May 18, 2020
Dear Yavneh Kehilla,
For 76 summers Yavneh has been the second home to countless chanichim (campers) for two months every year. During these life-changing weeks in Northwood, chanichim connect with their best friends for life and engage in joyful and meaningful Jewish experiences. Singing in the Chadar Ochel, swimming in the Agam, relaxing on Shabbat afternoons, and exciting trips on Achla Yom days exemplify the ruach that chanichim experience at Yavneh year after year.
Now more than ever, chanichim and parents crave something familiar and fun because life as we knew it has changed so dramatically. Over the last two months, Yavneh staff and board members have tirelessly examined every possible scenario to open in 2020. We assembled a COVID-19 Task Force and brainstormed how to implement the recommended CDC guidelines. Throughout the process, we prioritized the safety of our extended camp community and the Yavneh camp experience above all else.
It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors and Hanhallah (Camp Leadership) have unanimously decided to cancel all camp programs, including Na’aleh, post-Kerem summer in Israel, for Kayitz 2020. This decision was not an easy one, but after exhausting every creative option, we feel that it is the one that best honors our commitment, above all, to keep campers, counselors, staff, families, and our Northwood community safe. The global pandemic challenges our ability to guarantee our community’s health, and also compromises our ability to offer an authentic Yavneh summer amid myriad restrictions. In light of this announcement, we have offered all Yavneh families a 100% tuition refund.
We know that this announcement is heartbreaking for chanichim and parents alike. In particular we recognize the disappointment for Kerem 2020, who have been dreaming of this summer since Gurim. They have eagerly anticipated welcoming the younger chanichim on the first day of camp, taking charge of Shabbat zemirot, being role models for their campers and showing their leadership skills through five days of Maccabiah. We are all together in mourning the loss of a Yavneh summer and we are here for you as you process and share this news.
We love being on Lucas Pond as much as you do, and we are grieving with you for a summer lost. We truly hold out hope, if the right conditions are present, that even late summer or into fall, we would consider bringing small groups of campers or families together for a memorable Yavneh experience. What that looks like remains unclear as guidelines continue to change daily, but we promise that we will share with our community any developments of possible alternate programming.
Until then, please consider donating to Camp Yavneh. To date, we have already spent $1,600,000 in non-refundable camp preparations – 48% of our total budget. We rely on tuition revenue to fund year-long planning, training, summer purchasing, year-round programming, and staff. While we have already begun to implement cost-saving measures including reducing staff and food costs, delaying non-essential summer maintenance, and recouping program fees, we need the support of the entire community.
We are fortunate to be a recipient of the All Together Now matching grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) through its JCamp 180 program. We are eligible to receive $1 from HGF for every $2 that you donate to Camp Yavneh. Your support will help ensure a strong, bright future for Camp Yavneh.
Thank you for considering any monetary donation so that we can maximize our gift from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Click here to donate.
- Video: Take a moment to watch Bil’s camp closing announcement video.
- FAQ’s: Please check out the updated FAQ’s on our website regarding camp closure.
- Community Support: Everyone is invited for a Yavneh community ReLiSh on Friday, May 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT. Zoom information to follow.
- Alternate Camp Activities: Nothing will replace being together in Northwood but please stay tuned for updates for online camp activities and programs this summer. We anticipate sending out information in the first week of June.