Letter to the Community: Briarcliff Announces Summer Camp Cancellation

The Mayor, Board of Trustees and I, together with Henry Jamin, his Recreation Staff and the Recreation Advisory Committee, have come to the very difficult decision to cancel the Village’s traditional Day Camp programs for the 2020 Summer season.  Our Village is probably one of the last municipalities to reach this end. Although the Governor announced yesterday that New York camps would be “allowed to open” on 29 June, no details were provided, no specific guidelines, restrictions or recommendations for operation.  Our decision takes into account the health, safety and well-being of our campers and our staff. The logistical complications and financial implications of trying to operate a camp program for a limited number of interested participants under adverse conditions with increased restrictions and requirements just cannot be fully addressed.  We held out as long as we possibly could in the hope that we all could make it work. Unfortunately, known, anticipated, and unforeseen negatives overwhelmingly overshadowed the positives of camp operation.

Our traditional Day Camp programs may be lost for this season: that doesn’t mean all recreation stops for the Summer.  We have already been making plans for new activities and special events to offer and will focus on organizing some additional one-week specialty camp programs that we can operate safely.  We will also assist families in need of childcare by working to connect them with our outstanding group of camp counselors who may now be available to take on private babysitting and childcare positions this summer.  Look for details about this service in the coming days.  In case you are wondering, the Village remains fully committed to opening the Village Pool as soon as we receive permission to do so.  Additional information regarding our revised schedule and permit information will be communicated as soon as it is available.

Separately, we would like to thank Jim Kaishian, Superintendent of the Briarcliff Manor School District and the members of the Briarcliff Manor Board of Education for being ready and willing to work with us in hosting our day camp programs at school facilities.  It did not work out, but we truly appreciate the fine relationship that we share and the continued support and cooperation that the district provides to our community.  We also want to thank all of our counselors and camp staff members who were ready to roll up their sleeves, put on their masks and do their best to make camp fun and safe for all of our campers.  We are very disappointed that our traditional day camp season is lost: we will do whatever we can to help you secure alternate employment.

In closing, we would like to thank our residents for your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate this unprecedented task and daunting process.  We intend to  get through this and navigate around any bumps along the way.  Please bear with us and know that we are working diligently to continue to provide you with safe and enjoyable recreation programs, facilities and services this Summer … and beyond.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay tuned … better times are ahead.

Philip E. Zegarelli,
Village Manager

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