Sep 21, 2020

A Quiet Camp

Social distance disc golf in the Maine woods
Social distance disc golf in the Maine woods

Wrapping up what would have been a busy camp season, we at Camp Forest reflect on what our children are experiencing. We hope to be able to provide them both social and ecological opportunities in the coming year, but in the meanwhile, our thoughts are with them and their struggling parents as they navigate the return to work and school amid Coronavirus. 

In good news, we have received funds from a regional foundation, the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust to provide camperships to struggling families' children in coming camp months! We are so grateful for their mission and commitment to environmental education in experiential settings like ours. 

Be well this fall. Alongside you and your families, we are hoping for a gracious adaptation to 'the new normal' in the coming months, for peace and progress during election season, and for lots of time in the fall color.

Thanks for your help with our mission and your attention to our struggles!

The beginnings of fall color
The beginnings of fall color

Links:

Jun 3, 2020

Coping with COVID19

Coronavirus classroom
Coronavirus classroom

First of all, I want to thank all you generous souls who have reached out to find out how we are, have checked in, donated, or shared your stories. We feel incredibly lucky to have you on our side during these crazy times.

The locusts are devouring crops and we have been on lockdown at JWHS since March, but the good news is that the government has relaxed its restrictions on who can be an educator during this time, so Bev and Chege and Alice have been working hard to become teachers as well as caretakers and managers. The children have resumed their studies in full. 

While family searches are necessarily on hold as a result of the lockdown, we have been attending in new ways to our residents' past trauma. Once a week, a counselor comes to do group work with the kids, helps provide them the tools they need to face their pasts, and also provides us the tools to better serve their needs. We are also able to check in with our recently reintegrated children via phone.

Another program innovation we have implemented during coronavirus, we have instituted a more rigorous process for designing and tailoring our programs to child needs. We created child development teams that meet on a monthly basis to talk over each child's skills, aptitudes, needs, and future prospects. These conversations allow us to make sure we are attending meaningfully to the growth and development of JWHS children.

The virus has put a lot of pressure on our staff and food resources, so we again thank those of you have contributed even while you are dealing with your own traumas, challenges, and grief. We are touched beyond words, and we humbly ask for your continued support as we look for sponsorship for about half of our 10 residents. Please consider sharing our need with those you know who may be touched by our programming and our message.

Meanwhile, be well, stay safe, and hold our gratitude in your hearts!

Buds
Buds

Links:

Apr 30, 2020

Coronavirus and summer camp

On expedition 2019
On expedition 2019

What a trying time, and an amazing time to be alive. I know that you, like we, are experiencing the highs and lows of uncertainty as we navigate new waters. Some of you may have gone from being donors to being receivers, and if that's the case, I hope you'll reach out to the organizations around you who are volunteering their time and revamping their programs to meet need related to COVID-19. Expanding Opportunities has joined multiple local efforts to help feed and provide resources for our neighbors in Maine. We hope Camp Forest will also continue to be a vital resource for children and families.

Coronavirus update

According to our latest update from Maine's governor, Janet Mills, Maine Summer Camps may be allowed to continue starting on July, 1st! This means that our camp may be able to proceed as planned, since our schedule begins in July, and Camp Forest is well set up for social distancing:

  • We have small camp sizes (8 or fewer campers per counselor)
  • Our programming is 100% outdoors
  • We can accommodate multiple stations at a time where everyone can be supervised and still keep their distance
  • Our outdoor setting demands that we already have rigorous protocols in place for observing and carrying out hygiene and sanitation
  • We cater mostly to a Maine-based crowd, so attending camp won't require travel for most of our campers

What we need to do:

  • Adjust our knife safety protocols for smaller groups, since this activity requires constant vigilance
  • Engage the children in more small-group activities to allow for proper distancing
  • Prepare ourselves for even lower camp numbers due to fears and the Corona-related late start/hindrance to our marketing campaign

How you can help:

  • Help us get the word out to campers throughout Maine (and, later, in other areas allowing travel, if restrictions loosen): We have camp weeks available!
  • Continue contributing to our campership fund: now more than ever, parents are in need of educational, outdoor, inspiring childcare while they work from home or ease back into their jobs.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support.

Social distancing debris hut (2019)
Social distancing debris hut (2019)

Links:

 
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