Watch our Camp Director, Casey Yurow, as he shares a camp update and special message with the entire Eden Village West community.
Summer is such a special time for many, and especially our children, who look forward to camp all year. “Camp is a place where I can truly be myself,” is a refrain we hear from our campers, over and over again. Eden Village West hopes to run camp for many summers along the banks of the Russian River, providing our campers with the enriching, transformative, and nurturing experiences they want and need.
It is with great sadness that we share our plans to cancel all of our Summer 2020 camp sessions to ensure the safety of our community. If public health conditions, resources, and guidelines change and enable us to operate in-person gatherings safely, we will do everything within our means to gather at camp in some capacity this summer.
Why cancel camp now? COVID-19 has impacted our ability to ensure the safety of our campers, staff, and the families that our camp participants return home to. Without this fundamental necessity, Eden Village West cannot safely facilitate the high quality programming our community deserves. This decision was made after months of careful planning, information gathering, and conversations with our partners at The Centers for Disease Control, Sonoma County Health Department, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, our advisory board, camp families, summer staff, and Eden Village Camp, among others. The known and unknown risks of running camp due to COVID-19 have made it nearly impossible for us to envision a path forward for camp this summer.
This moment is filled with grief. Camp is the center of our world. Our year-round team plans for ten months a year to run a transformative residential program over the summer. We know that many of our campers leave camp, only to immediately begin counting down the days until next summer. Our hearts are broken and we are grieving – for camp, for our campers, for our staff, for our families, and for everyone impacted by COVID-19 around the world. Sheltering in place is hard, and we know kids would benefit socially, emotionally, and physically from experiences like summer camp more than ever. We hope you find ways to process and share your feelings together with your family, camp friends, and community. Sharing, naming, and understanding our feelings during hard times is an important part of the healing process. We found this New York Times article and blog from the URJ helpful when dealing with our own feelings. If you need someone to connect with, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach our Camp Director, Casey, directly at email@example.com or call our office at 510 560 5610.
COVID-19 has seriously impacted the short and long term financial health of our organization. Camper tuition represents 75% of our yearly budget. We are working hard to raise funds to keep camp viable. If you feel called to donate now, we would be extremely grateful. We will be sharing more details about ways to support Eden Village West in the weeks to come.
Though we cannot operate camp, this summer Eden Village West will continue to operate our farm and donate 100% of the produce we grow this season. We hope to welcome small groups of people to help us harvest produce later in the summer if social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
We know COVID-19 has forced many of our families into a stressful and challenging financial situation, and that is why we will be offering full refunds to all our families. Families will have three options for how to distribute their tuition paid for Summer 2020. You will be able to customize the exact way your tuition is allocated. Your three options are the following:
We will be calling all of our families starting this week so that we can answer any questions you might have and to let you know that we are with you during this incredibly sad and challenging time. Next week, we will also send you an online form that allows you to allocate your tuition among these three options. We appreciate your patience during this process, as we are doing everything we can to coordinate refunding our families as soon as possible.
Share a message of love and support. We are inviting people to make a post on our KudoBoard. You can share a picture, video, and/or message to the wider Eden Village West community. Share words of support, a memory from camp, gratitude, hopes for the future, or anything else that is meaningful to you. This is open to campers, staff, families, and other community members.
We are hosting a virtual Village Circle this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. We invite Eden Village West families, campers, staff, and community members to join us this Wednesday at 6:30 pm for a virtual Village Circle. Our year-round team will share updates relevant to our camp community and answer questions.
Additionally, Shabbat is one of the most special times at camp. We wish this summer we could sing Kabbalat Shabbat songs in the apple orchard, parade through the Lev, and lounge in the Beit Shefa (dining hall) enjoying a Friday night community meal. We invite you to join us virtually this Friday at 5:30 pm PST for a Kabbalat Shabbat led by our year-round team. We will sing songs, share stories, and connect with one another in Eden Village fashion. It would mean a lot to us for you to join this virtual gathering.
Despite the sorrow that comes with this announcement, we are eternally grateful we have been able to run two amazing Eden Village West summers. It has truly been the experience of a lifetime. We know there are better times ahead and many joyful camp moments awaiting us in Summer 2021 and beyond. We can’t wait to share them with you.
L’Shalom / In Peace,
Casey Yurow, Camp Director
Zachary Friedman, Assistant Director
Nava Sherwood, Operations Manager
We invite Eden Village West families, campers, staff, and community members to join us this Wednesday at 6:30 pm for a virtual Village Circle. Our year-round team will share updates relevant to our camp community and answer questions. We’ll sing happy birthday to someone special…