Summer 2020 and COVID-19

May 18, 2020

Dear Camp families,

Two months ago, I wrote to you and asked you to stay with us as we navigated the COVID-19 crisis and planned for summer. 3,000 of you answered that call by registering for camp. THANK YOU.

Because of our camp families and supporters, millions of memories have been made with the magic of YMCA Camp Ernst over the last 92 years through traditional and family camps as well as our Ranch program. Camp Ernst has always been about more than just kids spending time away from home. Camp Ernst is a place where kids can be themselves and thrive. No matter who they are, or where they come from, Camp is here to help kids reach their full potential.

This week it became evident that with current timing and required COVID-19-related adaptations to the program, we will not be able to offer you the magical Camp Ernst experience you know, love, and expect this summer. I am sad to announce that we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our regularly scheduled camp programming for the remainder of summer 2020.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the difficult decision to not host camp this summer will place a significant financial strain on sustaining Camp Ernst operations. If you have already paid some/all of your fees for camp, we ask you choose one of the following options:

  1. Support camp by donating your fees to help us sustain our facility and preserve future camp experiences.
  2. Choose to carryover fees to 2021, helping to sustain operations and reserve your place at Camp next summer.
  3. We understand this is a challenging time financially for many, so you may request a refund.
  4. Select a combination of any above options to customize your support.
  5. Seek personal guidance for special situations.


Many families we’ve heard from have already generously allocated their camp fees to donations with others choosing to roll fees forward to summer 2021. If you are able, please join them! We ask that each family complete our 2020 Cancellation Options form for each registered camper by June 1 to indicate your preference.

I’m sure you and your camper were looking forward to this experience just as we were, and it may be hard for your camper to understand. Camp alumnus, donor, and friend Shane Strunk, LISW, has offered these tips about talking to your child about the cancellation of their session.

Please watch my video message with your camper(s) and visit our FAQs for more information.

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