‘We are so excited’: Summer camps getting ready for kids with COVID changes

SPOKANE, Wash. — Summer camps will be back this year after many being closed due to COVID last year. Like everything else, though, it will be different.

In just a few weeks, kids will be making memories again at their favorite summer camp. Darci Hastings can’t wait to send her two daughters back to Camp Reed. They’ve been there in years past, and they’re ready to be back after a year off.

“When they found out they’re going to get to go this summer, they were just over the moon. They talk about going to camp all the time, so they can hardly wait,” she said.

As a Camp Reed alumni and a board member, Hastings has made quite a few memories there, too. She’s happy her kids will get to go back and make more memories themselves.

“I think it’s so great that our kids are going to get some normalcy back,” she said.

That sense of normalcy of going back to summer camp won’t feel fully normal yet.

Camp Reed says it will have five campers in each cabin; there used to be as many as 14.

The camp will stay at 50 percent capacity and kids will have to be in groups. A few days before heading there, they’ll have to have negative COVID test results, too.

“We are so excited. Yes, camp is going to look different, we are very aware of it, but that doesn’t change our ability to deliver and make sure we’re going to have a fun summer,” said Phil Harrison, the executive director for Camp Reed.

The CDC just recently said if everyone at camp is vaccinated, they’re allowed to go back to full capacity. Vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks either.

However, this is tricky for many camps in the Inland Northwest as they serve kids, and some are still not eligible for the vaccine yet.

Camp Reed says it will keep everyone wearing masks regardless of their vaccination status.

“We do want to make sure it’s an equal environment for everyone and make sure no one feels left out or stands out,” Harrison said.

People are itching to get back out. Kids and families are excited to be back at camp, so much that Camp Spalding says it’s already sold out several camps with a max of 180 people signed up in each.

“We’re excited to be back and in full swing this year, on pace of record attendance, on pace of our record year of 2019. That’s awesome,” said Andy Sonneland, the executive director of Camp Spalding.

The days are dwindling down as kids get out of school and are ready to head right out to their favorite camps and enjoy summertime activities. Hastings knows her daughters are ready to go.

“Everyone loves camp and wants to see kids having the best week of their summer,” Hastings said.” Just really excited kids get to be back at camp this summer.”

Every camp will have some different guidelines, so reach out to the programs you enrolled in to find out what you should expect.

READ: Kids can spend their summer at Mt. Spokane thanks to new day camps