Camp Quinebarge, an 85-year-old co-ed camp in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, upset parents who paid $3,400 for a two-week stay that kids would have to be picked up after six days following a “summer of challenges.”
A full summer session costs parents $9,800.
Parents were initially told that the camp would be closing due to food supply issues, but it also reportedly faced financial shortfalls, as well as staffing issues with undertrained counselors who were quitting or being fired by management.
It was also reported that at least one camper attacked staff members and other children.
“We have been in tears, bored, and devastated the whole day. (The camp director) is lying to you all,” one camper wrote home to his parents in a letter obtained by the Boston Globe. “You have to trust us. You have to. We are not joking and we are not having fun. So many things are wrong with this place.”
Camp Quinebarge Executive Director Eric Carlson noted that staffing shortages left them in a lurch at the outset of the summer. He said 15 counselors and one nurse who had committed for the summer "simply did not show up" before additional staff left.
Carlson also said that Sysco, the camp's longtime food supplier informed the camp of food delivery delays in Week 1 and we were told they would continue indefinitely.
The conditions at Camp Quinebarge were compared to the failed Fyre Festival in 2017, when music fans dished out thousands of dollars for what was supposed to be a luxurious weekend on a Bahamian Island that failed to deliver in a massive way.
“The decision to cancel the remaining sessions after just a week of camp (was) so heartbreaking. It was a decision not made lightly," Carlson said in a statement to PEOPLE.
"Through discussions with other camp directors, it became clear that many were experiencing the same challenges. At no time were we going to push past our limits and we closed when it became clear the staffing and food issues were not improving and were likely to get worse."
The camp acknowledged their staffing shortages and food service issues saying in a statement that it was largely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Without a doubt, this was the result of complications brought on by the pandemic and not to any long-term issues with camp operations,” they said. “Despite the disappointment, we have received many calls and emails of support.”
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