Keeping the WeHaKee Community Healthy and Safe!
It has become a Closing Campfire tradition for us to talk about how camp is truly the real world, where we can each be our real selves in an authentic, diverse and inclusive community. And we discuss how our real world at camp includes both successes and challenges. Summer 2021 was no different.
Having cancelled Summer 2020 due to COVID-19, we planned long and hard to create a safe experience at camp in 2021. And we were successful in that we had no COVID-19 cases at camp during all of our sessions. Our success came with some restrictions that limited many camp traditions such as no fires at the Council Fire Ring, no use of our beautiful lakeside chapel for evening prayer or Mass, no camping or canoe trips off camp, and no singing without masks on. As always our campers and staff adapted and still created new friendships, enjoyed many activities, and had amazing fun along the shores of Hunter Lake.
As we prepare for Summer 2022, the pandemic and its impact continues to linger. We have learned so much over that past 18 months and we are confident camp will be closer to ‘normal’ next summer! It will however, take the full camp community to make that happen! Our campers and their families, our summer and year-round staff, our board of advisors and other volunteers need to do their part to ensure a safe, healthy and normal summer at WeHaKee in 2022!
One of the easiest and most effective ways we all can contribute to reducing the impact of the COVID-19 virus on camp (and on all of our communities!) is to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and all communicable diseases! WeHaKee Camp for Girls is strongly urging everyone who plans to be at camp next summer be vaccinated before they arrive on the shores of Hunter Lake. If we can gather a fully vaccinated community at WeHaKee this summer, imagine how we can reduce the impact of COVID-19 and have great fun and meaningful experiences throughout camp and beyond!
Our recommendation is based on a multitude of sources including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Sawyer County Health Department and the members of our WeHaKee Medical Team. We will continue this approach of following the guidance of the medical and scientific communities as we prepare for next summer. And rest assured, we will work with anyone who may have medical issues that preclude them from being vaccinated to see if accommodations can be made to ensure a safe experience for them at WeHaKee.
We recognize that some may have moral concerns regarding the research and production of vaccines. We have taken the time to examine these concerns. According to the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it is “morally acceptable” for Catholics to take these vaccines against the COVID-19 Virus. The CDF goes on to state that Vaccine development and production over the last several decades has often relied upon some cell lines that regrettably were originally developed from cells obtained from two fetuses that were aborted in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not dependent on these cell lines. They were developed using different technology relying on ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the virus itself. Even though the vaccines may have been tested using compromised cell lines, this does not establish a connection between the vaccine recipient and the abortion. Consequently, use of these vaccines is ethically sound.
With that in mind, WeHaKee Camp for Girls is strongly encouraging our community members to be fully vaccinated by the time they arrive at camp next summer. Strong camp community cooperation will help to elevate our hope for such things as meals in the dining hall, enjoying individual activities on the first full day of camp, not having to mask whenever near others, enjoying evening prayer and Mass in our beautiful chapel, and maskless singing! If we can all do what is safe for the WeHaKee community, what a great summer it can be!