May 18, 2020/24 Iyar, 5780
We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones feeling well, staying healthy and safe. While each one of us have experienced and coped with the seismic shift of the world around us differently, it has been our aspiration to remain close with all our families.
With heavy hearts we are sad to share that Camp Daisy & Harry Stein will not open for the Summer 2020 season. Following two months of painstaking work by countless professional and lay leaders, the Congregation Beth Israel Board of Directors ultimately decided that the fluid nature of this pandemic will not guarantee the ultimate safety and health of our campers and staff.
Our goal was to “move [the] mountains” on Copper Basin Road to open Camp Stein because we are ever mindful of how important camp is to the spiritual and mental wellbeing of our campers, staff and parents. Together with our Board, we realized that if we opened camp, our day-to-day schedule would need drastic modification and all of the things that make camp so special could not be sustained in such a way that would
make our campers healthy and happy.
We are especially grateful to our Medical Task Force for their selfless sacrifice over many hours of meetings at a time in which their professional and personal lives have been overwhelmed by this pandemic. Join us in thanking: Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Dr. Paul Laven, Dr. Dan Meline, Dr. Laszlo Vaszar and Dr. Susan Wilder. We are proud to share that Alexa Roeder, a former camper and current Ph.D. candidate in Molecular
Biology, was also a member of our Task Force.
We want to thank you for your patience, trust and loyalty to Camp Stein. We are especially grateful to our Assistant Director Jennifer Walker for her tireless programmatic efforts and to our exceptional staff for their constant love of our precious camp.
Rabbi Stephen Kahn Robin Roeder Julie Hymovitch Leah Zigmond
April 2020/Iyar 5780
To Our Camp Daisy & Harry Stein Summer 2020/5780 Families:
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and that you enjoyed a meaningful Passover. Our hearts have been with all our campers, staff, and their families as we all cope with the Coronavirus and the extraordinary times in which we are living. We heed the words of King Solomon from 3,000 years ago… gam zeh ya’avor, that “this too, shall pass” and we will soon be together in safety and health.
Camp Stein’s Summer 2020/5780 season is quickly approaching in just over six weeks. We are mindful of the fluid nature of news coverage and opinions regarding the Coronavirus, and the anxieties and stresses it has caused for so many. In this spirit, we are providing you with the following information as we ask for your continued patience in the final stages of making the critical decisions regarding this upcoming summer.
Will Camp Stein be open this summer?
With all our hearts we would love to plan to open camp without hesitancy today. However, we will have a decision for you on Monday, May 18, 2020. At that time we will decide whether or not we will: a) announce that camp will be opened as scheduled, b) share detailed information regarding a modified schedule for sessions scheduled to begin in the later part of June and July or c) make the decision to close camp for this summer.
How will the decision be made?
While we have spent countless hours on teleconferences and calls with experts with a wide scope of expertise on a national level, we ultimately determined that the health and wellbeing of our campers will be best served under the guidance and direction of regional and local departments of public health. We are grateful to Congregation Beth Israel member Rebecca Sunenshine M.D., the Director of Maricopa County’s Department of Public Health, for making herself accessible to us as we weigh through these complex issues. While she has not provided any formal guidance or recommendations for Camp Stein at this point, she has been a wonderful “sounding board,” for our leadership.
We appreciate your understanding as we balance the ever-changing nature of information from our local and state authorities with our steadfast desire to be at camp this summer in a safe and healthy environment for our campers and staff.
What will happen between now and May 18th?
In addition to preparing for a summer of BIG JEWISH FUN, we are focused on four primary areas:
- Continuing to communicate and seek guidance from Dr. Sunenshine, her counterparts in Yavapai County and at the state level. We will only operate camp this summer with approval
from state and local health officials.
- We have established a group of medical experts with a breadth of expertise and skill in management and care. This group will review our existing health and safety practices and procedures, while recommending all new/updated protocols we will need to implement.
- Developing a revised schedule of camp sessions to open later in the summer (i.e. sessions starting later in June and/or July).
- Finalizing refund/credit policies.
What should you do between now and May 18th?
• Continue to participate in our virtual programming, Havdalah ceremonies and Services available through our Camp Stein and Camp Stein Alumni Facebook pages and Zoom.
• Complete camp forms for your campers.
• Help your campers to understand that we are thinking of them and doing everything we can to make this summer the best yet.
• Please contact us or your synagogue’s clergy and professional staff for additional assistance and support during this very difficult time.
