May 22, 2020
A Message from Sarah and Jeff
Dear Rockbrook Families,
Thank you for all the encouragement, support and patience you’ve shown us as we have been grappling with the complexities of how camp might operate during the unfolding of the CoVid-19 pandemic.
After weeks of consideration, gathering expert advice and guidance from various state and national authorities, it is still unclear how to bring campers and staff members together for camp, while at the same time keeping everyone healthy.
The recent set of rules given by our state health department define so many restrictions, that taken together, really make it impossible for us to gather as a community, and to recreate what we know and love about Rockbrook.
We are very sorry to say it, but we have made the difficult decision to suspend all of the Rockbrook sessions this summer.
It is very hard for us to give you this news because we know how much everyone has been looking forward to returning to camp, seeing friends, and just being at Rockbrook. We have been looking forward to it too! We all need to get outside, and breathe in the mountain air. We need to dress up and sing, laugh and dance with our friends arm-in-arm. We need to ditch our screens and return to what’s real… our real friends, our real selves, and the real love we feel at camp.
We hope that you will work to re-create some of that camp magic wherever you are this summer – reach out to others you don’t know well, try out a new skill without expecting perfection, and let the silly, carefree side of you out.
We know this is a hard thing. It’s hard for us. It’s hard for everyone. But we also know that you are strong, resilient Rockbrook girls.
Most importantly, we want to stay in touch with all of you this summer as we all work through this crazy time. Next summer will be Rockbrook’s 100th Birthday, and we very much hope to see all of you here. We will be in touch more about that in the coming months. We would love to connect with each of you soon to discuss your individual situation.
We can’t wait to see every one of you again. You’ll always have place here in the “heart of the wooded mountain,” just as Rockbrook will always have a place in your heart.
Sending Rockbrook love,
Sarah and Jeff
These are a few of the questions many of you are asking right now. We hope you find the answers helpful.
Please reach out if we can help.
Why did you decide to close camp?
Rockbrook is foremost a close-knit community, a place where we do everything together. Our camp spirit is literally fueled by the close relationships between the friends we make here. This summer, given the real health concerns of CoVid-19 infection, we would have to follow so many distancing requirements, group size limitations, and other program changes, we simply would not be able to revive that camp spirit we all expect. There are many factors that led to this decision— too many to mention here —but for Rockbrook, it’s currently impossible to offer a healthy, positive camp experience during this unfolding pandemic.
What happens next?
This is very difficult for all of us, but especially for your children. We hope first that you will take time to reassure them, and empathize with their feelings of loss. For many, Rockbrook is a true home, something deeply meaningful and essential that can’t be replaced. Listen a lot. Answer your child’s questions about CoVid-19. Without trying to “fix” the situation, offer whatever comfort you can. Reassure them that Rockbrook will still be here next year.
What about the tuition paid for this summer?
We hope you will look forward to next summer and apply your camp fees to a 2021 session. This will be a huge help to Rockbrook as we consider the reality of surviving for two years on one summer of income. If you do roll your paid tuition forward, you will still be eligible for a full refund before February 1, 2021. We are likewise committed to giving you the option of a full refund, if you choose.
Why do you prefer families roll their tuition forward to 2021?
Since September last year, Rockbrook has been relying on tuition deposits to maintain and improve its facilities, support its full-time leadership team, and prepare for this summer. Refunding 2020 tuition would be a significant financial burden for Rockbrook, while choosing to roll your paid tuition forward to 2021 will allow us to manage our cash and expenses as we look toward next summer. We certainly recognize this may not be feasible for all families, and we respect everyone’s individual choice to chose a refund instead.
How will I indicate my preference with respect to tuition paid?
We ask that you submit an online form to indicate your preference. Login to your CampMinder account using your email and password, then select the “Forms and Documents” Icon. You will find several options listed, along with an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments. You can also indicate which 2021 session you prefer. Please note that you must complete this form for each child. If you would like to discuss the options listed, or if you need assistance completing the form, please contact us. Even if you have already communicated with us about your preference, we ask that everyone complete this form before July 1.
What are the dates for next summer?
First Session: Sunday, June 6 – Thursday, June 24
June Mini Session: Sunday, June 13 – Thursday, June 24
Second Session: Sunday, June 27 – Thursday, July 22
July Mini Session I: Sunday, June 27 – Thursday, July 8
July Mini Session II: Sunday, July 11 – Thursday, July 22
Third Session: Sunday, July 25 – Thursday, August 12
August Mini Session: Sunday, August 1 – Thursday, August 12
July Kayak Camp: Friday: July 23 — Saturday, July 31
July Horse Camp: Sunday: July 25 — Saturday, July 31
What about CA and Hi-Up campers?
We know how disappointed our senior campers are to miss out on these special Rockbrook experiences this summer. While we can’t recreate this year for them, we are already working to expand our opportunities for Rockbrook girls as they move through our leadership program. For now, we hope all our 2020 CAs will apply to be Hi-Ups next summer and all our 2020 Hi-Ups will apply to be CITs. There will be more details about that process in the coming months.
What if my camper was on a waitlist?
We will reach out later in the summer to provide you an opportunity to register before we open to new 2021 camper applications.
Can I make a donation to help Rockbrook?
Yes! Many parents have already asked if they can donate the fees they have paid, either as a tax deductible contribution to our scholarship fund, the “Redbird Endowment,” or as a direct contribution to the Rockbrook operating budget. Both will help Rockbrook during this challenging time. The online preference form mentioned above will allow you to indicate if you wish to donate all or a portion of your tuition to either fund.
Will you be offering some kind of “virtual” camp this summer?
We will be working on ways to connect with camp and with camp friends over the summer. We hope to sustain our camp community for both our campers and staff. You can also see us on Instagram (@rockbrookcamp) and Facebook (Rockbrook Camp).
If this mess clears up during the summer, will you reconsider this decision?
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely. While we can’t predict how the CoVid-19 pandemic will unfold, gathering the resources and staff to operate camp later will be too difficult.
Can I come visit this summer?
Yes! We are always happy to offer tours of camp. An appointment will be required for tours, but we can accommodate just about any day or time.
How else can I help Rockbrook?
Keep being awesome Rockbrook families! We’re so grateful for all the caring messages of trust and support you’ve been sending, the encouragement during this difficult decision-making process, and the confidence you’ve shown about camp being a place for your children in the future. Thank you! Next summer will be Rockbrook’s 100th anniversary and we’re planning lots of special surprises. Help us spread the word!