COVID-19 forces day and resident camps to not open for the summer of 2020
The Girl Scouts of Western New York will not open its day and resident camps for more than 2,000 girls this summer due to safety concerns about the COVID-19 virus, officials announced.
In addition to campers, that means that some 160 seasonal staff cannot be hired. Families, past staff, and Girl Scout members were notified of the decision. Girl Scouts of Western New York plans to offer virtual and alternative camping and Girl Scout programming instead.
“While this is obviously a hard decision, we doubt this comes as a surprise to most people,” Girl Scouts CEO Alison Wilcox said. “We must put the safety of girls, families, volunteers and staff first, and there’s no way we can see accommodating campers in proximity to each other and staff in camp settings safely during this time.”
GSWNY operates day camps at Camp Piperwood in Fairport and Camp Windy Meadows in Lockport; and resident camps at Camp Timbercrest in Randolph and Camp Seven Hills in Holland. Last summer, a total of more than 2,000 Girl Scouts attended those camps through various summer sessions. Piperwood served 338 girls, Seven Hills hosted 929, Timbercrest 568, and Windy Meadows more than 200 Girl Scouts.
All camp property rentals are cancelled through Aug. 31, and pre-registration fees for campers and rentals will be refunded in full within 30 days. In addition, the suspension of all in-person Girl Scouts activities is extended until at least June 30.
Camp staff last summer included 58 at Piperwood, 62 at Seven Hills and 40 at Timbercrest. Volunteers fully staff Windy Meadows. Camp directors will continue to work this summer, assisting with virtual and other programming GSWNY plans to offer. GSWNY is currently surveying families to determine what type of summer programming they seek.
“We made the decision now so seasonal camp staff have as much notice as possible to help them make alternate plans for summer jobs, and parents have notice to find alternative child care for the summer,” Wilcox said. “We also understand the disappointment our Girl Scouts and their families will feel without these opportunities. We want them to know Girl Scouting has remained strong for over 100 years and our camp programs will still be here for future summers.”
Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) serves nearly 15,000 girls and over 6,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council’s administrative service centers are located in Batavia, Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls and Rochester.