Dear Island Lake Parents,
In our 35 years of owning and running Island Lake we never thought we would have to send this letter. Due to restrictions placed on our operations, Island Lake will be unable to open this summer. We are heartbroken by this.
The guidelines that have come out from the American Camp Association and their consultants say that social distancing is a recommended guideline for 2020. Island Lake cannot be Island Lake with these restrictions so we have made this difficult decision.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in a phased reopening; Red, Yellow, & Green. Wayne County is currently in red which means stay at home. When it goes to yellow there are restrictions in place that will not allow us to open. The Green Phase has yet to be defined; the rules currently say follow current CDC guidelines. We are sure those will include distancing and mask requirements through the end of the summer. In fact, the criteria that will be used to move a region from the Yellow Phase to the Green Phase are still not determined. A region could be moved back to yellow or red if there is a resurgence of the virus meaning that even if we don’t have an outbreak at camp the Commonwealth could shut us down.
To give you an idea of how important camp is to us, for Matt this will be his first summer not at camp since 1985 and second since 1972. Wendy has also only missed one summer since 1972 and she was very young at the time. The worst decision that we could make would be to open and then have to close because of an outbreak at our facility or in our region.
COVID-19 has changed all of our lives in some way. As adults, we have all had different emotions and difficulties dealing with this pandemic. It is impossible for us to understand the emotions our children are going through as a result of this decision. We were so hopeful to be able to have our campers come to camp and erase some of their fears, anxieties and day to day worries with good old fashioned fun. We are heartbroken that summer will not be a reprieve for them, and for you.
As stated in an earlier email, all registrations for 2020 will be honored for 2021. Campers who would have been entering their last year as campers will still be allowed to be together, as campers, for 2021. If anyone would like to be a CIT, they may choose that option. Please hold off on letting us know your decision until we ask for it. We are still absorbing this in our minds.
It seems surreal to be writing this to you and I’m sure it seems the same to be receiving it. I press the send button with great sadness. We wish you and your families health and happiness in the coming months. And of course, ILCUTHERE 2021!
Wendy, Ricki and Matt, Bev
P.S. Please watch the video below with your campers. It is with heavy hearts that we put this together, along with making the decision, to not open Island Lake this summer. We wish you all good health and happiness this summer.
Island Lake is a family-owned and operated camp established by Bev and Mike Stoltz in 1986. This husband and wife team have more than forty years experience working with children as teachers and supervisors. Bev has a master's degree and Mike has a master's degree and an advanced graduate degree in supervision and administration.
Matt Stoltz and Wendy Stravitz, brother and sister, each joined the family business on a full time basis after completing college. They grew up attending camp starting as toddlers, gained experience in many different aspects of camping throughout their summers at Island Lake, and ultimately achieved their goals of becoming camp directors. Matt's background in engineering and Wendy's degree in communications have been invaluable in their careers working with children.
Bev, Mike, Matt and Wendy spend their summers at Island Lake, interacting with campers, parents, and staff. "We pride ourselves in our involvement with all of our children and staff. We set the tone of a warm, friendly atmosphere where nurturing our campers is our first priority. Our goal is to provide a setting that encourages the personal growth of each child as an integral part of the camp community."