May 12, 2020
Dear CODA Member,
Opening day for many camps is less than a month away and there are still so many unanswered questions about if there even will be an opening day. While some camps have already made the painstaking decision about closing their doors for this summer, others are waiting until the last minute to make the call, still others have already decided they will be open this year. What’s the correct decision?
Whether you open or not is a tough choice with heavy risk and consequences no matter which way you decide. I’ve sat through all the same webinars, looked at all the same post from camp professionals around the country, we’ve all talked to doctors and specialist to get their weighted opinions and yes, we all still have groups of parents pleading with us to open or not open. Yet no one has a solid answer of “should you open” this summer……
Finally, I’m going to give you some solid answers we all have been craving…
Camp is about the kids. If you truly care about kids, you won’t risk having them in an environment where the chances for a probable outbreak is so high. No matter how well we try, I haven’t found one doctor or association yet who said “if you do “this” you can keep Covid out of your camp”. If your mission statement is truly about the well being of your campers, you won’t subject them to this risk. So for this reason, you must not have camp.
Camp is about the kids. If you truly care about the kids, you’ll do everything you can to give them some normality in their already disrupted life this year. After the months of social distancing, kids need camps and the social, emotional, and physiological skills they learn only while they’re at camp now more than ever. If there’s ever a time kids need to get outside and develop, it is now and summer camp has never been more important than right now. So for this reason, you must have camp.
One guideline that keeps showing up in several documents is keeping the numbers of kids in camps to groups or pods of 50 or less. No intermingling of campers or counselors for different pods and each pod stays together through activities and meals. This is not camp. Campers (and staff) will intermingle no matter what you say, its what kids do. The thought of having groups of campers in camp that can’t associate with other groups of campers goes against everything campers learn at camp. So for this reason, you must not have camp.
One guideline that keeps showing up in several documents is keeping the numbers of kids in camps to groups or pods of 50 or less. No intermingling of campers or counselors for different pods and each pod stays together through activities and meals. We’re camp directors, we are flexible and creative. We will create new ways for camp activities to happen that will be safe for the kids. We handled “Swine of 09” and we are capable of adapting to meet the needs of our campers to give them a safe summer, we can do this! So for this reason, you must have camp.
Camp families whose campers are away for their first time at camp are already nervous about their son or daughter being away. Having them come into a camp with the added risk of contracting the virus is just going to add more pressure and nervousness to our camp families. Making the parents more nervous while their campers is with us is not what we are supposed to be about. For this reason, you must not have camp.
Camp families have been cooped up at home along with their kids for the last several months. Theres nothing needed more than to release the stress and anxiety they’ve accumulated during this time and being at camp is the perfect avenue for the kids to get away and not worry about everything thats been going on. Not to mention the relief the parents will feel when they can drop their kids off at camp and have some down time to themselves. For this reason, you must have camp.
The camps that do not open this summer are risking their family business, their reputations and their livelihoods. Hopefully they have carefully calculated all the risk involved in making their decision and are banking on surviving this summer with with the promise of greener pastures in the future.
The camps that do open this summer are risking their family business, their reputations and their livelihoods. Hopefully they have carefully calculated all the risk involved in making their decision and are banking on surviving this summer with with the promise of greener pastures in the future.
Pick a side. No matter which side you are on, you’ll be right, and you’ll be wrong. The bottom line is each of us as owners and directors must make the best possible decision we can for our camps, campers, staff and camp families, based on the information we have at that time. It’s a tough call for everyone to make and especially when you announce your final decision. No matter what, this is not a time of “I told you so” when it’s all over. No matter what you decide, your choice will affect the camping industry and the camps directly around you. We all have our thoughts and opinions, camps should not criticize one another for whatever choice they make. If there was ever a time for us to demonstrate what we are about in making tough life choices and respecting the choices of others, even if we don’t agree, this is it.
Heads or tails? Odd or even? Half full or half empty? No one knows the answer. There are statistics to prove each side correct and incorrect at the same time. The only thing we all agree on is this is going to be a different summer. No matter what you choose its going to take a lot of hard work and dedication from you and your camp staff to make it through the year.
AND WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH!!!
To the camps that choose not to open this summer our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families for the best possible outcome.
To the camps that choose to open this summer our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families for the best possible outcome.
Take care, good luck and God Bless,