We cherish the relationships with our campers, parents and staff and count these among our most sacred. As we have for over 45 summers, we will continue to work diligently toward sustaining a safe, healthy, and vibrant Jewish camp community for many years to come.
Rabbi Stephen Kahn, Senior Rabbi
Julie Hymovitch, President
Robin Roder, Interim Executive Director
Leah Zigmond, Camp Director
Camp Stein Families,
I hope that you are all doing well in all of this uncertainty. So many of us have had our schedules drastically altered as we navigate these completely uncharted waters. Here at camp, we remain in our ‘hang with us’ mode as we pay attention to our government and the CDC concerning all the impacts of Covid-19. Our plan is to follow their directives concerning the school closings, authorization to meet in large gatherings and safety measures moving forward to ensure our beloved camp remains a safe space for everyone.
Everyday we are learning, sharing and gathering ideas and options from our camp counterparts across the nation. As we know more, we will share with you our thinking and plans for the summer. We will work to stay in touch with all of our camp families through virtual events, to provide all of us with ‘a little bit of camp’ to warm our hearts and minds during this time of relative isolation. Camp will send out a list of up-coming virtual events each week so that you know how to find us online.
Please never hesitate to reach out to me about anything. Although there are still many unknowns I will always do my best to get you the answers you need.
Here is a list of our upcoming virtual events for the coming week!
Friday, March 27th at 2:30pm: Israeli Dancing with Annie & Rebecca Jewish Camp at Home
Friday, March 27th at 5:00pm: Shabbat Story with Leah posted on Camp Stein Facebook page
Saturday, March 28th at 10:30am: Saturday Torah Live posted on Camp Stein Facebook page
Monday, March 30th at 6:30pm: Paint Night with Chloe Camp Stein Facebook page
Suggested materials to follow along
Option one: crayons/colored pencils, markers, construction paper/printer paper
Option two: paint/acrylic paint, paint brushes, water cup, paper towels, canvas/cardboard/construction paper
Thursday, April 2nd all day: Make your own Grilled Cheese Day!
We’re missing one of our favorite camp foods! Join us on Thursday by making your own grilled cheese at home. Post your creation and make sure to tag Camp Stein on Facebook or Instagram!
Friday, April 3rd at 4pm: Song Session with Zach Jewish Camp at Home
We love seeing your comments online, your posts about camp, your emails and your texts! Keep them coming!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Dear Camp Stein Families,
Here in the Camp Stein office we are continuing as much as possible with all of our usual precamp planning and preparation for a season of learning, friendship, discovery, adventure, and lots of fun! With that in mind, and in light of the uncertainty we are all experiencing right now due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want you to know that we are already thinking about possible changes to the upcoming camp season and are working intensively now to consider how best to meet the needs of Camp Stein and your family.
We are closely monitoring the impact that COVID-19 is having on our communities and the world around us, and we are sending thoughts for health and healing to all who have been impacted already. Health, safety and the Jewish value of pikuach nefesh, (saving a life) are our top priorities and we are coordinating our summer and year-round programming with the support and guidance of the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Camp Association, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Association for Independent Jewish Camp, J-Camp 180, as well as local, state and federal health agencies. The status of COVID-19 and our community’s response are evolving. As we learn more, we will continue to update you about any potential impact on camp for this summer.
These developments can be stressful, and we are all tasked with working to provide the necessary support to our loved ones – especially our children. With that in mind, here are some resources that may be helpful:
• This infographic is very clear and explains what is happening right now and why folks are being asked to stay home.
• PJ Library has a terrific library of online resources for families who are practicing social distancing and not engaging in play-dates etc…Many of these are for younger children but the inner child in each of us may find something useful here!
• And here is a link to an article about Jewish Overnight Camps in general, and the collective responses to the current situation. My favorite quote from this article is:
“This is what camp directors do…We’re not used to COVID-19 but we’re used to crisis management. Camp directors right now are staying calm and being like, get your communication, get your parents, get your teams together and we’re gonna ride this out.”
It is in that spirit of riding it out that I say to you, here in the Camp Stein offices we are preparing, we are planning, and we are moving forward for an amazing summer with your kids! If you have any questions or concerns about the upcoming camp season, please contact the us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-951-0323. We are as committed as ever to supporting your family and we are here to assist in any way that we can. We wish you all the best and hope that your family is healthy and safe during these challenging times.
In good health,
Camp Director, Camp Daisy and Harry Stein