Summer Camp: Virtual Style


virtual campIt’s pretty safe to say that most of us will not forget the year of 2020. We have been enduring a bizarre time in our life with lots of unexpected changes. It began with all weekend activities and parties being canceled, then came school, and finally, summer camps. But finding virtual summer camps has proven to be fun, engaging, and safe.

We have been forced into an online virtual classroom environment, which was challenging at times. My daughter and I were happy when distance learning ended. But only three days later, we were left wondering what to do this summer. Many classmates and friends were already disappearing due to isolation or vacations.

The lingering question between my husband and I was, what to do with the kids for eight weeks of summer break? I did not want to lose my sanity. I also did not want my kids fighting all day as I was mom, wife, and entertainment director. 

While we considered sending our daughter to an in-person local camp, the CDC and Connecticut guidelines were not allowing them to open until June 29th. We were not ready to jump back into this new environment quite yet. Regardless, school was effectively done by June 12th, and we still had 17 long days to get through before we could consider an in-person camp.

We began to look a little deeper and found hundreds of online virtual summer camps. Many of the camps were each one week long and were offered in various locations across the United States. Now, this is a fascinating and brilliant idea. We pretty much could send her to camp (well virtually) anywhere and any time of day. After exploring the long lists of different camps with various prices, ages, supplies, and times, we needed our daughter to help make the decisions for us. We started small, with a science camp in Toledo, Ohio that was for one week, 2 hours a day, and cost $75. 

Finding virtual summer camps has proven to be fun, engaging, and safe while new and exciting each week. 

After her second day of virtual camp, we realized we made the right decision. Our daughter was occupied and had a fun activity to do. This first camp had two camp counselors teaching her LIVE with five other campers/kids. The counselors were adults who worked in the science center and were very professional and knowledgeable. In the evening, my daughter was taking the time to complete the small assignment. This was a fun and simple project (with items we had at home). She when then post to Flipgrid to share with the group. 

As the first week of the virtual camp continued to be a success and was keeping my daughters occupied for part a chunk of the day, we explored more. We enrolled her for a new camp each week, a zoo camp located in Miami, a coding camp in Columbus,  a theatre camp in New Haven, an aquarium camp in Chicago, Girl Scout camp in Texas, and even an art camp in Florida. Some of the camps even mailed her supplies the week ahead to use for projects during the virtual live sessions. All of these camps were one week and were very engaging with live interaction each day. Each camp was no more than $125 for the week. 

The virtual camps provided our children with a sense of normalcy and allowed them to meet new people and learn so much each week. I have also been able to keep my sanity as my kids have typically been occupied with the interactive virtual camps for a couple of hours each day. This gives me hope that our school districts will have improved distance learning if needed this upcoming school year. 

Thankfully, summer vacation 2020 for our family has not been too bad. And, just maybe online virtual camps will be a new thing. 


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