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.
Thank you for your interest in working at Island Lake. Our staff members play the most important role in camp by creating a memorable summer for the campers and themselves. During your stay at Island Lake you will establish very special relationships with your campers and your co-workers. You will meet people that become your closest friends. Your campers will stay in touch with you throughout the years. You will become a very important person in the life of a child and you will experience a satisfaction that can't be duplicated elsewhere.
We feel that happy counselors make happy campers. We treat our staff members the way we would want to be treated ourselves. We are not there to look over your shoulder and criticize you and the job you are doing. We are there to help you do your job to the best of your ability and we create an atmosphere that facilitates this. We empower you to do your best and become a better person from your summer experience.
Island Lake is one of the few camps that allows our staff to go out at night with no curfew. Our staff members do not sign in and out when they leave and return to camp. We are also one of the only camps that allows you to leave camp for their period off each day.
In addition, we offer a higher salary and more time off than most camps. We guarantee you a period off on each regular activity day. (During your period off you are welcome to try activities outside of the area in which you teach.) We know that you will work very hard at camp and it is important that you have time to yourself. We are located less than three hours from New York City and Philadelphia as well as being close to Ithaca, Syracuse, & Binghamton. These are places that you can travel to on your days off. Your days off are 36 hours long, giving you the opportunity to travel and experience the northeastern United States.
Another advantage to working at Island Lake is that all of our children create their own schedules by choosing their activities. This means that you, as an instructor, will only have campers coming to your classes who want to be there. This allows you to teach more and worry less about children who aren't interested in what you are teaching.
The fact that over 45% of our staff return each year says it all!