us through until we can be living the dream together for our 85th summer in person in 2021. We know that we will pick up right where we left off - developing friendships, building independence, and having fun in a warm, welcoming, supportive community.

We realize that there are many questions surrounding this decision, the financials, and what happens moving forward. Please click the Summer 2020 FAQ button below to find the answers to some of the most common questions and we welcome additional ones.

Please share this video message from us when you share this news with your camper(s). We will continue to connect with our camp family in the safest ways we can over the summer and until we can be together again. We will miss all of you so deeply this summer.

With love and hugs,
Britton and Drew

Summer 2020 FAQs

Parent & Packing Tips

Packing_for_Summer_Camp

Whether you’ve been to sleepaway camp before, or are spending the summer away from home for the first time, whether you’re the latest in a long line of Watitoh campers, or the first in your family to go to camp, whether you’re from New Jersey or Florida, we bet you’re as excited for the summer as we are— maybe even more!  I am sure you may have some questions like, what should I bring to camp or how will we celebrate my birthday?  Please find below some packing and other tid-bits that may be helpful.   We can’t wait for you to get to camp in June and are ready for you to be a part of our summer family!

  • You will write lots of letters this summer! It’s a good idea to print out address labels for the people you’ll be writing most frequently (Mom, Dad, grandparents, your best friend). That way all you have to do to address the envelope is peel and stick! (Mom and Dad, cool stationery makes it more fun to write home… and don’t be surprised when unfamiliar stationery shows up in your mailbox. Lots of campers love to trade with their friends!)
  • Label everything—we mean everything! You already know you need to put your name in all your clothes (including socks and underwear). Butlabel don’t forget about flashlights, softball gloves, riding pants, soccer cleats, lacrosse sticks, books, bedding, clipboards… Stuff gets left around camp all the time and when your name’s in it, you know it’ll get back to you. (Be sure to put your name on your tennis racquet, not just the cover.
  • Summer birthdays are a big part of the camp experience and we want your camper to be excited about his/hers! If your child will be celebrating his or her birthday at camp, please feel free to send a birthday package for her to enjoy. Please note that homemade food and baked goods that come from a source that we don’t have all listed ingredients WILL NOT be distributed.
  • Camp Watitoh July 4thBe sure to follow the packing list when getting ready for camp. We do have special events at camp like that we like to get dressed up for. For example Red, White and Blue Day on July 4th (you will be put on a red, white or blue team), Square Dance (we wear western wear stuff like bandanas and denim) and of course Color War (you will be on a green or tan team)! If you have a question about an item you’re considering bringing that isn’t on the list, please feel free to call or e-mail and ask us!
  • Every summer some campers bring valuables and jewelry to camp, and every summer something turns up missing. Please don’t bring valuables, expensive clothing, or nice jewelry to camp! It is so easy to lose or damage and we would feel terrible if you lost a favorite bracelet or expensive piece of electronics.
  • When you’re packing footwear for camp, keep in mind that you’ll need a couple of pairs of shoes for different purposes. Most of the time you’ll wear regular sneakers, but you will also need flip-flops or beach shoes for the waterfront and waterproof shoes for when it rains. Also, don’t forget a pair of shoes to wear for the banquet(s)! And speaking of rain, please remember to pack a raincoat!
  • It is very important that our package policy is followed. Parents and family members are allowed to send a package, the size of an average shoe box, with magazines, small games, etc…Please refrain from sending large amounts of food, as it will not be delivered to the bunk. A small treat is permitted as long as it follows the guidelines of our nut policy. Grandparents and family members, other than parents, tend to be our biggest offenders! Please let them know the camp policy.
  • Camp Watitoh BunkYour bed area is your home away from home! Feel free to bring photos of family and pets with you to camp and/or small posters of favorite movies, musicians, and sports stars. We want you to look up at the wall, next to your bed, and feel the com- forts of home!

 

  • Do you sleep with the same stuffed animal or blanket every night? Bring it with you to camp! Plenty of campers bring a special something to sleep with at night. If it will make you feel better having it with you so bring it up on the bus!!
  • Camp is a place to disconnect from technology for the summer! If an item can send or receive emails, phone calls or access the Internet IT IS NOT allowed at camp. Please know that if an iPod or MP3 player has the capacity to play videos or play games, ALL VIDEOS & GAMES MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE CAMP.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 844-WATITOH (928-4864).