Helping Kids Get Back to Summer Camp
Last year, most summer camps in New Hampshire were shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. This had a tremendous impact on the quality of our children’s summer vacation, but also on the work schedule of many parents who had to seek other forms of childcare. This year, the NH Camp Directors Association and Granite United Way partnered together to provide children, their families, and camps the resources they needed to make overnight summer camp in New Hampshire as safe as possible.
In the spring of 2021, the State of New Hampshire announced new recommendations that New Hampshire overnight camps test all campers and staff weekly with a CLIA Certified test. Camp Directors were quickly faced with the realization that there would be costs of these weekly tests, for thousands of campers; jeopardizing opening for the summer season. That’s when Granite United Way partnered with them to act as an administrator of the state funding for these requirements.
“COVID testing at camp was a critical part of navigating this summer, and having the state absorb some of the extraordinary cost involved with implementing a comprehensive testing program was an enormous help,” said Ken Robbins, President of NH Camp Director’s Association and Director at Camp Kabeyun. “It was a monumental task to stand up a reporting and reimbursement program in the days and week right before summer started. Camps throughout the state are grateful for the hard work of both Department of Health and Human Services and Granite United Way for their support and dedication to making it happen.”
Thanks to this program, 76 camps opened this summer with just over 25,000 campers. By the close of summer, these overnight camps administered 46,813 tests. This testing, combined with safety considerations, masks, social distancing, and other recommendations, helped New Hampshire overnight camps keep COVID-19 infections at .1% rate.
These tests were a critical first step in the opening of our overnight camps, and this year was especially significant since kids were not able to be in their normal social environment for the past 16 months. This collaborative effort meant that kids were able to be kids again. They were away from electronic devices, among friends, participating in active, outdoor activities, and connecting in new ways.
Granite United Way is honored to be a part of this effort and is thankful to everyone that was a part of ensuring that kids had safe access to overnight camp this year!
The preparation of this report was financed under a Contract with the State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services, with funds provided in part by the State of New Hampshire and/or such other funding sources as were available or required, e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services.