Dear Farm & Wilderness Community,
Over the weekend, the Farm & Wilderness Leadership Team and Board of Trustees met and with great sadness decided to close for the summer of 2020. Given the COVID-19 crisis, we felt that we couldn’t ensure the health and safety of our campers, staff, and community, which has always been our top priority. This will be the first time we have not run our camps in the 81-year history of Farm & Wilderness and we are all heartbroken.
As hard as it was to make this decision, we know it is the right thing for us to do. The state of Vermont currently has a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in effect, which includes the closure of children’s camps, as well as a 14-day quarantine period for those traveling from out of state. Though these guidelines could change, any changes would come too late for us to prepare for our wonderful summer staff, who are supposed to arrive in Vermont in just a couple of weeks. In addition, all signs point to the likelihood that if camps are allowed to open, we will have to maintain social distancing, wear masks, eat in shifts in dining halls, disinfect cabins and kybos daily, set up special quarantine areas, and be prepared to close camp and evacuate children immediately if the virus surges again. We did not believe that opening camp under these conditions would be compatible with the F&W experience, and we could not accept the risk to our campers and staff or to our local community and healthcare system.
Despite this sad news, we are happy to see our community persevering in so many ways. Here in Plymouth, the farm has been able to adjust to the state’s COVID guidelines, new seeds are going into the ground every day, and many baby animals have joined our farm family – including a couple of sets of triplets and even quadruplets! Sharing these experiences with you online through group events, live feeds, and storytelling has been so fulfilling, and we love seeing our community connect on social media and through the online activities we’ve introduced. Nothing can substitute for camp, but our staff is coming close.
At Farm & Wilderness, we work together to uphold the values of simplicity, peacemaking, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. During the last couple of months, it has been inspiring to see the importance of these principles show up over and over again. We hope you and your family are able to remain safe and healthy during these times, and we look forward to the day when we all meet again in person.
Jay Kullman, Interim Executive Director
Becca Steinitz, Clerk of the Board
A Video Message from Jay Kullman with our summer 2020 decision