What does summer camp look like this year? Parents, kids and camp staff really want to know following 2020, when in-person summer camps shut down or were reimagined as virtual summer camps because of the coronavirus. Kids were devastated. Parents faced child care dilemmas. Staffers lost out.
After all, summer camp, a $26 billion annual industry, according to the American Camp Association (ACA), is an invigorating childhood ritual and a reminder of why it’s called the great outdoors. Kids go, go, go in a sun-soaked, grass-stained, fresh-air-pumped place, make new pals, learn new skills and — cue the fireflies — marvel at nature’s tiny light shows. Sign us up, already!
Are summer camps safe?
The good news is that for summer camp 2021, things are looking up and, despite necessary safety measures, there’s room for fun. “It’s still going to be summer camp and COVID-19,” Tom Rosenberg, ACA president and CEO told TODAY Parents. “Modifications will still be necessary to operate safely.”
“The good news is that new research shows that camps can operate safely as long as they follow the best practices that we learned from last summer,” Rosenberg adds. “Those approaches include being diligent about face masks for campers and staff and keeping kids in small groups and practicing social distancing. It’s about layers of protection, where each one has its limitations but taken together consistently and diligently you can form an effective mitigation strategy.”