Information for campers, parents, staff, and alumni regarding goings-on at camp.
The question on all of our minds is "Will Kabeyun re-open in 2021?"
We are working hard to prepare and plan for a successful summer in 2021, and expect to post session dates and tuition by the middle of November. Re-enrollment for families who had planned on being at camp in 2020 will open shortly thereafter, and enrollment for new families will begin two weeks after that.
Lots more information coming soon!
It is with profound sadness that I share Kabeyun’s decision to suspend our traditional camp program for the summer of 2020 due to Covid-19. As painful as this decision was to make, I am heartbroken to think of how this will affect you, your family, and our camp community. This will be Kabeyun’s first summer in our entire 97-year history with no campers. I am confident we have made the most responsible decision for the health and safety of our campers and their families, our staff, and the New Hampshire communities surrounding camp, though that does little to fill the void that a summer without camp leaves.
From this pandemic’s start, the Porter Foundation’s Board of Trustees and I have worked at little else than to find a pathway to open camp safely. We conferred with countless experts and organizations, including doctors, scientists, camps, associations, and government agencies, to pool expert science-based resources and develop a set of safety criteria. For months, we have pondered and debated how to operate safely and responsibly this summer, developing possible solutions, and then tackling the next set of questions which invariably arose. By mid-May, there were still far too many “unknowables” and it became clear that Kabeyun could not with confidence provide the safe and enriching experiences our campers deserve this summer.
As sorely as our campers and families need camp, as desperately as we all want camp to operate this summer, and as great a benefit it would provide, we must look ahead to being there for our campers next year, and the year after. Kabeyun will have a critical role to play in how our community recovers from this moment. Opening camp in a manner inconsistent with our dedication to safety and unfaithful to our commitment to choice, independence, and community living would be too at odds with our core values and John Porter’s guiding philosophy.
The process of arriving at this decision was excruciating for everyone involved. We have planned and prepared through the fall, winter, and spring to welcome, love, and challenge your children this summer. Our deepest heartache lies in losses that we cannot yet appreciate – adventures not taken, lessons not learned, and connections not made. The greatest gift Kabeyun has to offer are those experiences that guide boys toward discovery of their capacity for resilience, empathy, courage, and stewardship of the world around them. Those qualities that Kabeyun fosters are needed today more than ever.
The need for these opportunities will only grow as we move ahead, and our focus turns now to the future. All campers enrolled in any 2020 session will have a guaranteed spot at Kabeyun in 2021. You have the choice to roll tuition payments forward to the summer of 2021, turn them into a charitable contribution, or receive a refund. We’ll share a process for each of those choices in the coming days.
As a non-profit organization, Kabeyun relies on the generosity of our community members to help put our mission into action. Suspending camp this summer will have a dramatic impact not just on our operating budget for this year, but on our future enrollment and capacity for growth. There are myriad ways to support Kabeyun in its resiliency over the next several years, and we hope you will consider joining that effort.
Whether this would have been your fifth, 25th, or first Kabeyun summer, whether you are a parent, grandparent, alum, or friend, camp is always with you. You are part of this community, anchored by its experiences and values. We encourage you to stay connected as we craft new ways to engage with one another in 2020. As always, we welcome your ideas. To start, I invite you to join me for several “town hall” style meetings in the days and weeks ahead so you can hear directly from me, and I can hear directly from you.
The trustees, staff, and I are already looking to brighter days, our next summer, and the expectation that we will be together on the shores of Winnipesaukee again. Until that time, be well, and thank you for being part of the Kabeyun family.
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 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.
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!
On Saturday, March 28, 2020, I spent the morning at camp thinking about where we're at in our preparations for summer.
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.
Andrew Baumel, MD
Porter Foundation Trustee
William Robinson, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Immunology and Rheumatology
Porter Foundation Trustee