We are incredibly angry and disappointed to see the continuing violence against the Black community which is being perpetrated by police forces across the country. It is a time where everyone must make their voices heard, must go and be present at protests when and where they can, must donate to bail funds, to Black Lives Matter, to the activist groups which are working tirelessly to combat this. Defunding the police is a first step. Abolishing prisons is a first step. Abolishing ICE is a first step. There are seemingly endless structures and policies within our government that work to disenfranchise and commit violence against Black people. We cannot stop until we have reworked every single one of them.
We are more than ready to commit ourselves to doing this work. We will be present at demonstrations. We will speak out using our various platforms. We will work harder to educate the young people who engage with our programs on the realities of racism. We will donate to causes locally and nationally. White supremacy is everywhere in America. It must be fought at every front.
We will be posting links to more information, to rallies, to places that people can donate through our Facebook, and doing our best to use our platforms to elevate Black voices. Please engage with the discussion that is currently happening. If you have not already, educate yourself. If we are falling behind on something, please point it out to us. We are not perfect, but will always strive to be better.
Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter.
With worries about Covid-19 on everyone’s mind, we here at The Wayfinder Experience want to let you know where we are with all of this. Our number one concern is and always has been the health and safety of campers and staff and we always start with compliance with the NY State Department of Health and either Ulster (day camps) or Putnam (overnight camps) County Departments of Health. This is not at all new; camp Operating Permits are issued by the local Health Departments and we have always not only followed their rules and complied with their requirements, but have also sought their input on any camp health related matter. As of late May, our analysis of the situation has brought us, sadly, to the conclusion that we can not run in-person summer camps safely this year.
We know that for many of you, Wayfinder is a space that provides much of the joy and tenderness that you try and take into the world. The opportunity and ability to create a space that has offered that for so many people over the years is something that we treasure. We are incredibly heartbroken to not be able to offer camp this summer, but very excited to explore new opportunities online where we get to continue to bring our community together.
Sadly, the pandemic has made things incredibly hard on us as a company. Our overhead (insurance, rent, payroll, etc.) is just too high to cover without being able to run summer camps. As such, we have decided to look towards next summer and make our ability to run events then our main focus. So, we will not run any events (other than finishing out our weekly afterschool class) from November 1st through March 1st, but we are looking for ways to bring the community together digitally during that time.
Halting operations also means that our office staff will be furloughed. Wayfinder, for all intents and purposes, will enter a short period of hibernation to allow it to emerge again. Emails will be checked weekly during that period should you want to reach us.
The work that we did this summer was fantastic and it has helped to support us to this point in a difficult year, but the numbers don’t come close to the realities of the organization at the moment. We thank those of you who helped make this past summer so wonderful and truly look forward to connecting again in the spring.