Imagine a river in the far north that has never been paddled before. Sometimes, all the maps, satellite views, equipment, and preparations are not enough to tell you what’s around the next bend. Up ahead you can hear the roar of something unknown, but the map indicates nothing unusual. Your wilderness trip leaders would take the time to scout ahead and determine the best possible course of action.
Today, in light of COVID-19, we find our Camp Chippewa community in a similar circumstance. We wish we could tell you what lies ahead but the map doesn’t provide us with enough clues. So with a heavy heart, we have come to the right decision to portage around the upcoming summer entirely. Camp Chippewa’s 85th season, The Year of the Rendezvous, and the 2020 Alumni Rendezvous is cancelled.
While hoping for normalcy, we have been busy reimagining our program given the least restrictive environment allowed. Under the current safety guidelines from the CDC, American Camp Association (ACA,) and the State of Minnesota Department of Health—if even allowed to operate—what campers would experience at Camp Chippewa this summer would not be camp. What would social distancing and masks at camp look like for Scatterball, swimming, canoeing, eating in Knutson Hall or sleeping in a tent? Even crossing into Canada—as most of our campers do—is not allowed.
Our mission is to develop Character, through Adventure, inspired by Tradition. We are by nature, problem solvers and as such, an optimistic group. We thought this bug wouldn’t get the best of us. It’s just another portage. But with so much at stake and so many unknowns around the next bend, we will not venture forth. We cannot, without a doubt, ensure the health and safety of our entire camp community—campers, counselors, administration, medical, and kitchen staff—let alone contemplate the potential impact on the local community and healthcare system. With unanimous support from the Camp Chippewa Board of Directors we are opting to take this portage.
So what’s next? Camp Chippewa is a place that exists in large part due to your deep belief in our mission. And because of that, we are currently preparing to make summer 2021—The Year of the Rendezvous, Part Deux—even better. We invite you to return in 2021 as well, for the Alumni Rendezvous, Part Deux. Look for communication from us this summer when we open registration for this event once again.
Camp Chippewa is often referred to as a brotherhood, but it is also a “familyhood” and we are deeply saddened we will be unable to rendezvous with our campers, staff, and alumni this summer. We hope you and your family remain safe and healthy and we look forward to the day when we can gather together again on the shores of Cass Lake. Your loyalty to Camp Chippewa means the world to us.
Mike and Mary Endres
Visit our Alumni Page for more information. Let’s stay connected during this time, and we will see you in August 2021! Chip chip!