CT summer day camps prep and adapt for late June opening

Connecticut Families

HADDAM, Conn. (WTNH) — “As a mom, you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing,” said Christina Bibisi, of Haddam, who has chosen not to enroll her two boys — ages 11 and 8 — in summer camp this year.

She has safety concerns, and just doesn’t feel comfortable during the pandemic.

“Can you imagine kids having to wear masks in 90 degrees outside?”

While some camps will surely require masks, Keith Garbart of the Connecticut Camping Association said it won’t be the norm, especially outside.

“There’s no guidelines out there currently from the Office of Early Childhood or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying campers or children have to wear masks in a camp setting,” he explained.

With requirements for small groups, Garbart, also the director at Winding Trails, said many camps will face capacity issues, but not his.

“We’re at our capacity. We have 650 campers every summer, so we can accommodate that number of campers based on the facility and the space we have. We have 380 acres.”

There will be financial challenges, though, hiring extra staff to manage the small groups. The 13 day camps run by the YMCA of Greater Hartford are also not short on participants.

“We have more people registered this year than last year, so clearly there is a demand from our members and communities,” said CEO and President Harold Sparrow, holding out hope that overnight camps might open for at least part of the summer.

“Right now, we don’t know, it’s ambiguous and that is the question,” he said. “We would be able to pivot.”

But some say pivoting — at this point — would be very difficult.

Bibisi has lined up a babysitter for her sons and said she’ll just sit this camp season out.

“Make the best of it, and hopefully, next year will be better for all of us,” she said

Governor ned Lamont has given a glimmer of hope. But, when News 8 reached out to his office Wednesday, his spokesman said, as of now, there are no plans to change course on sleep away camps.

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