May program and site update and next steps

May update on what is happening at Okizu! We are working in parallel in three different areas right now.

1) The first is our program. Our community’s safety is — and always has been — our top priority. With that in mind, we have decided to offer our summer programs virtually again this year. While many camps across the country are opening up in person, we are still not able to run overnight or day camp programs this summer. Since our population includes children with cancer and very young children, there are additional safety considerations. Meanwhile, we will be sending out our popular Happy Camper Kits aka “camp in a box” and are planning fun, engaging sessions, like how to make a bee condominium, a cooking class, martial arts, and many more! We held two virtual Family Camps this spring and are registering kids for our virtual summer camps.

Additionally, we are visiting other camps which are potential rental sites, so that when our medical staff advise that it is safe to be back in person, we will be ready to do so.

2) The second is our site in Berry Creek. We have done an initial timber harvest to remove some of the burned trees and submitted an application to FEMA to have them remove the debris. That was submitted December 15, and we are waiting to hear if they will approve that project. We are optimistic that within the next three months, PG&E will have restored some power to the site, and while we can’t do any clean up or repair work on site until we hear from FEMA, our Site Committee is meeting regularly to prioritize projects.

3)  We are also focused on deciding whether to rebuild at our site in Berry Creek, or to move to a different location. Our goal is to provide our families with a safe, welcoming place to visit – one that is accessible, intentional, and created for them. We are looking at this decision based on safety, program, and insurance/financial considerations.

Rebuilding the camp is going to take a community, and we welcome your input. We will have opportunities to join town halls, participate in surveys, and other ways to include the voices of our stakeholders.

Thank you so much.

Suzie Randall
Executive Director