Alonim’s Response to COVID-19
Please click through the tabs below to view our most recent messages to the Alonim community regarding COVID-19.
Dear Alonim Families,
After weeks of careful, thorough and thoughtful evaluation of the realities presented by COVID-19, we have made the heart-breaking decision to cancel all remaining sessions of Camp Alonim and Gan Alonim Day Camp for Summer 2020. All CIT reunions scheduled for this summer have also been cancelled. In consultation with our medical team, the Ventura County Health Department, the American Camp Association, CDC, and the leadership of the American Jewish University it has become clear that we cannot run quality, in-person camper programming that fits within Camp Alonim’s commitment to provide a safe space for our campers, staff, families, and our community.
While this decision may not come as a shock, we all were hoping for a different outcome. For the first time since 1953, our cabins will be empty, division cheers will not echo off the walls of the dining hall, and the dance pavilion will not feel the vibrations of the camp community dancing in unison. The loss of camp this summer is real for all of us.
We understand this news is difficult to process. We will be calling you in the coming days to check in, answer any questions that you might have, and to be a friend.
As we shared previously, we are committed to issuing full refunds for all fees paid this summer. Alternatively, you may choose to roll over your payment as a credit for Summer 2021 or convert all or part of your payment to a tax-deductible donation that will be matched 100% thanks to a generous grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. We know that not everyone is in a position to donate, but if you are, these matched donations will help ensure a strong bright future for Camp Alonim.
We will send a follow up email by the end of the week with more details about these options, including how to request a refund, make a donation, or receive a credit toward Summer 2021.
Camp is filled with so many moments of connection — of budding friendships, deepening bonds, shared memories and good feelings. While we may not be together for camper programming this summer, we are committed to providing opportunities for our campers and for the entire Alonim community to connect. One way in which we can do this is through virtual programming. Please click here to take a brief survey regarding virtual programming. Your feedback will be invaluable in giving us a clear vision of how to create meaningful ways to keep our community connected this summer.
In addition, Ventura County is allowing family units to participate in certain outdoor recreational activities such as horseback riding and archery. With this in mind, we are working to create day trip opportunities for individual family units to spend some well-needed time at Camp Alonim. Also, if allowed, we hope to offer overnight family retreat-style programs later in the summer. We are looking forward to being in touch in the coming weeks with more information on the activities that we will be able to offer.
Though we cannot be together on Peppertree Lane this summer, the magic of Camp Alonim is not limited to a single space but rather, is created by all of us, wherever and however we gather. Please join us for an Alonim Virtual Havdalah on Zoom this Saturday, June 6th at 7:00 pm. Click here to register.
We remain forever grateful for your trust, patience and support. Since 1953 Camp Alonim has been a place where children thrive, and Judaism comes alive. As we move forward together, looking toward the future, that mission will persist. And always remember, you don’t have to be at Alonim to be an Alonimer.
Wishing all of our camp families strength, health, and safety during this challenging time.
Dear Alonim Families,
Over the last two months, we’ve watched as the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way we live. During that time, you and your families have been on our minds and in our hearts and we hope that you are healthy and safe.
The Alonim team is committed to making the right decision for the Alonim community and wanted to outline the decisions that have been made as well as our plan moving forward:
In consultation with our medical team, the local health department and the leadership of the American Jewish University it has become clear that we cannot run camp programming that has been scheduled for June 15 – 28. We are deeply saddened to have to cancel First Session, Mini Session, the first two weeks of the CIT program, the first two weeks of the Gesher Gan Internship Program, and the first two weeks of Gan Alonim Day Camp. (All those directly affected by these cancellations will be receiving a separate email with additional details.)
It was our hope that by this time, we would have received enough information from the authorities to be able to safely run an entire 2020 summer season. While we are disappointed that this summer will not be the summer that we imagined, we did not want to make a blanket decision regarding cancelling all camp sessions this summer. We are keeping the window of opportunity open and are hopeful that we will be able to run in-person programming beginning the week of June 29th.
We know that in order to open Camp Alonim safely for any in-person programs this summer, modifications will be necessary. The American Camp Association in coordination with the CDC and the State of California are expected to release protocols and guidelines for the camping industry in the coming days.
If we are permitted to operate by state and local authorities, then we will work toward putting together in-person camper programming that fits within Alonim’s commitment to providing an inclusive as well as a physically and emotionally safe space. We will be sure to have answers for you regarding the rest of our summer programming in the first week of June.
