As of this writing we’re about two weeks in to total and complete nationwide quarantine. I don’t know about your state, but in Virginia, even the schools are closed for the rest of this academic year, much to everyone’s sorrow and shared difficulty.
But we’re trying to understand, accept, and adapt. And in adapting, as I wrote recently, we’re definitely making sure that our kids get all the fresh air, sunshine, and time in nature as possible while still staying socially distant from non-family members.
The big question looming in everyone’s mind is, When does this end? And when it does, what then?
Again, as of this writing, I hold every hope that roughly 90 days — three months — from now, we WILL be opening camp for our 2nd annual Mother-Daughter Weekend and the launch of our 99th summer. Fingers crossed, prayers prayed, and preparations still in the works.
And of course, this is under the presumption that the Centers for Disease Control, the Greenbrier County Health Department, the State of West Virginia, and the American Camp Association would agree that opening camp is safe and allowable. We hope they will.
And the thing is, when we do open (let’s just continue to think positively) it’s plainly clear that summer camp will be the number one thing that kids need.
Her Home Away From Home
For kids who return to camp summer after summer, coming to a familiar and beloved place, a return to routine, a sense of the world feeling safe, and welcome and affirmation from staff and counselors who know and love them, and days or weeks in a healthy, natural outdoor setting — all these things will be deeply nourishing for kids placed under these radically stressful and uncertain circumstances.
For kids who have never come to camp but are anticipating it, or maybe haven’t even signed up yet, the last point above — days or weeks in a healthy, natural outdoor setting — will be a massive restorative, along with joining a community of happy girls and women, that will help recalibrate life in an uplifting and promising way.
How Will Camp Prepare?
As part of the professional camp community and as an accredited camp with the American Camp Association (ACA), we’ve been privy to guidance and advice to help us as a camp to navigate the uncertainty ahead.
Besides being completely up-to-date on all things coronavirus, and communicating that with you, the ACA’s first bit of advice is that at this point we must we continue to plan because 90 days is a long time and anything could happen, including the best outcome, that camps are open. And so we are planning — our Admin Team, working remotely, are continuing to coordinate with one another, to plan a great summer full of awesome activities and events, to hire staff and counselors, to go over supply needs, dates, and plans, and to communicate with you on a regular basis.
And the other thing we’re advised to do is do what we do best — help you anticipate an amazing summer ahead for your kids.
Even if you want to keep your camper’s expectations about camp opening in line with current events, still, camp is an important part of your daughter’s life. We care about her, and she cares about us. And so our upcoming virtual events, like a Cyber Campfire and a Virtual Vespers are ways that she can connect with something familiar and comforting in a time of stress.
It’s comforting for us too — love for our campers and our belief in nurturing their unique voices, their personal goals, and their development summer after summer drives everything we do. She is our motivation and we’re not about to let go of that for anything!
I mentioned in my recent blog about getting outside that school being closed is so hard on the kids, most of whom love school. When I think about my oldest son Mason possibly not being able to go to his camp, too? That’s too much for me to process. He needs camp!
And your daughter needs camp, too.
Even with wonderful sibling relationships, the social isolation of being at home, the social shrinking of a limited number of interactions, and for older kids, the not always healthy elements of social media taking an even more prominent role while in quarantine are all reasons why camp will offer an even more powerful antidote to the school year than it usually does.
Add to this falling into the trap of spending too much time indoors and the fact that screen time (whether educational or not), is likely to increase, and camp can’t come soon enough!
Boredom can be a great teacher and a great motivator, becoming the mother of invention and creativity. But give them too much boredom and even the most driven and creative child starts to get lost.
And with fear, worry, instability, and parental pressures adding to the mix, well imagine the hope and relief a girl will feel crossing the iconic ‘Ghany Barge to find her second home in a platform tent under a blue sky, under a starry sky, with friends and birdsong and each new day’s sunrise with an exciting day ahead?
This Too Shall Pass
Right now we’re in the “bad news” phase of this collective shutdown. But as we know, this too shall pass. We hope, we pray, we believe it will pass in time for camp. And when it does, it will be just what the doctor ordered!
— Elizabeth Shreckhise, Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls