Summer camps left in limbo amidst pandemic
47 ABC – Summer camps all across Delmarva are in limbo, uncertain how long business closures will last amidst COVID-19.
“There are a few people who have registered but most people I believe are waiting to see what happens,” says Harlan Eagle, the owner and executive director of Camp Odyssey in Salisbury.
“We’re preparing for opening on time. We’re preparing for modified summer. We’re preparing for no camp at all,” says Walt Lafontaine, the executive director of Camp Arrowhead in Lewes.
Many directors say they’re consulting with national organizations and accepting the possibility of enrolling less kids. “Obviously we can’t take all 200 kids at one time. That’s probably not going to happen. So we’re going to assume that’s not going to happen,” says Justin Garner, the executive director of Camp Phoenix in Salisbury.
In the case that sleepover camps do open, some directors say they’ll stagger meal times or other activities in order to social distance but they add that it will be difficult to enforce that in other areas.
“The reality is that they are little kids. Well some of them aren’t little. You’re not going to be able to keep kids six feet apart in a cabin because then you’ll have three children to a cabin,” says Lafontaine.
In the meantime, registration is open for most camps many of which have new flexible refund policies in place with the hope that they’ll be able to welcome kids this summer. “The storm that we’re weathering right now, I think we’ll come out okay but definitely not without scars and bruises. It’s going to be a battle for sure,” says Garner.
When it comes to staffing, most camps either hire teachers who already have full time jobs or college students. However some sleepover camps hire a few international students so that may be put on hold depending on travel restrictions. Many camp directors say they’ll start making decisions in May.