by AJN Staff
(AJNews) – It is with great heart break that Camp BB-Riback Executive Director Stacy Shaikin has announced that Camp, in its traditional state, will not be operating this summer.
The circumstances involving Covid-19, including the extreme negative trend in the spread of the virus in Alberta, has led Camp leadership to this difficult decision, explained Shaikin.
“The Board and I do not feel that it is safe or manageable to plan for having 300 people on camp this summer, even if things start to improve.
“While we remain hopeful that circumstances will get better in the coming months, we are getting very close to the summer and the financial implications of preparing for a full opening, with little to no revenue expected, would be catastrophic.”
Shaikin has spent every free moment over the last several months trying to find a way to operate camp safely this summer. He’s been told by the Alberta Camping Association that Camp BB-Riback is the most prepared camp in Alberta in terms of addressing the challenges presented by Covid-19 “but unfortunately, even with all the plans we have in place, we are restricted from opening right now and feel that this is the right decision to make for this summer.”
In a letter to parents dated May 6, Shaikin described the next steps moving forward. “If you have already paid fees for this summer (Credit 2020 included), you may request a full refund or donate all or some of your fees,” he wrote. “If you choose to donate any or all of your fees, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation will match the donation one-for-one to help the camp through this incredibly difficult time.”
Shaikin will be reaching out to all families personally in the next week to make arrangements.
With all of that said, Shaikin and the Camp Board are still hopeful that Camp will be able to operate in some capacity. They are preparing for two possible options.
Two Possible Options for Summer of 2021
Option 1: This plan includes a four-week leadership training and staff engagement program for a limited number of campers, as well as family rentals, on the following schedule:
July 4 to 13: Camp available for family camp bookings. The hope assuming there are no delays in project completion, is that the Ropes, The Pool and The Boat will be running.
July 15 to August 15: Leadership Training and Staff Engagement Program
- This program would be offered to campers currently in grades 7 through 11.
- Preferred registration will be given to campers and staff who are currently registered or hired for the 2021 summer. Fees and details will be provided shortly.
August 17 to 22: Camp available for family camp bookings. The hope assuming there are no delays in project completion, is that the Ropes, The Pool and The Boat will be running.
Shaikin and the Camp Board are holding this plan until May 31, 2021. If the circumstances in Alberta haven’t changed sufficiently by that time, they will have to cancel this plan and go forward with Option 2.
Option 2: Family camp rentals available from July 4 to August 22.
“We are still working on the details of each of these options and will communicate those details to you as decisions are made,” noted Shaikin.
“As I said, we plan to make our next big decision at the end of this month.
“I am devastated for everyone impacted by these decisions and had truly hoped it wouldn’t come to this. There would be no greater pleasure than to give you all a proper summer at camp, and we can’t wait until we are able to do so safely.
“Until then, we will do whatever we can to operate camp in some capacity this summer. I have been working tirelessly to find ways to get as many of out to camp this summer as I can, and I won’t stop until I am out of time.
“Please stay safe and give your families a big Camp BB hug from myself and the Board.”
Shaikin also reached out to his recently hired staff. With a heavy heart he informed them of the Camp Board’s decision and described how they will be impacted.
All Junior Counselors will be furloughed. An opportunity for a leadership and staff training session is developed and ready to unroll for mid-July. The cost and arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
Internationals hired as counselors, Horse-back riding, Arts and Crafts or Dish-pit will not be kept on either. The ropes team is also cut in half.
Senior Counselors will be given preferred opportunity for the Leadership and staff training program as counselors and specialists and for possible volunteer opportunities if that conference is not possible.
Specialists positions in sports, perf art/film, mindfulness, waterfront and the pool are still being held; the decisions will be made closer to June on how to proceed.
“It’s a horrible feeling giving camp staff members this news,” stated Shaikin, “but I’m sure it’s not as awful as learning that for the second time in a row you’re being robbed of the joy we share together every July and August.”
“I really hope many of you will apply to come back next summer,” wrote Shaikin. “I hired you because I believe all of you would make-up a terrific staff. There is so much talent and it’s a shame you aren’t getting the opportunity to practice your chops this summer. You are the next leaders of camp and our community and you have a lot to share with both entities. Please stay safe, stay in touch and give everyone in your families my best. As always, I am around to talk, just drop me an email or a text.”