DEDHAM, Maine — Camp CaPella is one of two camps in Maine with programs for kids with special needs.
For many of these kids, school was canceled, their programs were postponed, and they thought maybe the camp in Dedham was the one thing this year they could still keep in their calendars.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hard decision to close Camp CaPella for the 2020 summer camp season was made to help keep campers, families, and staff as safe as possible.
According to the board of directors at Camp CaPella, "the focus for the camp team will be for repairs to happen over the summer, with hopes of offering summer, fall, and winter alternatives as they become safe and available."
Harvey Chesley is the executive director at Camp CaPella. He tells NEWS CENTER Maine that until this year, the camp had been going strong for decades.
"We felt it was in the best interest of camp itself, our campers have had such a tough time, but our board made the difficult but right decision that we couldn't open camp with campers coming down here," Chesley said.
"With restrictions in place related to COVID19 – such as 6’ physical distancing – it is too difficult to ensure the safety and well being of our campers within the close environment of our camp," Camp Director Heidi Riggs added.
14-year-old Camden Faloon is one of the hundreds of kids that has been looking forward to camp since the minute he left last year. He has been going for four years.
"It's a really special place where he gets to do things like everybody else and he gets to do it without his parents, so its a great sense of independence for him," Julie Mullins, Faloon's stepmother, said.
"We held it from him for a while, since March he's kind of lost everything," Mullins said.
Losing summer camp was a big disappointment for Camden but he received a special package in the mail from camp that brightened him!
"That was kind of how we told him, it was through that package, for us to be able to say 'Camp Capella came to you this year because you can't go there,'" says Mullins.
"You think of the campers..they are here having a great time but also their families are getting just a slight break, it's a difficult year raising a child..any child, but especially a child with special needs," Chesley said.
"Our number one priority has always been, and will remain, to protect the health and safety of our campers and staff," Riggs said.
Click here if you would like to donate to Camp CaPella's summer 2021 camp programs.