Opening day…a day we weren’t sure would arrive in 2020…is less than 48 hours away. Camp is a beehive of activity with everyone running in different directions trying to tie up all of our loose ends and unpack every box that has landed on the office porch. We never feel completely ready to open because there is always something left to get done, but the challenges of this year have only added to my sense of not being finished in time. However, we have so much to share with those of you coming to camp!
The staff is INCREDIBLE! So many familiar faces will be here to greet you. They have been adjusting to social distancing and mask wearing when needed for the past 2 weeks. They have tested equipment, worked on lesson plans for activities, had chances to horseback ride and to tube down the river. They are ready to share the fun they have had and all that they have learned through their extended staff development week. We are going to make this time together GREAT.
A new Crabapple, a new Pisgah and a fully remodeled Crows Nest await. We have brand new badminton courts as well. These were all projects started in the fall, and we had to get them finished for you! The work crew on the cabins just pulled out of camp today. Nothing like cutting it close! The baby chickens and the baby ducks have arrived, and you will certainly enjoy Samantha and Cynthia, our resident geese who loyally follow their “mothers,” Martha and MED.
The tables in the dining hall are spread far apart, and floor decals keep us socially distanced as we make our way through the serving line. Window shields have been installed on the serving line and in the Tuck windows. We have marks on the floor in the Pavilion to maintain our bench distances. Two new handwashing stations have been installed and we have biodegradable soap for use up at the canoeing lake. Arts and Crafts will be held both indoors and outdoors. The fire pit has arrived for campfires on the green. Why we have not purchased one before for rainy nights that force campfires into the Pavilion, I do not know! Those will be far more pleasant now. There are always opportunities to be found in the face of adversity!
There is no denying that this summer will be different, but I want to remind you that every summer is different. Each year the faces change a bit, the staff has different members, an activity goes away and a new one happens in its place; change is a huge part of our lives. It is our ability to navigate change in a positive way that can challenge us. Let me assure you that the entire Keystone staff has the goal to make this summer safe, positive and fun.
We continue to talk about the risk we are taking together. We know that when we tested our staff, we were all COVID free. We know it is our responsibility to maintain safeguards and protocols to ensure that we are doing our best to prevent the spread of COVID. We also know that within North Carolina, only 3% of children ages 0-17 test positive for the presence of the virus. For our staff’s age group, 18-24, the positive rate is 7% for all those tested. We are taking a carefully calculated risk in assembling a group that is 90% under the age of 25. Whenever a group of people gather, there is an inherent risk of exposure to many different illnesses, COVID-19 being only one. Camps work hard to mitigate communicable diseases each summer. With your help and cooperation, we will continue to do our very best for our camp community. Nothing is perfect; there are no guarantees, but we are willing to share this risk with you in order for our girls to be able to have a chance at a semblance of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic and challenging world.
The beginning lyrics Neil Diamond uses in his song, “Sunday Sun,” resonates with me as we think forward to opening day:
Hey, Sunday Sun Let’s go walkin’ And we’ll talk about some things Kick my shoes off, And we’ll dream about some dreams Got to get away when the world Gets on me
Kids in the park Don’t take long before I’m laughing along with them Almost makes me think Those times can come again Gets me feelin’ good and yet sad At the same time
Sunday Sun, when you’re round Get to feelin’ like I wanna smile Weekday strings, tie me down But this one day, baby, I can fly I can fly
Thank you for being a part of our journey.