(May 19th) Some things are changing rapidly, some at a snail’s pace. However, I want you to know everything we know, moreover, what we don’t know, and how we are planning accordingly. We’re working diligently to navigate the times and figure out how to safely hold camp, and are still getting our website updated to reflect the below changes, so please be patient with us! We’ll get there!
NOTE: THIS IS ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION TO KNOW PRIOR TO REGISTERING
Index of Topics:
- Obstacles: Approval from authorities AND Union has shut down beach access.
- MAJOR CHANGES
- All camps are “Beginner SOLO Sailing Camps.” (SOLO Sail camp is now ADVANCED Camp)
- Minimum age raised to 12
- Maximum 8 kids/camp, but offering twice as many camps.
- NEW Behavioral mandates
- Camp hours shortened: 10am – 3pm
- Social-Distancing, masking, and sanitation/dis-infecting/hand washing will be employed
- Latest Info: COVID & The Outdoors and COVID/Children
- Requesting your support of our proposal to hold camp in lieu of restricted access @ Union
- Our Proposal to Longmont City Council COVID Leadership Team
- Sanitizing and Disinfection Practices
We want you to understand our thought process and decisions so you can make informed/educated decisions about sending your youth to ABLE To Sail.
Currently we are facing two obstacles: (UPDATED JUNE 1)
Obstacle #1: GOV POLIS AND BOULDER COUNTY HAVE ORDERED THAT DAY CAMPS ARE PERMITTED
We are awaiting permission to hold day camps NOW ONLY FROM THE City of Longmont (See Obstacle #2)
Obstacle #2: (Possibly the more prohibitive obstacle:)
“The swim beach, dog beach and fishing pier at Union Reservoir will no longer be open for use as of Saturday May 9th. “Several large groups have been on the beach areas despite being asked by staff to disperse,” said Longmont City Manager Harold Dominguez. “Closure of these areas is a direct result of these violations of the social distancing orders.”
Full announcement here: https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/Home/Components/News/News/10964/6148
Though boating is still permitted, the area where we hold camp has been barricaded off, and the required beach space rendered inaccessible. We have submitted a proposal seeking to allow ABLE To Sail special access for us to run camps. (Proposal dtd May 11, is below. We continue to be in a holding pattern, and have received no response, as of today, June 1.)
Should we get approval to run camps, we have been forced to make MAJOR CHANGES, the biggest of which is that ALL CAMPS will be “Beginner SOLO Sailing Camps.” SOLO Sailing is typically our advanced camp, however, we feel confident in running BEGINNER SOLO Sailing camps, with our typical SOLO camp re-titled as ADVANCED Solo Sailing Camp.
This requires us to raise the minimum age to 12 (from 11,) as solo sailing the boats we use requires more weight, more agility, more confidence, and will require youth to navigate a much higher degree of nerves and anxiety. We will not be able to put kids on staff sailboats to teach them one-on-one, and to ease them through their fears. Thus, we must require a higher degree of enthusiasm and willingness, moreover of maturity, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. For the sake of this summer, please consider this a sailing specific camp, and not merely a water-sports camp at a lake.
Thus, it bears repeating, that THE SWIM BEACH WILL NOT OPEN THIS SUMMER, nor the pavilion, nor the playground, nor the volleyball court. And so it may be challenging for younger youth who are used to being allowed to “go crazy,” in these areas, to blow off energy in healthy ways. (For the record, this includes Brennan and I!)
We will only have 8 kids per camp, but are offering twice as many weeks, as all of our large private camps were cancelled.. (The LGBTQ+ CAMP IS STILL ON!)
We are shortening our camp day by an hour, still beginning at 10a.m. but ending at 3 p.m. Because many of our usual activities for “no/low wind times,” are not available, AND because storm winds typically come late afternoon, which, with beginner solo sailors, would be prohibitive. .As well, staff will require additional time for cleaning equipment.
Empowerment curriculum will NOT be affected, as it is needed more now than ever.
