A Message from the OFRC/CIC Board of Directors – May 16, 2020
Dear Oakland Feather River Camp Families,
We hope that you and your family are healthy in body and mind, and adjusting as well as possible as we all join together to fight the spread of COVID-19. We know that this is an extraordinary time for everyone and the thought of one day soon being surrounded by friends, family, fellow Campers and nature is something that gives us all hope as we shelter in place.
For the past two months, our Board of Directors and dedicated staff have been working tirelessly and have had countless difficult discussions and weekly meetings about how best to move forward with the summer 2020 Camp season. We have been consulting with health officials, the City of Oakland, and the American Camping Association – exploring numerous scenarios, approaches and timelines in an effort to consider all possibilities that would allow us to safely provide our campers and community with an OFRC experience this summer. As recommended by officials, we waited for as long as possible before making any final determinations.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of all Oakland Feather River Camp programs for the summer 2020 season.
This decision was not reached lightly. We recognize the incredible experience that Feather River Camp provides – to come together as friends or family, connect with nature and enjoy a dip in the swimming hole or a s’mores or two. We especially want to acknowledge our Campers who have yet to experience the magic of OFRC; we sincerely hope you will join us when Camp reopens again in 2021. But we also recognize the need to keep our staff, Campers and the greater Quincy community safe, including those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Ultimately, the list of uncertainties is still too long, too late into the year and we feel strongly about meeting our social responsibility to prevent the further spread of the virus.
This decision to cancel Camp for summer 2020 has significant and challenging financial implications to our nonprofit organization. Summer program fees not only cover the cost of the Camp experience for our Campers, but also our year-round operations and the required annual upkeep of the facility. The OFRC Board of Directors and staff are actively exploring multiple funding sources to help offset these necessary expenses – including small business loans, support from the local, state, and federal government and planning additional and increased fundraising efforts. However, like many small nonprofits, there is no guarantee that all of these efforts will prove fruitful during this difficult time. We have also tightened our belts wherever possible and have had to make some very difficult staffing decisions. Nonetheless, the small emergency reserve that we’d managed to build up over the years has already been depleted.
The OFRC Board of Directors is charged with the continuing health and viability of our beloved 96 year-old institution and making sure it continues serving OFRC Campers for decades to come. In 2003, the City of Oakland decided to stop operating Feather River Camp. It was then that a group of long time Campers came together to form Camps in Common to ensure that Camp would continue to be able to serve the families of Oakland. That group of committed OFRC Campers, volunteers, and donors helped to see OFRC through some very tough years. It was through their efforts that Camp has endured to this day.
Today, we ask you to become a part of that tradition of pulling together for Oakland Feather River Camp. We are asking you to join the OFRC Board of Directors in donating your 2020 Camp deposits to enable us to survive these destabilizing times and to allow for many more Camp seasons for years to come. Your 2020 deposit will help us cover the costs we have already incurred to prepare for the 2020 Camp season and also fund our scaled-down, continuing operations, which includes the wages of our 4 year-round staff.
In return for your donation, we offer the following benefits:
- Tax receipt for your registration fees (will be sent to you automatically);
- Your family will automatically receive the same Family Camp housing assignment as you secured for 2020 (when you register and pay for 2021); and
- A thank you plaque containing the names of donors proudly displayed at Camp.
We critically need your support. If 50% of our Campers donate their payments already made to Camp, we can prevent further and more drastic cuts and will be in a strong position to continue our fundraising efforts so we can weather this storm. Click button below to be directed to our response form to confirm your support. A huge thank you to those families who have already reached out and offered to donate your 2020 deposits.
We realize that this pandemic has created financial hardship for many of our Camper families. If donating your full 2020 deposit is not an option, please know that the form contains options for partial donations, credits, or refunds.
2020 Campers, please review our FAQ and click the button below to confirm how you’d like to handle your 2020 deposit.
We know this is heartbreaking news. None of us ever imagined we would see a summer without Camp, but with your support we will survive this challenging period. Thank you for your flexibility, generosity, partnership and understanding. Please stay safe and healthy, and we can’t wait to see you at OFRC in 2021.
The Oakland Feather River Camp & Camps in Common Board of Directors
Amy Boyle, Ryann Cheung, Diana Christensen, Donna Duhe, Ben Lavender, Stephanie McFadden, Jesse McKeithen, Charlie Michelson, Nancy Murray
Please read the letter above before exploring your options for the payments you’ve already made. Thank you for your support.
OPTIONS FOR CAMPERS WITH 2020 PAYMENTS
(Family Camp, Youth Camp, Labor Day Weekend Camp)
Our summer camp programming accounts for 87% of our annual revenue. We believe that cancelling the 2020 camp season is the right thing to do, but it leaves us in a very difficult financial position.
We ask you to please consider donating all or some of your payments to date to camp. We will provide a tax receipt and acknowledgement letter. For Family Campers, if you donate we will hold your 2020 tent/cabin assignment, which will be carried over to 2021 for the same days of stay.
CREDIT TO 2021/2022
After choosing a donation level, we encourage you to roll over your remaining registration payments to be used during the 2021 camp season.
If for some reason you cannot attend OFRC in 2021, we will allow payments to be used for 2022!
We understand that some campers are facing financial hardship during this time. We ask you to please consider the other two options (donation/credit) seriously prior to requesting this one, as we will have to raise significant funds to cover our key expenses.
