Cautiously optimistic summer camping organizers | News, Sports, Jobs
Many local organizations are gearing up for summer camping and outdoor recreational activities for children and youth after a year of absence. The people who run and organize these events say they are cautiously optimistic about their opening this year.
“You feel bad. The kids failed last year and with the demands of school you feel really bad”, David Spencer, executive director of the Sacandaga Bible Conference, said.
The Sacandaga Bible Conference in Broadalbin offers programs for youth of all ages, including summer camping with plenty of outdoor activities ranging from archery, rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking to hiking. ‘Arts and crafts. A recent addition this year is an 11 foot high lower level zipline for kids who may be hesitant to make it to a 30 foot high ropes course.
“Our schedule revolves around the outdoors. It’s fun and adventurous, and parents feel safe placing their children in a program that enriches them with Christian values ”, Spencer said.
Spencer said it was a lot of work to put together a camping program, but said the staff felt a surge of enthusiasm.
“We are going to make this as normal as possible for the children” Spencer said.
New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recommendations for unvaccinated and vaccinated camp participants about wearing masks outdoors. According to the CDC, camps no longer need to hide out in most circumstances.
The CDC always recommends that summer campers, staff and volunteers who are not fully immunized wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. Other recommendations include physical distancing, testing, and limiting contact with participants to a fixed amount.
“Parents always ask if their children should wear masks all day. We assure them that the state requires masks inside, but not outside ”, Spencer said. “It’s always exciting to see how the kids grow up at camp. People don’t realize how much they are learning.
According to Spencer, the Sacandaga Bible Conference summer program and activities use the outdoors for most of the day.
There is still space available; visit www.sacandagabibleconference.com for more information and to register.
Churches are preparing for their vacation Bible schools this summer after a one-year hiatus. This includes Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church, Fonda Reformed Church, and Glen Reformed Church.
Fonda Reformed Church will have its VBS the week of July 19-23 with the theme Hero Central; some of the changes brought about by new CDC and state guidelines include holding morning (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and evening (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) sessions to accommodate most children in the family while maintaining security in numbers. Another change is that pre-registration is required when, in other years, the church has allowed last minute visits.
Pastor Bonnie Orth of Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church said their VBS will have individually wrapped snacks during their summer program. Before the kids share a bowl of Cheetos or other snack, she said.
“Holiday Bible School is fun where you learn stories from the Bible and participate in crafts, games and science projects” Orth said. “We remain cautiously optimistic. We used to have about 45 kids, but this year we don’t know what to expect.
Deja Donde is the parent of four children. She said she enrolled her daughter Rhiannon and son Seamus at Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church VBS. Another son, Liam, will volunteer.
“My kids have been 100 percent distant,” she said. “They had little to do with other kids and this will be their first social event in a year.”
Donde said her daughter Rhiannon was hesitant, but delighted to be with other children in a social event for the first time since the pandemic.
“The only thing I hesitate about” Dondé said, “Have the adults been vaccinated, but not the children”.
Donde said she wondered if staff and adult volunteers would maintain social distancing and wear masks around children.
“We are very careful” she said.
To enroll in Vacation Bible School, contact the respective churches directly.