Sharing in the Timanous Spirit from home...
June 25th was scheduled to be Opening Day at Timanous this year. Even though we couldn't be together in person at camp, it was incredibly heartwarming to see all of the t-shirt day submissions that poured in from alumni around the world who put on their gear - from all eras - in celebration of their Timanous family.
We had a blast connecting with campers this summer through lots of virtual activities and content, but it was all of you who made their 2020 Opening Day special. Thanks for your enduring Timanous Spirit!
Our 2020 summer is in the books! While none of us could have imagined not being together in person at the start of the year, we are thrilled that we were able to provide a connection to camp and between each other in this very different summer. Almost every day throughout July we offered some kind of activity, with a mix of familiar Timanous traditions and creative new ways to get together:
A Positive Impact
We knew that we couldn't recreate the traditional Timanous experience, but we hoped to bring some of our camp's magic to our campers at home.
As the mother of a new camper said: "Thank you so much for all you are doing to extend Timanous into our lives this summer. They have been a bright spot for our son and a great way for him to get to know camp. I can tell he already feels like a part of it all." An even greater testament came from the new camper himself: "I was gonna go for a half session, now I think I'm gonna go full session next year. Definitely."
We can't wait to see all the campers, new and returning, back at Timanous in 2021!
June 25th is for Timanous
Wear your camp gear no matter where you are.
While we won't have campers and their families turning off Plains Road on June 25th for opening day as planned, we can still celebrate the start of summer and the Timanous spirit with Global Timanous T-shirt Day!
So next Thursday, wear any Timanous gear that you have and take a picture -- bonus points if you can get outside and do something active!
Ideas for what to wear:
We will publish the photos in a series of posts so we can all see our community representing Timanous, think fondly of camp memories, and most importantly to support our 2020 campers.
We can't wait to see everyone in their Timanous gear. Thank you for participating!
Dear Timanous Family,
We wish the whole country had more ways to come together and support each other like we do at Timanous, especially during these hard times. Our most important traditions symbolize our shared purpose; the only way we’ve ever started our Council Fire is by everyone pulling on the same rope and in the same direction as one, no matter our different backgrounds and perspectives.
As a place where people of color were not historically at the center of our community, we also recognize that we have more work to do in living up to our values of respecting the identity of every individual and including them as a valuable part of the whole. The pain that we and so many are feeling about the killing of George Floyd, and far too many other tragic deaths, calls us to this purpose even more urgently.
Harlem Academy, a school where many of our current and former Black campers and counselors have gone, recently sent out this message: “When each of us stands up and speaks out for Black lives, we demonstrate the love and care we have for one another and our resolve to never stop fighting for justice, equity, and basic humanity.” To all the Black people in the Timanous family: your lives matter, and we are with you in solidarity and support. We use our voice in affirming what Camp Timanous stands for.
We recognize our efforts to further these values will be ongoing, imperfect, and challenging. We will listen, learn, and be honest about our shortcomings. The loss of camp this summer due to COVID-19 means we do not have the opportunity to learn, heal and lead together. However, this absence also creates an opportunity for us to get involved and lead in our home communities with Timanous values in mind.
Let us draw on our experiences from Timanous where we are encouraged to treat each other with love and respect, and we are taught to understand and improve our impact on those we live with. As we recognize our areas for growth, as people and as a camp, we are rededicated to living out our Timanous values.
Garth Altenburg, Director
Craig MacDonnell, Board Chair
To the Timanous Family,
Camp is always quiet in spring, but envisioning the upcoming summer in light of COVID-19 has added a heaviness to the quiet that is very different from a normal year. Along with Consulting Directors Dave and Linda Suitor and our dedicated Board of Trustees, we have engaged in a process of evaluating the feasibility of camp in 2020, always with the safety of our campers, staff and surrounding community at the forefront of our thinking. The difficult and sad reality is that we will not be able to operate our traditional camp program this summer.
