Overnight summer camps will be permitted in all 50 states this year, but COVID-19 rules and a pandemic labor crunch mean that many fewer young campers will attend, and those who do will need to watch coronavirus precautions for the 2nd consecutive year.
The Southeast is the first place to kick camps off this month, with different parts of the country to follow in July.
“Camp might look a little different, however camp will seem a lot better in 2021 than it did in 2020, as it did not happen,” said Matt Norman of Atlanta, who is getting ready to ship his 12-year-old daughter .
Although most camps will be available, reduced capacity necessitated by COVID-19 restrictions and the labor shortage will keep numbers below a normal threshold of approximately 26 million summer campers, said Tom Rosenberg of the American Camp Association.
Across the country, many camps confront competition for advisers in a tight labour market. Traditional recruitment strategies like job fairs on college campuses have been canceled.
“It has been hard to get people to operate,” said Josh Nelson, in Glorieta Adventure Camp, a centre in pine-covered foothills out Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A set of Glorieta camp staffers began their orientation by rolling their sleeves up and getting vaccinated in a place between the mess hall along with the water slides. But many campers are too young for the shots since the vaccines have not been accepted for children under 12.
That means this year’s camp experience will still involve lots of the same prevention practices that were adopted at the few of camps that operated last year. Some states, like Vermont, are supplying free virus testing for campers.
In an all-girls camp called Fernwood in Maine, roughly 200 of the 300 counselors and cyclists will be vaccinated by now the six-week expression starts.
“Going into it, it is a far better scenario for us. Because instead of being concerned about 300 people, we are worried about 100 people,” Fernwood Director Fritz Seving explained.
Norman plans to ship daughter Jane Ellen to Camp Illahee in Brevard, North Carolina, and he’s glad the camp is encouraging vaccinations.
Jane Ellen agreed and stated the emphasis on vaccines is a fantastic idea.
Back in Glorieta, staff came in May from Oklahoma, Texas and a school town in Mexico known as Puebla, where an in-house recruitment fair happened. They have been training on safety protocols, such as virus protection, zip liner and life guarding.
The camp is operating at one-third capability — 1,100 out of 3,000 slots are filled — and staff will be grouped in pods. Children are expected to wear masks, even outdoors, except when the are eating meals or within their sleeping dorm.