Dear CRL Parents,

It is with heavy hearts that we share our decision to pause camp this summer.  Our mission over the last century has been to provide a safe, outdoor environment where girls can be connected to nature and to one another.  The unique sisterhood of CRL is founded on social interaction and meaningful relationships across age groups. 


The strong bonds foster empowerment and independence in our campers and our counselors.  We passionately believe that the world needs this sort of authentic connection now more than ever.  We considered in depth how we might have camp adhering to the CDC and American Camp Association recommendations.  While we pride ourselves on that camp “can-do” spirit of adaptability, it is clear that what we could offer would not align with the mission and traditions we have worked for decades to create. The adjustments to our camp program would leave our campers disappointed and compromise what we strive to be for our children. And the safety of our campers and staff will always be first and foremost in our hearts and minds.

After a period of grieving the summer we have lost and shedding tears with many of you, we will direct our Riva-Lake perseverance to providing an amazing 2021 centennial summer experience.  We believe this is the best way that we can practice what we strive to teach to our campers.  Circumstances get difficult, but together, as a sisterhood, we can grieve, then pick ourselves up Riva-Lake Strong and emerge from the challenges with character that has been strengthened by adversity.  We believe this can best be done in community.  In the coming weeks we will share some ways that our campers and counselors can laugh and cry as one sisterhood.  While this will not be "online camp," and will be purely elective, we hope you and your family will enjoy the activities, and it will not burden you as a parent.  We will also communicate with you about our 2021 plans for an amazing 100 year anniversary celebration that campers and alumnae will look forward to and cherish.

Parents, we know you have questions. We will communicate with you in the next twenty-four hours on options regarding your deposit, tuition payments, and other frequently asked questions.

We will miss the sound of laughter cascading across hill.  The laughter will return to CRL.  It always has.  

- Camp Riva-Lake Board of Directors


Other camps are open, why did you make this decision?

Camp Riva-Lake is about connection and interaction in an environment that is emotionally and physically safe. We did not believe that we could bring the magic of CRL to life with the health requirements of social distancing which will be in place during 2020. Based on dialogue with parents, we feel this is the right decision for our camp community.

If the guidelines change, will you reconsider?

No, for our directors and staff, camp is a year-round event and due to the extensive preparation required, the decision is final. Instead, we will stay up to date on the CDC and ACA guidelines as they evolve and use best practices to plan a fantastic 2021.

I’ve already paid. What about my deposit and/or tuition?

Families will be given a choice of how to apply any funds already paid. Families may select one of these options:

  1. Roll your payment forward to Summer 2021
  2. Receive a full refund
  3. Convert your payment into a tax-deductible donation to CRL*
  4. A combination of the above.
Please email Claudia and let her know how you would like this handled. If directions are not received, we will roll over camper deposits and tuition.
*Note: Camp Riva-Lake is a not for profit corporation, and therefore, all donations are tax deductible. If you choose to donate to CRL, you will be sent a confirmation of donation for tax purposes.

I am considering donating my deposit and/or tuition already paid. Why should I support CRL in this way?

Without camp this summer, our expenses will be decreased, but they will not be $0. We have fixed costs such as maintenance, insurance, and accounting fees. We have paid our directors who have had their best recruiting year ever and have worked tirelessly the past few months to try to make camp happen. We have exciting plans to build a new junior bathhouse and have it operational for the 2021 season.
Your donation enables us to move forward more confidently, and to fulfill our plan of future improvements that will benefit your camper. Our mission will not be stopped by this pandemic; supporters like you light our path forward more clearly and make a real difference for children when they need it most.

Will you have “online camp?”

No, we will not have camp online. But we will have some activities that we hope our families will choose to enjoy. Through social media, we will encourage the girls to stay connected with each other.

What if Summer 2020 was my Ultimate Senior year?

We have decided to change our policy on the maximum age of campers. Over the years, many families have requested that we increase the maximum age of campers to include campers when they are 16 or rising 10th graders. This one-year pause is the perfect opportunity to make this change. We are crafting a special “ultimate senior” summer that will develop leadership skills and prepare you to be a CIT in 2022.

This is going to be really difficult for my kid(s). She is really upset! How can I help her?

She is not alone! We are having a difficult time as well, and we will ALL have to grieve the loss of not going to camp this summer. Please validate all of her feelings and be as present for her as possible. Know that her grief over camp can look a lot of different ways: sadness, anger, irritability, and more. There is no one way to grieve. Try to extend some grace to yourself as a parent/caregiver as well.
We recommend this video from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson for parents and caregivers, where she talks about the disappointment children and youth might feel as summer activities end up cancelled. Dr. Bryson is the co-author (with Dan Siegel) of two New York Times Best Sellers—The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline.


nonnie thompson preuss



claudia alexander haney


Camp Riva-Lake

1281 Riva Lake Road | Winchester, TN  37398

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