NEWS RELEASE: Amidst the worse unemployment in recent history, Camp Fire Columbia avoids lay-offs with help from new federal support
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 29, 2020
PORTLAND, OR—Oregon businesses are experiencing drastic levels of economic uncertainty and instability in the face of the global public health crisis. In this time, Camp Fire Columbia in its commitment to equity made the decision to keep all employees on payroll and is striving to prevent furloughs or layoffs. Due to program closures Camp Fire has lost over $800,000 in revenue and has been using reserves and unrestricted cash to keep all 99 personnel employed. With the help of the second round of funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Camp Fire won’t have to furlough or lay staff off like other child care providers have already been forced to do. Camp Fire had applied in the first round of the PPP, and had been approved but not processed for funding when the $340 billion in federal aid ran out. In this second round of funding Camp Fire qualified and received $630,628.
“We talk about our staff as a Camp Fire family,” said Josh Todd, Camp Fire Columbia’s new CEO. Todd took over the chief executive officer role on March 1st of 2020, just days before the crisis started to take an impact locally. “That kind of commitment doesn’t end if our revenue ends. We committed to finding every way possible to avoid negative financial impacts to staff for as long as possible. In this case, that paid off. We haven’t laid anyone off and are eligible to have our entire loan forgiven.”
The loan approved will cover costs of payroll, taxes, rent and utilities for eight weeks, and most importantly see the Camp Fire staff through this crisis. Camp Fire’s decision to support staff is already seeing dividends.
Addison Bates a Camp Fire employee said she is overwhelmed with appreciation. “To see the organization I work for using their privileges to walk through this turbulent time together instead of leaving some behind means a lot. Like Camp Fire, as we imagine a healthier, recovered future we must, at all costs prioritize the inclusion and trust of the leadership of the most marginalized, impacted folk.”
The PPP is designed to help small businesses, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and tribal businesses with fewer than 500 employees — as well as sole proprietors, self-employed Oregonians, and independent contractors — cover payroll and operational costs by awarding them with fully forgivable loans.
The entire Camp Fire staff has been working remotely since March 17th due to closures of the school districts, and the organization’s diligence to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Camp Fire has continued to mentor youth and actively find ways to support the community and staff through virtual engagement.
Camp Fire is working with school districts to ensure students have access to technology and internet, while continuing to have one on one and group check-ins with students in google classrooms. Teen Program staff is connecting with families by way of phone and additionally, providing financial support with utilities, food deliveries, toiletries, and other necessary needs and resources. Before and After School programming staff are hosting weekly themed virtual movie nights and offering daily connectedness in online group activities like backyard nature journaling and abstract self-portraits. All programming continues to create space for students to explore their interests and find their spark – a core component of all Camp Fire programs. The Camp Fire staff look forward to physically bringing passion and enthusiasm back into the schools and camps when this has passed.
About Camp Fire Columbia: Camp Fire Columbia is a non-profit organization that serves 3.500 youth in grades K-12 in Oregon each year. Camp Fire’s mission is to create caring, confident youth and future leaders. Camp Fire partners with local kids, schools, and families to provide research-based, best practices programming that: supports academic achievement, builds social and life skills, fosters community engagement, and develops career and college readiness. Programming includes before/during/afterschool curricula at over 20 schools and experiential learning during the summer.
For more information contact:
Makenzie Marineau at email@example.com // 971.347.6463
Dear Camp Fire Families,
Governor Kate Brown, in response to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our state, announced an extension of Oregon’s statewide school closure. This includes the announcement that:
All Oregon schools will be closed through April 28. Per the executive order, students would return to schools on Wednesday, April 29.
We know that this extended school closure will pose particular hardships for many families.
As of now, Camp Fire is disabling Automatic Payments effective immediately until we are allowed to return to delivering safe and healthy child care within PPS and WLWV schools. We encourage you to avoid withdrawing from programs to avoid having to re-register or landing on a wait list.
If you are charged on or after April 1, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will show immediate attention to your refund for April.
We want to thank everyone who opted to donate their spring break tuition. Your generosity has allowed us to re-allocate funds to our emergency family support fund. If you would like to donate any portion of your upcoming monthly tuition please send an email to email@example.com.
During this time, we are working with district, county and state partners to consider offering limited child care options to families – particularly, community members who are 1st responders, during this precautionary time. These have only been conversations but we’d like to include you.
We’ve created a brief survey around needs for child care. Please know that the potential to have such care may be limited and mixed with Camp Fire and community members.
We appreciate your understanding, partnership and trust.
Before and After School Program Director
Camp Fire Family,
I want to start by saying, these are scary times. As our state, nation and world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is natural to have feelings of uneasiness, confusion and concern. I also want to honor that we do this work because we believe in our mission: we’re here to help build caring, confident youth and future leaders – that means our work has a higher purpose – and at times like this, how we lead matters more than ever.
Part of leading is exercising our community responsibility. Today, that means joining our state leaders in taking measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. For us, that means:
Suspending school-based programs: In following Governor Brown’s instructions to close schools March 16-31, all school-based programs and related activities will also be suspended during this time. School-based Camp Fire staff should gather all the tools and supplies they would need to actively work from home during this period. Specific direction will come from your supervisors.
We recognize this action will create a hardship for our camp fire kids and families. To help them during this time we will:
- Continue mentoring in our teen programs via phone and web.
- We are reallocating funds which were intended for snack, gatherings, field trips, and visitors to be able to provide emergency food resources for our families in need. Please reach out to your Camp Fire site staff about this resource.
- Offer refunds for any families that have registered for spring break camps. Any families who would prefer to donate their spring break registration to our emergency family support fund please let us know.
