Summer Camps Cancelled. Now What?

kids on beach

As if the COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic hadn't inflicted enough pain and suffering on parents these past two months, this week brings the most unwelcome yet not surprising news that summer camps for 2020 are also cancelled. So after all of the sacrifices, cramped living, distance learning and too many meals together, the next phase of surviving the pandemic begins. Human beings are a resilient bunch, having survived and overcome major crises over the centuries, and we'll get through this as well. As encouraging news hits the wires about progress on a vaccine, there appears to be a distant light at the end of a long, long tunnel. So how do we get from here to the end of the tunnel? I recall a silly game we played as kids road tripping up to Vermont from our home near New York City, where we held our breath while passing under an overpass or through a tunnel. Fortunately the overpasses on route 91 were short, but there won't be any breath holding while we pass through this darkness. The current hope is that we get much closer to 'normalcy' by Labor day of 2020, but one's definition of 'normalcy' will differ, and who know what set-back lie ahead. So, the key questions are: what is normalcy, how do I get there and how long will it take? And most pressing, how does our family navigate this time of grave uncertainty? While none of can predict what the new normal will be and how long it will take, we can do our best to survive. So here goes, the tips on helping you an your family survive the summer during COVID.

Stay Healthy

I might sound trivial and obvious, but as data trickles in suggesting we maybe slowly dialing down the spread rate, the truth remains that the virus is still among us, people are still getting sick, and you really don't want to get the virus now after all of the hard work you've done these past 2 months. So resist some of the potentially misleading information you're reading online and stay vigilant by continuing to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and pack plenty of sanitizer. If your teenager is dying to get out and hang with their friends as mine are, then set-up a driveway or back yard meeting up with a friend whose family has been following the rules. Vector infection risk is very low if you limit only exposure to like-minded individuals. For the grown-up in your house, dial back the alcohol use and dial up the meditation, quality sleep and exercise.

  • Wash hands
  • Wear a Mask, socially distance
  • Eat healthy
  • Get sleep
  • Exercise

Stay Creative

You have no doubt taught your child how to play Rummikub and Texas hold-em poker by now, so keep up the good work! Maybe you watched the fantastic Michael Jordan documentary to show your kids what basketball was like in the 90's, but don't count on baseball or golf broadcasts to get you through to the Fall. There are lots of online education option available for kids online now, and you should take advantage. Check with your school or school district to see what options are available and take advantage of them. Whether it is online writing class or beginner guitar lessons, your child will engage with the right attitude and help and motivation from Mom and Dad.

  • Music lessons/practice instruments
  • Play game
  • Draw or paint
  • Stream Educational Documentaries

Stay Busy

There are plenty of at-home activities for kids that will help keep them occupied and learning. Baking, craft, meal preparation cleaning and other house projects are generally things kids don't like to do, but with a little help and encouragement from Mom and Dad, they might get to enjoy it! Using your time wisely is a great lesson to help reinforce with you kids this summer. Even if they don't have as much fun as they normally would under normal circumstances, don't let this opportunity go to waster. it will serve them well as they age into adulthood.

  • Meal and Dinner Prep
  • Baking
  • House Projects
  • Read more books

Learn new Skills

This pandemic has forced all of us to learn new skills and be resourceful, and you can fine-tune that thinking this summer. Maybe once or twice a week you skip the after dinner Netflix session and paint a picture, try out some new photo setting on you smart phone, write a letter to your future self or meditate.

  • Writing workshops
  • Computer Training
  • Certifications
  • Photography & video apps and software

Plan Ahead

You aren't going to stay inside all summer, but neither is anyone else. Chances are you live near a lake or the ocean, but you'll need to plan ahead and do some research before heading to the beach. Check with other families in you community who have been social distancing and see if you can set-up an outing where your kids can follow the rules and stay safe. You should also keep daily tabs on National Parks and State Parks websites as they begin to reopen for the summer. You can also check into local youth volunteering opportunities to strength your child's resume as they get ready for college applications.

  • Hikes and Camping Trips
  • Beach Outings
  • Volunteering Opportunities

Mind over Matter

It will be hard to avoid feeling a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) staying mostly at home this summer, but don't forget everyone else is in the same boat. No other families will be doing what they normally do, and if you keep reminding yourself of that, you can focus on what you can control rather what you cannot. For you an your family this means staying focused, supporting each other, learning new skills and improving yourself.

  • Don't get Distracted my misinformation
  • Don't cave to Herd Mentality
  • Find a Reliable Local News Source and Stick With it

Don't waste this opportunity to do something as a family you've always wished you had the time to do but never did. Now you have the time. Whether you write your first novel (or second), start a blog, take a class or create a podcast, now is your chance. Don't blow it!

 

by Charles Baker
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