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Summer camps are a whole new ballgame in the era of COVID-19

ewalu

STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa (KWWL)- While COVID-19 has canceled many summer traditions, some summer camps are still on, but it is not without many changes.

The traditional camp campfires and sing-alongs have been replaced by masks and social distancing.

At Camp Ewalu is Strawberry Point, campers get their temperatures checked at the gate when they arrive for their week long stay. They are also supposed to take and document their temperature every day for two weeks before they get there.

"We are relying mostly on the masks, distancing, and increased sanitation procedures we have put in place this summer," Executive Director Clark Baldwin said. "One of the advantages of Ewalu over some other camps is that we have a lot of space. We have 550 acres so we can spread out our groups apart from each other."

There will be no mixing of groups. The kids will only be around their counselors and 6 to 10 others for the week that they are there.

For the most part, Baldwin said they are going to try and keep the kids outside. But when they do go inside, they will be required to wear a mask. They will also have to wear one when singing, which is normally as big part of camp.

Baldwin said it is a really different summer and for summer campers, it has been an adjustment.

"They are used to being able to hug and hold hands, but we just can't do that this year," he said. "We still feel like we are giving them a good experience."

Baldwin credits his counselors, like Zach Morgan for still giving kids the camp experience. To make social distancing fun, they have come up with things like "airplanes arms," to demonstrate how far away kids should be from the next person.

"We have learned a lot of new games that are no touching to keep kids occupied," Morgan said. "It has had its challenges, it has had its ups and downs, but it is great to be here."

While camp is open, attendance is down. Currently, Ewalu only has about half the number of campers that they normally do.

Other area summer camps like Camp Courageous have canceled their summer sessions.

Baldwin said planning to open has been very challenging because of how the pandemic and guidelines from the CDC and American Camping Association have changed.

Daniel Perreault

Reporter

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