Coronavirus pandemic: Will summer camps be open in Connecticut this summer?

Connecticut Families

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — “It’s hard. It’s very hard right now,” said Christina Bibisi, who owns her own hair salon and depends on summer keep to keep her two sons — ages 11 and 8 — occupied in a productive way while she’s at work.

But, what if the pandemic means camp doesn’t happen?

“If there’s no camp this year, it’s going to be extremely hard for me, like very hard,” said Bibisi.

“Haven’t heard a lot officially about camps,” explained Keith Garbart, Winding Trails Camp Director, who said the American Camp Association has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trying to develop plans for a rolling open in areas doing well.

“Possibly, yes, and once places start to open, I think there will be guidelines about numbers of campers they could have in groups,” said Garbart. “We want to be part of the recovery. We think we’re perfectly setup to help in that process.”

In terms of the focus on outdoor activities, he believes. But Garbart, whose camp services 650 kids each summer, realizes there’s certainly a possibility that the season, as we know it, will be canceled.

“One hundred percent worried about that, for sure,” said Garbart, also Vice President of the Connecticut Camping Association, who believes virtual camp is a possible alternative. “It might be an idea where you meet on Zoom and have your morning opening or flag ceremony. There are tons of possibilities. I’ve heard of virtual escape rooms that people are coming up within the camp industry.”

But, Garbart hopes actual camp, even perhaps a modified version, comes to fruition for families and staff. Otherwise, Bibisi will have to punt and figure out even more details in this uncertain landscape.

“I have no idea and haven’t even thought that far,” she said. “I think that’s the biggest fear right now — the unknown.”

The American Camp Association is providing a host of relevant webinars on its website and some traditional camps are already sharing fun, educational videos for families to enjoy during this time of social distancing.

News 8 will continue to keep you informed about the status of summer camps.

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