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Reflecting on Camp and COVID 2021

Megan Kittridge

Paradise Point Camp Director

As the weather cools and there are no longer lingering choruses of "Black Socks" at Paradise Point Camp, I am proud to share the reflections of lessons learned in the summer of 2021.

There were many, many changes this summer, from schedules to activity availability to all new staff. Some changes were necessary to function in a continued COVID-19 pandemic landscape like the cohort model, testing requirements and masks.

What worked?

We had no reported cases of COVID-19 on camp during any youth camp sessions this summer. (Insert happy dance here.) With deep gratitude to the families that tested their campers before arrival, the staff that monitored camper temperatures each morning, and the campers that gracefully rose to the new standards of health and safety- we made it!

Campers reported that cohort style camping had benefits, like deeper connections to cabins and age-peers. Cohort style scheduling also ensured that every cabin had a longer dedicated time to shower each day. This may have been our most showered camp season... ever?

What was challenging?

The cohort model limited chances for all-camp get togethers and some campers missed the interaction with friends in different cohorts.

Staff had to be cross-trained to help with all activities with his/her cohort- challenging with limited numbers of area specific certified staff (lifeguards, ropes course and target sports staff). This meant not every activity was available each day- but campers got to try each camp program throughout the week.

What are we looking forward to?

With vaccines widely available we at Paradise Point Camp are hopeful that 2021 will be the last "COVID Summer." We will take the lessons learned from 2021 as we build towards 2022 and beyond.

The largest lesson we can take away from this summer is one of resilience. It's clear that campers are strong, that staff are capable and that the camp experience can be life-changing for young people. Campers don't complain about masks- they are just happy to be at camp. Staff don't complain about rising early for temperature checks- they are committed to keeping the young people in their care healthy. And Camp Leadership won't be deterred by the occasional rude remark about our policies- we are dedicated to keeping campers and our staff safe, healthy, and following best practices in all our programs to keep them open for years to come. We are grateful for the many people that made this summer successful. Looking forward to making memories in 2022!

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