Hello from Camp Anokijig!
I hope that today finds your family safe, well, and enjoying the holiday season. Here at camp we are feeling the first bites of winter and planning for the warmth of the first day of summer camp 2023.
The last 3 years have been quite a unique and challenging experience for all of those involved at Anokijig. In 2020, with an adapted program, Anokijig delivered unique and memorable experiences to over 540 campers. In 2021, again still battling the pandemic but with a little vaccination help, Anokijig served 1300 campers. For those two seasons (like most of the world), Anokijig was different in many ways. Different schedules, different programming, and numerous safety precautions. The Spirit of Anokijig and its effect on people could not be deterred by restrictions. It was the experience of people coming together to create a positive community that shown through. But it wasn’t the Anokijig experience as our camp founders intended and that our camp alumni have known and loved.
Following the guidance from CDC and American Camp Association in place last November, it was determined that requiring COVID-19 vaccinations of all participants for 2022 would allow the true Anokijig programs to return with skill sessions, free periods, and all of camp coming together for meals and activities. With our main goal to get back to “normal” at Anokijig, we made the decision to go forward fully-vaccinated. As a result, over 2400 campers and staff got these traditional experiences. We still didn’t escape coronavirus totally but had a successful season. However, as we all know not everyone has been comfortable with vaccination for various reasons; hence many of our longtime campers were not able to return. As we move into 2023, we hope to get back to true “normal” where everyone can be welcome and feel comfortable to return.
As we plan for 2023, again we find ourselves in a different world. From the beginning of the pandemic, we chose to move forward by following the guidelines of the CDC and the American Camp Association. The newest recommendations are vastly different from this same time last year. As we have moved through time so has the coronavirus issue. Due to the current rates of vaccination combined with what at one time I think they were going to be called “herd immunity”, it is now recommended by the CDC that facilities like ours do not require vaccination but strongly encourage it. Vaccination is known to help minimize the negative effects of COVID-19 so it can be of great help and value but should no longer be a barrier to be part of the camp community. The guidance for our type of facility now focuses on watching for symptoms and dealing with them as they arise. Much like we have with other communicable diseases in the past. Hence, to allow Anokijig to serve the most number of campers possible, with the style of programming that has made Anokijig famous, (like most schools, and colleges) we will move forward into 2023 highly recommending that everyone be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination but not requiring it.
Once again, we understand that there are people who will not agree with our decision. However, our recent camp survey shows that a large majority of our camp families report that they would be comfortable with this standard. A large part of making this work however is our request that everyone agrees from the start that when camp time comes around if someone is experiencing symptoms or has been recently exposed to someone that is positive we will ask that they stay home, and we will reschedule or refund their stay. In short, asking everyone to be responsible just like they did back in day care for years. If you’re sick, stay home. If your kid is sick, keep them home. Come back when well!
We’ll keep watching for changes in guidance and if things start to slide backward we always have the option of throwing on some masks for a little bit just like we have in the past. We hope not to have to, but it is always an option. In addition, it should be clear that if someone wants to still wear a mask at any time at Camp they are more than welcome to, and will be supported.
As I see it the light at the end of this 3-year tunnel is getting very close and we hope to pop out the other end soon and return to focusing solely on providing great life changing experiences! To that end, as of today we have started Anokijig’s 98th registration season. To register, just check availability for your preferred session at https://www.anokijig.com/summer-camp-spaces-remaining and sign on up.
If you have any questions at all, just call our office. We are open year-round weekdays 9am-5pm. If you have more questions you can also feel free to contact me, Darin Holden, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the whole Anokijig team, take care and be well.
See you in 2023!!