News and Updates

News and Updates

Information for campers, parents, staff, and alumni regarding goings-on at camp.



Another summer 2020 update

Email to parents, sent 5/7/2020

Thursday, May 7, 2020/by Ken Robbins

As always, I hope you and your family are healthy and in good spirits. It’s been a long and challenging spring!

We are less than two months from Kabeyun’s planned start date for the summer. Just as I expect you are anxious to make your plans for July and August, we, too, are nearing decision time. Kabeyun’s Porter Foundation Board of Trustees intends to make a firm decision on whether to open camp by the end of May.

I am still cautiously optimistic we will have a pathway to open this summer, although I’m not certain. In the coming weeks, the CDC is expected to issue national guidance for operating residential camps. Then the state of New Hampshire is likely to set its own guidelines – and we will work from there. Recently, I have had the privilege of working with other camps and state agencies as President of the New Hampshire Camp Directors Association. All of us are committed to trying to find a way for camps to safely operate this summer.

Just as Kabeyun continually assesses its capacity to minimize the inherent risks of any activity (swimming, rock climbing, and kayaking, to name a few!), we are evaluating our ability to manage health this summer. Kabeyun does not have a do-it-at-all-costs mentality, but neither are we entirely risk averse. A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for – I’ve heard that at many Pine Point services over the years. Facing challenge with courage is one of the pillars that Kabeyun is built upon.

If, by the end of May, too many critical concerns remain unanswerable or the trustees and I deem the risks too significant, we will close for 2020 and start to plan for 2021. If, however, we are confident in our ability to adequately manage the risks and still provide the quality experience you, your children, and we expect then we will carry on in our preparations.

What I know for certain is if Kabeyun opens this year it will be unlike any summer we’ve ever experienced. Here are some of the measures we are considering to keep everyone safe:

  • We will not open on the expected dates of our normal sessions. Instead, we expect the first day of camp to be Sunday, July 12 for all campers. We would bring everyone enrolled in any 2020 session to camp on that date, and campers could stay six weeks until August 22, the original end date for the summer. If you choose, your camper could depart after four or five weeks, and tuition would be adjusted accordingly. However, our priority is minimizing all coming and going from camp this summer. Starting later would give us more time to prepare, more time for improved screening tools to become available, and more time for state-mandated restrictions to relax. By eliminating the changeover between sessions and getting everyone to camp for a single start date, we could focus on starting healthy and staying healthy for the full summer.
     
  • Both staff and campers would be asked to self-quarantine for two weeks before coming to camp to maximize the health of the entire community. We recognize this would be a significant demand – it would be for the protection of your campers, all of the other campers, and our staff. Hopefully it would be an extension of what you’re already doing, as difficult as that would be to continue.
     
  • The late start will allow us to bring the staff to camp for an extended precamp period. In addition to their own self-quarantine, staff would remain at camp for two weeks of precamp training, allowing us to prepare the facility and keep a close eye on everyone’s health before campers arrive.
     
  • We will minimize our contact with the outside world from the staff’s arrival in early July through the departure of the last camper in late August, doing everything within reason to “pull up the drawbridge.” Likely, there would be no visitors, no tours, and no out-of-camp trips this summer. Staff members would spend their days off within camp or at a remote location arranged by Kabeyun. As much as possible, we would bring a doctor to camp instead of taking campers to the clinic –not only for our own protection but to minimize our impact on the surrounding communities.
     
  • We would increase our communication with you, setting up times when you can chat with your camper’s cabin counselors and weekly “town hall” style sessions with Mike Bell and me, using Zoom, Skype, or Facetime.

We are considering numerous other operational changes, ranging from enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols to the safest methods of bringing deliveries into camp. As we get closer to the summer, we will share our new protocols to help you evaluate whether you are able and willing to send your son to camp.

We will support you and your family in whatever choice you feel is best. If you decide that these changes are not enough for you to feel confident sending your son, or if the additional requirements and date changes would prevent your son from attending, there would be no financial penalty for withdrawing. You could apply any monies paid to next summer, convert some or all of them to a tax-deductible gift to Kabeyun, or receive them back in full.

The most essential thing to understand is this – if Kabeyun opens, we cannot guarantee that Covid-19 will not be present at camp this summer. We would take extensive precautions to prevent it, as the modifications mentioned above and additional measures deemed appropriate should suggest, but there is simply no realistic way to guarantee that we could keep the virus from finding its way in. We have an extraordinary healthcare staff and an exceptional record of safety. We would hope to supplement that with added resources and, if possible, an on-site physician. We will do our best to prepare and, as always, provide excellent care in coordination with you.

Whenever the Porter Foundation board’s decision comes and whatever it is – to open, not open, or modify our plans – I will hold a Zoom meeting immediately afterwards. I invite all of you to join so you can hear directly from me. I’ll talk, I’ll listen, and together we will begin to navigate what comes next.

With love,

Ken


Summer 2020 update - an important message regarding tuition and enrollment

Email to parents, sent 4/7/2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020/by Ken Robbins

Spring is upon us, and as we begin in earnest the process of opening camp for Kabeyun's 97th summer, the questions raised by the COVID-19 pandemic remain as-yet unanswerable.

We remain focused on planning a successful camp season. Kabeyun's senior staff and the Porter Foundation trustees are developing health and safety protocols with optimism, though we recognize the sober reality that camp may find itself limited in its operation this summer.

For those of you with enrolled campers and those waiting to decide about this summer, rest assured that in the event camp cannot run your son’s session or the summer itself, his tuition can be applied to another session or to next summer, converted to a tax-deductible gift in support of Kabeyun, or returned to you. The health and safety of our camp community is our absolute priority, and Kabeyun is prepared to weather this storm.

Real hope remains for this summer, and it is with that hope that we continue to plan and prepare. We’ve delayed the due date for tuition balances until May 15. For those still waiting to enroll, we encourage you to do so now, so we can more accurately anticipate our staffing and material needs. I hope that the assurance of your tuition dollars, be it through the “program protector” insurance if we are open and he cannot attend or through camp’s tuition policy in case of non-operation, gives you the confidence to begin making plans with optimism.

Please email or call the office if you have questions or concerns.

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay hopeful!

Ken Robbins
Director


A Message of Hope, Spring 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020/by Ken Robbins

On Saturday, March 28, 2020, I spent the morning at camp thinking about where we're at in our preparations for summer.


Observations on COVID-19

Email to parents, sent 3/12/2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Kabeyun Families

We are writing to let you know that we are planning another fantastic summer for your boys at Kabeyun, and at the same time, we are of course actively monitoring COVID-19 in the US and New Hampshire. The Board of Trustees (which includes two practicing physicians) and I are following the outbreak’s daily developments.

At Kabeyun, the health and safety of your child is always our highest priority. While we currently anticipate no disruption of our 2020 camp sessions, we will continue to assess the situation and follow any directives from the CDC and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

We will send you updates as developments merit.

We hope that you and your family are safe and healthy and remain so.

Sincerely,

Ken Robbins
Kabeyun Director

Andrew Baumel, MD
Framingham Pediatrics
Porter Foundation Trustee

William Robinson, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Immunology and Rheumatology
Stanford University
Porter Foundation Trustee


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