What’s Up for Summer at YMCA Camp Cha-La-Kee

News, Virtual Camp | Heart of the Valley YMCA | May 16, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

When I learned in late 2019 that I was to be the Executive Director of YMCA Camp Cha-La-Kee, I was filled with excitement and was eager to begin planning your child’s summer camp experience. My first decision was to hire Kelly Cook as Camp Program Director, and our plans for the summer began to take shape. Never in our wildest dreams (or nightmares) did we imagine that we would be confronted with a challenge like we are now facing with COVID-19.

Over the past several weeks, we have been wrestling with the decision of whether or not to open camp this summer. Today, with a heavy heart, I am writing to inform you that we are canceling overnight camp and shuttle day camp. We want you to know that this decision was not made lightly, but after weighing the risks and considering guidance from the American Camp Association and the Centers for Disease Control, we have concluded that there is too much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 for us to operate overnight camp and shuttle day camp. We will operate Drop-off Day Camp in Guntersville with a maximum availability for  27 children weekly.

During these uncertain times, we want to assure you that YMCA Camp Cha-La-Kee is not going away. We have served campers and families for over 60 years and remain steadfast in our commitment to serve future generations. Our YMCA has withstood many challenges since its founding in 1957, and together, we will endure and reopen even stronger.

Please note that, in order to reconcile our books for accounting purposes, refunds are not automatic. Any request for refunds must be made in writing no later than June 5, 2020.

We understand that summer camp is an investment in the lives of your children and understand that this emotional investment also carries a significant financial investment as well. If you have the financial means to convert your camp deposit or a portion of it into a donation, we ask that you consider doing so. This will help sustain camp for future generations and allow us to continue to make small improvements to camp facilities. If this is not an option, we will gladly refund your deposit fully or transfer your deposit to next year. In any case, we need you to let us know by responding to this email or calling camp at 256.571.2494.

Our Camp Staff is still here for you and your family and will continue to provide engaging and entertaining Virtual Camp activities throughout the summer on our Facebook page and Camp Blog at www.chalakee.org. You can even order craft kits for tie-dye camp T-shirts, friendship bracelets, and beaded keychains so that you can enjoy these fun, hands-on crafts with your “at-home” campers to support camp. Look for videos with Kelly on our camp blog leading these activities!

Please feel free to call us at 256.571.2494 or email me at huy.lu@ymcahuntsville.org with any questions or comments.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and it’s my hope that we can be together again very soon!


Huy Lu
Executive Director, YMCA Camp Cha-La-Kee

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