North Shore Summer Camp in the "new normal"

Blog North Shore Summer Camp in the "new normal" Back to Blog

Since March, our children’s lives have changed drastically.  Due to covid, they are missing friends and family, learning remotely and missing out on connections with teachers and peers.  These changes, along with worries over the virus,  have resulted in rising levels of anxiety and depression in children.  When you as a parent think about what you long for for your child, you’re likely wishing for something “normal” for them.  One “normal” experience is connection with friends and play without worry.  But we all know that connection opens up the possibility of transmission.  north shore day camp, summer camp andover, summer camp danvers

We’re here to tell you- we ran camp last summer!  Camp was safe, and fun, and a wonderful return to a little bit of normal for our campers and staff.  A closer to normal summer is possible!  Let’s talk about how we did it.

Small cohorts, kept in zones with their own staff and spaces.  

EAGLES/EDGE and Camp Christopher, both north shore day camps,  are lucky to call St. John’s Prep their home.  Our 175 acres are rich with opportunities- there are two pools, two gymnasiums and lots of turf and grass fields.  We have outdoor space aplenty- this was the perfect place to spread out and call home for the summer.  Each age group was assigned a zone on the campus. Then, each cohort of 10 campers was assigned a “homeroom” and a bathroom that was their own.  Besides changing and keeping supplies stored, our groups rarely went inside.  Each group had their own shady spots for picnic lunch and their own time on the fields and in the pool.  We all had plenty of places to stretch out and explore without running into other groups.  As you know, small groups, outside and distance are the keys to a healthy summer!  Check out this fantastic video to see all of our property features. 

Experienced, well trained staff, and lots of them!

This year, we decided not to run shared activity areas like arts and crafts and cooking.  Instead, we wanted the focus to be on the small groups.  So we hired lots of experienced staff, and loaded up the groups with at least 3 great counselors.  Usually the groups had two college aged or older counselors, and one high school aged staff member.  We spent two weeks conducting training in small groups, emphasizing safety, connection and fun.  These staff made magic happen at camp!  They helped the campers build connections and  let the campers’ interests drive what activities they did.  They allowed the pace to suit the campers.   For many of the campers, this was a first connection outside of the house since March.  To support that staff, we had a seasoned and caring leadership team- there to lean in and help wherever anyone needed a hand.  In addition, we had a wonderful team of nurses ready to help at any time.  You could often find them driving around camp in their little electric truck to keep everyone healthy in their zones.  You can meet some of our staff here! north shore day camp, summer camp andover, summer camp danvers

Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning north shore day camp, summer camp andover, summer camp danvers

We were supported this summer by an increase in facilities staff.  Our amazing facilities staff cleaned the spaces more often, and deep cleaned spaces at night. Often, the facilities staff anticipated what we would be doing and helped our staff keep our campers safe. Our counselors used gallons of disinfectant and miles of paper towels.  They sprayed down sports equipment after every use, disinfecting art supplies, cleaning spaces after their group had been in them.  It was a team effort, and it made a difference.  Our covid response page has lots of great resources! north shore day camp, summer camp andover, summer camp danvers

The best families ever!

EAGLES/EDGE asked for buy in from every family group and staff member to keep our camp family safe. We asked families to make safe choices outside of camp, so we could have the best time in camp!  Everyone helped by participating in daily attestations and mask wearing.  In addition, we focused on maintaining clear communication with our families this summer.  We all pulled together, and that helped keep us healthy and the fun coming all summer.north shore day camp, summer camp andover, summer camp danvers

We expect next summer to look a lot like this past summer.  However, with a vaccine on the horizon, and a ton more knowledge about how this virus spreads, we know from experience that we can tackle the challenges and make this the best summer ever! Don’t miss a moment of summer- our camps will fill quickly!  Sign up here for program and registration updates. 

Look for our blog on what we’re planning for summer 2021 soon! 


From the Camp Director’s Desk
Laurel Grady, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services 
Have questions, or want to talk about this summer?
Email lgrady@stjohnsprep.org