(WSYM) — Summer-like temperatures are making parents think more about summer time camps for their kids, and the interest in them has not waned despite the pandemic. But how do you choose one that’s keeping safety top of mind?
For metro Detroit mom Erica Price, this past year was the ultimate test of patience.
"There wasn't a day that we were all at our wit's end," said Price.
The round-the-clock attempt to keep kids engaged, productive and stimulated is a struggle parents know all too well amid an isolating pandemic.
"It was so hard on both my husband and I, we both work full time," said Price.
This summer, Price says putting her two girls in a summer camp is more of a necessity than a choice. She's representing the 42 percent of parents who tell me in a Twitter poll, that they’ll be leaning on day or overnight camp in the coming months.
"They have been robbed really for the past year, and they're feeling anxious and disconnected," said Tom Rosenberg of the American Camping Association.
This is a summer of opportunity, a summer of healing for kids, but the window of opportunity to get kids into a camp is already closing for some highly sought out programs.
"We’re pretty close to full, we may have to start a waiting list," said Suzanne Michael, day camp director.
Summer Impressions Day Camp, now in operation for three plus decades, has always seen high interest, even during pandemic times.
"We have a massive bounce house, we have putt-putt golf, we have a sports specialist, drama specialist," she said.
Getting kids into a productive setting is always a top goal for parents. But getting them into a COVID safe setting has jumped to priority number one.
Rosenberg says camps are required to adhere to both federal and state policies but as a parent, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your own questions things like:
1. Do you pre-screen campers?
2. Are you limiting group activities or making changes to meal times?
3. Are you allowing visitors into the building?
4. What percentage of your staff has been vaccinated?
At Summer Impressions, when we asked those questions, there were no hesitations on answers.
"We screen all the children when they arrive at camp ... staff is currently 100 percent vaccinated," said Michael.
Price says she’s always leaned on camps that meet those standards and she’s thankful to already have her girls enrolled and excited about doing four different camps this summer.
"It's given us a ray of hope that we have some sort of normalcy that we can still have fun but do it safely," she said.
A camp that's accredited by the American Camping Association has gone through its own vetting process. Search camps in your area here.