Longing for That Camp

Summer is right around the corner and parents are wondering if their children will be able to travel safely to their “summer homes.”

Camp or summer overnight experiences provide a special place where children try new things, develop new social skills, face their challenges, build their character, foster newfound independence, and enjoy the time of their lives.

I have helped families find wonderful summer programs for many years and thought I’d seen every challenge there possibly could be.

I have watched camp directors as they deftly handle the aftermath of 9/11, H1N1 Swine Flu, lice infestations, bedbugs, meningitis scares, Zika, nonstop summers of rain, recessions, and more.

COVID-19 is a new kind of challenge for camps and teen trips, advisers, and families like yours and mine.

Tips on Trips and Camps Inc. gets daily communication from the camp directors, outlining how they are planning optimistically for summer 2020. Programs may alter their start dates, sessions may be changed, and health screenings ramped up; but, to paraphrase one Adirondacks camp: We are all CAMP PEOPLE. For two months of the summer, we deal with uncertainty constantly. We are resilient and determined, and we are accustomed to adjusting the plan.

That sentiment will surely be put to the test this summer. I believe the camp industry is up to the task.

Please hold on to that dream of camp as the special “summer home” for our children.

Enjoying the simple pleasures right now with your family can be reminiscent of the camp experience. From ramping up your home responsibility chart to spending more time outdoors, you can get ready for camp life even under the current lockdown circumstances.

Soon the fireflies will be out and the moon will shine a little brighter. If you have a safe place to do it, make a campfire, sit around after dinner, and imagine what life could be like this summer.

We have all had a chance to reconnect a little more as a family (and watch our kids bounce off the walls, too). Let’s hold hope that summer brings a renewed sense of health to our country and the world and, if the optimistic camp directors are right, a chance to return to our home away from home that is camp.

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Helene Abrams

Helene Abrams, of the free advisory service Tips on Trips and Camps, helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children. Reach her at 214-484-8141 or [email protected]

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