BCM COVID-19 Updates
When you’re on a wilderness trip, and a storm rolls in, you have to adapt to the circumstances. Whether you’re solo or working as a team, you try to manage the situation to keep moving towards your goals, as best you can, with the skills and resources you have on hand. Sometimes the best decision is to turn around – a hard decision to make, but one that is necessary to continue the adventure another time.
As outdoor professionals, we’re used to adapting to plenty of situations in order to reach our goals – but the novel coronavirus is presenting plenty of challenges that don’t have obvious solutions. After careful consideration of what’s best for our community of adventurers and for our organization, we’re making the difficult decision to adapt to the current circumstances by suspending youth programs for summer 2020.
This is a decision that’s unprecedented in our 30-year history, but these are unprecedented times. We want to expand access to the outdoors with an eye to equity, but at the same time must have an eye to the health and physical and emotional safety of the disinvested communities we serve. They trust us to ensure that our programs are as safe and high quality as possible – and we take that trust seriously. With so many unknowns and so many evolving hazards, responsibly and appropriately managing the additional anticipated risks has proved to be a major obstacle. Considering the public health landscape we are likely to encounter – and the amount of resources and dedication that we and our Youth Development Partner Agencies put into summer programming – we’re adapting by shifting our resources to focus on running more relevant, meaningful nature programs for youth when social conditions allow us to resume.
We came to this decision in consultation with our youth agency partners, walking with them every step of the way. For many, their doors remain closed to students, and even later in the summer, they’ve told us they’re unlikely to run field trips of any sort – including BCM expeditions and camps. Others were eagerly looking forward to this summer’s outing. Despite our mutual disappointment, we all look forward to resuming those trips in 2021, if not sooner.
As an organization, we’re using this time to ensure that BCM is as strong – and as relevant to our youth agency partners, our youth, and our families – as they can be for the summer 2021 season. We’ll be discussing the format of BCM programs with our youth agency partners, to make sure our programs continue to be relevant and serve the needs of our communities. We’ll be updating our risk management practices to ensure that we can operate as safely as possible in this “new normal” and account for the intersectional traumas our students have experienced. We’ll be listening and learning more about the novel coronavirus alongside you, so that all of our decisions are reflective of up-to-date information. And we’ll definitely be looking for ways to deliver on our mission responsibly in the meantime.
Because we know how important the outdoors is, particularly in times of hardship.
Nature is a balm on our spirits, and a connection with nature is still something we believe that everyone should have the access to enjoy. More than ever, youth in particular are going to need spaces to recenter themselves in the wake of this stressful and potentially traumatic experience, and we want to be able to support them to the best of our collective ability.
Ultimately, we’re confident this storm, like all others, will pass. We’re a unique organization made stronger by our dedicated community, and we will weather these hard times. We have many ideas about how we might engage with youth – in ways familiar and unfamiliar – over the summer and into 2021, and will be in touch about opportunities as we see them. And we’re already getting excited about next summer.
Thank you for your patience with us, your understanding, and your support as we weather this storm together.
If you have any questions, email Amanda, your Community Relations Director.
And if you’ve been looking for resources, wherever you are, here’s a website to help you find help or provide mutual aid assistance in your community.