Information: Galileo Chapter 11 Restructuring
As a result of our incredibly difficult decision to cancel regular in-person camps this summer due to COVID-19, we recently sent out a survey to customers who had already enrolled in camp to understand their preferences for handling their 2020 enrollment fees. We are grateful that so many responded and the feedback was extremely valuable. We are very appreciative to those who chose credit and our hearts go out to those with pressing financial demands and hardship.
While we had hoped that the number of requests for refunds from our families would be manageable, unfortunately those requests far exceed our current financial means. This is very hard to share, but as a result, we made the choice to file for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization on May 6, 2020.
What does this mean?
Galileo filing Chapter 11 means a few things for both Galileo as a company, as well as our customers:
- CHAPTER 11 EXPLAINED: Chapter 11 does not mean that Galileo is going out of business.We aren’t going anywhere. Rather, this process enables us to address the diverse needs of our customers – some of whom want credits, some of whom want refunds, and some of whom are open to both – and at the same time, remain in business and survive the unexpected impacts of the pandemic so we can continue to serve our camper families and deliver on the credits we are offering. We plan to continue to operate and genuinely hope to emerge from Chapter 11 by mid-fall so that we may offer in-person summer camp in 2021.
- CREDITS: We remain very mindful of our pledge to offer credits to customers, which may be used in several ways, including virtual programs which our small team will soon roll out to families in the coming weeks. Now that Chapter 11 has commenced, we have asked the court to hear, on an expedited basis, our petition to permit families to utilize their credits toward the purchase of current and future Galileo and partner offerings as soon as possible. We hope that the court will allow us to enable families to use their credits starting in early to mid-June to coincide with when traditional in-person camp would have started. As soon as we know more, we will update our affected customers.
- REFUNDS: We will need the full Chapter 11 process to unfold in order to determine what refunds Galileo will be able to offer.
Timing and Next Steps
When I think about how far we’ve come over the last 18 years, my heart goes out to our Galileo community – the hundreds of staff who planned to work for us this summer, our most frustrated families for whom I wish I could offer everything you’ve asked for, so many families who are rallying for us now, our HQ staff we’ve had to lay off or furlough, and most of all, the thousands of kids for which we work so hard for each day and who we won’t be able to see in-person this summer.
Thinking of these groups keeps me and Galileo going. Even while our Chapter 11 filing is pending, our plan is to continue to launch virtual camp options in the near future and to expand those offerings into the summer to support families. Our hope is that we will also be able to explore the possibility of small group in-person options later this season, and we will begin planning for camp next year. As the details of our chapter 11 filing progresses, we will be back in touch with more information in the next couple of weeks.
As always, I am deeply grateful for the Galileo community – our team has been buoyed by your compassion and support during a challenging time. Our staff often talk about “practicing what we teach,” and this time calls on us more than ever to take these challenges and learn and grow from them. As a small business, we are not going to give up and let this pandemic win – we are absolutely resolved to continue bringing joy to families as we have the past 18 years, and to achieve our mission of developing innovators who envision and create a better world.
CEO & Founder
Why did Galileo Decide to File for Chapter 11 Restructuring?
In the wake of the cancellation of the 2020 summer camp season and the unexpected economic crisis the Covid-19 pandemic created for Galileo, filing for Chapter 11 allows the company to remain in business, fairly address the claims of its creditors, and survive the unexpected impacts of the pandemic so we can continue to serve camper families. While we had very much hoped to avoid turning to the courts, the severity of the pandemic economic crisis and the complete cancellation of our 2020 in-person camp season has made business-as-usual impossible.
Is Galileo Going Out of Business?
No. We want to be 100% clear that Galileo is not going out of business. Galileo operates more than 115 mission-driven programs including Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest in locations throughout California, Chicago and the Denver metro area and we genuinely hope to be on the other side of Chapter 11 by mid-fall in order to offer a full summer of camp in 2021. In the short term, our teams are preparing to launch virtual camp options tentatively scheduled to launch in late May of 2020.
Was this Planned Before the Pandemic?
No. Galileo has had a successful and thriving summer camp business for 18 years, and in 2019 we served more campers in more locations than ever before. Filing for Chapter 11 was the best option to respond to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, to maintain the strength and growth potential of Galileo, and to ensure the continued viability of the company for the future.
I had already Purchased Camp for my Child. What Does this Mean for My 2020 Enrollment Fees?
We have asked the court to hear, on an expedited basis, our petition to permit families who have already enrolled for 2020 to utilize their credits toward the purchase of current and future Galileo offerings, and partner offerings, as soon as possible. We are hoping that the court will allow us to enable families to use their credits starting in June, to coincide with the start of a traditional summer camp season. Those who prefer refunds will need to wait a bit longer until the court determines the best course of action. We will communicate directly with families once we have more information and next steps.
Is Galileo still offering virtual camps this summer? If so, how can I sign up?
Yes. We plan to launch enrollment for our new virtual offerings in late May. Enrollment will open a week prior, and each hour-long virtual class will serve a small group of campers with personalized instruction from a Galileo team member. You can expect the same high caliber of instruction, creativity, and innovator magic that sets Galileo programs apart. A full list of classes and schedules will be launched soon.
Are you planning to offer any in-person programs this summer?
We would love to offer some small group in-person camps, but ultimately will defer to local government recommendations and safety regulations to determine whether this will be possible. Right now, we are actively exploring this possibility while we wait to hear about evolving shelter-in-place and pandemic safety guidelines. We will keep families informed should a safe and viable option become possible.
Will Galileo be able to offer in-person camps next summer?
While it’s possible that another public health concern based on the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic could stop us from running camp in 2021, we don’t expect that, and we plan to start preparations for summer 2021 this fall, taking potential new public health guidelines into account.