Dear Camp Community,
It is with a heavy heart that 4-H Camp Shankitunk announces we will not open our facility for summer 2020. Trying to decide if camp should open or remain closed is not a decision we have taken lightly and has been a difficult process. In the end, we took some time to think back on our mission; to provide a safe, fun, and educational experience in the outdoors. Safety is our number one priority. Each and every camper and staff member is precious to us and the risk of jeopardizing your safety is not one we feel is appropriate to take when there is still much to learn about gathering together safely as NY begins to re-open in the coming weeks.
Another factor in this decision was fun. A camp without hugs, team challenge, swimming in the pool, gaga, 4square, eating shoulder to shoulder at picnic tables, silly skits, campfire circle, vespers, meeting new friends in your classes, or any one of the amazing traditions seemed unfathomable to us. We considered several scenarios and kept coming back to the realization that it wouldn’t be camp as we all know and love.
While we are heartbroken, we remain #ShankitunkStrong and recognize that we can do hard things; like finding new and exciting ways to share camp with the world because the world needs camp right now. You are experienced in the ways of Shankitunk and that campfire light burns in your heart even when you are away from camp. We hope you will stoke the fire and keep it burning bright until it is safe to gather at camp again. More so, we hope that you will share your light of Shankitunk with the world. Teach someone your favorite camp game or song, give warm fuzzies, set the table at home, find opportunities for new adventures and getting outside, be a team player in your community. You are brave, strong, resilient, and we are proud of each one of you.
That said, Covid-19 may have closed our facility, but it cannot cancel connection! We are actively putting together some alternative programming opportunities and invite you and your friends to connect with camp in that way this summer. We will get through this together, one day at a time. We would love to see your camp memories, photos, T-shirts new and old, a camp song sung at full volume, and campers getting outside this summer! It will remind us (and all of you) that the camp spirit lives on even when we are not physically at camp.
We are offering full refunds to anyone who has already registered. While this will be financially devastating to 4-H Camp Shankitunk, it is the right thing to do. There are two alternative options if you are able to help support camp during this time. You can defer your payment to next summer or elect to donate any portion of your camp fee to cover our non-variable operating costs, including maintenance, utilities, insurance, and supporting year-round employees who depend on their camp employment. If you chose the option of a donation we are eternally grateful to you for your generosity. Please complete our reimbursement form to let us know how you would like to handle your camp fee for 2020.
Thank you all for your unwavering support during this difficult time. We are looking forward to seeing camp stories and photos from you, and planning an incredible summer 2021. Please reach out to us directly anytime at Shankitunk4hcamp@cornell.edu or (607) 865-6531.