Club SciKidz Summer Camps Coronavirus Update

May 15, 2020

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Dear Families,

Club SciKidz RVA 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. I know that many of you are eagerly waiting for this email. This is the hardest announcement we made in 4 years of our successful operation of Club SciKidz in Richmond.

Our camp locations, which are all private schools, have indicated either closure or suspension of large gatherings until further notice which forced us to make the heart-wrenching decision to cancel our regular in person camps for the summer of 2020. We are very disappointed about sharing this news with you, however understand and agree with the vision of our camp locations. Due to all recent developments about COVID-19 infections in kids and severe health issues made us reach to the same decision of not offering camps this summer. Even if we follow all CDC guidelines, we cannot guarantee that campers will not contract or pass the virus to others due to its highly contagious nature. We are also concerned about many parents, grandparents and caretakers who are more prone to this virus due to the age or other underline health conditions.

We apologize for this lengthy message, but we wanted to address your questions about your registration fees as well as our business so please read it completely.
• Financial impact on our business
• Refund and credit requests
• Virtual camps and Camp in a box

Financial Impact on our organization:
Unfortunately, Club SciKidz RVA, 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 these months.
In accordance with the COVID-19 Small Business Federal legislation passed in the end of March, we applied for 2 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.
Because of our volume of campers, it is impossible for us to wait until the last minute to begin preparing and purchasing. No one anticipated this pandemic and therefore, we began investing in new supplies, curriculum, marketing, insurance and staff last fall in preparation for the 2020 camp season. These unrecoverable costs and the sudden halt of enrollment and now closing all of our camp locations put us in a very dreaded financial setback. In our May 1st email I made promise to refund full amount minus $25 per camp registration fee. I am planning to stick with my promise but honestly, we do not have enough funds in account to support full refunds to hundreds of families. As I mentioned that I did not get any of government funding that now I will need to take personal loans to keep my promise. Of course we didn’t expect mass cancellations at once.

Refunds and Credit requests: From last four years many families became integral part of Club SciKidz RVA. I have seen siblings of all the age groups and sometimes a toddler curiously following older sibling to the camp, even asking when I can come to your camp. Believe it or not 90% new families write “word of mouth” in response to the question “where did you hear about us?. I would like you all to know that this trust in us is the lifeline of Club SciKidz. During this crisis, we understand some of you may be going through same hardships like us and need money desperately and therefore I want to stick with my promise. However, I would like to request those families who may afford to keep their credit with us then please do so. Every credit will help us in taking less of loan amount to make refunds and same time able to pay and support few employees and their families who are tirelessly working to prepare Virtual programs and Camp in a Box option. I hope during this time of crisis you can show your support and trust by helping us. It will be your money, which you can use any time until the end of 2022 camp season and can use to pay for other options. 

If you request refund then please, be patient as it will take at least take 4-6 weeks due to long queue of mass refunds requested to Active registration system by many organizations all over the USA. Unfortunately, we cannot expedite this process.

Alternatives for on-site camps:
We believe that opportunities to do something new never stops, we just stop exploring them too early. With so much uncertainty around us during this time we started working on other options as we believe that many of our families not only trust us for what we do but they also trust us for what we can do when time demands. We are excited to offer you a few supplemental science options since we can’t meet in person this summer. Of course, we realize these aren’t substitutes for the real camp experience. BUT they will certainly keep your child’s brain turned “ON,” and will help pass the time as well. The options are as follows:

Camp-in-a-Box:
o 13 exciting themes!
o For ages 6+ (or younger with assistance)
o Each “camp” contains 8-12 experiments + 20 “micro experiment” extensions
o Supporting videos and phone support

Virtual Camps featuring scheduled live instructional time (zoom lessons) and class fun activities with outdoor challenges, Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm, for the following themes:

o Coding with Roblox

o Coding with Minecraft
o Beginner Minecraft Game Design
o Advanced Minecraft Game Design
o Video Game Factory
o Racing Game Design
o Few more game design and coding camps in queue

Additional information on these options will be provided by May 25, 2020, including pricing. You can apply some or all of your current registration fee towards the purchase of one or both of these options. Any remaining balance will be available to use at your discretion for future camps. Please email your choice by May 31st so that we can have time to adequately prepare for your selection.

If you have already sent us email asking for refund then I sincerely request you to think again if you are in a financial position to help us survive through this crisis by allowing us to keep your credit with us and choosing any of the options provided. We are thankful to the families who have already decided to keep credit with us. We greatly appreciate your kind gesture and trust in us, Thanks a lot!”

Email is the best way to communicate with us. Please email at supportrva@clubscikidz.com

 We thank all of you for years of support and the trust that you bestow on us by enrolling your child in our camps. We look forward to continuing to do our part in helping your child succeed in their science education. We can’t wait to see your child’s smiling face next summer!

With the hope of safety, health, and happiness for your family!

Sincerely,

 

Abhi Rathi, PhD

Owner, Club SciKidz RVA

www.clubscikidzrva.com

Owner, Doodle Dynamo

www.doodledynamo.com