This realization comes after a long and comprehensive review. Starting in mid-March, we very deliberately considered the challenges of offering our trademark communal camp life - where campers connect with all those around them in a carefree and joyful environment with no social distancing - amid the realities of operating in response to COVID-19. We have the highest standards for health and safety. After careful study, we discovered that there would be a very low margin for error, even after modifying camp with newly-required safety protocols. We came to the conclusion that providing the Timanous experience we know and love is not possible this summer. In accordance with this conclusion, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to suspend both our full and half-summer sessions.
We have communicated with our enrolled families, recognizing the incredibly difficult outcome it represents for their sons while knowing it is the right decision. We have offered to fully refund tuition to any family that requests it, and provided options to roll over tuition to 2021 or convert it to a donation. We are developing virtual programming to help our campers stay connected during the summer, and look forward to creating as much of the Timanous magic as possible even if we can’t gather together in person.
We all need Timanous right now. Whether you are a former camper or counselor, sent your son to Timanous, or were hoping to come to camp this summer, we all know how meaningful a role camp has played in so many of our lives, providing summer memories, opportunities for personal growth, and lifelong friendships with some of the best people around. Timanous holds a special place in our hearts. It is sad to know that our camp will not open for the first time in its history. We will continue to share connections to camp on our Instagram and Facebook pages and hope that you find comfort, peace and inspiration from the Timanous spirit always.
As you can imagine, the loss of a camping season will have a major impact on our financial standing given the loss of tuition revenue combined with significant standing expenses. We have identified a fiscal path forward that involves significant cost-cutting, federal relief, short-term borrowing, and fundraising. Especially now, we are buoyed by our passion for and belief in the Timanous mission. Timanous has been around for over 100 years. We are as committed as ever to a great second century of tradition, growth and formative summers for our campers. We will get through this.
The Timanous Prayer calls on us to give thanks "for the trials which help us to know ourselves." Through all of this, we are inspired by the hope with which we expect better days because of our Timanous experiences. We look forward to the time in 2021 when we are able to gather again as a full camp on the shores of Panther Pond.
Garth Altenburg, Director
Craig MacDonnell, Board Chair
Dear Timanous Family,
Greetings from Maine. While I'm reaching out today with an update on our planning for the 2020 summer, I first and foremost am hoping for continued health for you and your community. Like you, I’m adjusting to new routines, doing my part to stay healthy and support others while looking for signs of hope. I try to find and spread silver linings each day while also thinking of those who are sick and most directly at risk as they help others. Thoughts of Timanous do provide great comfort for me and I know the same is true for our extended community.
I have been in communication with our enrolled families for this upcoming summer regarding our response to the pandemic, including the possibility of camp being impacted. I know the summer continues to be a beacon of hope for all of us. As we hope and wait for the situation to improve, we are eyeing mid-May as the latest possible date to make a decision on the status of the summer. At the forefront of our decision making-process is the health and well-being of our campers, staff, camp families and our neighbors here in Maine as well as our very important role in supporting public health and the flattening of the curve. Our decision cannot be made only in the context of operating Timanous; we must also be good citizens and not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
After just one summer at Timanous, it is clear to me how special our camp is. It brings out the best in all of us. I crave the magic of Timanous, especially during this time. With our hopes for camp also comes an obligation to be realistic about the prospects for camp this summer. Much would need to improve between now and the start of camp on June 25th for us to open camp as planned. We continue to monitor relevant information from state, federal and industry officials and leaders, as well as assess the effectiveness and feasibility of some potential new health operating protocols for camps. We are also aware of several other camps in New England that have recently announced plans for closure. We have much to weigh as we hold out hope and recognize our role in supporting public health.
In an effort to bring the light of Timanous into our daily lives, we’ve been regularly adding social media content to our Instagram and Facebook pages. Please follow us @camptimanous, share these posts with your Timanous community and know that we are exploring more creative ways to share the best of the Timanous spirit virtually. You can view one of my recent messages from Timanous below.
May we continue to be grateful for the many gifts Timanous has shared with us, both in person and now virtually. I look forward to keeping in touch.