Implementing work-from-home, where applicable: Social distancing is one of the best ways we can slow the spread of the virus. All staff who can reasonably work from home are encouraged to please do so for at least the next 30 days. In-office staff who share a work space are encouraged to coordinate a staggered schedule to reduce the amount of time sharing a physical space.
Staying home if sick: If you feel sick, or have symptoms, please stay home. All employees whether office, camp, or school-based and whether full-time, part-time or on call will be provided work from home assignments so they can continue to receive their regularly expected compensation. For those employees too ill to work, we will allow use of our emergency sick leave bank and once that is exhausted Camp Fire will work to extend paid time off, outside of existing PTO, for as long as we are possibly able to afford this measure.
I also know, as we welcome spring in the next few days, we naturally begin to think about summer camp. We are still several months out from summer and day camp programming. We will continue monitoring the advice from state and local public health officials and will make decisions about necessary changes to summer programming in the future as we know more.
As we manage through this unprecedented time, please continue to prioritize your health and safety. Continue taking daily precautions of frequently washing our hands with soap and water; increase the frequency of cleaning high touch surfaces; avoid unnecessary contact like shaking hands; and protect your health and immune system by eating healthy food and getting a lot of rest.
Joshua Todd, CEO
Camp Fire Columbia
Workers who need child care during the coronavirus outbreak are asked to call 211 or text “children” or “niños” to 898211. They will then be given a list of emergency child care providers in their area.
- Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary – 620 N Fremont Ave
- César Chávez Elementary – 5103 N Willis Blvd
- George Middle School – 10000 N Burr Ave
- Harrison Park School – 2225 SE 87th Ave
- Lent School – 5105 SE 97th Ave
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary – 4906 NE 6th Ave
- Rigler Elementary – 5401 NE Prescott St
- Rosa Parks Elementary – 8960 N Woolsey Ave
- Scott Elementary – 6700 NE Prescott St
- Sitton Elementary – 9930 N Smith St
- Woodmere Elementary – 7900 SE Duke St
- Markham Elementary – 10531 SW Capitol Hwy
- Madison at Marshall – 3905 SE 91st Ave
- Franklin High School – 5405 SE Woodward St
For more information about access to food for families, please call 211 or visit oregonfoodfinder.org.
WLWV School District: The district’s nutrition services department will continue to provide breakfast and lunch to students who need these meals throughout the entirety of the extended closure. Starting Monday, March 16, Grab-and-Go meals will be available for pick up at eight primary schools and at West Linn High School from 10-11 a.m. Meals will be made available for all children aged 1-18 regardless of attendance area. Students must be present to be given a meal.
- Boones Ferry Primary
- Boeckman Creek Primary
- Lowrie Primary
- Cedaroak Park Primary
- Bolton Primary
- Trillium Creek Primary
- Sunset Primary
- Willamette Primary
- West Linn High School
Laughing Planet from now until further notice is providing a free kids meal to kids who qualify for Meal Assistance Programs.
A free kid’s menu option is available at each of Bless Your Heart Burgers pickup locations for any child in need they’re offering sliding scale for those in need of food assistance.
Here’s a list of resources compiled by Congressman Earl Blumenauer and his team here in Portland. It will be updated regularly. Please share with your networks and visit www.earlblumenauer.com/coronavirus for more.
Free Geek provides digital access to some of our communities’ most vulnerable populations; the same people that are most adversely impacted by the spread of COVID-19. This includes K-12 students and college students, displaced workers, and aging populations.
Hello Camp Fire families,
Along with our district and state partners, Camp Fire Columbia is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are in daily communication with our partners to get the most up-to-date information from public health officials, our county health departments, and the Oregon Health Authority. As always, the health and safety of Camp Fire kids, families and staff is our top priority.
A few of the preventative measures we and our school partners are taking and implementing:
- District custodial crews will focus on and increase the frequency of disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, desks, and sinks, as part of increased and enhanced daily cleaning practices.
- In any case where there is an apparent contagious virus present, districts will follow cleaning and disinfection protocols from county officials and the Centers for Disease Control. We are also extending our increased cleaning protocols to school buses.
- Encouraging visitors in buildings to wash hands when arriving and leaving schools and programs.
- Building in extra hand washing times during program.
- Sanitizing program spaces and rotating high-use supplies and materials out to be sanitized.
- Suggesting waves or other hand motions to take the place of high fives and handshakes limiting hand-to-hand contact for now.
Health officials support schools in keeping or sending home students and staff members who appear unwell–consistent with the tri-county standard exclusion guidelines.
You too can help yourself and your student(s) to reduce their risk for getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, by encouraging them to take simple steps, which will also prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue, sleeve, or elbow (not hands) when you cough or sneeze, and then wash your hands.
- If you or someone in your household is sick, stay home and follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.
- Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and regular exercise, and by taking care of underlying health conditions.
It is also important to address reports that some of our Asian students and families have been targeted and discriminated against in connection to the coronavirus. This is unacceptable and contrary to our values of racial equity and social justice. It is important to distinguish medical precautions from racist and discriminatory behaviors. Our responsibility is to provide welcoming, safe, and inclusive programs where participants have the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. Camp Fire does not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination. This is especially important at a time when fears about the virus can easily foster suspicion without regard for facts. Please keep our core values close, continue to treat everyone in our community with respect, and recognize the dignity and humanity of everyone.
Below is a table outlining potential scenarios when addressing a potential health crisis in our schools and in programs.
Parts of this message were derived from other messages sent out by WLWV School District, PPS School District, Oregon Health Authority, and the Center for Disease Control.
As always, please reach out with any questions.
Your Camp Fire Columbia Team