2020 Updates


Updates on Camp Natoma 2020


Covid-19 & Camp 


Registered 2020 Campers - Click here to request your refund or turn your registraiton fees in to a donation.


Camp Natoma staff are monitoring the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation closely. We are receiving guidance from the CDC, the American Camp Association, State of California and the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health. We are actively updating and planning to keep our campers’ health and safety our highest priority. We will provide a space for campers to be with friends, sleep under the stars, connect with nature and be creative as soon as we are able! We appreciate your patience and support.

This page will be updated with the most current information regarding new programs, camp service days, fundraisers, and other opportunities. 


Please contact our Executive Director, Emily Zbin, if you have any questions at 805-709-2569 or emily@campnatoma.org 


We anticipate a great number of families seeking to communicate with us over the next several days. We promise to connect with each and every registered family, and are available to all who have questions. We appreciate your patience and understanding as our staff takes time to respond.





A video message for campers, CITs & staff



A video message for parents, alumni & supporters



May 15, 2020


Camp Natoma Families,


As you know, the health and well-being of our campers is vitally important to us. Our mission is to maintain and develop Camp Natoma as a resident camp for youth. We have been working tirelessly with the American Camp Association, SLO County Public Health Department, and a coalition of local summer camps, as part of major efforts to bring the Camp Natoma experience to you this summer. Sadly, due to federal and state regulations in place, as a response to COVID-19, we are not permitted to open Camp Natoma at this time.


We had hoped to announce today that Camp Natoma will open this summer, with perhaps a modified schedule or program, but unfortunately that determination cannot yet be made. As a parent with children of my own who were looking forward to this summer, it is heartbreaking to deliver this news today.


Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work towards opening. We remain optimistic that we will open next year, and maybe even as early as later this summer or fall, when restrictions lift and with time to implement the latest guidelines and policies for safely running camp.


Camp Natoma has provided programs to local youth since 1941. We will continue to rely on our support network to bridge to next year’s 80th anniversary. We ask you to stay connected. 


Here are some things you can do to help:

    • Engage with us on social media
    • Be ready to sign up early for next summer (or for a program we launch sooner!)
    • Join us at the Fall Family BBQ Fundraiser, scheduled for October 11th
    • Donate: visit our website for a list of on-going supply needs 
    • Donate: make a financial contribution towards ongoing operations costs. *Note to donors - all taxpayers are eligible to take a deduction due to the recent CARES Act stimulus bill - a one-time, above-the-line deduction for cash contributions of up to $300

To our currently registered families:

First, thank you for bearing with us as our operations have been interrupted this summer. We are so sad that we can’t open and provide your camper with a week at camp as scheduled.


We ask you to please select one of the options for your 2020 registration fees. 

  1. Request a full refund of all fees paid.
  2. Donate part or all of your fees paid. We want you to know that your gift will help Camp Natoma disproportionately more today than any other time in our past. Your gift will support ongoing expenses, program staff, and help us open as soon as possible. 

Please email us (registration@campnatoma.org) to let us know. Be sure to include your camper(s) name in the email.


Most importantly, we care about the campers and expect that the news of camp not opening yet may be difficult. We’ve created a video message just for them. Use the links above to watch. 


Lastly, we appreciate your support and we’ve also made you - a parent/alumni/supporter of Camp Natoma - a video, to personally share how we’re dealing with this unprecedented summer. 


Please call or email us anytime, we look forward to hearing from you, and especially to seeing you all at one of the upcoming celebrations for Camp Natoma’s 80th!



Emily Zbin

Executive Director





Update June 26, 2020



Dear Camp Natoma families & supporters,


We hope this letter can answer some of your questions about the possibility of opening this summer. Our goal remains to provide some type of overnight programs at Camp Natoma in 2020. However, as we approach the month of July with no program announcements, I’d like to share more information about the path towards re-opening of overnight summer camps.


Camp Natoma has successfully operated for 78 summers - serving primarily youth from San Luis Obispo County for week-long, overnight programs. Summer 2019 saw a record number of program participants, as well as new, custom programs with partnering youth organizations. In addition, the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) leadership program for high school students had an application wait-list. Many of our camp families also know about last year’s facility upgrades and transition to local operation by Friends of Camp Natoma.


Going into 2020, we felt ready for the best year ever, with an all-star staff poised for passionate leadership. 


When the outbreak emerged in March, we expected “things would be better by summer.” 


“Don’t cancel summer yet,” we were advised. “Hang on if you can!” our supporters pleaded. So we did!


Spring programs, service days, and fundraisers had to be cancelled. We continued to plan for summer, contingency after contingency plan discussed, revised, and each eventually ruled impossible.  When we were told by our regulatory agencies that a two-week shut down was being extended to a two-month shut down, and would be back up and running by May 15th, we adapted.


We are still working to prepare for when we can open, but as time goes on, our options for programs reduce. We are frustrated -  the government will not allow Camp Natoma to open, even though campgrounds, beaches, day camps, hotels, restaurants, public pools, movie theaters and more are now up and running. We are stuck. Daily, we receive inquiries about Camp Natoma - “But Camp Natoma is all OUTDOORS!” and “My kids need to get off of their screens!” and “We’ll sign up for new programs right away!”


But still, nothing from the state of California. We’ve been provided numerous reassurances about camp regulations coming out “next week” or on the next Governor livestream. Across the state, camps have been working every angle imaginable to find a way to provide kids the overnight camp experience this summer. We know camp is childcare, social development, screen-free time, skill-building, and more. As the assurances of forthcoming guidance continued without result, and the verbal promises of issuance of permits in time for summer expired, we have been trying everything feasible to still be ready to open. However, as camps statewide have hired political consultants, conferenced with elected government officials, and even tried to get reclassified as a campground, hotel, and others, we are still stuck. Counties will not allow resident camps to open until the state releases resident camp guidelines, and those guidelines are not coming any time soon, as far as we know. Even though camps across California, and the entire USA, have been planning programs under extensive adjustments suggested by the American Camp Association and the CDC, Camp Natoma still cannot be permitted to operate at this time, per the state and county.


I know this letter was long-winded, but I want to be as clear as possible, that we at Camp Natoma, and collectively the camp leaders in California, tried our hardest to provide an overnight camp program for your children this summer.


I look forward to the day when our valley in Adelaida once again rings with the sound of campers playing, learning, laughing and simply being kids at camp.



Emily Zbin




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