(Updated May 29, 2020)
Dear Camp Families,

We want to give you an update on Camp Straight Street this summer. We Informed you a few weeks ago that we would be canceling camp for the month of June and that the start of camp would potentially begin on July 6th. We also said that we would make a decision by June 1st on whether we would plan on doing all the remaining four weeks of camp, or none of them. It’s been incredibly hard for everyone (campers, parents, and staff) to slowly chip away at the summer not knowing if there would be any camp left at all by the end of it.

Last week the Governor gave summer camps in the state the go-ahead to open up but with some significant constraints. Based on these guidelines, it would be very hard to have camp like we have in the past. We would not have our regular camp rallies or any “all camp” activities. Our craft shop and game rooms (Garage, Bus Stop, Creation Station, and Clubhouse) would be shut down due to the request to seriously limit the sharing of toys and supplies. Sports and other activities would be off due to the inability to be distanced while playing. It would honestly be spending most of the time outside on a campus that isn’t designed for as an outdoor camp.

As we looked over the guidelines, we realized that we would need to do an overhaul on almost everything we do in order to comply. However, as we read them, we decided that we were willing to give it a shot. However, Jefferson Country further specified their own additional restraints. The most challenging of these would be the requirement for camps to keep children not from the same household distanced by six feet from any other children. As of right now, this order lasts until Friday, July 3rd.

As we looked at the logistics of what it would take to distance all of our campers six feet, it became quickly evident that this is something that we just have no way of accomplishing. As much as we hate it, we just can’t see a way to pull off what is being asked of us by the county in order to comply. Since this order lasts until the Friday before camp would start, it is very likely that we would have no idea if we would even be able to have camp at all until a few days before we start. Obviously, that is just not enough time to get things rolling and pull off a summer camp, especially since we would be over half of the way through the summer. For these reasons, we have made the unfortunate, but necessary, decision to cancel all of camp this summer.

We work so hard every summer trying to give campers the greatest summer of their lives and to be unable to do that is incredibly disappointing. Helping to meet a need that families have in the community is one of the big priorities of our camp. Not being able to meet that need is frustrating. Yet, at the same time we are committed to helping keep our campers and staff safe at all costs, and this summer has been a real challenge in weighing whether we can open up camp and provide relief to kids and parents and at the same time ensure their safety. It would have been a challenging thing to say “yes” or “no”, but the decision looks like it has been made for us.

We wanted to let you know that we will be issuing full refunds to families for all weekly deposit fees, meal and snack plans, and early and late passes. The only thing we will not be refunding is the initial one time $30 registration fee. The reason we will not be refunding the registration fee is that we have been running our camp office staff for the full year during the camp off season, plus the cost of our registration software, and so forth and since there is no camp this summer, this will take a significant toll on our camp financially and the likelihood of having it in the future. Retaining that fee will help to cover any pre-camp costs that we have incurred that we would have no way of covering. If you feel that this is unfair and you would like to have the registration refunded, please email finances@campstraightstreet.com, and we will refund that fee as well.

One small way of showing our gratitude for that is that if you were registered for this summer and are not refunded your registration fee, you will get access to pre-registration for you and your family for next summer as if you had attended this summer. Registration won’t be until early next year, but we’ll make sure you get access to get in before anyone else.

We know that for many families, you are in great need of child care. We have compiled a directory of staff we hired for camp this summer that are available to babysit. If we can help pass that along, please let us know.

We want to thank you for being one of our valued camp families. You have been a part of making us the best camp in Birmingham, and we will do everything we can to make next summer twice as much fun. Thanks for allowing us the chance to care for your children. It’s an honor we don’t take lightly, and we are sad we will not be able to do it this summer.

Give your kids a hug from us. If your kids are like ours, this will be a blow. Camp means so much to so many campers, as we would want it. It just makes not having camp this summer even harder. In an effort to stay connected, Jawoo (our camp director) will be posting a weekly video on our camp’s YouTube page that will be like our regular morning rally. You can find them each Wednesday here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9W7_spPe4iJesZqdfsrcUQ/
It’ll have games, songs, contests and a lot more. We know it’s not the same as being there in person, but we hope it’ll be a fun way to keep the fun alive.

We miss you all, and we’ll see you next summer.

Jonathan “Jawoo” Owen and Heather Spigner