Letter to Camp Dreamcatcher Volunteers!

Dear Camp Dreamcatcher Volunteers:

As you know, Camp Dreamcatcher was founded over twenty-four years ago with the mission of providing a safe therapeutic “home” for children impacted by HIV/AIDS.  We have faced many challenges over the years, including the loss of campers and camp volunteers, the swine flu epidemic, and the flood that destroyed our camp supplies the night before the camp session started in 2018.

We are now dealing with the challenge of COVID-19, and the restrictions and health concerns related to the pandemic.  We have taken the time to consider, thoughtfully and thoroughly, all of the current guidelines from the CDC and the American Camping Association.  We have discussed the pros and cons of providing a traditional camp session with Camp Dreamcatcher Village Chiefs, staff members, medical personnel and board members.   After considering all of this information, we are left with the only decision that will ensure the physical and emotional safety of the campers and volunteers.  Although we all want to be together for a traditional “in person” camp session in August, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to transform the camp session to three virtual camp sessions in August.

This decision was difficult, and heartbreaking.  To move forward, we must embrace the words of Anatole France, that to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”  I believe in our ability to shift to a virtual platform for programming this summer.  I know that we can accomplish this because of YOU – your creativity, passion, dedication, enthusiasm and love will make this dream a reality.  The campers will be devastated when they hear this news.  What will get them through this process is knowing that they will see the faces, and hear the voices, of the counselors village chiefs, health center and program volunteers they love and look forward to seeing each year.  We will offer a variety of therapeutic, educational and FUN programming during each week of camp.  Programs will include art/crafts, therapeutic and educational groups, yoga, mindfulness meditation, story time, dance, movies, writing or poetry, theatre and much more.  We will continue our traditional opening ceremony, wish log and talent show! Camp Week Packages will be delivered or sent to the families prior to the camp sessions, and will include camp shirts, BOMBAS SOCKS, art/craft supplies, snacks and special gifts. The richness of this programming depends on your involvement, and it has never been more important to the children we serve, than now.  Camp is their touchstone and we need to continue to provide programming during this difficult time.

I also wanted to share with you that a week after we made this decision Camp Saginaw informed me that they are cancelling all of their camp sessions this summer.  We look forward to working with them for the 2021 camp session, when we will celebrate Camp Dreamcatcher’s 25th Anniversary!

Callie has created a Google Volunteer Registration Sheet, and I hope you will register to be a volunteer. In the next couple of days, we will be letting the campers and their families know our decision, and I ask that you keep this decision between us until we are able to let them know that we are shifting to virtual camp sessions. Feel free to contact me anytime at phillkirk@kennett.net with any questions you may have about our decision.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love you hold in your hearts for the campers.  It is important to remember that this is temporary, and that we will be together again in the future.  Nothing can break our Circle of Love.  Let us move forward together with hearts full of hope and love.

With Love,

Patty Hillkirk
Executive Director
Camp Dreamcatcher
148 W. State Street, STE 104
Kennett Square, PA  19348 https://campdreamcatcher.org/