Hello Adventure Kids and Parents
Our GMS Adventure family hopes this note finds all of you healthy in body and mind. I know that many of you are aware that the State has said that camps may open up after June 8. Despite this announcement by the State, we have had to make the difficult decision to open this summer only if it’s safe for both campers and staff.
We hoped that the state would have established a detailed plan by now of the regulations for operating a summer camp, but that has not been the case. We have been emailing and calling almost daily for more precise details but the licensing board has still not replied to all our questions. To date, they have still not been able to tell us how we can operate and keep your kids and our staff safe from this virus.
As of today, some of the issues we face are as follows:
- There is no plan in place by the State or the City for transporting kids when they need to move from one place to another.
- We do not know if they will allow the use of Gloucester School System buses for travel with groups of kids.
- For now, they are saying that we cannot put kids into boats either.
- The licensing board has yet to finalize the rules for safe distancing, masks, hand washing, etc. All rules we fully intend to follow scrupulously.
And, some of our concerns about reopening safely:
- Given the age of our campers, it would be almost impossible to maintain the mandated 6 feet of social distancing. Campers will be seeing their friends for the first time in months and it will be nearly impossible to keep them safely apart.
- I also do not want my staff to spend their summer enforcing social distancing rules; that would not be fair to them and would not make for an enjoyable camp experience.
- Counselors developing relationships with campers is an important part of camp. Children take many cues from facial expressions and need to be able to see their counselors smile, frown, and make silly faces. This will be impossible with masks.
- We train our staff to be responsive to the needs of our campers. If a camper is crying, we offer comfort. If a camper is injured, we treat them immediately. If a camper needs someone to confide in, our counselors provide a listening ear. The risk of infection makes each of these interactions potentially dangerous for both campers and counselors.
- Children and staff go home every night. They will be in contact with family members, friends, and neighbors. There is no way for our camp to enforce a quarantine of campers, staff, and their families during non-camp hours.
In light of these realities, we are planning to create FREE online content that mimics our daily camp activities for the month of June. Our staff will be producing short videos and posting them on our website. We would also like to have weekly Zoom meetings with the kids so that we can all stay connected in some way. Please email us to let us know if this is something that your family would like to participate in. We hope that this will help keep our kids and their families involved in outdoor adventures during the upcoming month.
Please bear in mind that our staff will be volunteering their time to you for the month of June. All donations toward our scholarship fund will be much appreciated. You can donate via the PayPal button on our website or mail a check to GMS Camp, PO Box 6046, Gloucester, MA 01930.
In the midst of this pandemic chaos, we will be working on developing a plan for reopening in July and August provided that we receive concrete guidelines from the city and state and that we feel confident we can operate in a manner that protects both our campers and staff. We will also be working on developing a broader range of online activities in the event that neither of these conditions materialize.
As always, stay safe and full of Adventure!
Love and Peace,
Jo-Anne Crawford and the GMS Staff and Board