FRANKLIN, Mass.—For the first time in its 69-year history, Camp Haiastan’s Board of Directors has decided amid much angst in the COVID-19 pandemic to cancel this year’s summer program.
In analyzing all the data, waiting and hoping for significant changes to death tolls, infection rates, miraculous vaccinations and the like, it became clear that as the uncertainty increased, so did the likelihood of being unable to stay true to the mission statement of Camp Haiastan. A “safe and wholesome camping experience” would have been impossible given the probability of transmission with or without masks in small cabins and dining hall areas along with many of the activities done in groups like talent shows, song nights, Olympics etc. The restrictions placed are prudent and necessary, yet these restrictions could not guarantee the health and well-being of all campers and their families.
“I watched the medical experts daily for months, listening for clues that would make our path to opening possible,” said Michael Guzelian, chairman of the Board of Directors. “All roads led to closing or having a very limited experience fraught with worry regarding transmission amongst the campers and staff and even potentially home to loved ones.”
The Board of Directors also received guidance and in-depth analyses from Dr. Andre Markarian—camp doctor and emergency room physician on the front lines of the pandemic—and camp nurse Carol Jaffarian, who has closely followed health guidelines and supervised countless nurses who have spent their summers at Camp Haiastan for over 10 years.
Families who had already enrolled their children will be credited the enrollment fee in its entirety or may request that it be rolled over to the 2021 camping season. The Board will also be working on programming alternatives to keep the youth active and engaged this season.
“I predict Camp Haiastan will have record enrollment next year,” said executive director David Hamparian. “Absence will make the heart grow fonder.”