Many summer camps canceled due to COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of kids from the Central Valley and across the state make unforgettable memories at Hume Lake Christian Camps each summer.

But this year, the COVID-19 crisis has forced camp leaders to cancel the first three weeks of Camps, with the hope of allowing camp to resume on June 28th if state and local health officials sign off.

"We've been planning and preparing for a great summer of ministry, but the question is - will we have summer camp? And the answer is - we'd love to!" says Hume Lake Executive Director Dathan Brown.

If the overnight camp resumes this summer at Hume Lake, several changes will have to be made to accommodate social distancing, and it's possible that even though the camp elevation is at 5,200 feet, masks may be required.

"We have a high regard for camper safety and we are partnering well with the Fresno County Health Department and political leaders. We're trying to move forward, if there's a way to do that," says Brown.

Other local day camps like the City of Fresno's Adventure Camp and the Chaffee Zoo's day camp are waiting to see what recommendations are made as summer approaches. The zoo is tentatively planning to host camps beginning in July.

All camps at Fresno State are also canceled for the summer.

Gold Arrow Camp is a one- and two-week seasonal camp above Shaver Lake. Getting the facility ready and staff trained takes close to two months of preparation, so this year camp is canceled.

"We were planning for all different contingencies and hopeful that we could still operate hopefully just at the end of the summer, all different things, and then finally last week, just given that we hadn't gotten further than we could be by this point, we just realized that we can't bring all these kids in," says Gold Arrow Chief Visionary Officer Audrey Monke.

Staff at both Hume Lake and Gold Arrow have asked parents if they would feel comfortable sending their kids to camp and 80-90% said they felt it would be fine with safety measures in place. Many camp directors feel the camp experience is more valuable than ever now considering that during the past months, most kids have been sheltering at home.

For camps planning to open soon, they've been getting guidance on other additional ways they can sanitize and separate campers. The challenge is reinventing activities and interaction from a distance.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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