My dearest Tocalomans,
We’ve come to a decision for this summer and it’s been one of the hardest that Scott, Tiffany and I have made in our lives. Tocaloma will be closed for Summer 2020, the summer that would have marked our 75th anniversary.
During the last few weeks, we have considered every aspect of individual health, community health, childcare requirements, government regulation, and risk to our business. We have been consulting with healthcare professionals, devising contingency plans, alternative operation guidelines, and having regular communication and meetings with our accreditation association as well as with fellow camp professionals. After exploring every alternative it became very clear that we would not be able to operate in a way that would ensure your safety and the safety of the campers…and this just breaks our hearts.
There are just too many things we still don’t know about SARS-CoV-2 (aka novel corona virus), the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. What we do know is that people are most contagious 48-24 hours before they show any symptoms and some people with the disease are completely asymptomatic. This is a scary reality that makes the containment of this disease very difficult, which is why social distancing is the best remedy thus far. As you know, my husband Aaron is an infectious disease researcher and he (along with countless researchers worldwide) is working on the virus to better understand how it works so that treatments and a vaccine can be developed. These remedies are all on the horizon but will not be readily available before this summer. But there is hope that we will not be locked away in our homes for-ev-er!!! Remdesivir (a drug) was just approved by the FDA and hopefully other treatments that are currently in clinical trials will be approved as well.
This has been excruciating for us, in part because we knew how devastating this would be for all of you. Your genuine love for connection, camaraderie and everything silly is everything we need…especially right now. I saw a picture of a staff member running towards a row of kids to give them high fives and I actually cried. Because we are so far from high fives. And hugs. And holding hands. And leaning in close to a camper to give them a smile that lets them know “I got you”. And how do you do a stone ceremony without having all members almost touching knees, leaning in to savor each others’ words? And how do you comfort a crying Explot without nuzzling in close to schmoop them up?
Tiffany and I have been gushing about all of you and what makes our team so very special. She marveled at how extraordinary it is to have a team that is so focused and committed towards a common goal. Unfortunately this is hard to find in most workplaces and we are constantly impressed with your ability to be that positive role-model and friend to both the campers and your fellow staff members. It makes me think of a line from a song on the “Abbey Road” album by The Beatles: “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” They sing this after having sung “Love you” 25 times. Everyday at camp your actions say “Love you” to the campers and staff over and over again and I know in my heart that love you take at the end of each day is equal to that love you gave. Thank you for giving your heart to camp and trusting it to be safe in our collective care.
We are here if you need us for anything. We look forward to staying in touch virtually over the summer and hope you can all join us in person for Summer 2021!
We love you!
Erica, Tiffany and Scott