Camp Foster YMCA Announces Suspension Of Overnight Camping Sessions For This Summer; Day Sessions To Still Be Held As Of Now

Thu 5-14-2020

(Spirit Lake)-- The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Camp Foster to suspend this coming summer's overnight camp sessions. Josh Carr, Camp Foster Executive Director, says the decision was based on the safety of campers and summer staff and a lack of definitive guidance...Josh Carr01 

"When you go to CDC or the American Camping Association and you look for guidelines and some of those guidelines are, well we'll come out later with them. Or this looks like this but there's no real definition to it. So with the unknowns that put us in a location or a place at different times that we couldn't make a definitive answer on how we could protect kids. And if you can't make a definitive answer on how to protect kids you really, really, shouldn't be holding a program, so we came to that conclusion. There's a number of camps that are allied camps in the country and in the area that are in the same place. It's heartbreaking for kids but I think for this time it's the best decision for all of us."

Carr says as of now, Camp Foster is still planning to hold retreats, group functions and day camps this summer...Josh Carr02 

"The model that we do for a day camp right now, we see more light at the tunnel that we can get through this. There's still going to be a lot of things and a lot of hoops to jump through, so with that I would say we are planning to move forward with it. We have a better opportunity to serve kids in a safe way with our day camp. However things could change as we all know. The Governor could come forth and give us some information in the next week or two that turns our world upside down again, but right now we've got to give our kids and our campers and our families some fleeting hope, so that's what we're doing now, we're offering day camp for eight weeks this summer."

Carr says the absence of overnight camp sessions this season will have serious financial implications on the YMCA of the Okoboji's...Josh Carr03 

"We are going to be reaching out to all of our camper families. It is like a family to us. These people have been with us for many, many years. Some of them for three or four generations. They know how important camp is. They know camp needs to be here in 2021. So we're going to be reaching out to them asking families to do everything from perhaps giving us their camper fees this year and signing up again next year; donating what they can if they need to get their registration money back that we can help with that, we don't, we're not going to keep their money. But if they need us to hold onto that, we will. There are a lot of avenues to help support us. And we're going to reach out to the community. We are tied together with the Bedell Family YMCA as an association. We're going to be looking at some tight times and we're going to be reaching out to our area community to really rally and say hey yes, we love the Y, we love Camp Foster and we want to help."

Monetary donations may be made by contacting Cindy Rosa, Director of Member Engagement and Development, at 336-9622. You can also text the words “save camp” to 712-201-0902 to donate. All donations are tax deductible.