Dear C.A.M.P. friends,
Girls Camp 2020 and Boys Camp 2020 both have been canceled. The camp sites, Redwood Glen and Oljato, respectively, from whom we rent, have canceled all sessions. Even if they were to open, recruitment and the safety and health guidelines for residence camping would present difficult and insurmountable problems for us. The cost, not even considering the transportation, would have been too prohibitive.
However, as per California state charter, we are still in the business of providing a camping experience for youth. We are still committed in serving youth, especially the underserved. We want to engage our youth in their physical and spiritual development. In living in the community of people we hope they would feel welcomed and a belongingness so that in turn they may contribute to their own communities. These are our main goals, and we will be struggling on how to actuate them in this apparently “changed” world as we emerge from the consequences and uncertainties of this pandemic.
Camp Alumni Membership Program (C.A.M.P.) was established as a California state charter non-profit charitable organization in 1984. We resolve that this organization will be managed and operated by all volunteers. Its sole purpose then was to provide funds for the Chinatown YMCA youth camping and youth-in-government programs. It was established with the support of community people independent of the Chinatown YMCA so that 100% of the funds raised would go toward directly to camperships to the youth. The independence would avoid the 13% charge of all revenue Chinatown YMCA raised going to its parent organization, the Metropolitan YMCA of San Francisco.
In 1991 in order to expand our support base we in collaboration with the Chinatown YMCA established a family weekend residence camp. At its inception the participants consisted of former Y campers and their families. Through their contacts we able to reach out and expanded the number of people involved with the eventual goal of C.A.M.P. of being true to our original charter.
In 1993 we went independent from Chinatown YMCA, operating on our own Family Residence Camp at Oakland YMCA Camp Loma Mar. We had an added feature, a Girls Camp component of six girls. In 1994 we added to the two camps at Loma Mar a Boys Camp component of thirty boys*. In 1996 while the girls were still attached to the Family Camp, we operated our first Boys Residence Camp at Camp Oljato in the high sierras. As a family style did not adhere to our original charter, it was dropped after fifteen successful years. But we continued to operate successfully and separately Girls Camp at Redwood Glen and Boys Camp at Oljato until this year.
That we are independent allowing us to be nimble and flexible plays a role in our success with our camps. Our strength is being able to change with the times. As we held fast to traditional values, we were able to make those values relevant to a changing demographics. While parts of the program appear to be like the ‘good old days’, they still engender belongingness and service to others.
Now we are facing a new reality of the necessity of social distancing. Social distancing is antithesis to what we do, that is, making connections with and for people. Our resolve to serve youth will be tested. Our desire to maintain connections with our volunteers, our fund raisers, school people, etc. will be daunting. Implementing a program in keeping with our goals will be challenging.
We acknowledge, then, any plans we have must seriously consider the added health and safety issues given the present state of affairs. We need to assure parents that we will be following social distance and safety guidelines for group gatherings. Some churches and social agencies have announced the opening of some summer programs, some of which will be virtual as the community emerges slowly from the lockdown. We have the resources and the ability; so, therefore we should do something to make a difference in the community. We will begin slowly, testing the waters, as we emerge from this pandemic.
The following is a list of some program possibilities for this year and the next, depending on the situation. We have the funds to do something since we will not have residence camps to operate. They are presented to get the ball rolling and can be all discarded. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed, as everything is fair game at this point.
These activities attempt to accommodate only groups of less than or equal to ten people, as per social distancing. Even if we could pull off at least half a dozen of these types of activities throughout the year, just think how many people we could reach. Of course, scheduling would be a tremendous task.
1. Camping skills (pitch a tent, cooking, make a fire, etc.)
2. Bike outing with lunch.
3. Bird watching excursion
4. Day hike with lunch
5. Night skate
6. Skateboard class and outing
7. Photo class and outing
8. Volunteer at a food bank
9. Work on a project in Clarence’s workshop
10. Tree planting
11. Pick up garbage
12. Can we do archery? Or riflery?
15. Fitness running and training
16. Zoom activities
17. on and on….