Message from Michael Rouse, Co-Founder
Dear ESF Families,
We hope you and your family are safe and healthy. As we navigate through these extraordinary times together, we are so grateful for your support, patience and understanding and we want to express how much we value the trust and confidence you have placed in us.
The safety of our campers, our families and our team is our #1 priority. Our mission of quality and excellence through carefully designed programs, a dedicated, experienced and well-trained staff, along with a caring, safe, and happy environment has been the cornerstone of ESF since our inception 38 years ago. It is this mission that is at the heart of the critical decisions we are making, as we plan for the Summer of 2020.
Many families have been in touch with us regarding important questions that we are working diligently to answer. Many of your questions are similar to our questions, and are associated with “time.” These include: the current status of the length of stay-at-home orders varying by county; social gathering restrictions; new summer camp health and safety guidelines; and will camp operate at Episcopal Academy in light of Governor Wolf’s reopening plan.
Here’s where we are as of today:
- Recently ESF was notified that The Episcopal Academy campus will be closed for the summer. Even though this was disappointing news to hear as we have been preparing for our 25th camp season at EA since the last day of the summer, this decision is understandable since some other schools have decided to close for the summer out of an abundance of caution. That being said, ESF has made significant investments in preparing for camp this season which include pre-purchasing supplies and equipment to serve our campers, recruiting and hiring staff members, developing curriculum, processing enrollments, purchasing insurance, and other back-end costs which is funded by camp tuition.
- ESF is currently assessing several alternatives that include discussions with the leadership at Episcopal Academy about the school’s ability to provide some support to help ESF Camps with this unfortunate situation. Once those conversations are finalized, we will have a better picture on a possible solution.
- For those families that are enrolled in one or all of the June sessions, we will contact you within one week to offer you a range of options which include: (1) Shifting your June sessions to later in the summer; (2) attending camp at another ESF location that is most convenient for you at one of our existing sites: The Haverford School (Haverford) or Montgomery School (Chester Springs); and (3) if camp cannot operate for certain weeks or until 2021, we will offer an interactive on-line experience at home as an alternative for families (more details coming soon). Please note if the camp season is modified in any way, we will adjust your tuition accordingly and you will receive a credit for any tuition fees paid (fully transferable to family/friends, which never expires) and can be applied to any of our camps in future years at EA or another ESF site.
- Our medical team of experts, including our lead physician and nurse, are focused on developing and implementing additional safety measures, on-site protocols and staff training for the upcoming summer. As the pandemic progresses each week, we continue to evaluate, refine and prepare our plans for camp to operate safely and successfully.
- We have been in weekly communications with the American Camp Association’s (ACA) President, Tom Rosenberg. We are confident that the CDC and ACA will be releasing guidelines for summer camps within the next two weeks. Their recommendations will serve as our baseline. Our safety protocols will exceed their guidelines, be amended accordingly, and be implemented into every aspect of our camp operation.
We understand the importance of camp this summer for you and your family. We promise to keep you informed with another update as soon as we hear back from the Governor’s office, CDC, ACA and local health department. In the coming weeks we will share our final plans for this summer with you. We are here to support you every step of the way, so feel free to contact us at 610-688-3298 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please visit our FAQ page for additional questions we have received to date that may help.
Thank you for your continued support. We’re in this together, and we need each other more than ever as we navigate the path ahead.
Executive Director & Co-Founder