May 29, 2020

This is an important update about Tremont summer programs. After much deliberation and even more heartache, we have decided to cancel Family and Firefly camps this summer. We tried. We tried to stay optimistic, imagining what a partnership with your family and ours could create. But the unfortunate reality is that with so much uncertainty and potential risk, we couldn’t make it work.

Most importantly, we need to say a BIG THANK-YOU for sticking with us and supporting us through this process. You are as much Tremont as we are—remember that! The magic only works when we all put our best selves out there, expect powerful transformation, and then get together in a spirit of goodwill, amazement, and fun in the incredible beauty and complexity of the natural world.

We know that these turbulent times won’t last forever and that some future day we will get our larger Tremont Family together here in Walker Valley. Until then, we wish you the best.

Please be safe, enjoy family, get outside, and stay in touch with us!
John DiDiego
Education Director

May 6, 2020

This spring has been unlike any other. As a parent, like many of you, I’ve been challenged to balance the demands of work and family life under one roof. We’ve made it, but if your family is like mine, you’re ready for things to start feeling “normal” again. And if your family is like mine, you may be looking forward to summer, and when you think about summer, you think about camp. It is a natural part of our lives.

While we generally accept that summer camps come with inherent risks (the heat, yellow jackets, and other general risks like tripping over a root), the pandemic has created new challenges for residential programs. We are facing new risks that, unfortunately, as camp providers, we don’t feel we can overcome—not yet anyway. With that in mind, we are deeply saddened to share that we have decided to cancel the majority* of our summer camps this year. The well-being of our campers and staff is our top priority, and after carefully evaluating the evolving CDC guidance and communicating with national park officials and fellow summer camp leaders, we feel this decision is necessary. It is not one we made lightly.

It’s a bummer. At Tremont, we are “people people” and summer campers are “our people.” We are devastated we will not see the eager faces of campers arriving in the Smokies, with sleeping bags and bug spray in tow. We will not hear the squeals and whispers echo across the dorms of those too excited (and full of s’mores) to fall asleep. We will not feel the slurp of rock paint in our fingers as it spreads across smiling faces. There’s a lot we won’t get to do together this summer—and it hurts.

But we are still here. We are working on new programs and opportunities and working to share experiences with you that connect you to the outdoors in your own nature neighborhoods. Stay tuned as we unveil new and exciting opportunities that meet the changing demands of our time. This is a challenging time for us. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we need you now more than ever.

Thank you all for being part of our family. While we are not able to be together, we are not alone. Be well, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and know that we are eagerly waiting for the time you can return and we can explore the Smokies together again.

All my best,

*While we do not feel that as a camp provider we alone can meet the increased demand of health and safety precautions, we realize that together we just might be able to create an experience that works. So as we are canceling the majority of our programs, we are putting our heads together and working on a format of Family Camp and Firefly Camp that will meet stringent health guidelines. An experience like this will only be successful with the help of you—parents and guardians—to ensure we each take responsibility for our health and the health of others. If this is something that interests you, please let us know, and stay tuned for more information as it develops.