I have spent the last 28 summers at summer camp and 6 years as the director at YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser. As a camper I learned a great deal about nature, as well as bunch of cool skills like archery, fire building, and sailing. I also made a lot of new friends.
Looking back at my years coming up through camp, I now see that I was learning how to create new friendships in different, and more meaningful ways than I was at school or in sports. When I learned new skills at camp, I was given the opportunity to try new things, explore, and fail without the negative criticism of others.
Camp is also highly connected to nature. There was a book written in 2005 called Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, that started a movement called “Leave No Child Inside”. The author connected problems like obesity, attention disorders and depression with a lack of exposure to the natural world. In this movement, summer camps were hailed as the perfect prescription to Richard Louv’s “Nature-Deficit Disorder”.
According to NPR, 168 Million children have missed school in the last year due to the pandemic. Countless more have lost the ability to interact with their friends, and even more have lost the ability to connect with nature. Experts are predicting unprecedented increases in childhood depression and mental health issues as this isolation continues. How can we help our children?
YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser, among many other summer camps, have been working diligently all year with the goal to be able to operate camp safely in a pandemic with the guidance from the American Camping Association, YMCA of the USA, and the CDC. We are committed to connecting kids with each other and nature. We want to see kids grow and develop because they are our future.
Picking the right camp for your child always has been a challenge, but now parents need to make sure their camp is pandemic-ready. I encourage all perspective camp families to visit the American Camping Association’s website to see the recommended steps that camps should be taking, contact the camp director to ask about the pandemic operating plans. At Camp Conrad Weiser we are ready to take your call at 610-670-2257 or you can contact us through our website: www.smymca.org
Camp Conrad Weiser Director