By Anthony Bui

Summer camp registrations are in full swing, although many are still concerned about COVID-19 and the overall safety of our children–and rightfully so. With all of the uncertainties and what ifs, some parents may even consider avoiding any risks and not sending their children to summer camp at all.

Though these concerns are real and parents have every right to worry for their children, completely shutting down the idea could be detrimental to a child’s mental and physical well-being. At the end of the day, children need the camp experience more than ever after these rough couple of years.

Pandemic Burnout
The pandemic has caused a mental health crisis among children. Inconsistent learning conditions, long periods of isolation and time away from close friends, loss of loved ones, and in general, a world that is constantly changing has ravaged the lives of young children who are oftentimes very vulnerable. This leads to a burnout that is characterized by both physical and mental exhaustion. Taking away something that they look forward to and find enjoyable will only exasperate this burnout. Children need the opportunity to be able to interact with one another and enjoy the things that they enjoy without having to worry.

Adults understand how stressful life can be. They also understand that they can’t always afford to “not worry about it.” One key component of growing up is understanding when and how to effectively deal with the things life throws at you. Parents especially understand the extent that they would go to in order to make sure their children don’t have to deal with these things while they are still so young. They want to shoulder the burden as long as they can so that their children can enjoy their childhood because there will come a day when their children do grow up and reach an age where they are mature enough to effectively handle life’s complicated problems. It is the parent’s job to raise them until they get to that point, teaching them the healthy ways to handle life’s problems.

Let’s Go to Summer Camp
Children want to feel as if their ideas and feelings are respected. Summer camp may not seem like a big deal considering the current atmosphere of the world, but it can truly have a positive impact on children who do feel strongly about it.

There is wisdom in handling the situation and actively listening to children when they are expressing this great want to attend a summer camp. The pandemic has been around for two years now. Throughout the majority of it, children have had to change so much about the way they lived and even the way they learned. For two years, they have had to repeatedly shift between in person and remote learning as cases rose and fell and new variants of the virus formed. For two years, they had to carefully manage how they spent time with their friends and family. That is two Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, and other holidays where some families were hesitant to even gather together. They were advised against it and told to be socially distant and even to avoid physical contact. Parents can understand how difficult and scary it can be for a child to be told that they can’t hug the people they love for fear of spreading a potentially deadly virus.

While we should not cast off all worries and precautions in order to conquer this thing called pandemic burnout, we should still try to find the joy of summer camp this year.

Summer camp is a place where kids can be kids. They can hang out with each other and get the much-needed social interactions that COVID has limited, and day camps and overnight camps are putting in the work to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe all summer long.

Summer camp gives children stability. It gives them a time to hang out with friends that they possibly have not seen in a long time. It gives them time to form new friendships. It gives them time to make memories that they can look back upon years down the road.

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