While it’s too early to tell how COVID-19 will effect summer camp, camp owners and directors are busy planning for the summer. The health and safety of campers and staff are always the number one priority to professionals in the youth development industry and camps will take the lead from the CDC and local Department of Health offices, as they have for past infectious disease outbreaks like Swine Flu, H1NI and the measles last summer.
Over the past few weeks, accredited day and overnight camps have been in close contact with their families, keeping them up to date on information regarding camp at this time. Many camps have conducted virtual camp activities such as art shows, talent shows, cooking demonstrations and sing-a-longs to keep campers and staff connected and engaged during this challenging time.
Camp directors are moving ahead with hiring staff and planning the camp program while also planning for how summer could look amongst COVID-19 and will work closely with state and local Department of Health offices to ensure a safe and healthy summer for all campers and staff. Parents should be sure that the summer camp they chose or will be choosing for their child this summer is licensed by the Department of Health. There are thousands of camps across the region that operate without a license, which means they don’t need to follow health guidelines from the Department of Health.
“We will continue to monitor the progression of COVID-19 and take guidance from the government, CDC and DOH when it comes to making decisions about summer camp,” says Susie Lupert, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ. “Children will need camp more than ever after being out of school for so long. Camp provides a nurturing, structured learning environment for children to build strong friendships, be part of a caring community and gain important life skills such as independence, confidence and face-to face interactions with peers.”