Answers to your Covid-19 camp questions

As of June 11, 2020:

Dear Moshava Wild Rose Community,

Since the onset of this pandemic, we have spent countless hours searching for any possible way to open camp this summer. Our camp’s administrative team, its board of directors, and the medical committee have assessed a range of possibilities to create a way to open safely.  We had developed a plan that would make this summer look significantly different. We were hopeful that this would allow us to be able to open our gates on Highway P and welcome our tzevet and chanichim.

It is with a heavy heart that we have determined we will not be able to run our camp program for Summer 2020. 

We spent so much time putting plans together and trying to follow the ever-changing guidelines in this new COVID-19 reality. With the conflicting information about the virus and all the uncertainty that comes with it, a reality has been created where we cannot open our gates. While it would have been easier to have called off camp months ago, giving up is not the Wild Rose way.  We took extra time hoping that enough would change. Ultimately, based on the assessment and recommendation of our medical committee, we were not comfortable running camp this summer. We write this knowing we did everything possible to have a different outcome.

While we understood this was a possibility, this was not the news we wished to share with you today. We wanted camp as much as you did. We pictured our 9th graders having their summer on “The Hill.”  We were anticipating the launch of our new extended Mini Mosh program (which was due to popular demand).  We dreamed of wearing blue and white with you at mifkad on Erev Shabbat. We yearned to daven on Friday night as one “machane” in our beautiful outdoor Beit Knesset, leading to dancing together, arm-in-arm, through our Chadar Ochel doors. We could taste the “Shabbos cookies” together.  We expected to sing “Minyan Man” until after Shabbat ended, everyone standing on their benches. This list can go on and on. We have been longing to be together since August 2019. It’s very difficult for us to believe that it’s June and we are not counting down the days until we can all be together this summer.

Thank you all for your love and support throughout this process. Your hopeful emails and calls had motivated us to press on.

We know this is difficult for our entire community – our campers, staff, alumni, parents, grandparents, and all the friends of Moshava. The cost of not running camp is detrimental to our budget. At this time, we appreciate any sort of donation that can be made to help us continue to operate and build for our future – click here. For every dollar raised, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation will generously donate a 50% match (for example, if you donate $1,000, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation will match $500, making your donation to camp $1,500).

One thing that is clear, is how important this Moshava Wild Rose community is to each of us. When this pandemic started, we launched our virtual #campallyear programming. We plan to continue to connect with you virtually and will be offering some remote programming in July (more details to follow). We are currently exploring a variety of alternate programming as well. If we feel that any of these options are possible, we will immediately reach out to you and determine if there is interest.

Please join us on Motzei Shabbat for a Community-wide Havdalah at 9:30pm CST: Click here.

This is a hard day. Please click here to see a video Dikla made for our entire camp family. We will support each other, get through this, come out stronger, and even more grateful, for our wonderful Moshava.

Our 81st summer may not be the one we planned for, but we will still connect and make it a special one. At the same time, we will look ahead and start the planning for Summer 2021.

Dikla WeitznerDirector
Jen KoplowAssistant Director

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This is to provide the latest Q&A’s for our Camp families during Covid-19 (top of page is most recent)

Has Waushara county (where Wild Rose is located) begun reopening?
Yes! As of May 14th, Waushara County has reopened with suggested social distancing measures for residents and businesses. We are maintaining close contact with Health officials and government regulators in the area to monitor the local health situation.

Will camp start on time this summer?
No, we have decided that at this point we need to delay the start of camp, which was originally scheduled for June 24. The ACA guidelines were finally publicized over the weekend, we now need time to review them with our medical committee and staff in order to establish proper safety protocols for this summer. At this point, if we are able to open, we are looking at opening mid-late July. Our plan is to merge both sessions and have one session of camp this summer. Based on the space we have at camp and our current population numbers, we feel confident in planning one merged session. If you have booked flights, at this stage we would just maintain the current flight plans until closer to the flight, when we may have a more specific flight for you to switch on to in a few weeks.

What about campers who paid for full summer? Or what about families who have additional questions about refunds at this point?
We are still asking you all to hold out until we have a clear direction of where this summer is heading. We will address ALL financial concerns once we know if camp can run at all this summer. If anyone would like to talk to me directly earlier, please click here to schedule a time for us to discuss further. I want you to know that I plan to speak with each family either way, and I am happy to talk when it is the right time for each of you.

Can you give an approximate timeline for when you might give some type of firm information/decision?
We expect to need about a 30 day lead time, so with a mid-late July start we are looking at a mid-June at the latest decision. Of course if a decision can be made before that to open we will certainly let everyone know as soon as we know.

