Camp Good Days & Special Times
2021 Northwestern Excellence in Camp Programming -Video Submission
Name of Entry:
Camp Good Days In-Person Family Camps
What Should the Voters Know?:
When the Pandemic hit, we understood that the population we serve would be at greater risk because of their compromised immune systems. Therefore, we suspended all in-person camping programs in 2020 and employed the virtual model.
In 2021, the safety of our constituents remained the primary concern. We worked with our medical staff to devise a plan that incorporated all the COVID-19 preventative measures while simultaneously presenting an opportunity to return to the in-person camping experience, and this was Family Camp!
Our season included twelve (three-day, two-night) Family Camp sessions. Programs were provided at limited capacity, with only six families per session, so each family had a separate cabin. Overall, we served 58 families and 230 participants from New York State!
To prepare for Family Camp, we implemented flexible programming with a combination of activities for whole families and activities for individual age groups. Only fully immunized staff and volunteers were accepted. Layered, evidence-based strategies (mask-wearing, social distancing, daily health screening, altered activities, hand washing, etc.) were collectively put into place and enforced to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus successfully.
Typically, our programs are only for patients and siblings. Our drop-off sites are located at our regional offices (Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY), so even some of our long-term families had never even been to our recreational facility. Family Camps not only allowed our parents to see what their children experience first-hand at Camp, but they provided a unique opportunity for them to build rapport with our staff and for families to enjoy a safe, fun, and relaxing experience in an outdoor atmosphere while spending quality time with family.
Families described many benefits of attending family camp, including positive impacts of the camp staff, the opportunity to enjoy activities together with other family members, an increase of a sense of belonging, and the enhancement of family relationships.
Attached is our Family Camp 2021 flyer, which clearly demonstrates what a phenomenal summer it turned out to be and how much it meant to our incredible families and volunteers! Moving forward, we look forward to including Family Camps in our summer schedule.