NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the summer camp season comes to an end, the American Camp Association, NY and NJ announces that their Accredited day camps in New York and New Jersey ran successful camps for seven weeks this summer amid COVID-19. While the majority of day camps reported zero positive COVID cases, there was one camp in New York and four in New Jersey who had a few cases but they were quickly contained following safety protocols.
Day camps certainly looked different this year than in past summers, however, camps were able to adapt their program to include protocols developed by the CDC, state Department of Health offices, the American Camp Association and the Y-USA in conjunction with an environmental health firm to create safe and healthy environments where children thrived. While camp was different, the fundamentals of the camp experience remained the same from friendships being made to children trying new things to gaining confidence and independence.
Camps were running at half the capacity of typical summers. Each day, campers were required to have their temperatures taken, at home or at camp, and at some camps, both. Daily home health assessment forms were completed each morning by parents to assess whether a child was exhibiting symptoms and was well enough to attend camp that day. Small cohorts of campers and counselors were created and didn’t intermingle with other groups, allowing these children to go from activity to activity together while social distancing from other cohorts. In NY, staff wore masks. Camps utilized their outdoor space and ran programs mostly outdoors. Additional hand sanitizing and hand washing were implemented as was the disinfecting of facilities and equipment. Families brought their own lunches or were served individually wrapped food. The large group gatherings that camps usually have from carnivals to color war were put aside this summer but the camp spirit was still present.
„As infection rates dropped in New York and New Jersey and businesses were beginning to open in June, camp directors were eager to open. They knew children needed camp this summer more than any other summer before to take a break from the screens of distance learning, socialize among peers and just be outside in a monitored and safe environment,“ says Susie Lupert, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ. „Camp professionals revamped their programs to follow all the safety protocols and guidelines this summer. Although they knew it would be challenging, they were confident they could run successful programs. On day one, directors watched as anxious and stressed kids arrived at camp after being home so long, only to see the worries all dissipate as the camp days went on. Now that we’ve made it to the end of the camp season, camps have proven they can operate amid a pandemic when infection rates are low and are ready for whatever summer 2021 brings.“
Many ACA, NY and NJ resident camps that were unable to operate this summer in a traditional way were able to pivot and still provide a camp experience for their campers and families. Some not for profit overnight camps ran successful Virtual Camps which were especially important for the children they serve from under resourced communities who don’t necessarily have the opportunity to just play in their backyards. Other camps offered Family Camp so whole families could enjoy a few days at camp participating in favorite activities while other camps gave each age group a day over the summer to come visit their home away from home to enjoy a socially distant day together. No matter what camps looked like this summer, camp directors remained connected with their camp communities and everyone is looking ahead to being back at camp next summer.
For more information, contact Jess Michaels at the American Camp Association, NY and NJ at 212.391.5208 / [email protected].
The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey is a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and enhancing the quality of the summer camp experience. For more information, visit www.acanynj.org.
SOURCE American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey