Summer Camp Update
Summer Camp update - 5/20/2020
All Overnight Camps are running as scheduled for 2020
All Day Camps have been CANCELED for 2020
Firstly, I want to thank you all so much for considering our summer camps this year! There are so many summer camp options out there and we are so grateful that you are interested in our camps. When I had the vision to start a nature school 16 years ago I could never have dreamed that it would have grown into the incredible organization that it is today. Over the years we have had the distinct honor of interacting with tens of thousands of Central Texas children, providing them with amazing outdoor adventures and unique intimate connections to nature. Some of those kids are all grown up now and looking back I can't overstate the impact that knowing them has had on my life and the lives of the wonderful instructors we've employed over the years.
As everyone is aware, this current crisis came out of nowhere. Since March, we've been pushed back onto our heels looking for the right path forward and we've spent the last month and a half trying to determine the viability of our day camps this year. Earth Native is a small family owned school with a tight knit staff of just 14 full time employees. Over the past few weeks we have had many honest and difficult conversations with our staff to gain their perspective on whether or not we would be able to provide a positive, safe, and manageable camp experience this summer. During that time, many of our senior staff members decided that they would not be comfortable working at summer camps this year and we respect their decision.
I can honestly say this has been by far the most challenging moment in our organization's history. The weight of the responsibility that we feel for our students, their families, and our staff is immense and has weighed heavily on us in all of our decision making. However, the hard reality is that during the last two months we have lost over 70% of our campers this summer through camp cancellations and lost enrollments.
Taking into account the cancellations, loss of many of our vital staff members, as well as all of the logistical challenges that have arisen after receiving the State guidelines for operating summer camps (and there are many when considering up to 70 new kids per week at day camp), I have made the difficult decision to cancel all of our day camps this summer. It is by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make and it truly breaks my heart. I am so deeply saddened at the thought of all the kids that we won't get to see this summer and that we are not able to provide some much needed stress relief and fun for them during this difficult and stressful time. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the disappointment and inconvenience of this cancellation and please know that if I had seen any other viable path forward for our day camps this summer I would have taken it.
After an equal amount of consideration we have decided that we will still be offering overnight camps this summer, with a smaller number of campers, at our Bastrop Campus. Since overnight camps are much smaller, and the pace is a lot slower, they presented a much more manageable challenge. I feel very confident that we can run those camps safely this summer. We do still have space in some of our weeks of overnight camps this summer. If you have a child who is between 9 and 16 years of age and would like more information about our overnight camps please click here.
Earth Native’s plan is to regroup over the summer so that we can begin to rebuild starting with our school-year programs and then be back as strong as ever with summer camps in 2021.
We will be issuing all currently enrolled day camp families a full refund. We will begin processing those refunds immediately. Due to the large volume of refunds that we have to process please understand that it might take up to 10 business days for all refunds to be issued.
We wish you and your families so much goodness, health, and success moving forward through this crisis and we’ll look forward to seeing you all soon once things settle a bit.
All the best,
Earth Native Wilderness School