No school. Zero playdates. Canceled sports activities. COVID-19 has essentially put a hold on life for our children and for us. Both children and adults are turning to technology to stay connected with each other. Summer camps, known for building close community ties and strong friendships, have taken this opportunity to create virtual camp activities for their campers and staff as a way to socialize and feel close to their beloved camp during these unprecedented times. From virtual dance parties to campfires, camps have been creating activities that have kept the camp spirit alive during this difficult time.
Camp Scatico, a brother-sister overnight camp in Elizaville, NY has been offering a mix of activities each week including weekly podcasts, an Art + Talent Show, virtual novelty challenges and a Scatico-style March Madness Bracket. “Our virtual Art + Talent Show is based on a beloved event we have each summer,” explains Assistant Director Nicki Fleischner. “Campers and staff were given a few days to create a piece of art such as a poem, painting, dance routine, TikTok or playing an instrument and submit a photo or video of it. We then posted all of the submissions in our stories at a specific time, so it was like people were experiencing the Art + Talent Show live. For every submission, we donated $5 to a Scatico-favorite ice cream shop that’s temporarily closed in light of COVID. People were so creative with their submission.”
Day camps have also been providing virtual camp activities to their camp families. “Camp people do play and creativity well so we wanted to make it fun and easy for families to participate during these uncertain times,” says Gordon Josey, Owner and Director of Breezemont Day Camp in Armonk, NY. “Twice a week we are sending an email to families with links to Facebook live activities such as homemade bubble making and homemade playdough, along with cooking demonstrations that are easy do like Crunch Banana Bites. We’ve loved getting pictures and videos of our campers participating!”
Jennifer Rosenthal says her 11-year-old daughter, who attends Camp Canadensis, a coed overnight camp in Canadensis, PA, has been enjoying the array of virtual offerings the camp has provided while everyone has been at home. “Samantha was so excited to get the whole family involved with MTV Family night which is a dance routine contest that the bunks do at camp. She gave us silly costumes and was so eager to submit our final dance. All these activities are getting her excited for camp!”
Fleischner says that virtual camp activities have been a ray of sunshine in this time. “At camp, we always say we live ‘10 for 2,’ and this is a moment to put that saying into action. Amid the uncertainty, and as people are forced to stay indoors and isolate, we need our communities and support systems more than ever, and it feels natural for camp to be a piece of that puzzle. We knew people would appreciate that dose of camp magic and connection, and that this was something all members of our community could participate in. There are so many things we can’t do right now that it’s important to focus on what we can do and be proactive in our own camp way.”