We have heard that some camps in the Midwest and other areas in the country have cancelled. Does this affect our camp?
No it does not. As I mentioned in my previous email, I regularly speak to many of these Directors and we all have a mutual respect for our own decisions. Each camp has different factors like the size of their campgrounds, how many campers and staff each one has, financially and logistically are they able to merge sessions or make two smaller sessions, how many international staff they have, etc. Based on these calculations we feel we are in a place where we can still wait before making a final decision on whether to open or not.

Will there be camp this summer? 

Based on the trends we are seeing and both the Federal and State guidelines emerging for the reopening of States, we remain optimistic that we will have camp this summer. We have spoken to many campers, parents and staff and we know that everyone needs camp more than ever. As I saw one parent quoted in a New York Times Article: “We are praying for two things right now, we are praying for health and we are praying for camp”. With that sentiment in mind, we are carefully watching evolving public health information and guidance regarding Covid-19, and planning for a variety of different scenarios in order to make camp a reality this summer. While we remain optimistic, we will only open if it is legally and safely able to be accomplished. 

Who will make the decision if we can open?

The key decision-makers for determining whether camp can be open this summer are the State of Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Department of Health and the Waushara County (where camp is located), under guidance from the Federal Government and other Federal health organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Camping Association (ACA) and the CDC are working on national protocols and suggestions on how to operate an overnight camp successfully in the Covid-19 environment. The ACA is also working with both the American College of Pediatrics and a consulting firm specializing in environmental health in publishing these guidelines.. Once these guidelines come out, the County and State will make a final decision on how camps can operate this summer. If we are able to meet all directives put in place, and we, along with our Medical Committee, feel like it is safe to run, we will open. The Medical Committee that we have put together are physicians who specialize in both paediatrics and infectious disease. We also have physicians and medical professionals who have worked at Moshava during the summer so they understand what the movement of people throughout the campus on a typical day would look like.   I have personally spoken to our Congressman Glenn Grothman (US Representative serving Wisconsin’s 6th District), our County Sheriff and our Head of Public Health in Waushara. Our Congressman has spoken to Governor Evers on our behalf and assures us he will continue to help us to try to get to camp safely this summer. Once we have more guidelines, we are all hoping to work together to open camp this summer.  We all know why camp is so important to the development of our children, local authorities in Wisconsin are also keenly aware of the positive economic impact we have on the County when we are in session, and they are eager to welcome us back.

What are some of the options for summer 2020?

The situation remains fluid and we are concurrently planning for every possible scenario:

(1) Adjusting our start date to a July start 

(2) An abbreviated camping season 

(4) Camp not being able to run at all. 

We appreciate your patience and partnership as we work through these scenarios, under guidance from our Federal, State and local officials.

What is the Timetable for making decisions?

We anticipate that these decisions will happen during the month of May and early June. As I mentioned above, things are changing at a rapid pace, so we are trying to be flexible as far as decisions. We will try to update you earlier if we have more information or guidance to provide. 

What about the May 1st payment?

As we are not able to make a final decision yet on how camp will operate this summer, we have decided to postpone the payment until June 1, 2020. No payments are required before that date. As I mentioned in my last email, we will offer tuition refunds to our families in the unfortunate situation that camp will not be able to run at all in summer 2020. We will provide more information in future communications as the situation clarifies itself.  

I’m feeling anxious about summer, and not sure I am comfortable sending my camper even if you do have camp. What should I do?

We are asking you to hold tight.  Currently we are working with local health officials and everyone else to determine if and when camp can happen. We obviously will only do this if it is safe for everyone.  If camp does not happen you will get a refund as we stated in our prior emails.  At this stage we are keeping our current cancellation policy, which at this point in time is 50% refund.  We are aware and do understand that if we do have camp, there may be families who are not comfortable sending their campers. At that stage, once we know camp is for sure happening, we will determine what the plan is for refunding people in those scenarios. 

As a parent I have so many questions –  Is the camp going to check the children for COVID 19? Are the children going to have their temperature taken every day? How are you going to maintain social distancing in a youth camp environment? Are the children going to wear face masks? Will there be different protocols for out-of-town staff and campers? What protocol is planned in the likely event that one or more campers come down with Covid-19 or the above-mentioned inflammatory syndrome?
We know that clear answers to these questions would go a long way to assuaging the anxieties many feel about sending your children off to overnight camp.  These are great questions and ones that are very much at the forefront of our mind. While we do not have finalized answers yet, we can tell you that if we can open, there will be some sort of temperature testing and questionnaire done before going to camp and there will also be check-ins while in camp as well. We are still waiting to hear which forms and/or tests will be available by the summer. We can also tell you that we are making plans to have some sort of space/social distancing in camp. Since we are still waiting for the guidelines and working with our medical team on exact protocols, we do not want to say too much until all is finalized. We want to reassure you that we have considered every single one of your questions and raised them with our admin and medical teams – we just have not made final decisions about exactly how we will proceed with each one. We are also monitoring the information coming in about the possible inflammatory syndrome and our medical team is tracking it as well. We have not communicated answers because we do not want to confuse the parents with all possibilities until they are more finalized. If we can open camp, we will make sure every parent and family is well informed about all the additional precautions and protocols that will be implemented. The health and safety of  all of our camp community is our #1 priority.

