By KEA YENGST
Published May 27, 2020
What makes a summer more iconic than summer camp? Day or resident camp, there is always an option to fit every child’s schedule and interests. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing on a daily basis, local summer program directors are taking different paths to their camps for the 2020 season, all in accordance to the CDC’s recommendations and standards.
Clover Sports, a local sports camp in Monterey County, is still planning on operating their program for the upcoming summer season with sessions and enrollment displayed on their website. Other locally known community locations, like the Monterey Sports Center and the YMCA, that also host youth clinics and summer programs have closed until the shelter-in-place order in Monterey County is lifted and have stated their closures on their websites.
On May 18, the CDC released an evaluation chart that all summer camps should follow. The chart takes social distancing and healthy hygiene practices into account with all 15 recommendations. They include staggered drop-off and pick-up times and mandatory mask wearing for employees, to name a few. The chart is composed of three checkpoints, which are thorough and specific for camp and program directors to use.
“The purpose of this tool is to assist directors or administrators in making reopening decisions regarding youth programs and camps during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CDC states on the evaluation chart. “It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”
If summer camps across the country pass all 15 requirements, the CDC gives them approval to open and monitor for the 2020 summer season. The CDC’s evaluation chart also includes screening employees and children upon arrival and training all employees on new health protocols.
Stillwater Water Sports, a program run by the Pebble Beach Club’s Stillwater Yacht Club, is closing their sailing and water sports camp for the season entirely, as stated on their website, alongside many other nearby camps.
“The [SYC] staff may just do maintenance this summer if we are allowed to work together,” says CHS freshman Eliot Cash, who has worked for the program for four summers. “I received news about the closure well in advance, and SYC has been more than helpful with keeping the staff informed.”
Kennolyn Camps, a resident and day camp, is canceling operation of their facilities for the 2020 session, which would have been their 75th summer. Olivia Vaz, a five-year camper who has attended both Kennolyn locations in Santa Cruz and Huntington Lake, is upset for Kennolyn’s canceled summer season.
“I will be very sad,” Vaz says. “I will miss all of my friends at camp, and I really hope that they defer camp admission for campers currently in the leadership program that need to be a specific age to be enrolled.”
Claire Busansky, another camper from Tampa, who is currently enrolled in Kennolyn’s three-year leadership program, sees obstacles for attending the program due to the virus.
“Even if camp was open for the 2020 season, I would still not be able to go because of flight restrictions from Florida,” Busansky notes.
Another local girls’ residential summer camp, Summer at Santa Catalina, run by the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, has decided to cancel all in-person affairs and programs for the summer season.
“We are committed to serving our campers through virtual platforms, and are working on a variety of creative activities to stay connected,” the program states on their website.
With new guidelines from the CDC and many local camps unlikely to open for the upcoming season, it isn’t promising that this summer will be as fun-filled as those in the past.