The current operating state of YouthWrite has changed significantly due to the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally we hold three camps; River Valley Experience, Peak 1 Experience, and Peak 2 Experience. In light of the uncertainty we have created several contingencies manipulating our traditional format in order to respond to different challenges presented by COVID-19:
- Preferably running all three camps as normal
- Reducing our camps to two, combining Peak 1 and Peak 2
- Running all three camps with reduced physical capacity, following social distancing guidelines, and offering camp activities through an online format for those unable to attend
- Running one day camp with reduced physical capacity, following social distancing guidelines and offering camp activities through an online format for those unable to attend
- Moving our July dates to late August
- Running a fully online version of YouthWrite
The outcome of our camp will be determined by COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, as well as our financial state regarding impending funding. We are prepared to accommodate any of these scenarios with enthusiasm and positivity. We are excited to explore Youthwrite in the virtual playing field and find ways to match the meaningful creative connections traditionally made at our physical camp. We are fortunate to have a number of dedicated educators who understand online curriculum design and best practices. YouthWrite feels very strongly that it is important to maintain the momentum of our camps, especially since next summer will mark our 25th anniversary, and we are committed to celebrating that milestone without a break in programming. Further, we are in touch with our long-time youth participants who are feeling the strain of being unable to gather with peers and mentors; we feel YouthWrite is essential to their mental well-being.
However, if for some reason we are unable to operate we have implemented a no risk refund policy to ensure security and reduce hesitancy among registrations. This being said, we are working optimistically that some version of YouthWrite will run in 2020.
This camp means a great deal to many of our campers. It is a creatively immersive week that many look forward to all year. Our long-established creative culture draws youth to our artistic community; during this uneasy time, we hope to preserve even a physically distant or virtual sense of this. We host participants that come from marginalized backgrounds that find reprieve from their everyday lives at YouthWrite. Many of our campers also attend YouthWrite on scholarship. We are proud to say that in our 23 years of operation, Youthwrite has never turned a camper away due to financial need. We would like to continue this streak. Due to COVID-19 we have had to miss out of many of our traditional fundraising opportunities including our annual fundraiser and casino. We ask for your generosity to help send a kid to camp this year, and provide them with this positive experience amidst a time of seemingly endless darkness.