New BEHAVIORAL Mandates
However, as a Youth EMPOWERMENT Camp, frequently working with youth with behavioral issues, we also feel heart-broken to have to employ the following caveats during this COVID-Summer:
- Youth MUST be excited and willing to fully participate in sailing (and all other activities,) without resistance, “attitude,” or rebellion.
- Youth MUST be respectful and obey ALL RULES and REQUESTS from staff.
- Youth MUST FULLY understand and be willing to adhere to social-distancing, requests to utilize masks when necessary, and participate in hand washing/sanitizing and cleaning equipment..
- We will issue one verbal warning for defiant behavior, (not accidental infringements,) and if rules/procedures/staff requests continue to not be followed, you will be required to pick up your child immediately. No refunds will be issued for behavioral problems.
On registering or upon arrival, you will be required to sign a new COVID specific release of liability waiver. (We are still working on the language.) On arrival at camp, both you and your youth will be temperature tested, and asked a series of questions about common COVID symptoms as well as exposure-related questions.
Our refund policy has been COVID-AMENDED, such that we will issue refunds for COVID-related cancellations. However, abuse of this leniency for reasons outside the COVID-scope will NOT be issued.
LATEST RELEVANT INFO about COVID-19
We are providing the following latest relevant information, 1. So you are confident that we are closely monitoring every relevant piece of information, and 2. So you can make your own decisions as to what you personally believe to be safe or unsafe.
“A new study of the more than 300 outbreak clusters of COVID-19 in China reveals that the majority of the outbreaks were fueled by indoor transmission of the disease, while outdoor transmission was scarce.” https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/new-study-finds-few-cases-of-outdoor-transmission-of-coronavirus-in-china/ar-BB136CBc
This was reported May 8th by the American Camp Association after extensive research with national authorities:
“COVID-19 appears to affect children less often, and with less severity, including frequent asymptomatic or subclinical infection. There is evidence of critical illness, but it is rare. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but consistent evidence is demonstrating a lower likelihood of acquiring infection, and lower rates of children bringing infections into households.”
Lastly, if you feel dis-heartened that the offenses of the few, causing Union Res to shut down our access, feels punitive to the many, we ask you to reach out to the Longmont City Council and endorse our proposal to allow us to hold camps. We do NOT have deep pockets, and, like many of you, live “registration to registration,” (paycheck to paycheck,) and may not survive losing ALL OF OUR ANNUAL REVENUE, which occurs in these two months. We are profoundly grateful for your support in this regard.
To: City of Longmont COVID Leadership Team
Incl: John Brim, David Bell, Dale Rademacher, Harold Dominguez May 11, 2020
Proposal to Hold Youth Empowerment Camps at Union During Public Access Restrictions
We are seeking approval to hold our Youth Empowerment Camps at Union Res regardless of the current access restrictions published May 8, or any additionally restrictive ordinances. Curiously, current restrictions would create an even safer environment for our youth to attend necessary programming. The steps outlined in this proposal were not created specifically for this proposal but are the processes we intend to implement for our COVID-summer mode of operation regardless.
As a Youth Empowerment Camp, missioned to prevent teen drug use, suicide, and other high-risk behaviors, and not just a summer camp of frivolity, we strongly believe the benefits of our camp outweigh the risks, as we specifically deal with youth mental health, involving belonging, suicidal thought patterns, and negative coping mechanisms to deal with situational depression, isolation, and the effects thereof, which is precisely the sub-pandemic that is developing in our youth. The ethereal question is: will we lose more kids to suicide, cutting, or drug/alcohol use developing into full blown addictions, as their means of dealing with the depression of isolation, or, to contracting COVID-19 in a well-managed summer camp empowerment community environment in which they learn tools to better manage life in general, moreover, in this amplified environment where unhealthy mental/emotional unhealthy survival skills are escalating?
Though still fleshing out specifics, and continuing to patiently await guidance from the ACA, Y-USA, CDC, CDPH, and ultimately Boulder County PH, we have made the following modifications to our summer programming.