We are moving forward working on a variety of contingency plans:
- 6 weeks of in-person camper programming with appropriate modifications as necessary. While we are exploring various models of camper programming, our intention is to have this resemble our established session structure as much as is possible.
- Family retreat-style programs which would allow families that have been in quarantine together to spend time at camp engaged in various camp activities.
- Community engagement through virtual programming and events.
We understand that this news may raise questions. We will be holding a Zoom Q & A session on Sunday, May 17th at 2 pm, click here to register. For COVID-19 related FAQs and past communications please visit alonim.com.
We are looking forward to hosting an Alonim Virtual Campfire on Zoom on Wednesday, May 20th at 7:30 pm. This will be a chance for our community to gather for a virtual rendition of a traditional Alonim opening campfire experience. Click here to register.
In a bit of good news, through the generosity of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation – All Together Now Matching Grant for Jewish Summer Camp – all donations made to Camp Alonim will be matched 1:2. In addition, any donation of all or any portion of any camper tuition will be matched dollar for dollar. These matched, tax deductible donations, will help ensure a strong bright future for Camp Alonim. We will be in touch in the near future with how you can make an impact through this unique opportunity.
Thank you for being partners with us in creating the Alonim community. Your belief in our mission is why we will endure beyond this challenging time. We know that this news will be especially difficult for our campers to take in. Please click here to access a resource with suggestions for talking about this decision with your children. Camp Alonim was developed as a laboratory for living Judaism. The new ways in which people have been able to connect shows that we will grow, we will adapt, we will change, and we will stay Alonim.
Sending strength to all of our camp families during this challenging time.
Dear Alonim Families,
We hope that you are staying safe during these trying times.
During this period of uncertainty, we know you are seeking answers about the status of Camp Alonim and Gan Alonim Day Camp this summer. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Camp Association (ACA) are currently preparing “Field Guides” to aid summer camps in making the best decisions for this summer. We expect these Guides to include: a decision support tool for summer operations as well as recommended practices for screening of campers and staff, health monitoring during the summer, guidelines for handling emergent cases, disinfection procedures, potential programmatic impacts, and other aspects of camp operations. We were told to expect these documents to be available to us toward the beginning of May.
While we remain hopeful and continue to plan for opening camp this summer, we have an obligation to prepare responsibly. This field guide mentioned above, California Governor Newsom’s regular updates, as well as the continued consultation with local officials and expert health professionals will assist us in making the best and safest decision for the Alonim community.
We are also preparing for many different possibilities and are actively developing contingency plans if we are unable to run our traditional camp program as scheduled. These plans include adjusted start dates and session structures, as well as day camp, family camp, and virtual camp models. Camp Alonim’s goal is to be a place where children thrive and Judaism comes alive. As long as there is a viable path forward for the summer, we will continue to explore all options of ensuring that goal is a reality for Summer 2020.
We truly appreciate your patience and understanding while we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 situation. We understand the hardship of living in the realm of uncertainty. As this is an evolving situation, we are making our safest and best-informed decisions on an ongoing basis, and we do not yet have enough information to make any final decisions regarding Summer 2020. We continue evaluating the situation and are hopeful we will be able to share a more clearly defined set of decisions about the start of our camp program around the middle of May. In the interim, we do hope that the adjustments that have been made to the payment and cancellation policies have been helpful. For COVID-19 related FAQs and past communications, visit alonim.com.
In our continued efforts to plan for summer and be ready for your child(ren) to arrive on Peppertree Lane, we have made a majority of our summer camp forms available for completion in your Alonim Account. We know this is a challenging time and it is not our goal to add any additional stress to your family. These forms are simply available to you if you wish to start working on them.
We are excited to be hosting some upcoming virtual events:
Join us this Friday, May 1 at 7:30 pm via Facebook Live for a Shabbat Song Session led by former Music Director Jared Stein.
Join us next Friday, May 8 via Zoom at 7:00 pm for a special Alonim Shabbat event with a Shabbat Song Session led by Music Director Tal Amber followed by Israeli Dancing led by Dance Director Orly Star. Click here to sign up for the event and we’ll send you the link to join us on Zoom!
Shlomo Bardin believed that one of the most important ways to help young people connect with their tradition was through a meaningful celebration of Shabbat. I look forward to seeing you for the next two!
Chag Sameach Alonim Family,
During our Passover seder, we asked Ma Nishtanah, why is this night different from any other night? This year, in a time of “Safer at Home” and Zoom Passover seders, this question is perhaps a little easier to answer – we are all in a position that was neither expected nor planned for. Our hope is that you and your loved ones have still been able to find meaning and joy in a Passover celebration.
