Are the Youngsters All Proper? Ask the Camp Administrators.
Jessica Colgan-Snyder, Assistant Director of Camp Hawkeye, sent a similar letter in early July. “We have seen and worked on a lot more behavior problems and general stress and anxiety in our camper population,” she wrote. “We hear older campers say that it’s difficult not just to go into their rooms and get away from it all.”
Hawkeye had to send more campers home than usual, Ms. Colgan-Snyder said. “The camp has always been a place where participants can be themselves and lose their vigilance,” the letter says, “and for some people they weren’t ready to take on that.”
Employees, many of whom are teenagers or young adults, also have a hard time. “There was just a lot more self-doubt, a lot more fear,” said Sam Metzger, 29, the director of activities at Camp Winnebago. Mr Metzger, who is working as a camp counselor for the eighth summer, has tried to support his colleagues who wanted to quit. “I’m trying to challenge your thinking,” he said. “But it feels harder this summer. And camp should be fun. “
The American Camp Association plans to collect data on the emotional experiences of campers and camp staff this summer and share the results with schools and other organizations by late fall. “We would be interested in any research that could help us better serve our students,” the New York Department of Education said in a statement upon hearing the news of the upcoming report.
But there is also the downside of the emotional ledger: Many young people thrived in their sleep. When Feehan Tuttell of Raleigh, NC found that his month at Camp Hawkeye was coming to an end, he asked his family if he could stay longer. They couldn’t raise the money, so the camp stepped in to its scholarship fund. “I was just overwhelmed with joy when I heard that I could stay,” said Mr. Tuttell (16). “Camp is a detox from all of this technology and evil in the real world, and after the lockdown, it meant everything.”
A joyful camp moment summed up the situation for Yasamin Bayley, who was working as a counselor at Pocono Springs Camp in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania that summer. and everyone just hugged each other solemnly, ”said Ms. Bayley, a recent college graduate who grew up in Westchester. “And I just realized that it hasn’t happened to me in a year and a half, just being able to hug a large group of people,” she said.
“In this camp bubble, you almost forget what was going on outside. It was like a snap. “