Like all of you, I have spent the past two weeks, navigating a virtual roller coaster. Getting to the end of each day, thinking a good nights rest will bring a positive turn by mornings light, only to learn that there are more changes thrust upon us. We have all been witness to the emotional devastation left in the wake of tough decisions, and by now not one single person has not been impacted. Even way up here on Long Pond Rd, plans made one day seem sound, only to find out 24 hours later, we are totally off base.
This message is to bring you all up to speed on our plans as they look today. Below you will find information about our Annual Duck Race, and also a brief summary of where summer camp stands. We do not anticipate that either of these items even register a blip on your radar today, but more importantly just want you to know that when you are allowed to drift your thoughts to more pleasant items, Oswegatchie is working to make information available.
As of today, we are still planning to run the 26th Annual AdironDuck Race, with several major changes. This will be a CLOSED event, and it will be entirely run by a hand select group of skilled volunteers. All entertainment, food, and vendors have been cancelled. The core goal of this event is to allow FFA chapters to raise funds to support your trip to Oswegatchie Leadership Camp. To that end, this goal can still be accomplished without much effort from you or your students. Most FFA Chapters (especially those who have participated in the past) already have a portal on line that allows your local community to purchase a $5 duck. Half of this money is put into your camp account as a credit. It is a simple way for your community to support you, and do it from the safety of your own computers. No door to door sales, no handling heavy boxes of fruit or chocolate, very easy and streamline. You can check out a sample portal here. http://www.adironduckrace.com/duck-bucks.html
If you do not have a current portal, you can contact Bill Waite at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will ask for some chapter photos, and can get your page up and running. Not many organizations in your schools can raise money during this time. With this event you can be still supporting your activities for when we reach the other side of this unprecedented situation.
Duck credits can be used for the following:
1. summer camp registrtation
2. winter weekend trips
3. camp store credits
4. Meeting your chapter pledge for the Capital CAMPaign. (NEW option)
To the general public that supports our race: Thank you for your support over the past 25 years. The duck race has been an annual right of passage, and a day many look forward to in an attempt to shake the winter dull-drums. It is always our pleasure to welcome our friends and neighbors to Oswegatchie. We hope that you can still find a way to support this event even though you will not be here to enjoy the day.
Lastly on this topic, Oswegatchie needs your support more than ever before. The reaction to dealing with COVID 19 has us dealing with financial situations we have not seen in 20+ years. All groups for the month of March and April have been cancelled out. Combine this with the near completion of our new Kitchen and Dining Hall, supporting the Duck Race this year, is vitally important. We have 10,000 ducks that can be turned into essential cash over the coming six weeks. Your support through promotion is greatly appreciated.
With almost 17 weeks between today and the start of Week one of FFA leadership camp, we remain alert to any conditions or announcements that may impact our ability to either start on time or have an adjusted season. It is much too early to speculate what is coming. As of today we are operating on the premise of business as usual, and ask that our FFA Chapters with group holds, still promote your students to register for camp. As of today, there have been no announcements by the NYS Department of Health (permit issuing agency) regarding the operation of childrens camps in NYS. In the meantime we are working on contingency plans that include but are not limited to extended payment deadlines, shorter stays, and smaller camp sizes, among other options. We realize that thinking about camp is also not a high priority, but for many of our young people having access to camp will be vital once we get beyond this situation. So to that end we want to instill confidence that we are ready to do the right thing, whether that mean adjust dates, issue refunds, or hopefully welcome our first group on July 12. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices at anytime if you have questions or concerns. You can also let parents know that they can also call if they have questions. 315-346-1222.
Lastly, I personally want to say that these are tough times, the likes most people alive today have not experienced. Perhaps for many of us struggles like this have not been seen or felt since the days of our great grand parents or grandparents. Certainly almost all of us are learning how to adapt and cope in this new reality, and undoubtedly some mistakes will be made. Hopefully we come out of this with a new sense of what is important. Perhaps we find ourselves thinking more about how our actions will impact others. Certainly I think we can all relate and we can all agree that no single personal discomfort or inconvenience can be worse than our neighbors.
Todd Lighthall, Executive Director
NY FFA Leadership Training Foundation, Inc.