Playing it safe at Camp JCC

May 26, 2020

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Camp Katan (lower camp) is canceled for 2020; Camp Gadol (upper camp) delays start until July 6

Parents try to drill it into their children’s heads. The best decision is not always the easy one. Doing the right thing for the right reasons takes grit.

“Faced with the responsibility of our campers’ safety and fully aware of the impact on our families’ summer plans, Camp JCC recently made two very tough decisions,” says Sierra Lautman, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s director of Jewish Innovation.

In today’s COVID-19 world, the safe camp experience comes down to maintaining a six-foot distance at all times. But for young children, this concept is almost impossible to reinforce. Imagine a child with a skinned knee or one who becomes afraid and needs instant comfort in the form of a hug. For the younger set, distance and camp just don’t ‘play’ well together. That is the main reason that there will be no lower camp this summer for children ages 2 to kindergarten. Virtual activities, however, will be created so as not to entirely disrupt the camp vibe.

Nothing was deliberated overnight or in a vacuum, notes Lautman. In fact, there was reliance on a multitude of experts, industry peers, and health officials to arrive at this conclusion.

Another tough call was to postpone the start of upper camp for 1st through 8th grade. The new date is July 6, 2020. Spaces are still open for Camp Gadol. The extra time is being used to accelerate staff training on new procedures and to put proper equipment in place to ensure a safe environment.

“We sincerely apologize for any family hardships that may arise from this change in our summer schedule. While we all hoped to be able to run our full in-person program, we are confident that this is the right decision to ensure the health and safety of our campers, staff, and community in these unprecedented times,” says Lautman.

For additional information, to register, or for refunds, email ntrem@ujft.org or go to simonfamilyjcc.org.s

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