The Girl Scouts of Western New York has made the decision not to open its day and resident camps for more than 2,000 girls this summer due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, officials said Tuesday.
The decision also affects some 160 seasonal staff that will not be hired. Families, staff and Girl Scout members were notified of the decision earlier today. Girl Scouts of Western New York plans to offer virtual and alternative camping and Girl Scout programming instead.
“While this is obviously a hard decision, we doubt this comes as a surprise to most people,” Girl Scouts CEO Alison Wilcox said in a statement. “We must put the safety of girls, families, volunteers and staff first, and there’s no way we can see accommodating campers in proximity to each other and staff in camp settings safely during this time.”
GSWNY operates day camps at Camp Piperwood in Fairport, as well as three other day and resident camps in Western New York. Last summer, more than 2,000 Girl Scouts attended those camps through various summer sessions. Piperwood served 338 girls.
All camp property rentals have been canceled through Aug. 31, 2020, and pre-registration fees for campers and rentals will be refunded within 30 days. In addition, the suspension of all in-person Girl Scout activities is extended until at least June 30.
Camp staff last summer included 58 at Piperwood. Camp directors will continue to work this summer, assisting with virtual and other programming GSWNY plans to offer. GSWNY is surveying families to determine what type of summer programming they seek.
“We made the decision now so seasonal camp staff has as much notice as possible to help them make alternate plans for summer jobs, and parents have notice to find alternative child care for the summer,” Wilcox said. “We also understand the disappointment our Girl Scouts and their families will feel without these opportunities. We want them to know Girl Scouting has remained strong for over 100 years and our camp programs will still be here for future summers.”