Typical Summer COVID Summer Changes
24 kids/week <10 kids/week
2 kids/boat (rotating 2x/day) 1 youth /boat, Dedicated boat all week
Min age = 11 Min age = 12
10 am – 4 pm 10 am – 3 pm
6-8 kids/ picnic table Grass seating in a grid – 6 ft distancing
Random PFD/equipment usage Dedicated PFD/ equipment usage
50+ pfd’s hung in trailer Remove extra pfd’s to minimize cross-exposure
We will check temperatures and ask relevant social interaction questions on arrival. (i.e. Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID-19) Staff will be tested and questioned daily with the same metrics. We are developing “COVID Quarantine” processes, though, as a day-camp, that is a lesser likelihood than residential.
Social Distancing and Mask Usage
With the above restrictions, we believe we will be capable of observing social distancing in most situations throughout the day. Where Social Distancing is not possible, i.e. up close communications, face covering will be used.*
*As we engage in deep discussions about navigating issues our youth face each morning and afternoon, where facial cues and the ability to connect on a personal level are necessary to be effective, as well as being a high skills activity that requires instructions be fully understood, masking during these times of instruction would be prohibitive. We will ensure social distancing during these instructional sessions, and fully expect that the ACA (American Camping Assoc) and the CDC will support these guidelines. (e.g. It is imperative that we be understood, and that we are able to ensure that our youth are engaged in the understanding.)
Sanitizing and Disinfecting Practices:
- Sanitize boats and accessories daily, and DEEP WASH same over the weekend.
- Sanitize/disinfect pfd’s daily, DEEP WASH same, over the weekend.
- Hand sanitizing pre/post restroom visits.
- Hand washing before/after any potentially semi-interactional activities.
- Hand washing pre-post lunch/snack times.
- Hand sanitizing/hand washing multiple times/day.
These procedures will continue to be fleshed out as guidelines are released, and we drill deeper into our daily activities. Essentially, we want to convey that we are not taking this responsibility lightly, nor are we taking our responsibility to support our youth during this time of crisis lightly.
I am definitively open and available for continuing conversations and appreciate your deep consideration of all aspects of this proposal
Looking forward – very!
(April 10th) To date we are still planning on a fabulous, fun, and empowering summer (though we are clear that may change). Our camp registrations remain open and we encourage you to register with the peace of mind that we have amended our refund policy so that your registration is fully refundable should official recommendations, restrictions, or your personal apprehensions around COVID-19 lead to cancellation. Our primary concern is your health, well-being and peace-of-mind.
To that end, when this passes –and it will pass– I anticipate that with schools being shut down for 2-3 months and finally seeing the end of the stay-at-home orders, that kids and parents alike will be desperately trying to secure spots at trusted summer camps. As there are a finite number of spots they may become as coveted as… well, toilet paper! (Don’t you wish you would’ve planned ahead for THAT!) Utilizing that wisdom, I encourage you to secure your child’s place at one of our camps and register today!
If we are forced to change course and adjust our schedules we will share that information with you promptly and issue refunds or work to get your child transferred to a later date, should you prefer to do that. Know that our decisions will be based on facts and recommendations from official health authorities.
We’re considering what other options may be effective to support your child’s emotional and mental well-being should a “worst case” occur where the summer is cancelled. I welcome your input on any ideas. Please let your kiddo know that I’m thinking about them, and if they need or want to connect, by all means, give a call – but PLEASE leave a voice mail if I can’t answer. Somehow robo-callers are still hard at work these days, and I am not clear on their “essential-ness!” Regardless, if I can help you or your kids find a smile, a laugh, or a connection, well, that works both ways!
As a small but robust charity, your continuous support during these unprecedented times remains vital. If you can support our work further in any way with a donation or sponsorship, we would be extremely grateful. Together, we can ensure that we come back stronger than ever, to inspire and empower this most powerful generation into their greater-yet-to-be!
I continue to be “open,” and available, so don’t hesitate to send me an email (email@example.com,) or pick up the phone and have a chat! Even if it’s not about camp!
Yours, through it all! Stay safe…we need you!
Looking forward, (Boy, THAT never had more meaning!)