We can all agree the summer of 2020 was a summer like no other. When summer camp registration day came around in mid-April, the State of Ohio was still under a Stay at Home order and the future of camps was uncertain. In mid-May, the State announced summer camps could operate under a set of mandatory safety protocols.
Delaying camp start by two weeks, reducing group sizes and following safety protocols, we were able to offer seven weeks of in-person day camps for ages 5 to 15. Camps were held at five different parks throughout the community. Safety protocols included daily temperature checks and health screenings, remaining outdoors almost exclusively, mask wearing when physical distancing was not possible, frequent hand washing and individually-issued camp supplies to reduce sharing between campers.
By summer’s end, more than 500 children had enjoyed a summer of creek exploration, hiking, kickball and making new friends – about half of CWPD’s normal summer camp capacity. Centerville resident Amy Perry said, “In a time full of uncertainty and many disappointments, this has been a bright spot for our family. We applaud the efforts to hold camp and also adhere to the safety guidelines that are in place. It was very comforting to know staff was ensuring things were run in the safest way possible.”
No cases of COVID-19 were reported among campers or staff. We credit strong community support for their successfully COVID-free camp season. “We were impressed by how well campers and parents followed the new camp rules and worked with staff to make a safe summer camp experience,” said Programs Manager Kristen Marks.
Knowing in-person camp would not be a viable option for everyone, we also offered a Summer Adventures to Go series, which was a week-long summer camp in a box. The camp experience included virtual check-ins with camp counselors, virtual field trips, games and crafts. More than 100 children registered for the virtual camp experience.