Health and Safety Updates

This page will be updated with any new info.

Last updated: May 19th

The Camp Laurelwood staff are monitoring the health crisis and will communicate with the community as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, our office will be closed but our staff will be working remotely to answer questions as we have more information.

A Message to Our Camp Laurelwood Community (5-19-20)

Dear Laurelwood Camp Community,

Today we must share the incredibly sad news that Governor Lamont just announced his decision that residential camps will not be allowed to open this summer. We know that you, just like all of us in the Laurelwood community, are heartbroken.

In Jewish tradition, the value of Pikuach Nefesh – taking care of one another – is of the highest importance. We spent the last 10 months planning, preparing, praying, and dreaming for this summer, and believed we had developed comprehensive practices and safeguards to ensure the health of our camper and staff community. We explored every possibility to open Camp in a responsible way, and had extensive discussions with health and safety officials that led us to believe we would be able to do that. While we respect the Governor’s decision and recognize it is made with the interests of safety in mind, we are still disappointed.

Moving Forward:

On Thursday, we will be holding a Town Hall virtual meeting for parents to come together and ask questions about this summer. Please join us at 6:45pm for that gathering.

Shabbat is a grounding force in the Jewish community. It reminds us to pause and be in the moment. As we grieve the loss of this summer, we will draw on this lesson and come together to support one another. This Shabbat, we’ll gather together to sing, cry, and virtually throw our arms around each other. Please also join us on Friday at 6pm for a Laurelwood Community Gathering led by members of our Laurelwood community.

Just because we are physically distant does not mean we will lose our social connection to Camp and each other. Throughout the pandemic, our Laurelwood community rallied together as we launched a series of virtual programs. This included dance sessions, Shabbat gatherings, martial arts programs, song sessions, and virtual tours. These programs were attended by hundreds or sometimes thousands of friends and supporters from the Camp Laurelwood community. We are committed to continuing to find ways to maintain connection and build community.

In early June, we will be back in touch to share some of what we’re planning for this summer to keep the Laurelwood family. This will include regular emails and virtual experiences. The Board and staff are also exploring ways that we can make the physical grounds of Camp Laurelwood open to our community while adhering to State laws, so that smaller groups may be able to come and enjoy time together on Summer Hill Road. As we have done through this entire process, we will remain in touch as these plans develop, and we welcome any ideas and suggestions you have on what kind of connection and support would be most useful.

In the meantime, we’re working through the serious financial implications of what it means for Camp to not open this summer for the first time in Laurelwood’s 83-year history. The ramifications of the State of Connecticut’s decision are significant and could not be more critical for Camp’s viability moving forward. Right now we are focused on helping our campers, staff, and families process this news. We ask for your patience and trust while we navigate the impact of this action.

Next week, you will receive more details about opportunities to support one another, and Camp in this unprecedented moment. Needless to say, we’re committed to doing right by families while, at the same time, ensuring Camp Laurelwood’s future and enduring legacy. We promise you, that – as always – we will be guided by our values and Camp's mission as we work through this. And, with your help, we will be able to open again in 2021 for another unforgettable Laurelwood summer. If you’d like to talk more about how you can help in this important time, please do let me know.

Resources for You, Your Camper, or Your Family:

We know that hearing this news, or sharing this news with your camper is a heavy burden. In truth, when words fail, know that you can sit together, cry together, and reminisce. You can call us and we will also be here to help. To support you, we have collected some resources to support your conversation:

Supporting Our Campers

Parenting In A Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home

That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief

Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis

The new normal is not our new future:

Like all of you, we are devastated that there will be no Big O chants in the Mess Hall, no laughing or singing in the Huppah, and no s’mores around the campfire in North Madison, CT this summer. This unprecedented and unfathomable moment is incredibly sad and painful, and we will grieve together and then keep moving forward. We will invent a new future together where we can connect in different ways until we are able to return to our home away from home at Camp Laurelwood. Until then, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. And, we are counting the days until we can be together again.

Kol Tuv (Be Well),

Rabbi James