At camp we find ways to build community, and recently we’ve been working on ways to do so virtually. You can watch all of our videos on our Facebook page!
We know that people are eager for some Jewish camp content which is why we are very excited to be hosting a Havdalah ceremony on Zoom! Join us this Saturday, April 18 at 6:30 pm as long-time Director of Camp Alonim, Arthur Pinchev leads us in Havdalah and long-time song leader Rabbi Ken Chasen leads us in singing campfire songs. Click here to sign up for the event and we’ll send you the link to join us on Zoom!
Take a look at our new, beautiful, and easy-to-navigate Alonim.com website! Our new site showcases the vision of Camp Alonim. Click here to take a look at our videos, events, alumni engagement, and so much more. Be sure to stay tuned for more blog entries.
We all need camp now more than ever, and our intention is for the Alonim summer programs to run as planned. We also recognize that there is new information around COVID-19 daily. We are prepared to adapt to the evolving situation around COVID-19 and are considering a variety of contingency plans with the health and safety of the camp community as our top priority. We, like many other camps, are beginning to consider different procedures and schedules and we will continue to be in touch as we know more. In the meantime, there are some COVID FAQs at Alonim.com.
Camp Alonim continues to follow the advice of experts and officials to make the right decisions for our community.
We understand how challenging it is to live in these times of uncertainty and we thank you for your patience as we navigate this uncharted territory.
See you for Havdalah!
Every day, we at Camp Alonim continue preparing for a tremendous summer filled with lifelong friendships, engaging and creative activities, the exploration of Jewish values, apple butter, and, of course, happy and healthy campers and staff. We also recognize that the impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the community and the world is changing every day. Like many of you, we are closely monitoring developments. Camp Alonim is planning to operate fully this summer. As is always the case, the health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance.
We understand that you may be wondering about what lies ahead — you are not alone. We are here to support you in any way that we can, including by continuing to plan for Summer 2020! Again, Camp Alonim is planning to operate fully this summer. We have extended the Alonim payment deadline to May 1st and we have changed our cancellation policy for this summer. If you decide to cancel prior to June 1st, you will receive a full refund. After June 1st, our regular cancellation policy will remain in effect. In the unlikely event that we need to cancel camp for the summer of 2020 we will, of course, refund all camp fees.
To prepare for the upcoming summer, we are currently reviewing our health and medical procedures and will follow the advice of medical professionals, the CDC, and local health officials regarding running our programs and keeping our camp community healthy. Camp Alonim will continue our close communications with the American Camp Association, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and other local and national bodies in support of such efforts.
As our founder Shlomo Bardin said, “where people sing, dance, play, and act…their spirit can never be broken.” Though we may be encouraged to stay in our homes, we should still be singing and dancing…and virtually we can do it together! Check out our Facebook page (facebook.com/CampAlonim) for interactive experiences and programs put on by Alonim staff!
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our camp team at (877) 2-ALONIM or Alonim@aju.edu.
Below are some Alonim coloring sheets to help lift your spirits.
Dear Alonim Families,
The health and safety of our Camp Alonim community is our highest priority during global concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Like many of you, we are closely monitoring developments.
Camp Alonim is planning to operate fully this summer. We will follow the advice of medical professionals, the CDC, and our local health department for proper protocols as they pertain to running our programs and keeping our camp community healthy. Camp Alonim will continue our close communications with the American Camp Association, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and other local and national bodies in support of such efforts as we continue planning for a summer full of fun, friendship, and Jewish values brought to life.
Some families may consider purchasing their own trip insurance for overnight camp. Purchasing such insurance may offer your family the ability to receive a refund for a portion of camp fees should a covered incident arise. Please note that there are different levels of insurance and it’s important to review policy details.
In light of the added stress many of you may be experiencing, we have decided to extend our tuition payment due date from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020. Any payments scheduled for April 1 will occur on May 1 instead.
As always, we are available to answer your questions. Please feel free to reply to this email or give us a call: 877-225-6646.
Continue to stay safe and take precautionary measures to keep yourselves and your loved ones healthy and happy.
Enrollment and Communications Manager
Click the button below to find more information about joining the Alonim community for live events via Facebook Live and Zoom:
Click the button below to access our Slide Deck from the COVID-19 Family Education Session:
Click the button below to access our page on ‘How to Talk With Your Kids About Camp This Summer’:
Click the button below to download customized Camp Alonim coloring sheets:
If you have more questions, please feel free to call us in the Alonim office at 877-2-ALONIM.