What are we doing to plan for this summer?

On our end, we are working with our Tzevet Bachir and the entire Tzevet to continue to plan for summer 2020 with many different scenarios. We are also working on grants and talking to donors to help prepare for all eventualities. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, J180, has launched a new camp matching grant to help with the Covid-19 situation and the financial stress it has caused for all Jewish camps in North America. The Grinspoon Foundation recognized this immediate need of camps, and has created a Matching Campaign called “All Together Now”, which we are eligible to receive in two different ways – either $1 from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for every $1 that is donated back to Moshava Wild Rose from tuition dollars (if camp were not to occur) or $1 from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for every $2 that is donated to camp. Both matches are for donations made from March 30, 2020 until December 31, 2020 up to our matching grant allocation.

If you are able to contribute, please click here

We continue to attend daily calls with various other camp administrators. The overall camp community has really come together and we all rely on each other for guidance and support. We are in constant contact with the Foundation of Jewish Camps, J180, The Nachshon Project, Bnei Akiva Camps, American Camps Association and The MCLN – Jewish Midwest Camps Network.

Do I really need to fill out my forms?

YES PLEASE!  We want camp to happen as much as you, and as you cna imagine we will need to make a lot of adjustments to have it run.  We need to be able to use our time before camp implementing these changes, not reviewing forms and chasing families to send in their forms.  Please help us by filling 

Should I wait to send in the JDrugs form until there is more clarity on camp?

The JDrugs deadline is May 1st.  If you send in the form after May 1, JDrugs will charge you a late fee. They are not charging parents/billing insurance until they get confirmation from camps that the session is happening – but they want all paperwork completed so they don’t end up being rushed.  If your camper is on medication PLEASE send in the Jdrugs form ASAP so you will not incur an added charge.  These forms are available on your CampInTouch Account.

How should I upload my forms? And what if I don’t have a scanner? 

You can download the forms by clicking the “download icon” to the left, and upload the form by clicking the “upload icon” to the right. CampInTouch only accepts uploaded PDF documents – not “pictures” taken from your phone (JPG does not work). We know uploading documents may feel stressful.  We have a few suggestions to make it as easy as possible.          

  1. We have added a Barcode element to most printed documents.  This will allow you to fax the documents (can be done in batch – does not have to one by one) to 847-750-0222. Doing this will upload the sheets directly into your campers files and you will not have to do anything more.  Don’t have access to a fax machine? You can download an app (Tiny Fax or eFax) and for a nominal fee (a few dollars) take a picture through the app of the forms and it will fax in the forms to your file.
  2. Scan the forms on your home scanner, save as a file, and upload to your account. Don’t have easy access to a scanner? Download a “scan to pdf” app (We recommend Tiny Scanner) and then using the app take a picture, it saves it as a pdf, and then upload to your account on your phone or send to your email and then upload to your account on your computer.

Do I need to fill out the Allergy or Asthma Action plan?

For most campers no. However, if your camper has significant allergies or asthma, and your doctor has provided you and/or their school with a plan, then this is what we need a copy of for the camp medical team.  

Should I be booking my camper’s travel with so much unknown?

Most airlines currently have a very generous no change fee /refund policy , and flights are pretty inexpensive, so we don’t think it’s the wrong move to book your flights now.  Please be sure to book something that allows for accommodations in whatever form you prefer (either by the airline or through travel insurance) should things be changed given the situation. As an example, the Florida flight is only $45 one way on southwest.  Should we switch the camp dates, you can switch to a different date without any change fee, and should camp not happen you have at least 12 months to use that voucher for a different trip.

We are also still looking for chaperones from a few cities for the trip to camp.  If you are interested in being a chaperone please let us know ASAP. We will cover the round trip ticket for the chaperone.

The flights that are listed for my city are no longer showing on the Southwest website! What should I do?

The airlines do keep switching around flights, and therefore we have not bothered to make all the updates as they seem to be continuously changing.  If you do find that the flight that was suggested no longer exists, please send an email to moshava@moshavawildrose.org to determine next best flights.