Elachee Nature Science Center announced recently the organization will proceed with Camp Elachee 2020, rolling out a modified schedule and participation format.

This summer day camp will take place from June 29-July 31.

Elachee has reduced the total number of campers who may register for each of the five summer day camp weeks. In addition, Camp Elachee will proceed with guidelines and policies to ensure the health, safety and well-being of participating children, their families and camp personnel.

“We are excited to plan the opening of Camp Elachee in late June 2020,” states Elachee President/CEO Andrea Timpone. “We look forward to providing the high-quality outdoor camp experiences which children and their parents have enjoyed for over 40 years at Elachee. We are all looking forward to sharing some much-needed time in adventure and exploration of our beautiful, natural Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.”

In light of Hall County’s continued status as a “hot spot” for COVID-19 cases, the Elachee organization made the decision to streamline Camp Elachee 2020 in the following ways.

  • There will be no pre-kindergarten summer day camps.
  • Elementary and middle school camper groups will maintain a 10-person limit with nine campers and one camp counselor per group.
  • Each camp week, there will be a maximum total of five elementary camper groups (for rising kindergarten through 6th grade) and one middle school group (for rising 7th-8th grade).

Starting May 4, Elachee representatives began contacting families impacted by this scheduling change. Camp registration is suspended to allow for a rescheduling window and will reopen early morning on May 6 for the limited remaining spots.

“The priority, as far as Camp Elachee registration goes, is to give our registered camp parents the opportunity to switch their June registrations for available spots in July, so their child may still enjoy the Camp Elachee experience,” explains Elachee Registrar Kristin Love.

Camp Elachee, the organization’s longest running nature education program, is presented by Northside Hospital, Elachee’s Annual 2020 Platinum Sponsor. Registration for this summer day camp program opened in February and Camp Elachee 2020, which was originally scheduled for spring break and nine summer day camp weeks, was on track to have a record number of children "enjoying school break nature camp adventures." These plans were interrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Elachee canceled its planned spring break day camp and has been planning scenarios that would allow Camp Elachee 2020 to take place.

Elachee’s director of education Peter Gordon recently brought together more than a dozen summer camp administrators and child-care provider organizations from around the Greater Hall County/Gainesville area to "share best practices and plans for their respective situations." Prior to this virtual round table, Elachee administrators also sought advice from public health experts, area pediatricians and other physicians to weigh in on a camp start date, as well as to help plan the "safest and most enjoyable camp experience possible for campers and camp staff."

“The health and well-being of our campers has been our number one objective for each of the 40-plus years of Camp Elachee,” shares Gordon. “In the summer of 2020, we will have a few more T’s to cross, I’s to dot and hands to wash to accomplish that goal.”

Getting children outside during school breaks to discover, learn and play is a primary objective for Camp Elachee, organizers state.

"This summer, more than any other time in the camp’s history, giving children the chance for fun-filled days where they can be carefree is crucial," Elachee said in a news release.

Although the Elachee organization has announced its plan to proceed with a modified Camp Elachee 2020 schedule, should conditions in the immediate community mandate an alternate course of action, the Nature Center administration will make that call. In the meantime, however, planning for the June 29, 2020 Camp Elachee opening is going forward.

“After about a month of interaction and sharing camp details over social media, I can tell you the campers and their parents are so excited for the upcoming camp this summer, as am I,” confides Camp Elachee 2020 Director Maranda McGaha. “We are all ready to get back outside where we can learn and explore together!”

To learn more about Camp Elachee 2020 and registration details, visit www.elachee.org/camp-elachee or email the camp director with questions.

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