It’s amazing to witness how disaster can bring people, and even businesses, together. We have been brainstorming with other summer camps across the nation, working together and helping each other stay active while social distancing continues to threaten the industry as a whole. The geographical distances between us are no longer a factor and alliances are being made by camps literally all over the world. We are all working together towards one unified goal: To be able to provide the best possible services to our communities.
The sustained level of uncertainty, however, is making this goal a challenge. The summer camp industry needs to prepare for the summer season if its at all possible to go live, but we are getting almost no guidance from our local government and even less at the federal level. Will camps be allowed to operate live? We don’t know. Will camps have to be provided only online? We are ready to do so, but knowing this sooner would certainly help us know where to focus. Will a new hybrid of the two be the case? Again, we could do this better if we had at least an idea.
These are the questions that need answers (or at least educated calculations) if our industry is going to do prepare. The answers need to come from local health departments and local governments. Even if the state government allows summer gatherings, the local health department is still the final voice – but the guidance of the state in that decision would certainly be helpful. So, we urge you — please write to your state government and local health department. Remind them of their neighbors in the summer camp industry. Help keep us in their mind as they begin to announce their decisions for the summer season. The sooner we know what we can offer to our families, the better we can provide those services.
It is also important to remind your local officials that, without the services of summer camp and child care, there will be unprecedented obstacles for parents once they are allowed to return to the workplace. If parents are called up to return to their jobs, offices, posts, etc…what about their children? This is an issue that may not have occurred to many officials or employers, but it is a pertinent one nonetheless.
Summer camps are an invaluable service for working parents and will be needed just as much as before once workplaces reopen. Our local government and health departments need to have the summer camp industry on their minds. They will need their local residents, like you, to ask them to do so. Please, reach out.
Until we see you again, we wish you health, safety, comfort, and support. May the adventure go on!
To find your local health department’s contact information, you can use the resources provided here: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory