What’s Right with Schools: Kids return to Winding Trails Day Camp in Farmington for first summer fun since the pandemic

Whats Right With Schools

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — School may be out, but with the COVID-19 pandemic not yet in the rearview mirror, there is a major focus on summer enrichment programs. This summer we’re taking you to a number of camps and programs across the state to show how they’re transitioning back to normal.  

We start it off with Winding Trails Day Camp in Farmington. Keith Garbart is the camp director and has been working with camps for over 20 years.  

He says the main focus this summer is making sure kids are socializing after a year of COVID restrictions like social distancing. “Kids certainly needed that socialization this year and I think just being out there and just being able to talk to another kid face-to-face and not through a screen, has been crucially important.”  

Last year, they had to cut their attendance down by almost 100 kids and keep kids in small groups. While most restrictions have dropped, he says they’re keeping some in place to enhance the experience. He says the kids were able to interact more with each other and the counselors with small groups so they will continue having a large number of small groups moving forward.  

The camp is on 350 acres. It offers the campers a wide variety of activities. From kayaking, archery, fishing, and sports, these kids have almost everything they could want in a summer camp.  

As they take a look at the summer ahead, Garbart tells News 8, “We have the session at 586 campers. We’ll be right around the 600 number moving forward for the summer.”  

Making their way back up to maximum capacity. The camp runs through Aug. 13. They hold four, two-week sessions with about 600 campers in each session.

After such a challenging year, Garbart is happy to see camp getting back to normal, “It’s honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of. I’ve been working in camps for over 20 years and I stress through all of our staff training that this summer was even more important than last summer. With our staff and the socialization, the kids coming from hybrid, coming from virtual and bringing them all together this year, I think they needed it more than even last summer.”  

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