By our Smarty friends at YMCA’s Camp Harrison
The year 2020 brought an abundance of changes to the lives of every single person, and children have been impacted in a way that may change the entire course of their future. From adjusting to remote learning, to being isolated from family and friends, to activities and extra-curricular activities being cancelled, to experiencing fear and loss like never before, the impact on the younger generations has been profound. During summer 2020, YMCA Camp Harrison was able to provide some normalcy for kids and families by offering a traditional summer camp experience. According the American Camp Association, it was one of very few overnight camps to operate (with over 80% of camps in the country being closed or not running summer camp).
With updated safety and health protocols, including lower cabin capacities, face covering usage, increased sanitizing, and having cabins travel together as “pods,” Camp Harrison was able to serve over 1,000 campers safely over the course of nine weeks of camp. Throughout the camp sessions, we observed that kids need camp more than ever before. During fall 2020, we continued to serve campers by offering week-long Remote Learning Camps, with the goal of helping kids unplug from technology after school work was completed and allowing them opportunities to connect with peers and counselors. The following is a poem that one of our Remote Learners wrote about this program:
COVID happened and everything was closed
Now what? No friends or school or anything else
To the rescue Camp Harrison came
Remote learning camp happened and COVID wasn’t so lame
In between virtual classes we all had a blast
Clay shooting, archery, and the climbing wall we climbed so fast
I do miss my family for the week I am gone
But the counselors are so fun it doesn’t seem so long
The food is so yummy and we get fed at the time
It won’t be long to go back when summer, it’s summer time.
– Peyton (Camp Harrison camper)
We will continue to build upon the experience and success of 2020 during summer 2021. Forming lifelong friendships with peers and having mentors to serve as role models are some of the most profound benefits of overnight camp. These experiences have been lacking in the lives of so many young people over the course of the last year. While camp is full of new adventures and skill-development, the relationships built will impact campers for the rest of their lives.
YMCA Camp Harrison
Where campers build character, develop confidence and grow in their faith.