What {510} Families Readers Have To Say About Summer Camps - 510 Families
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What {510} Families Readers Have To Say About Summer Camps

With no idea what this summer holds, and a diversity of needs typically filled by day camp, from 5-year olds who need childcare to high school students who planned to earn money as counselors, everyone is on edge about summer camps.

We asked our readers to respond to one question, “How are you feeling about summer camps this year?” and allowed them to agree with as many statements as they wanted as well as adding their own. Here’s what we collected from more than 250 responses. (You can still take the summer camp opinion survey if you want your voice counted)

57% said “I already signed up and am waiting to hear updates”

Other statements in this category include

  • I’m surprised we have heard not a single peep from any of the camps we signed up for in January-March. It’s disappointing. Want to know what they are thinking! Even if it’s “we are waiting for Public Health guidelines”
  • Signed up early for one camp, regretting it now but waiting and seeing what happens. The provider says they are currently going forward as scheduled, which seems like a bad idea. definitely holding off on signing up for any more until I know more how this summer will play out, preparing for a no camp summer and considering instead setting up a kid share with one or two other families as long as they are also being careful.
  • Most have already cancelled.
  • We signed up for camps early on. Still unsure what our family will do, waiting to hear more about the state of the country/state/county before making final decisions. None of our camps have officially cancelled, but we are only doing 3-4 weeks of camp for each kiddo.
  • I’m worried that if things like pools and field trips are not allowed, it will defeat the purpose of camp and why my kids wanted to go.
  • For the camps which are closing for this summer, but aren’t offering refunds and instead are offering credits for next summer, do we feel like this is “justified”? Does this expose some shady side of the camps or am I just looking for some drama (e.g. Galileo controversy)?

42% agree “Virtual camps defeat the purpose of camp for our family.”

Similar sentiments shared:

  • Both camps we had signed up for went virtual. We asked for a 50% refund from one, and the other is allowing us to roll our fees over to next year. Giant bummer all around.
  • Looking for guidelines on how to do this safely in-person. We don’t need a screen time camp. That’s been the least effective part of school. “Can I hang up yet???”
  • Virtual camp cannot replace camp for us, so if it is not safe to do in person with modified conditions, we need a refund. This is largely because my child is 6 years old. If they were older, I could be open to virtual camps as a substitute.
  • We were going to signup for Galileo Summer Camp for the first time this year. 🙁

29% agree “I will only sign up for camps if there are modified procedures, such as limited number of kids, masks required, and/or body temperatures taken daily”

Other safety desires from parents:


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  • I prefer groups of 12 or less kids, preferably an outdoor camp
  • Pre-registered, bought a couple at school auction. Will wait and see. Am feeling pretty hesitant. There would have to be significant positive news, everything outside, small and run very well.
  • Health is the most important part. I would rather work from home all summer than risk my kids.
  • Outdoor camps, primarily

25% agree “Give me camp info! My kids need camp even more because they have missed out on so much already.”

More details on what parents want for their kids:

  • Prefer outdoor camps
  • Definitely of two minds about this but desperate for my kid to have safe interactions with other kids. Is it possible???
  • We are also hoping for swim team! (practice only, as meets can’t social distance enough)
  • Kids need socialization with peers and play-based learning!!!! Please please please let’s have physical camp!!
  • Crossing our fingers that Adventure Day Camp comes through!
  • Our kids need normalcy. Please do camps!!
  • At least one week of camp, my daughter needs to spend time with actual children.
  • Summer camps with a few children in same age group
  • All-day outdoor camps, please!
  • I am concerned about the safety of summer camps, but also really want my kids to socialize and for me to go back to my office.
  • Parents cannot go back to work without their kids having someplace to go. It’s also not emotionally healthy for kids to go another 3 months without any interactions with other kids.

