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.
Aaron was admitted to The College of William and Mary. He was very excited about W&M and posted it on his Facebook page. Another Island Laker that he knew years ago but has not communicated with in ages saw his post and wrote him all excited. We went down to campus for Accepted Students Day. He ended up staying with her in her dorm. This really was great for him to get the inside scoop on the school. He met a bunch of people and saw the school from the inside. It was a completely great experience for him.
This is just a long-winded way of saying Thank You for Island Lake. Aaron had a ball there and still has many fond memories of his summers there. I know that Island Lake was his “Home”, and the place where we live was what he had to put up with until he could go home again. What happens at Island Lake does not stay at Island Lake. Friendships made there continue to positively impact his life.