In order to cover costs already incurred in planning and preparing for the 2020 camp season, we are able to provide a 70% refund of payments already made to those who request it.
You may also do a combination of these three options!
We will be reaching out to families who we do not hear from. If we cannot get a hold of you and you do not provide a response by June 3, your summer camp fees paid to date will be rolled over to the 2021 season as a credit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How was the decision to cancel the season made?
Since the shelter in place went into effect, the Camps in Common/Oakland Feather River Camp Board of Directors and dedicated staff have been working tirelessly and have had countless difficult discussions and weekly meetings about how best to handle the summer 2020 Camp season. We have been consulting with Plumas and Alameda County health officials, the City of Oakland, and the American Camping Association, representatives from other summer camps in the Bay Area and across the country, and various other stakeholders. We’ve been exploring numerous scenarios, approaches and timelines in an effort to consider all possibilities that would allow us to safely provide our campers and community with an OFRC experience this summer. We have been as thorough and as thoughtful as possible throughout this difficult process and have not wanted to make a premature decision.
Will OFRC be okay financially?
With your financial support, yes! Cancelling the 2020 season will have significant and challenging financial implications to our nonprofit organization. Summer program fees – which make up 87% of our annual revenue – not only cover the cost of the Camp experience for our Campers, but also our year-round operations and the required annual upkeep of the facility.
We have had to drain our small organizational reserves that we had built over the past few years, tighten our belts wherever possible, and make difficult staffing decisions in light of the uncertainty of our financial position.
The OFRC Board of Directors and staff are actively exploring multiple funding sources to help offset these necessary expenses – including small business loans, support from the local, state, and federal government and planning our Gateway to Nature fundraiser for when it is safe for us to gather together. However, like many small nonprofits, there is no guarantee that all of these efforts will prove fruitful during this difficult time.
One thing is for sure: we will need the generosity of our Camp families to help get us through this challenging time.
How does carrying over 2020 Family Camp tent/cabin assignments to the 2021 season work?
While our calendar for 2021 is not yet set, we will carry over 2020 tent assignments to 2021 for those who donate all or a portion of the 2020 payments. In order to reduce complications and overlap, the days of the week for your 2021 stay must be identical to the days of the week as your 2020 stay. We cannot carry over 2020 tent assignments to 2022.
If I roll over a credit to 2021 for Youth Camp, does that reserve a spot for my child for 2021?
Why can’t I receive a 100% refund?
To put it plainly, if we provide everyone with a 100% refund, we will not have enough money to pay our bills past June and we may have to close our doors for good. We have already drained our small reserves. Because we have already incurred substantial costs in preparing for the 2020 season (we start in September of each year!) and in order to cover the costs of operating until we can start taking registrations for 2021, we can only provide a partial cash refund. However, you may receive a 100% credit to 2021 or 2022!
If I need and select a refund option, how and when will I receive it?
You will receive a refund in the same manner that you paid your earlier payments. If you paid through multiple methods, we will provide a refund by check unless we hear otherwise. We expect refunds to be processed over the next 2-4 weeks. We thank you for your patience as we deal with a high volume of registrations.
I don’t remember how much I’ve already paid for camp.
Please review your past emails from and look for your most recent payment confirmation PDF. If you need us to resend it to you, please email us and we will get back to you as fast as we can.
If things get better over the summer, will you open up programs again for late July or August?
In the event that the situation with COVID-19 drastically changes in the coming weeks, we will consider the possibility of holding some version of Camp later in the season, but we view this possibility as extremely remote and we are proceeding accordingly.
Are there other ways to help besides donating?
Thank you so much for asking. At this time, your financial support is the most effective way to ensure we can keep Camp’s doors open and further our mission of strengthening connections between families, nature, youth, and community. However, we are looking for additional ways in which our camp community can support OFRC efforts to weather this storm. If you have ideas, please contact Mark Olson, Executive Director, at or call 510-336-2267 and leave a message.
How can we talk to someone directly?
Our hardworking staff are still working remotely, but we are checking email and our office voicemail (510-336-2267) multiple times a day Monday through Friday. For questions about credits, refunds, or deposits, email . For anything else, please contact Mark Olson, Executive Director, at .
Resources for Families
- How to Talk to Your Children When Bad Things Happen: This article offers help with one of the biggest challenges of parenthood, explaining bad things in the world.
- 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic: This article by Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, provides some ideas on how to experience nature in a new way.
- Supporting Families During COVID-19: The Child Mind Institute shares supportive and comprehensive resources for parents on a number of coronavirus-related topics.
- Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home: These tips from the American Academy are designed to help families through the current crisis.
- How to Be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis: Psychologist Susan David shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage, and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in this TEDtalk.
- Emotional Regulation Worksheets: A Coping Skill Activity: This worksheet and calming technique can help you focus on the present rather than overthinking about the past or future.
- 51 Mindfulness Activities for Kids: These tips and activities can teach elementary-aged students how to practice mindfulness.
- Accessible & Inclusive Mental Health Resources for Coping Through COVID-19: This crowd-sourced list was created to compile resources that are free, low-cost, or at a reduced cost, across a range of platforms, methods, audiences, and topics related to COVID-19 and/or offered by/for folks in traditionally marginalized communities as the pandemic affects these groups even more (i.e., BIPOCs, LGBTQ+, folks with disabilities, seniors, etc.).