Imagine a river in the far north that has never been paddled before. Sometimes, all the maps, 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. Our 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, 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 you would experience at Camp Chippewa this summer would not be camp. What would social distancing, sanitization 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, are 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. Throughout this journey we have sincerely appreciated your patience, support and understanding as we have monitored and evaluated the information about the virus in hopes of a better outcome. Thank you for connecting with us during this time—through social media, donations, and conversations. You have helped us feel normal. We will continue to invest in the Chippewa community even while apart this summer.
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 even better. All campers, staff and alumni are invited back for 2021, the Year of the Rendezvous, Part Deux, and are invited to continue to connect with us throughout the year.
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. Our commitment to providing Adventure, Tradition, and Character to your son is unwavering.
Mike and Mary Endres