Dear Miriam | Will Camps Open Next Summer?

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Dear Miriam,

I’m dreaming of summer camps for next summer. Is this a realistic dream? Kiddo still talks a lot about how camp got canceled this past summer.

Signed,


Dreaming of Summer

Dear Dreaming,

I hear you. I see you. I share your dreams as, I’m sure, do most parents, kids and other conscious humans. But I just don’t know (obviously). In the past week, I’ve heard predictions varying widely between, “Things will be mostly back to normal by late spring” and, “No one’s going to feel safe gathering in groups of hundreds by next fall.”

Granted, none of these predictions were from experts, per se, and those two statements aren’t even necessarily mutually exclusive, but I feel safe saying that no one really knows what our timeline looks like.

Based on my own inbox, there are some camps that sure are hoping to open. I’ve gotten emails suggesting big discounts for signing up now and promotions like the promise of full refunds if necessary. I also know many camps have worked really hard to maintain relationships with their families from last summer through this long and strange fall, presumably with the idea that if they can open, those families will be clamoring to get in.

Unfortunately, I also know that, economically, there are camps that may not be able to survive past a second summer without campers.

Last summer, some camps did open, while others chose not to, and I imagine the same will be true this year. Some will feel equipped to handle the necessary safety precautions, and some won’t. I am guessing that a lot will depend on where the camps are located, how well-funded they are, the demographics of the kids who attend and, of course, vaccinations and infection rates. Some of those things we can predict now, and some of them will be unknown for months, possibly right up until camps would normally open.

My best guess is that you’ll be able to find some camp for your kid to attend next summer. Whether it’s the camp they’d planned to attend this past year, or a camp that best fits their specific needs and interests, I don’t know, but there will be some options. Like last summer, day camps may find it easier to open than overnight camps or, with advances in understanding COVID, maybe there will be quarantine and testing protocols that make overnight options more realistic.

I should also say that I don’t work professionally in the camp world and, for the purpose of this column, I didn’t consult anyone who does. I’m sure those professionals are overwhelmed by questions just like yours, and I’m sure they’d love to say, “Yes, we’ll be open and there for you.” Unfortunately, for all of us, it’s just too soon to tell.

Be well,

Miriam

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