As we shared in our last update, we made the difficult, heartbreaking decision to cancel in-person activities at camp this year with the priority of ensuring the health and safety of our campers, staff, and communities. Unfortunately, this decision has significant financial implications for camp, both today and in the future. We need your help to make it through these uncertain times so that we can continue to be a bedrock for your family and the community.
Please accept this message and request as one made with sincerity, sensitivity, transparency, and an acute awareness of the health concerns and the financial hardship within our community and our world.
The reality is that camper tuition is our lifeline. As tuition and fee payments arrive, the funds are used to plan and prepare for the summer. We use them to pay for things such as our year-round professional team, site maintenance, year-round office space, insurance, utilities, staff and camper recruitment, program planning, supplies for the summer, and more. At this moment of the year, we have already invested 50% of anticipated camper fees into preparing for your summer. And unfortunately, most summer camp insurance policies, including ours, don’t pay claims for losses resulting from a “black-swan” event – like a global pandemic.
With this knowledge at hand, we swiftly took action to preserve cash wherever possible. We cut all non-personnel spending and have renegotiated leases and contracts. We’ve applied for federal and local loans and grants. Our entire professional team has taken a pay cut. These have all been necessary decisions to uphold the commitments we have made to you and to ensure the survival of our beloved camp into 2021 and beyond.
Nevertheless, your support is needed to ensure we are able to serve you, your children, their friends, and our Jewish community.
Families have three options for how you would like us to handle your 2020 tuition. We hope you will consider one of the first two options below as you make your determination. Please submit your preferences using the form below.
Option 1: Tax-Deductible Donation to Camp Harlam
If you are able, please consider making a tax-deductible donation of some or all of your tuition. For families who are able, we hope you will consider an amount equivalent to what we have already invested into preparing for your summer – 50% of your tuition. Any funds that you have already paid toward camp can be converted into a gift. If you are able to provide support beyond the amount you have paid to date, we will be in touch to discuss payment options. You will receive an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes.
These gifts will be generously matched dollar-for-dollar by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. We hope that those families that are in a position to commit more than 50% will consider doing so as we know there will be families who are not in a position to give as much or anything at all. We appreciate and value every dollar donated as these funds will directly support our professional team, the creation of virtual programming, and maintenance of our physical space at camp. It will also enable us to support those families who experience financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and might have a hard time affording camp when we’re up and running again.
Option 2: Credit Towards Future URJ Youth Programs, including camp
Apply some or all of the funds you have already paid towards any future URJ youth program. This credit can be used for Camp Harlam, academic year retreats, NFTY, Israel travel programs, Mitzvah Corps, and more. There is no need to specify which program these funds will be used for at this time. Forwarding your tuition will ensure ongoing excellent programs for your family and help us through this financially difficult moment.
Option 3: Request a Refund
Request a partial or full refund of summer camp fees paid to date. We understand that you may want or need a refund for various reasons. We’re here for you. Given our current reality, refunds will take 12 weeks or more and may come in several installments. If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact Jeremy Wasserman, Business Manager and we will do our best to expedite your refund.
Families can indicate their choice using the form that has been emailed to them. The deadline to submit your preference is June 1, 2020. Please do not hesitate to discuss these options by giving us a call. If you experience any issues with the form, contact Cori Miller, Camper Care and Enrollment Manager. Thank you for being our partner in raising today and tomorrow’s young people together.
Wishing everyone in our Harlam family continued good health and strength to manage these difficult times. As always, we are here for you.
Looking forward to sharing more about virtual camp and other programming this summer in the weeks to come.
Director | Camp Harlam