Letter to Summer Camp families - May 14, 2020

Dear Camp Families,


We appreciate your patience, and waiting with us, as we ourselves have waited for guidance and resources from state and local health experts regarding summer camp. We have been working on numerous contingency plans for weeks, and have been in almost daily communication with Orange County Health Dept over the past week as we've finalized our plans. The waiting is not completely over, but we do have some important information to share with you today. 



In coordination with the Orange County Health Dept, Camp Chestnut Ridge has developed a plan to reopen based on CDC, State and local guidelines.


The three camp programs we are prepared to offer beginning May 25th include:

  • Modified Day Camp - modified to meet new safety guidelines and incorporate time for remote learning school work. 

  • Horseback Riding - Family Trail Rides, Private Lessons, or Small Group lessons. 

  • Community Farm - Families may volunteer at the farm.



So what will Modified Day Camp look like?

Modified Day Camp will run for 2 weeks beginning on May 25th. Because of new standard healthcare protocols day camp will look a little different than previous years. But it will still maintain the same staff, activities, and spirit of Day Camp at Chestnut Ridge as we know it. 

All activities, including lunch, will take place outdoors, weather permitting. Campers will be placed in a small group of 10 or less including the counselor. They will remain in this group throughout the week for all activities. The small groups will have limited to no interaction with one another. Enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and handwashing will take place. We invite you to click here to read detailed protocols for operation of this Modified Day Camp.

If NC moves into Phase 2 or 3, some of these guidelines may change. Any changes will be made in coordination with the Orange County Health Dept.


What about School Work?

During Modified Day Camp May 25 - June 5 there will be time built into the schedule for campers to work on their school work. Campers should bring any laptop, tablet, or supplies they need to complete their work. Staff will be available to assist campers as best they can. 


What about Horseback Riding Lessons and the Community Farm volunteering?

These will follow similar screening and safety protocols to those laid out above. Chris and Erica will be reaching out to riding parents and farm families shortly to share more about their plans. They are available for horse or farm specific questions at the emails listed below.


How do I register for these programs? 

To register for Modified Day Camp, click here

To register for Horseback Riding lessons, click here.

To schedule a family trail ride email chris@campchestnutridge.org

To schedule a family visit to the farm email erica@campchestnutridge.org


Release Form - 

As you go through the registration process, you will notice a new release form. Release forms are a standard part of registering for camp and are an important way that the camp informs parents about the inherent risks associated with participating in the camp programs. The new release form does the same, seeking to inform parents of new inherent risks associated with the current conditions we find ourselves living in.


What about the rest of Summer Day Camp?

Summer Day Camp will begin with Week 1 on June 8th. We are moving forward with plans for summer day camps to operate under similar protocols described above. However, if we move into Phase 2 or even 3 in NC, then some of these procedures may change in accordance with new guidance from the Orange County Health Dept.

One important note - Except for Horseback Riding camp, majors for Waterdogs and Duskies are being eliminated for this summer. We have had to restructure our operations in order to meet the small group recommendations in the safety guidelines. Campers will now be placed in a small group with other campers their age and will do all activities and meals together during the week. Many of the most popular activities will still be offered in this format. 

If you register online today, or in the future, you will see the only options are "Horseback Riding Camp" or "Best of Camp". Mudpuppies and High Schoolers remain the same.

To register for Summer Day Camp, click here.

If you are already registered for Summer Day Camp, no further action is needed except the following: 

  • Submit Buddy/ Friend request (Optional) - If you would like to request your camper be assigned to the same small group as another specific day camper, you now have the option to do so. Watch how to do so here. Requests must be mutual and in the same age group. We will do our best to honor requests. 

  • Electronically sign new waiver (Mandatory) - Watch how to do so here 

What about Resident Camp?

We are still awaiting guidance from state and local officials regarding Resident Camp. We have reason to believe Resident Camp will be allowed to operate in Phase 2 in NC. However, we do not have any definitive guidelines to work from at this time. We still continue to plan for Resident Camp to occur in some fashion this summer, recognizing it will also have modified operating procedures. 


What if I still do not want to send my child to camp this summer?

We understand that different families will make different decisions based on what is best for them during this time. We honor and respect all decisions. To that end, if you want to cancel your child's summer camp registration for any reason, you may do so up to 2 weeks ahead of their camp week and request a full refund. (The 2 week window allows us to plan for the actual number of campers for that week.) If you have to cancel due to your child having, or being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, then you can cancel their registration anytime prior to the start of the camp week and request a full refund.


If you decide to cancel your summer camp registration you will be given the option to donate all or part of your program fees. We have set up a system to track and appropriately acknowledge these gifts. This is not an expectation. We recognize that many families are suffering financially at this time. But if you are able, we would invite you to prayerfully consider a donation upon canceling. These donations will ensure that Chestnut Ridge is able to make it through this tough time in order to continue serving and ministering to our community for decades to come.

You may modify or cancel your reservations by emailing info@campchestnutridge.org


What about Chestnut Ridge's financial situation?

As many of you know, this long shutdown has been extremely hard on our finances. Chestnut Ridge has lost over $240,000 in revenue since mid-March. We have cut every expense possible during that time, including furloughing and reducing pay for all staff which will offset those losses to some extent. But there is no getting around the fact that this shutdown will have an impact on our finances for some time to come, even after we are reopened. 

To climb out of this financial hole, we will need the support of our community in order to continue offering vital ministry programs to our community. If you are able, and wish to support us at this time, you can make a one-time gift or set up monthly donations using this link - DONATE

We are grateful to the 400+ friends of camp who have already been so generous in supporting us through this shutdown, and to our community who will continue to support us well into the future. Thank you.


Have questions?

You can reach us at 919-304-2178 or info@campchestnutridge.org. Additionally, I am personally available to answer any questions you may have about any of this information. You can reach me at nick@campchestnutridge.org or on my cell at 919-599-5387.


We are honored to be in partnership with you, our camp families, as we continue to seek ways to help the young people in our community GROW individually, GROW in community, and GROW in their faith. 



Rev. Nick Jeffries
Chestnut Ridge Camp & Retreat Center