Well… not every blog post gets to be exciting.
Starting with our summer camp sessions in 2019, we’ve made some important changes to our refund and cancellation policies, and I want you to know about them. This doesn’t really sound like something worthy of a blog post or social media attention, but we want Beacon to be a camp that is transparent and open about how we operate.
For a long time, Beacon has had relatively few financial penalties for camper families who choose to cancel their registrations with us. This didn’t really bother us (and parents loved it), because it was happening very infrequently, so we weren’t worried about it when it happened. Once in a while, Beacon lost out on a few hundred dollars, but it was the cost of doing business.
Over the last few years, we’ve noticed that parents are registering for camp, holding that spot for a few months, and then cancelling when their summer plans firm up. In 2018 alone, we refunded over $15,000 worth of camp fees for cancellations. While we are able to replace some of that income with new campers, there are always administrative fees and costs that go with a cancellation. It also causes a lot of work for our directors and cabin leaders, who have to re-do cabin lists, activity groups and other parts of the Beacon experience that is specifically designed for each camper. The hardest cancellations are those that happen within one or two weeks of the start of a camp session. In these cases, it is very hard (and often impossible) for us to fill that spot, even if we have a waitlist. Parents need childcare in the summer, and camp helps fill that need. Within a week of camp, parents have usually found alternate arrangements, even if they’ve been on the waitlist since February or March. This means that a spot that would have been filled back in February is now not going to be used.
With all this in mind and to make sure that we’re helping the most campers get to camp, we’ve introduced the following new cancellation fees:
February 1 to May 31: 25% of the total camp fee (not including Tuck deposits or bus fees)
June 1 to 15 days before your camp session: 50% of the total camp fee (not including Tuck deposits or bus fees)
Within 14 days of your camp session: 100% of the total camp fee (not including Tuck deposits or bus fees)
Tuck deposits are always refundable, and bus fees are refundable up to 7 days before a camp session starts. These timelines are a little different for fall and winter sessions, which you can read about in our full Cancellation & Refund Policy.
We know that life happens, and especially medical events that prevent campers from fully enjoying camp. In the event that your camper can’t attend a camp session because of a medical reason, we ask that you provide us with a note from the medical professional who is requesting that your camper doesn’t attend camp. In these situations, we’ll offer a full refund.
I don’t love having to write things like this - I always love imagining that Beacon is just one big happy family, and that we don’t have worry about pesky things like policies. The reality is that as we continue to grow (which is a good thing!), we need to make sure that we have consistent, fair rules that everyone understands. We hope that you understand that we’re not making these changes to be mean or difficult. Instead, we’re looking for a firm commitment from parents and campers who want to attend a session at Beacon. If you have any questions or concerns, I’d love to hear from you.