20% agree “We are doing camps. I need summer camps to happen June through August for childcare”

  • We need childcare as essential workers. My children will go to camp if available.
  • It would be great to find a camp that starts June 1.
  • Can you provide a list of camps offering sessions this summer? This info is very hard to find. (Yes, we know. We will update our Summer Camp Guide next week. Government guidelines will direct camps and they will let us know if they can continue to plan.)
  • We are both working full time and need care as our children are younger. While virtual camps may work for older kids, mine need more oversight. The small home-based daycare my 2-year-old attended just opened back up and my 6-year-old (K) is going to go attend as well. The most critical factor to me would be a small group of kids with the same counselor(s) that doesn’t change in order to lessen the potential exposure risk.
  • WE NEED CAMPS. I would do just about anything to see them happen. My kids are going nuts and in a two-parent, two-career family, homeschooling is tough. Would love to hear alternative ideas if many camps don’t happen.
  • Camps, yes, camps!

19% agree “I am waiting to see what happens and will sign my kids up later”

  • Even with a refund policy, I will still wait and see what happens. If too many precautions make the camp sound “not fun”, then we won’t do it
  • I am not sure if there are procedures that would make me comfortable with camp

18% agree “We are avoiding camps in June, but will maybe sign up for July or August”

  • We are signed up starting mid-July
  • We signed up for half-day virtual camps (2.5 hr each day) in June. I am waiting to hear what happens in July and August. All-day virtual camps sound horrible. I did not see too many camps that would interest my kids. I would like to hear who is offering virtual camps.

18% agree “If there is a clear refund policy, I would love to sign up for camps right now”

Related opinions:

  • I would pay non-refundable in order to have priority admissions if camp goes forward.
  • Support the camps since they might not be here next year and everyone will complain there isn’t enough. Then those people who complain should open a camp to see how hard it is to provide care for their children.
  • I have a lot of mixed emotions. Part of me wants to send them to camp, but another part is anxious and worried.

15% agree “Our family is interested in 1-2 hour virtual classes in lieu of in-person camps”

  • We signed up for summer camps before the pandemic. Will only pursue virtual camps or classes until all shelter in place restrictions are lifted.
  • I would carefully consider online offerings, but am not sure yet.

14% agree “We are skipping camps this year.”

Others who are bowing out:

  • We signed our kids up for camp before the pandemic, and now we’re scared to send them. We don’t think it will be safe.
  • I’m signed up, but I want them to be cancelled, even though it will be hell on earth.
  • We want for so much to things return to normal, but safety first! So though we have signed up, we won’t participate unless necessary steps are taken to ensure health and safety.
  • Signed up in Feb for entire summer; will likely cancel the end of this month.
  • The sleepaway camp we signed up for has cancelled for this summer. We would love her to go to camps, but not if it isn’t safe. And, I don’t want her in a mask all the time.
  • As much as I would love my 8.5 year old to join his friends and have fun at camps I do not think we, as a family, will feel at all comfortable sending him to camp this year.
  • Stay home and save lives
  • Skipping because of the high risk of uncertainty. Would love to put my kid in camp for socialization and physical activity.
  • Conducting in-person camps this summer is irresponsible.
  • We signed up for camp and are hoping to be able to get a refund even if it doesn’t get cancelled. We’d rather be safe and skip camp this year.

10% agree “Our family is interested in weeklong virtual camps in lieu of in-person camps.”

  • I work full time from home and usually enroll my kids for 4-5 weeks of summer camp. As much as I need them to be in a camp and have social experiences, I don’t feel like we’re ready at all to be engaging in in-person, on-site camp activities. Kids are incredibly hard to social distance and I can’t see them wearing masks for the duration of the camp day.
  • Waiting to hear what Oakland Rec decision is, and would love to hear about more virtual options!!!

7% agree “I would feel more comfortable with small camps run out of a home-based studio.”

Related ideas from those surveyed:

  • Organize all the college kids to create small camps.
  • If I knew my kids could be in the same group of 8-10 kids with likeminded scientific/data-driven families with the same counselor all summer – and no other people circulating into their group – I would do it.
  • I’d be more okay with my elementary child going to camp but my preschooler probably not
  • If camps don’t open, would you be interested in “podding” with other families and hiring your own provider?

4% agree “We don’t do a lot of summer camps, so cancellation doesn’t really affect me.”


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