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After a year of mostly staying home, inside, with very little physical activity, letting your kids loose at camp sounds like a perfect summer plan. Camp provides many benefits to children of all ages, this year especially. They make friendships, create bonds over silly games, spend time outdoors in nature, and get lots of physical activity. Overnight camp provides even more opportunity for children to learn independence. For many, overnight camp is a place where lifetime friendships are made.

While the social, emotional and physical benefits of camp are even greater in 2021, there are still safety measures to consider. With mass vaccination still several months away and children ineligible at this time, it’s unlikely we will reach herd immunity by summer. Don’t fear though! Last year many camps operated safely and successfully and I have no doubt this summer can be the same.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Camps should consider testing all staff regularly and testing campers before attending.
2. Camps should continue to enforce mask wearing for all staff and campers if possible. There should be lots of hand washing and sanitizing of surfaces as well.
3. Camps should cohort campers and keep them distanced from other cohorts for ease of quarantine if needed.

The good news is that as of February, cases are falling and immunity is rising. For children with high risk family members, getting those members vaccinated should increase confidence for parents who want to send their children to camp. Furthermore, if a majority of counselors and staff can get vaccinated before summer, even better. Surrounding campers with a bubble of immunity will protect them and their loved ones.

Overall, children everywhere are desperate for some much needed fun, outdoor play, exercise and socialization. My hope is that summer will be a great opportunity for them to get back to feeling like kids again.

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