DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley organizations are getting ready to welcome kids back in-person for summer camp as the CDC issues updated guidance on how to hold camps safely.
“Last year, 2020, all of the camps were canceled,” Miamisburg Girl Scout Troop 34293 Leader Suzzi Luken said.
After a summer of staying home, Luken said the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio are trying to make camp in a pandemic as normal as possible.
“We’re going to encourage lots of outdoor activities, they do still have things spaced out more than normally they would have seen and then they can take their masks down and enjoy the summer,” Luken said.
In new guidance released Friday, the CDC emphasized the importance of vaccinations for kids and staff age 12 and up.
The CDC said kids and staff who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear a mask. If activities are held outside social distanced, even those who aren’t vaccinated may not need to wear one.
The CDC suggests grouping kids into pods for their summer camp activities. Social distancing is recommended, especially when socializing with those outside of their pod.
“We can provide this fabulous on-site, hands-on experience that girls have come to know and love with us and be able to do it in a way that they are safe,” YWCA Dayton Director of Marketing and Communications Audrey Starr said.
Starr said safety is just as important as having fun at their Girls LEAD! and AMEND Together summer programs.
They will require masks based on the current guidelines and will hold camps at their new Huber Heights location to allow plenty of room for social distancing.
“Our camps spend a lot of time outside doing activities and leadership development, so being able to layer those safety precautions that we know exist already, so it’s not so much about have to change on a dime, that we are setting ourselves up for success in that way to begin with,” Starr said.
Even with some COVID-19 precautions in place, Luken said summer camp is an important experience for kids.
“Making new friends, getting to try things out on their own without neccesarily their parent hovering over them, but getting to stretch their boundaries a little bit and try something new,” Luken said.
The kids can’t wait to go back to camp after missing out last summer.
“I am very excited. Very, very excited,” Miamisburg Girl Scout Molly Luken said. “I like meeting new people and swimming.”
The Girl Scouts of Western Ohio are also holding a virtual “camp in a box” program for girls who wish to not attend in-person camps this year.
The CDC says all camps should continue with frequent hand washing and cleaning of surfaces to prevent the spread of all illnesses.