April 18th Update – Implications of COVID-19 on 2020 camps

Dear Berwick Campers,
The Berwick Board met today, April 18th to discuss the implications of Covid 19 for both our camp and the other groups who use our beautiful grounds. We were forced to make some very difficult decisions.
Since we have no idea what public health rules will be in place this summer and recognizing the amount of time it takes to prepare the grounds, the decision has been made to cancel all camps by outside renters on the premises this summer.
Our camp will still employ Karen Sanford, our Site Manager, and Preston Illsley, for at least 18 weeks this summer to do required work and to ensure that the grounds are well maintained. This is imperative if we are to consider the possibility of gathering in person sometime this summer and in advance of Berwick 150.
It is our deepest hope that we will be able to hold some sort of Berwick Camp this summer – it may only be a day or a weekend; it may be virtual; we truly do not know right now. So much depends on the guidelines in place by the Nova Scotia Public Health Authority and the wisdom of experts.
We do know that it will not be camp as usual. We cannot ask leaders to spend time preparing for a camp which may not happen; therefore, the program committee will be in touch with all those who agreed to offer leadership for this summer to inform them of our change of plans. We certainly hope that many of those leaders will step forward in a future year when things are back to “normal.”
As I said in an earlier letter, “Berwick Camp is not a place of social or physical distancing, and we bring together many generations of people from many parts of the world. We will not meet unless we have assurance that it is safe to do so.” As someone at the meeting said today, “Even going to the bathroom is a social experience at Berwick.”
There are many implications to the decisions we have made and will need to make in the coming weeks. The financial implications are certainly on our minds. Rest assured you will hear more from us, on the Facebook page, the web site and through ordinary snail mail as the future becomes clear. The Berwick Board is meeting again at the end of May and we anticipate many conversations in the intervening weeks.
I know that all of you hold Berwick, near and dear to your hearts. The thought of not gathering in person is heart breaking. As Board members we shed tears this morning as we talked of this possibility. However, the thought of gathering and having someone we love contract the virus and become seriously ill or die is far worse.
As a Board we ask for your prayers and support as we move through the next few weeks. We recognize that we are all in this together. Please feel free to reach out with ideas and suggestions of ways to move forward and keep our Berwick Spirit alive.
Susan MacAlpine-Gillis
President of Berwick Camp