“Kids need camp now more than ever,” is echoing across the nation. It is a sentiment that campers, parents, alumni, staff, and camp professionals have clung to this past year. We insist on this truth, because we all know that childhood can’t be paused.
Kids Need Milestones
Recently during the ACA national conference, speaker Dr. Gilboa shared that “loss of milestones” ranked highest on what kids missed about pre-Covid life. Which was funny, because it was a major priority for us in 2020. Last summer, aside from safety, providing our traditional milestones was at the top of our priorities to serve campers. We were able to provide most milestones, and the ones that we couldn’t provide were graciously pardoned by our gals. Their grace was born from their gratitude. The loss of in-person community is possibly most devastating to kids. Right now they are missing out on crucial developmental lessons that can only be taught through community interaction. But at camp, these lessons aren’t lost. In fact, they are bolstered by gratitude.
Kids Need Tangible Engagement
Pre-pandemic we were all already concerned about screen time. Now? HA! With so much learning occurring digitally, kids need experiential learning more than before. Kids need to fall down, get dirty, get back up, and laugh with friends at their trials and errors! Experiential learning engages all the senses, which is a big part of what camp is all about!
Kids Need Fortification
Resilience is a word proudly touted throughout the camp community. We foster situations that help people- campers and staff- rise up stronger and more capable than when they started. Resilience is something everyone could use, especially right now. Kids who get a break from pandemic life not only come back re-charged, but they are also more ready to handle challenges.
Kids Need Their Spirits Lifted
Running camp last summer was a daunting task, but we did it. Most camps closed in 2020, and we were among the 30% of overnight camps that remained open. On top of that, we were among the small percentage that operated without a single case. This was possible because of our honest community of camp families and staff. Many of our camper families told us that the thought of camp was the only thing keeping their kid going.
We came together to make camp safely happen last year, and we can do so this year. We have to, because kids need camp now more than ever.