Club SciKidz Summer Camps Coronavirus Update
April 29th 2020
Summer Camp Update: April 29th, 2020
Dear Club SciKidz Families,
Club SciKidz is reaching out again to all of our valued families and wishing you the best for your health and well-being during this time of stress and uncertainty. Like you, we have been checking with the CDC website, COVID models, Public Health officials, our facility partners, and government policy makers.
We started Club SciKidz 23 years ago while we were middle school teachers in Louisville Kentucky. As time progressed, we expanded our offerings from one themed camp to sixty. Since the beginning we have conducted camp and school programs for over 150,000 children, offered multiple 100% scholarships to hundreds of campers, and employed thousands of teachers and college students.
Our goal has always been to get children excited about science and technology. We have worked hard to keep abreast of the latest trends in STEM education offering engaging programs in everything from veterinary medicine to robotics.
We apologize for this lengthy message, but we wanted to address your questions about your registration fees as well as our business.
- The health of our business
- Refund and credit requests
- Virtual camps and school programs for the future
The Health of our Business
As of yesterday, given our church and school camp location closures, we have been forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to cancel our regular in person camps for the 2020 summer. We have been working day and night to pivot to a camp in a box with virtual support to replace the camp experience you have been so dedicated to support over the years. Unfortunately, Club SciKidz, like all small businesses, has been severely impacted. Traditionally, the months of March, April, and May are the best months of the year for camp recruitment and with the Covid-19 virus spreading we stopped receiving registrations the second week of March.
In accordance with the COVID-19 Small Business Federal legislation passed at the end of March, we applied for 3 different grants/loans to assist us with payroll, warehouse rent, and our huge inventory budget, since we have no income due to school closures and the unknown status of summer camps. Sadly, we were not granted funding in the first round due to the volume of applications and inadequate appropriations.
However, in discussions with Bank of America (where we applied for the PPP loan), we are hopeful that with the second round of SBA funding passed by Congress we will be able to receive some financial help. Please keep in mind that this funding is only enough to help retain our two employees in our warehouse who are working diligently on our new camp in a box lessons and inventory packing. If we are fortunate enough to receive some financial assistance it will not assist in our ongoing yearly expenses and hiring back our 79 teachers and counselors for the summer. This is an additional burden for us because we understand our teachers who have worked for us for years depend on their summer revenue.
On a very personal level, this turn of events has been devastating. Over the last few years, we have loved being at camp, overseeing the delivery of what we do, watching children who started with us as Kindergarteners advance to be 7th graders. And have felt the warmth of a child who came back a foot taller each year, and said to us, “I am back!” For some children, we were their last and best option. When kids have challenging behaviors, some programs turn them away.
Our commitment is always to try our best to keep every child, work through strategies with the parent, and help turn things around in that child’s life. Lastly, we are deeply appreciative of the families who sign up their children with us for all 8 weeks and we are in awe of their commitment to us.
We thank you for all the years of your support and the trust that you bestow on us by enrolling your child in our camps.
Refund and Credit Requests
At this time, we are offering credit to customers for future in-person camps, Camp in a Box with virtual support or virtual after-school programs for the upcoming school year. We would have liked to offer full, or even partial refunds to our camper families, but that was simply not an option given our financial situation. We begin spending resources in October on the many components necessary to prepare for the coming camp season. These include:
- Pre-purchasing supplies and equipment to serve thousands of kids
- Employing our yearly staff and the resources to secure facilities, develop curriculum, hire summer staff and process enrollments.
- Insurance, marketing, recruiting and other administrative costs.In the months between October and March, we spend roughly three quarters of the revenue in preparing for the summer camp. These unrecoverable costs and the sudden halt of enrollment has forced us to make very difficult decisions. But we feel that our new camp model will give your child a fun and enjoyable camp experience from home.We are working day and night to deliver to you the full value of your investment in camp, and to continue to serve our mission in the future.
We will provide credit as follows:
- Use your full credit anytime in the next 3 years (By 6/01/2023)
- You can transfer your registration to siblings, or gift it to anyone you choose.
- You can use your registration for any of our virtual Camp in a Box and Virtual Digital Camps or *After-School Programs (*we are currently working on the new format for the new school year)
A one-year subscription to our Monthly ClubScikidz Lab Box which is a separate company for us and has been highly popular for the last 3 years.In saying all of this, and we know it is a lot to digest, we remain hopeful, positive, and committed to creating and delivering programs for the children in our community not only through this incredibly difficult time, but in the future when hopefully, these trying times will only be a distant memory.
We hope that you and your family have been able to stay healthy during this time, but understand that many of you have probably had someone close or known someone who has been affected or passed from this horrific virus and we would like to offer our sincere condolences. We want you to know that we are here for you and are working very hard on providing what we do best, by offering great science and technology programs even during a world pandemic.
Please use this email link to communicate as to which credit option you have chosen and we will take care of going into the registration service to update your account. You will receive an email confirmation once the change has been made.Wishing you safety, good health and in spite of it all, a good summer!
Bob and Sue Hagan, Founders/Owners