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A Whole New Experience at Sleepaway Camp

By: Ava Sobel

Sleepaway camp is one of the most popular summer activities for children living in the tri-state area. Children love the amazing 4-7 week getaways that camps have to offer. In 2020, almost all sleepaway camps in the tri-state area were shut down due to Covid-19. Most camps felt that it was best to not open camps last summer because of the state of the pandemic. This upcoming summer, however, sleepaway camps are back in business, but it is a little different this time around. Camps had to make many adjustments in order to properly follow Covid protocols.

Many sleepaway camps are using similar structures when it comes to Covid adjustments. It is typical for campers to take densely packed coach buses to camp with other people from the same area. To avoid Covid spread, many camps are requiring that children be dropped off by their parents. Especially at the beginning of the summer, it is important that campers take weekly Covid tests. Most directors are pushing their campers to wear masks and distance themselves when around people of other groups or divisions. In previous years, the entire camp ate together in one large facility. Having so many people so close to each other is certainly unrealistic for Covid reasons. As a solution, camps are having staggered meal times and outdoor eating areas. One of the biggest adjustments being made this year is trips. Everybody enjoys the amazing overnight and day trips that camps provide, sometimes including places as far as the West Coast and Canada. The idea of trips refutes the idea to keep the camps in their own little “bubbles”.’ As an alternative to these public trips, many camps are renting out places where their campers can go on day trips. Most adjustments being made this summer are declared official as per the requirements of state and local governments, with an exception of intercamp games. The camp community is still waiting on the green light from state officials that intercamp games are safe and can happen. Although the camp experience may not be the same this summer, it is a blessing that campers are able to return to their summer homes. Hopefully, sleepaway camps will be able to run smoothly this summer while also providing a fun experience for all.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock/Patrick Bibbins, Boston Children’s