May 18, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that we share that Camp O-AT-KA is suspending all youth programs for Summer 2020. The decision to cancel is painful for everyone. This will be the first season in 115 years that O-AT-KA will not open its doors. As hard as it is, we are confident that this is the right and necessary decision. The health and safety of our campers and camp community is our top priority – it always has and always will be. We vow to remain committed to safety and providing a true camp experience.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the O-AT-KA leadership has been actively involved with state authorities, camp directors and medical organizations, the American Camp Association, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other sources. We are grateful we had the resources and networks available to make educated decisions. Each camp’s situation is different and we feel this is the best course of action for O-AT-KA.
We were holding our final decision until we saw the details outlined in the Governor’s Reopening Maine plan and how it pertains to residential summer camps. With the information now available, it is clear we are not able to provide the safe and enriching summer experience our campers deserve.
Our camp parents and children have been patient, positive, and inspiring throughout this difficult process. Thank you. None of this was expected. None of this feels normal. This decision is devastating to all. Even though we won’t be together on the shores of Sebago, O-AT-KA is always there to ground and guide us in uncertain times. The spirit of camp lives on through each of you in our hearts, homes and communities.
All children enrolled in a camp program for 2020 will have a guaranteed spot in 2021. You have the choice to either receive your 2020 tuition as a refund, turn some or all of it into a charitable donation, or roll tuition forward to 2021 and lock in at the 2020 rate. Many in our camp family are being extraordinarily generous right now – a true testament to how important O-AT-KA is to so many. As you likely know, but may not often consider, we work year-round to ensure that summer is happy, healthy and safe. Camp O-AT-KA’s income is primarily the tuition paid by families. We are a non-profit organization and all programs are possible because of those that care so deeply. O-AT-KA will return for a fantastic summer in 2021 and continue our traditions for decades to come.
In the coming days, we will reach out with ways to connect with the camp, offer support for your children, provide a list of FAQs’; and guidance on next steps. Please check www.campoatka.org for additional information. We will personally be in touch to help you navigate your choices moving forward and to offer one-on-one assistance.
Knowing this decision is a disappointment to your children is the hardest part, but we also know we must keep them safe. O-AT-KA will be here for you during this time. The video message attached is for your boys and we ask that you share it with them. We are already looking forward to an EPIC 2021. We are grateful to have you in our lives and to be part of your son’s journey.
Heather Plati John Hall
Executive Director President, Board of Directors