“Covid really happened so suddenly around this time last year that states and the Centers for Disease Control have not issued guidelines on how to operate quickly,” Rosenberg said. “A large part of the camp parents wanted to send their children, but didn’t because they didn’t feel well.”
Almost all camps made it last year with a combination of federal aid, donations and bank loans. This year, many have reported that demand is returning to prepandemic levels, Rosenberg said, but spaces are limited to ensure they are compliant with health protocols.
Jon Deren, co-owner and director of Camp Manitou, a Maine overnight camp for boys, said he could operate on a reduced schedule with fewer campers last summer. He will continue to work with 90 percent of the campers but 100 percent of the staff this summer to keep Covid-19 security in place. Seats for most age groups have been full since fall, he said.
“Before Covid, the camp was a lot of fun and going outside and playing and all the activities,” Deren said. “As we have all worked on technology over the past year, it highlighted the importance of the camp as a place without technology, where children can be happy. Parents want their children to have fun as their children are not having fun and are not isolated. “
The price for summer camps is very different. The average for an independent nonprofit day camp is $ 413 per week, according to the camp association. It’s $ 805 in a for-profit camp and approximately $ 300 in a national nonprofit camp operated by the YMCA. An overnight camp costs an average of $ 1,962 per week for an independent nonprofit group, $ 1,468 for the for-profit version, and $ 680 for those run by nonprofit organizations like the YMCA
However, most camps offer discounts for several weeks. Camp Manitou costs $ 14,350 for the full seven weeks – about $ 2,000 per week – but $ 8,650, or about $ 2,500 per week for a half session.
In a February report, the camp association working with the University of Utah found that the majority of parents whose children had attended the camp prior to the pandemic said their children were less physically active last summer without the camp structure . They were more likely to spend their days at the computer or watching TV than playing outside.