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Dear Camp Ojibwa Families…
For more than 92 years, Camp Ojibwa’s mission has been to help turn boys into men and to teach them strength and perseverance. We live that mission every single day, and will continue to do so for years to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a significant challenge for Ojibwa. From the very beginning, we believed we could overcome the hurdles that the pandemic would set in our path, and open Ojibwa for our boys this summer. We developed a comprehensive plan with protocols and procedures based on guidance from the American Camping Association and the CDC. Our Plan was thoroughly reviewed and vetted by our internal leadership team of Camp alumni and by medical professionals across multiple disciplines throughout the country. We were, and remain, convinced that we had the expertise, the training, and the ability to execute the plan this summer. As we have said in numerous writings over the past three months, our goal was to make Camp Ojibwa the safest place on Earth in the summer of 2020. Therefore, in the true Ojibwa spirit, we fought “with all our strength and might” for Camp Ojibwa. We believed that we could conquer all obstacles and barriers, and overcome all health-related issues. We stayed in the game as long as possible and refused to give up, including conversations held in the past 48 hours with Government officials
Ultimately, however, we were defeated by the State of Wisconsin and the Vilas County Health Department. As we compiled all of the data, reviewed the current trends of Wisconsin’s cases, and analyzed the local healthcare system, we determined that we could not proceed with our regular camp operation and programming this summer. It was particularly significant that the Vilas County Health Department advised us that it would be unable to provide us with any support this summer, and may shut us down should we have any positive COVID cases. As you know, most of our brother and sister camps are located in counties in Wisconsin other than Vilas. Ojibwa is one of the few of our peer overnight camps located in Vilas County and subject to the stringent regulations issued by that County. Nevertheless, we respect the County’s position, and we will accept and abide by its determination. We therefore have no choice but to cancel the 2020 camp season.
This unthinkable outcome came as a blow to all of us. We are grieving the loss of this summer alongside all of you. The two of us, as Directors and as parents of campers and staff, know personally how significantly this impacts the lives of our campers, staff, and families. We are deeply hurt, but we are not down. We learn at Camp that we must always be resilient, and must never give up. We did everything humanly possible to open Camp. We did it for Ojibwa because, as we sing in our fight song, “we love her truly and for her we’ll always fight.”
During the past three months, we received an outpouring of support and encouragement from our camper families, staff, and the entire Ojibwa community. The letters, emails, texts, calls, and video messages demonstrate your passion and commitment to Ojibwa, and reaffirms what makes Ojibwa so special. We are grateful for all of you, and take great pride in being a part of the lives of our campers and staff. The two of us are here for all of you in any way that you need. Do not hesitate to reach out at any time. We are together, we are PureBWA.
We will send follow-ups to you about tuition refunds, and our great plans for the summer of 2021, as soon as possible. Until then, please click here to watch this video and join us in appreciating the true spirit of Camp Ojibwa. Here’s to Camp Ojibwa,
Joel and Joey