CORONAVIRUS

A Summer With Or Without Camp?

Apr 19, 2020, 10:15 PM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 11:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Schools were closed for the rest of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the question now is, what about summer camps? Many camps said they don’t have the answer yet.

“We’re optimistic that we’re gonna be on the other side of the curve, but we just don’t know,” said Lee Vaughan, camping director for the YMCA of Northern Utah.

Vaughn oversees day and sleepaway camps for four to five thousand children.

“Right now, we’re talking about social distance programming and what that could look like,” he said. “I guess the most probable case scenario that we’re looking at is looking to downsize the amount of kids that we could have at camp.”

YMCA’s Camp Roger

Vaughan said the YMCA will start to make decisions May 1.

The Girl Scouts of Utah said they will decide what to do about summer camps on or before that date.

The director of the University of Utah’s Youth Education, a major provider of summer programming, wrote that the university isn’t ready to talk about plans for the summer yet.

With the COVID-19 landscape constantly changing, many organizations said they are waiting until they can’t wait any longer.

Mircea Divricean is the president of the Kostopulos Dream Foundation, a camp for kids and adults with disabilities. He said the question is complicated when you’re serving an at-risk population.

Mircea Divricean is the president of the Kostopulos Dream Foundation

A study by a consortium of group homes in New York found special needs clients who got sick with the virus were 4.86 times more likely to die than other patients.

“Unless we can one hundred percent run a camp that is safe for all participants and for our staff, we will not do it,” Divricean said.

His campers include Mike Argyle’s son, Remington, who has a heart condition and has been riding out the pandemic at home. Father and son are still hopeful Remington will get his week at camp.

Michael Argyle and his son Remington

“Camp K gives you that time to spend with your friends and just go out and be yourself,” Mike Argyle said.

Divricean said his worst-case scenario is having a staff member or a camper bring the virus into camp.

“At that point, you know, you’re in complete lockdown, and then your summer from that point on is gone,” said Divricean.

Divricean worries about the health of campers, and the financial health of Camp K.

“Donations have stalled to next to nothing,” he said.

The camp’s big annual fundraising gala in May was cancelled.

Even if camp can open, Divricean said he worries the foundation won’t have enough money to help pay for campers to attend.

“We know that if we can’t have a summer camp this season, things will get very, very difficult for Camp K,” he said.

Like many summer camps, including the local YMCA, Divricean relies on counselors from outside the US. He said he wonders if they will be allowed to travel to Utah, and if there will be a 14-day quarantine period.

Camp Hobe, like some other camps for kids with cancer, have already made the call to go “virtual,” conducting camp through video chat apps like Zoom since many of their campers have compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy.

Camp Hobe is going virtual this year.

“If you’d asked me, even two months ago, if we could do virtual camp, I would have laughed at the idea and said that was ridiculous,” said Christina Beckwith, executive director at Camp Hobe.

She said although “virtual” isn’t the real thing, it can promote the sense of community that camp fosters. It also allows patients who are too sick to attend camp in-person to participate.

Heather Christiansen said her children — 7-year-old Aria and 5-year-old Braxton — have been asking about Camp Hobe ever since they finished last year’s session.

“They’ve been asking me about it for months, for months for months,” she said.

Christiansen said the children are disappointed they won’t be going to camp in-person, but they’re still looking forward to attending camp on a computer screen. She said the fact that the family, who recently moved from Salt Lake City to Evanston, won’t have to make the long drive to attend, is a plus.

Melissa Firme, who runs Kids Need More for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses in the Long Island, New York area, already started offering virtual sessions — bingo, joke sessions, baking, princess time — to help her campers cope with the pandemic.

“The kids are dealing with the trauma. We’re watching that happen,” Firme said. “You might think you’re protecting your children. They hear what you’re saying in the other room. This is a way to alleviate some of that trauma — or make it a more normal experience — and help them process it, even if that’s not the only thing we’re talking about.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Jen Christensen, CNN

The FDA tells COVID-19 vaccine makers to update shot to target newest variant

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had advised the makers of the Covid-19 vaccines to formulate their new shots to be a better match for the JN.1 lineage of the coronavirus.

7 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

10 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 03: Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy a...

Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

Fauci testifies publicly before House panel on COVID origins, controversies

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing heated questioning from Republican lawmakers about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

11 days ago

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

1 month ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

3 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

A Summer With Or Without Camp?